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Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

by Prince Of Petworth January 6, 2017 at 9:09 am 126 Comments

dc_neighborhood_news
Photo by PoPville flickr user Chris Williams

You can talk about whatever is on your mind – quality of life issues, a beautiful tree you spotted, scuttlebutt, or any random questions/thoughts you may have. But please no personal attacks and no need to correct people’s grammar. This is a place to vent and/or celebrate things about daily life in DC.

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  • bdale homie

    Rant: No snow on the ground this morning.
    Rave: Another chance tomorrow!

    • dcd

      You mixed up your rant and rave.

  • FridayGirl

    Question for the PoPulace: I submitted my first PSLF authorization form a week or so ago. Should I expect that someone will contact me to confirm they’ve received it? Or should I follow up with them in a couple more weeks?

    • kristen

      Hi — if you mean the first verification of employment, I just submitted mine before the holiday. After about 2 weeks I received a message through myfedloan.org account to confirm it was received. Shortly afterwards there was another message indicating how many more months/payments I had remaining.

    • kanon

      It takes a few weeks to process. If your loans aren’t already processed by fed loans, though, I believe the loan will have to be transferred (I’m not sure; but mine was), which took a while. I submit an annual certification, and it usually takes fed loans about two weeks to let me know it was processed, and then they send me a letter detailing the number of qualifying payments I’ve made, plus the number of qualifying payments remaining. 5 years left!

      • rachel

        same!! March 2022 – it’ll be a great 39th birthday present…

    • kate1228

      Great question! I want to do this but for some reason it is so confusing to me. Have any of you called to talk to a rep about the who/what/where of the program. I have my 10 years in, but not sure how long you have to be a federal employee to qualify.

      • rachel

        you have to have made 120 payments in one of the income based plans or the standard plan while working full time in public service to be eligible. they recommend recertifying your public service employment annually so that you don’t have to verify all 10 years of employment at the end (especially if, say, you switched employers after the first year). google public service loan forgiveness and you’ll find some good resources. I think the online resources are just as good for educating yourself as calling someone would be, but if you still have questions you might try the financial aid office of wherever you went to school.

        • Andrew

          And all of us need to bee very mindful that republicans are attempting to get rid of PSLF. There is also currently a lawsuit as the program changed what qualifies as public service.

          • FridayGirl

            I’ve said it before when this has come up – there are going to be a lot of very angry people if they get rid of it. It was pretty much the only reason I bothered to get a Master’s and one of the main reasons being a fed was appealing. Plus we all know student loan debt is a huge issue. I don’t see how getting rid of it would be a good look for anyone.

          • rachel

            PSLF wasn’t the reason I started at my federal job but definitely the reason I’ve stayed for the past 5 years. Will be totally screwed if it goes away. [all fingers and toes crossed]

          • Formerly ParkViewRes

            Was SLRP not an option for you guys? It’s still around, right?

          • kate1228

            Can you tell me more about SLRP? How do you qualify for that?

          • FridayGirl

            Formerly ParkViewRes – My agency has it but my occupation series isn’t included. My office has been working to get this changed so hopefully by 2018 I’m eligible to apply.

          • Formerly ParkViewRes

            I am not sure how it works at other agencies, but when I was with the government it was in my offer letter. I was eligible for payment up to $10k a year ($6500 after taxes). And in return I had to commit to three years of service. It was (is?) a great program and I’m very thankful for it.

          • JoDa

            Even if student loan repayment (SLRP) is available, that doesn’t mean that it will be granted or funded. I got one year, in my 4th year of employment, when, I guess, we had a good budget year. I wasn’t leaving anyway, but even getting just one year ($6500 after tax) meant that I had to stay for 3 more years.

        • kate1228

          Ohhh, so you have to have 10 years of service, I missed that part! Unfortunately my 10 years of service is pretty much in line with my final student loan payment. Thanks. That helps a lot.

          • JoDa

            Pretty much if you don’t qualify for basic IBR or the old PAYE (partial financial hardship), you will pay off your loans before PSLF kicks in. It requires you to be on standard 10-year repayment unless you qualify for income-based payment reductions. If you start in federal service in the DC area as a 7 or 9 (Bachelor’s or Master’s with no experience), you will earn too much to qualify for payment reductions within your first two years of work unless you have extreme loans or other financial circumstances.
            .
            RPAYE might reduce your loan payments for 3-4 years, if you’re a recent graduate, but be careful with that one. It doesn’t have a “maximum payment,” so if you earn more after 3-4 years, you could end up paying more and end up with higher payments in the later years than even the 10-year level would call for. If you’re on a, say, 9/11/12 track with non-competitive promotion to 13, you will end up paying back the entire loan, but with most of that paid back as a 13.
            .
            If you’re on a track like that, either pushing it out to 25 years and making additional payments as possible or refinancing if your rate is above 4.5% are your two best strategies. A while back, I did a cash-out refinance of a rental property and paid off my student loan with the cash out. The rate was almost a full point lower, and I can write the interest off on my taxes (something I haven’t been able to do for years because the student loan interest deduction phases out at national average incomes). While I don’t anticipating this happening, if, for some reason, my entire life goes to shit, I can also discharge that debt in bankruptcy.

    • FridayGirl

      Thanks everyone! This is great to know. I’ll keep an eye out for a message over the next couple of weeks.

  • Quotia Zelda

    Rant: I spent all of yesterday thinking it was Friday. NOPE.
    Rant: I have an annual project that draws on a data set that only I can access (we’re a small place, so this is not as unusual as it might be in larger organizations). I started to work on the project yesterday, only to find out that we moved to a different system halfway through last year and no one bothered to let me know. It’s all worked out now, but really, people!?
    Corollary Rant: Although the second system is merely an upgrade of the first, it doesn’t include any of the data from the first system, so I have to pull info from both. This seems awfully inefficient.
    Rave: Happy king cake season!

    • FridayGirl

      I thought it was Friday for part of yesterday, too! Oi!

  • Hookdntx

    Rant: Next week is going to be rough, its the first full week of work since before Chirstmas…
    Rave: FRIDAY and a busy weekend
    Rave: I got my profile up on Rover, using it to fund my wanderlust!

    • MHillPark

      That’s awesome! Can you link to your profile in case someone in PoPville would like to use your services ( . . . me?).

      • Hookdntx

        sure: https://www.rover.com/sit/hookdntx is my profile and if you are new to Rover you can use my discount code, it gives you $20 off your first booking; code: POPVILLE20

  • Blithe

    Info: A few days back, someone asked about a service that would do ebay and Craig’s list for you. There’s something called eBay Valet at FedEx Office that will handle everything for you — or so the website says.
    .
    Major Rave: I slogged through the USAJOBS site and major moments of panic, and got a job application in before the deadline. I had a lot of unexpected help with this, and REALLY appreciate all of the PoPvillagers who offered suggestions, information, and support!
    .
    Rave: An obligation that I’d planned for tonight got rescheduled — which is perfect for me since I’m fried.
    .
    Rave: Now I get to check out the two coats that I ordered — which came right in time for this cold spell. I might need some enabling help with this…..

    Rave: I went for a quick visit to the African American Museum — and I can’t wait to go back and stay all day. It was an awesome, awesome experience in so many ways.

    • Emmaleigh504

      Weren’t the coats both a good deal? I say if they fit well and you like the way you look in them, keep them both!

      • textdoc

        ^^^ Coat Enabler. ;)

  • LittleBluePenguin

    Rant: I am so. so. exhausted. I just want to sleep, but I have so much more packing to do and so little time in which to do it.
    Rave: It’s Friday
    Question: I’m worried about pipes freezing in the house we’re moving in to. I know everything is still on / connected, and I *think* the thermostat is set at 60-62, but it’s so cold out…should I just suck it up and head up there after work to verify temperature is set ok and set the faucets at a teeny, tiny drip so they don’t freeze? Or will it be ok for the next 2-3 days? Thoughts?

    • That One Guy

      If there are faucets on the exterior of the house those should be turned off at the halve and drained so that you don’t have any cracked pipes/flooding issues. The interior pipes should be okay, no?

      • LittleBluePenguin

        See, and I don’t know if there are exterior pipes and if they have or have not been drained and shut off. I have no idea what I’m doing with all the home-owner-y type stuff!

    • It’s just me

      I would go verify. It sounds like max it’ll take you 30mn to an hour. I doubt your pipes will freeze, but I had it happen in a neighboring condo, and it is not something to joke about. It is worth an hour out of your day to make sure it doesn’t happen.

      • LittleBluePenguin

        yeah, I’m just pissed I didn’t put my tape measure and extra flashlight in my purse, since it’ll be dark by the time I get there and I’m terrified the power will be out or something….

        • Anonymous

          iPhones have a flashlight app that you can use if you need a flashlight. If you have some other kind of phone I’m sure there’s a similar app. Not sure why you need a tape measure to check the thermostat and set faucets. Why would the power be out?

          • artemis

            She may want to measure for furniture placement, etc., while she’s in the house.

          • LittleBluePenguin

            Yeah, thanks, I know there’s a flashlight app – but there are some jobs I don’t really relish shoving my iphone into a dark, narrow, possibly wet place for. And yes, like artemis said, the tape measure was to measure dimensions for furniture placement, etc. But oh well. And my fear about power is more my fear of Pepco’s ineptitude….

  • artemis

    Rant: Coworker’s consistent and disgusting throat-clearing noises.
    Rave: It is Friday! I have a chill weekend planned that includes seeing some good friends.
    Rave: Baby Artie’s sleeping seems to be back on track, and he was all smiles and charm this morning.
    Rave: I had a productive evening: managed to get the monster fed, bathed, and in bed by 7pm, made dinner, folded and put away some laundry, baked banana bread, and still managed to be in bed by 10. If only I could be that industrious every day.

  • brp

    RANT: everyone in my office is either coming down with a cold/bronchitis/sinus infection, out with a cold/bronchitis/sinus infection, or recovering from a cold/bronchitis/sinus infection
    RAVE: working in an office where employees are genuinely encouraged to take their sick time if they’re sick
    RANT: that my rave is noteworthy. America needs to get its shit together.

    • brp

      addendum to my first rant: including me.

    • wdc

      This is a conversation I have with every new hire. “If you’re sick, stay home and get better. The work will wait.” They all look at me in stupefaction, having never heard that before. We don’t count sick days, so there’s no pressure to come in sick and save a day for a future use.
      An organization that relies so heavily on one person’s work has big structural problems. But if one sick person gets their whole team sick, then we’re in trouble.

      • INWDC

        You should be commended and your behavior should be an example to managers everywhere – seriously. I cannot stand that mentality of “just tough it out and go to work” – it’s idiotic and managers should be fired for NOT encouraging employees to stay home. Clearly, I’m passionate about this (and have had too much coffee already), but that antiquated idea that you should come to work regardless is dumb and a sign of an ineffective manager who has no frontal lobes.

        • anonymous

          This 1,000 times. In the past year, one of my bosses told me to work sick and to “suck it up.” In addition to being horrible management, it demoralized me for weeks, long after I was all better. Glad to know there are good managers in the world.

      • dcd

        This is an excellent management philosophy. At my firm, which espouses this philosophy, the issues come from individual timekeepers – when you have an hours requirement, and your continued employment (if you’re low) or bonus size (if you’re high) are in part determined by your billable hours, there’s a powerful disincentive to come in when one is moderately sick. Many people (myself included) would rather gut through a cold than have to deal with the pile up later on. I do try to quarantine myself in my office when I’m not feeling well, though.
        Plus, frankly, sometimes the work can’t wait. Sometimes I have client calls, or calls with a court, or hearings, that aren’t controlled by my schedule or preferences.

        • dcd

          Non-timekeepers, on the other hand, fully embrace the “stay home if you’re sick” mantra and will be out for 2-3 days recovering from a splinter.

        • wdc

          In my field, sometimes it can be hard to get people to let go of what I call “savior syndrome” and look after themselves. But if I can at least get them to take that important call from home, and then take a nice long nap…
          I know a lot of workplaces have the opposite problem, and that I’m very fortunate.

        • brp

          wow, dcd, so at your office people either power through and get their colleagues sick or are hypochondriacs who take advantage of the system. sounds like a terrible environment in which to work! I’m so sorry for you.

          • dcd

            I think malingerers, not hypochondriacs, is more accurate, and most people are pretty good if they’re not feeling well about closing their doors and limiting contact. But, yeah, it’s pretty typical for large law firms, no matter what the marketing says (sorry, Alice!). Not that that’s a good thing.

          • Anonamom

            To be perfectly honest, brp, that describes most places I have worked at. To be fair, most of us (including myself) will work through being sick with the ‘savior syndrome’ as described by wdc. This is not unusual, it’s American culture, it seems.

          • brp

            I know, Anonamom, and I’m sorry for being snarky, dcd. but we have to be part of changing the culture! we can’t wait for it to be changed for us!

            (and with that, I have depleted my stores of optimism and enthusiasm for 2017.)

  • skj84

    Rave: Bestie date tonight! Grabbing happy hour and seeing “Hidden Figures”. I have been looking forward to seeing Hidden Figures since it was announced. This will bring my awards season movie tally up to four too. Hoping to catch “Manchester By the Sea” or “Arrival” before the Golden Globes on Sunday.
    Rant: Bestie lives way the hell out in VA so we’re meeting at Tysons since it splits the difference. Getting out there shouldn’t be that bad since I’m coming from work, but coming back is going to be a pain in the ass. I really hope I don’t have to wait too long for a train, I’m not paying for an Uber back into the city.
    Rave: Going to New York for a conference next month and I’ve decided to head up a day early to hang out.
    Rant: Trying to decide if I want to go solo or ask a friend if they want to go. The last time I was up there I went with a friend, and we skewed more towards things she wanted to do. I’m going on a Monday which also may make it harder to find someone who can travel.

    • eggs

      Arrival is showing at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse this weekend and early next week!

    • SPShaw

      Hidden Figures was SO good. Saw it early in December and loved every second of it.

    • AliceInDC

      I love being in NYC by myself. The ability to just wander wherever I want, check out random things, and eat when/where I feel like eating is just the best.

      • skj84

        Indeed! I love traveling solo and unencumbered. I haven’t done a solo trip to NYC in years. It will be nice to take in the city on my own schedule.

    • houseintherear

      I thought Arrival was so so great. I cried for hours afterwards at home thinking about it. It’s less of an alien movie and more, IMO, about faith and the purpose of life.

      • skj84

        ooh. Then I’ll probably see it on Sunday. I have so many movies I want to catch, Moonlight, Fences and Nocturnal Animals are also on my list. All are on the sad/intense side though, I don’t know if I’m in the right mindset!

  • Anonamom

    Rant: Not even a delay this morning. I had fully expected that the new school district – one of those hyper-reactive MD ones that closed for something like two full weeks last year – to at least have a 2 hour delay. I had a relaxing evening, didn’t bother making lunches, didn’t bother signing off on homework, let the kids stay up a little later than usual… and then Bam. School on as scheduled.
    Rant: I’m over winter.
    Rave: I am satisfying my need for Spring with some online shoe shopping.
    Rant? Have I really become one of those suburban moms? I just added a pair of boat shoes to my cart, and no, I don’t own a boat, I just thought they would look cute with shorts. Aggghhhh!

    • LittleBluePenguin

      I firmly believe one does not need a boat in order to own boat shoes, because boat shoes are cute and you should have cute things!

      • Anonamom

        lol, thanks for the encouragement!

      • AliceInDC

        +1! The kind I get have great arch support and are so comfortable. And not wearing socks is an added bonus.

    • Anonamom

      Additional Rant: Co0worker, who has been taking advantage of my boss’ generosity in regards to teleworking, and who last year abused her time and was always teetering on negative hours, told me that she plans on calling out Monday since we have time now (we get time added to our banks at the New Year). WTF. She has not worked a full week in the office since before Thanksgiving. I get we all need days, and we all have time so we may as well use it, but this is exactly why come September she is always in the negative. Time management people, learn it, love it, and then you won’t be scrambling complaining you have no personal time. Ugh.

  • mtpresident

    Rant: Totally drained from last night’s event celebrating the life of my colleague and mentor.
    Rave: It was really lovely hearing so many wonderful stories and meeting more of her family.
    Rant: Mtpkiddo did not finally go to sleep until 11pm. I don’t know what’s up with her these days.
    Rant: Repeated requests from mtpkiddo to sleep with us. No, we are not initiating co-sleeping at 3.5
    Rave: It’s Friday. Thank goodness. I’m wiped.

    • artemis

      So sorry mtpkiddo is struggling with sleep. Can you at least sleep even if she’s up? Or is she out of bed multiple times?

      • mtpresident

        She’s getting out of bed. I didn’t even realize she was still up after 10 until she came out of her room at around 10:15, and then again at around 10:30 or 10:45, right before I was going to bed myself. She’s having some attachment something or other going on as well, and I’m not sure whether it’s best to indulge a bit (on my terms) and do some snuggling in front of the TV over the weekend, more snuggles with books, etc or whether that will exacerbate things.

        • artemis

          I don’t have a toddler, but I don’t think that indulging the attachment needs (on your terms) with extra snuggles and parent time (while maintaining consistency with the sleeping arrangments) would exacerbate things. It may be just what she needs to feel secure.

          It seems like the perfect weather this weekend for snuggles in a blanket fort in the living room.

          • mtpresident

            Thanks. That’s my inclination as well.

  • Rant: I’ve been so unproductive this week and I am still having a hard time getting stuff off my plate. Usually Friday morning at the coffee shop is my densest block of productivity, instead I’m researching travel options.
    Rave: going to see if I can drop the dog at my parents’ house en route to Acadia over July 4th. There are far fewer fireworks in suburban CT and I might be able to make a cheap, camping vacation of it. I assume DOG would hate camping as much as he hates hiking, not sure though.
    Question: I got a tip to check out Bulgaria soon, has anyone been? It looks more amazing than I imagined, hiking, old villages, beautiful beaches, mountains, etc.

    • wdc

      A dog that hates camping?? I didn’t know that was a thing.
      I don’t know about Bulgaria, but I’ve seen my friends’ pictures of trips to Croatia, and it looks amazing.

      • I haven’t tested the camping thing, but I’m just worried that he’ll need to bark at *everything* because he’ll be able to hear everything. And also, what do I do if I go hiking and he doesn’t want to come? Leave him in the tent I guess, but that doesn’t seem super duper safe depending where I am.

    • anonymous

      I’ve been to Bulgaria but it was over 10 years ago so this should be taken with an enormous mountain of salt. I found it a bit hard to get around and by without Bulgarian (though I speak some of another Slavic language) and did not have the greatest of times. I was briefly in Sofia, spent time in the countryside, and went to a Black Sea resort. If I could go anywhere in the broader Central and Eastern Europe region tomorrow, I’d pick Slovenia, Croatia, or Macedonia.

  • DCbyDay

    Rave: Great Caps win last night!
    Rant: Feeling it this morning.

    • Yes! How could I forget that? Nice shut out by Holtby, lots of scoring, spread out among the lines, and most importantly putting an end to Columbus’ streak!

      • DCbyDay

        i was terrified the game was going to go the exact opposite way it did. great team effort all around.

        • Accountering

          Agree 100%. As big of a win as a Thursday January game can possibly be.

          • dcd

            To be fair, big wins in the first half of the season are all that the DC teams can muster these days.

  • MHillPark

    Rave: One of my New Years Resolutions is to walk to work (from Columbia Heights to downtown) at least once a week, and this week I did it twice. So much more pleasant than bus or metro!
    Rant: I don’t have any rants today!

  • That One Guy

    Rant: I look like Dr. Evil’s crazy Asian cousin in my new driver’s license photo. A friend said I looked possessed. I don’t tolerate DMV waits times well.
    Rave: There’s a small small sliver of hope regarding gift card in shredder bin.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: Everything about my office mate is annoying today. Loud slurping, stupid weather chit chat, verbal ticks, the inability to figure shit out on his own, all of it!
    Rant: not even sure tea can help me today.
    Rave: drinking a lovely cup of tea anyway.

    • MPinDC

      I’m drinking some Emmaleigh inspired Lady Grey tea – it’s good!

      • Emmaleigh504

        yay!

  • Rant: roommate setting the therrmostat to 74. Wtf.
    Revel: workshop day!

    • Blithe

      Is 74 too high? Or too low?

      • Too high. We pay for gas and I’m sweating at night!

        • dcd

          I would be choking at night. Plus, unless it’s radiant heat, it makes the air way too dry.

    • wdc

      Doesn’t she have blankets? I do 69-70 during the day (because the kids moan if it’s lower) and 65 at night.

    • Anon Spock

      Encourage roommate to get a space heater. 74 is way too high in a shared space.

      • LittleBluePenguin

        +1

        • bll

          I’d be concerned about a space heater. Encourage your roommate to get a better blanket or warmer pajamas.

          • Or a heated mattress pad! Yeah, you’ll pay for the electricity, but those things are the best. I pre-heat it for about 2 hours before bed, then turn it off once I get in. No need to leave it on all night.

          • Anon Spock

            I use a space heater with auto shutoff and tip prevention (if knocked over, it shuts off). It is also not hot to that touch. I use space heaters at lot, and the electricity has been low under $65 for a 2 bed apt with electric appliances and furnace set to 67 always.
            They’re not the death traps they once were.

          • LittleBluePenguin

            oh! Heated mattress pads are HEAVENLY!!!!

      • skj84

        agree. My roommates keep the heat at 74 since its way colder in the basement then upstairs. Unfortunately this means I roast at night. I’ve taken to keeping my window open year round to cool my room. I did get them a space heater, but to be honest I don’t love the idea of the space heater running while everyones asleep.

  • UDPie

    Rant: Back on the train.
    Rave: Have 8 days of DC ahead of me. First time I’m in the District for an extended period of time.
    Rant: Didn’t sleep well last night…
    Rave: Because we spent the evening at Sleep No More. Definitely going to be talking about it for weeks. Still processing!

  • topscallop

    Rant: tired. And cold!
    Question: Any recommendations out there for painters who are relatively inexpensive? I’d love to get someone in the new place to paint a few of the rooms before we move in, but my first quote on Thumbtack was over $1000. We could do it ourselves, but the ceilings are pretty high and we’d need to get all the painting equipment…plus I’ll be traveling right when it would need to happen.
    Rave: it’s almost the weekend and I have fun plans tonight

    • Anonamom

      I’m not sure how big your place is, but $400/room is about right from what I understand from my contuction-trade SO. Painting really is one of those things where it is MUCH cheaper to do yourself, just a much bigger pain in the ass that most people hate (which is why they get away with charging so much)

  • AliceInDC

    Rave: Got most of my grades back and they are decent. My lowest grade was in my favorite class… multiple choice is not a strength of mine.
    Rant: Met up with a few of my college friends over break who are now elementary school teachers. I admire them for doing such a challenging job and I can tell they all truly care about their students. It sounds incredibly difficult.
    Question: Looking for suggestions of where to spend the long weekend after our wedding. Preferably somewhere relaxing between NY and DC.

    • Idontgetit

      New Hope area?

      • AliceInDC

        Thanks! After a quick look, this may be a perfect spot.

        • LittleBluePenguin

          That area is sooo nice, enjoy it if you go!

  • Pleasanter

    Rant: Nearly hit by a car on my bike commute who didn’t see me when they pulled out of a parking garage. The guy rolled down his window and told me that “I can’t just bike anywhere without looking,” which I found ironic because it was he himself who wasn’t looking!

    Rave: I’m treating myself to a massage this afternoon!

  • bizzinger

    Rave: Good, busy week but I am exhausted. Looking forward to takeout and wine with girlfriends tonight before another busy weekend.
    Question: Has anyone used a service where they set aside money to save for something specific, like travel? I have my regular savings routine, but I’m interesting in purposefully setting aside amounts each week separate from that so I’m motivated to make it grow. Like a digital piggy bank.

    • Formerly ParkViewRes

      I worked with a guy who had a separate savings account for travel. He only used that account for travel and contributed a specific amount every month. I thought about doing it, but just doesn’t make sense for us right now.

    • Anon Spock

      Set up a recurring amount, weekly/monthly, to go from account a to b.

    • dcd

      No need for a service – online checking/savings accounts are perfect for this. We use Capital One 360 (formerly ING), but others work just as well (and Ally, I think, reportedly has better interest rates). I currently have a checking account and 15 savings accounts (!) purely for budgeting purposes. One for Christmas budgeting, one for vacation budgeting, one for home repair budgets, one for estimated tax payments, one for 401k payments, etc.

      • Formerly ParkViewRes

        Honest question: what is the reasoning behind this? We currently have three savings accounts (not including 401k) and I find that to be too many. Then again we usually pay for Christmas and vacation straight out of our checking account.

        • dcd

          Short version: I’m anal.
          Longer version: I like confirmation that each expense is taken care of. I save each year for many of next year’s expenses – so 2017 insurance, car, vacation, Christmas, etc. are in “untouchable” accounts (other than that particular expense). In addition, my wife is self employed, and I like separating out her estimated income tax payments, 401k contributions, etc. so I don’t get an inflated idea of what our savings are. Plus, I have a clear picture of what our funds look like for any given category of expense at any given time. I learned a long time ago that I have a tendency to overspend, and this is my way of controlling that impulse.

          • artemis

            My partner and I do the same thing for similar reasons (although I’m the overspender, and he’s the self-employed saver). The multiple savings accounts work well for us.

          • JoDa

            This is exactly how and why I do it, too (except that I only have 9 personal savings accounts…chortle to “only”). I have a side gig that considers me self employed, the rental properties I have to pay taxes on, and some non-retirement investments that require various tax payments, so I also have separate accounts for that stuff, which I consider to be super-important. You don’t want to get bitten with a tax bill you can’t cover, and having the information handy from one year to the next about how much of your tax bill came from each of those things is useful in forward planning. Otherwise, I can also overspend on certain things, so I want those separated from my “basic savings” that is for emergencies. If I know exactly how much I can spend on vacations at a glance, I’m less likely to blow the budget, and watching that balance grow has motivated me to save for bigger “once-in-a-lifetime” trips in a few years, as well. I keep all of these at a different bank than my primary checking (I use Ally, which has been mentioned a few times here…the current rates are ~1%).
            .
            I also keep a small savings account at my primary bank for “cash now” emergencies. I hate that I don’t earn interest worth noticing on it, but I feel a lot more secure knowing I can access that cash easily in case I need to.
            .
            Since the accounts are free, there’s not much downside to doing it that way. I consider it an “automatic, electronic register” more than anything.

          • JoDa

            And, further advice, with Ally, if I set up a transfer to “start” on the Friday I get paid (my paycheck hits my account in the wee hours of Saturday morning), the transfer hits my checking account just a few hours later on Saturday. I rarely look at my checking account and say “wow…I have a ton of extra money!” It’s all allocated to where it needs to be within hours of receipt.
            .
            If you do it this way, opt out of overdraft protection. It’s my understanding that ACH transfers won’t cause overdraft fees in case of a delay/problem with your paycheck coming in (they’ll just be declined with no fee), but you’re 100% safe if you just tell your bank to reject any transaction that would cause an overdraft. I charge most of my regular purchases (points, baby!), so I don’t need overdraft protection on my checking account so I can buy groceries if my paycheck posts a few days late.

        • Quotia Zelda

          I do the same thing for similar reasons. If everything goes into one savings account, I’m likely to forget that $X is for the next semi-annual car insurance payment or for Eldest Zelda’s spring semester tuition (or whatever). Plus, as I mentioned yesterday, I just really like organizational systems.
          They’re pretty easy to keep track of because they’re all part of my main Ally account. So when I log into Ally, I see all of my accounts in a list – makes it easy to get a quick snapshot of where we are with our various savings goals.

        • Quotia Zelda

          I do the same thing for similar reasons. If everything goes into one savings account, I’m likely to forget that $X is for the next semi-annual car insurance payment or for Eldest Zelda’s spring semester tuition (or whatever). Plus, as I mentioned yesterday, I just really like organizational systems.
          They’re pretty easy to keep track of because they’re all part of my main Ally account. So when I log into Ally, I see all of my accounts in a list – makes it easy to get a quick snapshot of where we are with our various savings goals.

        • Anonymous

          I have done the same in the past and it’s just a motivational and organizational tool. If you have a bunch of cookies and want to save 4 of them for lunch tomorrow, you might put them in a separate container that says “lunch tomorrow” on it. That way you know what they’re for and you’re less likely to say “screw it I’m just gonna eat them now.”
          .
          With an online bank such as Capital One 360, setting up and using multiple savings accounts is trivial, so there’s no cost to doing so if it’s a useful tool for you.

      • rachel

        +1 to this. I set up my work direct deposit to put a certain amount out of every pay period into a Capital One 360 account (instead of my checking account which is where the bulk of my paycheck goes). Once it accumulates I use it for travel / gadgets / treating myself.

        • wdc

          Same. My paycheck goes into two accounts– the bulk of it into checking for routine expenses, and a few hundred dollars a month into a savings account at a different bank (to limit the impulse to transfer into checking) for the big, infrequent expenses like home repairs, vacation, etc.

      • HaileUnlikely

        I agree with the message here (i.e., no need for a special service), though I don’t take it to anywhere near this extreme. We have a checking account, a savings account that we can dip into without reservation if there’s a good reason (where “good reason” is admittedly ill-defined), and a savings account that is roughly analogous to a rainy-day fund, for obvious things like loss of job but also major expenses that will certainly arise sometime but whose timing can’t be predicted to any useful degree of precision (like needing to replace the HVAC system. It’ll happen sometime and will cost about about $6K-$8K, but I couldn’t confidently predict to within +/- 5 years when this will happen).

        • HaileUnlikely

          wdc also has a very sound piece of advice above regarding having checking and savings at different banks. I have my checking and ok-to-dip-into-for-a-good-reason savings accounts at the same bank as each other, and the rainy day fund at a different bank.

          • anonymous

            I do exactly the same: checking account, “liquid” money market account at the same bank, and then a separate savings account at a bank with better interest rates. Initially I called it my “travel/emergency fund”, but it has morphed into a “travel/emergency/wedding/house fund”.
            .
            Right now I’m not doing this because of wedding expenses, but usually I’ll have a certain amount pulled from my checking account each month to go into the mmkt/savings accounts. In my mind I treat it as a bill, so it’s money that I can’t “use”. It’s more flexible than having my paycheck split up since I can make changes that are instantaneous if for some reason I need to have more liquid cash (i.e. wedding downpayments). I’ve used Mint to estimate travel expenses over time, so I use that plus whatever other goal I have in mind to set my overall target. Definitely don’t need to pay for anything.

    • topscallop

      We just started using this app called Betterment, where you can do that. We set a savings goal and can contribute to it with automatic transfers or ad hoc ones if we want to. I’m not really familiar with it yet, but you might want to check it out.

    • bizzinger

      Thanks all, very helpful! It’s going to take some work to get to Norway and Iceland this year, but I’m determined to do it.

      • Formerly ParkViewRes

        Oh man, if you do it let me know what you plan! We did Iceland in October, but I think in Summer 2018 we want to do Iceland again, but then go to Norway and Amsterdam as well.

  • Something Like Anonanon

    Rant: Paul Ryan.
    No real rave today. I’m usually pretty optimistic, but right now I’m feeling real bleak.

  • textdoc

    Rant: Various things.
    Rave: Snuggly kittycat.

  • calypso

    Question for the PoP fam: What are the best takeout/delivery places serving the H street area (near Union Station)? I just moved to the neighborhood a few months ago, and the few places I’ve tried so far have been overpriced and meh. (does that count as a rant?) I know I must be missing something!

    • stacksp

      Have you tried Po Boy Jim?

      • Anon Spock

        Tried them via uber eats. Very delicious.

    • Anon

      Indigo
      Imm Thai
      Fresca
      PowPow

      No great pizza options, but RedRocks is decent and will deliver.

  • Late day rant: that feeling when your coworker you were assured you were keeping up with gets promoted to the level where bonuses increase and you don’t. Womp womp. Being told I’m doing work on that level is nice, but I’m not getting paid for that level.

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