On Life Hacks
@avianbonesyndrome Unless you're me going to Wegmans, in which case you specifically go hungry so that you can have lunch or dinner in the prepared foods cafe first. Wegmans is like Date Night-level special. Then you are happy and full of sushi or something and ready to shop.
@Clare K. R. Miller According to this 2000 chat with JKR, nope, Hagrid was a Gryffindor. And Myrtle was a Ravenclaw. But I think she made some serious errors early on in favoring Gryffindor, so I'm going to headcanon him as a Hufflepuff. It just makes more sense to me! Mr. bowtiesarecool maintains that the best way to strengthen the stories would have been to make at least one of the Harry/Ron/Hermione trio NOT a Gryffindor. Like, if Hermione had been put in Ravenclaw like the Sorting Hat considered, and still managed to become best friends with Harry and Ron anyway, it would have gone a long way towards humanizing the other houses and not reducing people to a single and occasionally unflattering personality trait. (Nicole, this series makes my heart smile. Have fun next week at JoCoCruiseCrazy! I wish I could go, but since I am finally going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the first time this weekend, I can't complain. This was a great way to get even more excited! Thank you for this wonderful wonderful series!)
On Tax Season
I'll probably suck it up and use Turbo Tax again anyway, just because I always have. This year should be...interesting. We've got three W-2s, a period of state unemployment benefits, student loans, and a handful of investment returns to deal with. Last year I jumped the gun and filed before realizing we were missing a form for an embarrassingly small amount of interest on a savings account. This year I am committed to waiting for everything to trickle in. I have no idea whether we'll get a refund or wind up owing - it'll be surprise!
Oh man, Aloha Fridays. I used to work with a guy who had a wife that was really into quilting and fabric shows, and at some point long ago they struck a deal that every time he squired her to one of these events, he'd get to pick out a fabric and she'd make him a new Hawaiian shirt. He had a breathtaking assortment of patterns, and my favorite Friday tradition was to stop by his office and see what monstrosity he was wearing. They were amazing, and I was a bit jealous.
AHH EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE RENTER'S INSURANCE. Sorry, it just really panics me to even see people CONSIDERING not having it. One of my closest friend's entire apartment building burned down when the kid downstairs was playing with matches and candles. All her stuff was basically junk, but her roommate lied about having gotten them renter's insurance, and she had nowhere to stay, no affordable way to completely replace the theoretically-valueless-but-still-necessary stuff like plates and underwear, just so awful. The weirdest shit can happen, your landlord's insurance will not protect you, and paying less than a hundred bucks a year to cover yourself is ABSOLUTELY worth it.
@andnowlights That's a good idea! I almost never drink, but we have definitely gotten bad about buying food more than we should.
@flickafly Yeah, I think people forget that even when you are doing it on as basic a level as possible, it's still expensive to feed and water a big group of people. I went to an outdoor wedding in December in the evening that just gave us finger foods, and I'd still be willing to bet it was close to, if not over, $10k. And, like, that was for pretty subpar levels of physical comfort. I purchase catering for work meetings all the time. Food, even the ingredients for food, costs money.
Ugh, I've got a friend who bought a Nest, and he's clever with wiring so he just takes it from apartment to apartment with him and reinstalls it each time, and I'm STILL not convinced he's saving any money on utilities. I think he just likes the bleep-bloop-living-in-the-future feel of it. And when you live in a cheap apartment building, you're still paying to heat/cool the outdoors, just more selectively. I'm ALSO determined to focus mostly on earning more. Our household income increased by...like...30% over the last couple of years, and the difference that made in our lives really makes all of the other budget maneuvering look like a joke.
Thank you for reminding me that I need to get that Nathan vest! Doing 3/4 of my runs in the dark (<3 you, daytime Saturday run!) is depressing as hell as it is, but it would be way more depressing to get hit by a car. I have a cheapo LED belt, but the deeper we get into winter, the more I fear my fellow humans. The kicker is that we have a free gym in my building, but the treadmill makes me feel like I am not-so-slowly going insane. Ugh, winter.
Does anyone have opinions on the coolest state capitals to live in? I live in the DC suburbs, because I'm a lobbyist, and that's kind of a geographically-specific industry. My spouse would loooooove to live anywhere else (well, anywhere as warm or warmer, and cheaper), and pretty much the only option for me if I leave is state lobbying. But nthing the person who said that a good reason to live in a big, or big-ish expensive city is the transit. Even living the 'burbs in DC, I am able to get by without a car, and I really appreciate that about my life.