Updated on 01.16.12

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Warm Blanket Edition

Trent Hamm

During the day, when my kids are at school and my wife is out of the house at work, I turn the furnace off and the house gets rather cool.

When that happens, I often just wrap myself up in a warm blanket as I work. It’s a big, comfortable thing that’s just cozy to sit in.

In fact, I’m wrapped in it as I type this.

The Purpose of Money Money is a medium of exchange, nothing more. Someone gives you money for your time, your energy, or your things. You give someone else money in exchange for their time, their energy, or their things. Good personal finance is all about maximizing those exchanges. (@ matt about money)

Consumer Is King, Believe It or Not. Act Like One. This is a great response to getting a lemon product. (@ one cent at a time)

A Place of My Own This is a really surprising post. I’m not sure what else to say, but I felt I should link to it. (@ get rich slowly)

Economic Lessons from “Farmville” For me, the real lesson of Farmville is the microtransactions. I’m amazed at how many people will pay a few bucks to get a little bit ahead at this game. (@ free money finance)

The first thing you do when you sit down at the computer “Let me guess: check the incoming. Check email or traffic stats or messages from your boss. Check the tweets you follow or the FB status of friends. You’ve just surrendered not only a block of time but your freshest, best chance to start something new.” Indeed. (@ seth godin)

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  1. David says:

    Random thought: does “The consumer is king” constitute sexist language?

  2. Julie says:

    What is the price difference in keeping the house at a certain temperature (or even just lowering the heat a bit) vs turning it off and turning it back on some time later?

  3. Johanna says:

    @David: It’s not something I would otherwise have brought up, but since you asked: Yes, of course it does.

  4. valleycat1 says:

    When the high temp for the day is around 20 & low at night around 1, as it has been in Iowa the past few days I think it would be ok to run the furnace a little bit. Seems like in extreme cold you’re also putting your pipes at risk. Part of the point of owning a home is to increase your comfort level as compared to living outside. I’m not impressed.

    This reminds me of Dr. Zhivago where he comes home early one day to find out his wife isn’t heating their rooms during the hours he’s gone to work & he starts scavenging for wood. If I were so cold I had to wrap up in a blanket, I don’t think my fingers would stay warm enough to type. We don’t keep our house all that warm & I usually have on a sweater or robe, but we don’t turn off the heat completely.

  5. Evita says:

    Is saving a few pennies of heating fuel worth the discomfort ? you seem to live in a very cold climate, like I do.

  6. Andrew says:

    Discomfort dies not enhance creativity, despite more than a century’s worth of nonsense about starving artists in garrets.

  7. em says:

    I do the same thing that Trent does. wrapping myself up in a warm robe or blanket works perfectly fine for me and I wouldn’t say I’m uncomfortable at all. Why waste money on heating if a blanket can do the job just fine

  8. Gretchen says:

    Why be miserable to save a few bucks?

    And yes. I would consider working in a blanket (or winter coat) while inside “miserable.”

  9. dot says:

    I do the same thing.Not everyday just when I feel like it. Sometimes it is enjoyable to me to bundle up and snuggle up with out the heat blasting. Sometimes I feel cold at 70 and click the central heater up 1 degree. I don’t know the reason my cold tolerance ( or lack of) fluctuates like this. I just do what my body says is enjoyable for that day or week. Maybe this is what Trent does. He did say he felt comfortable and cozy in the blanket which sounds enjoyable to me. In fact he didn’t mention one thing about saving money, conserving heat or being uncomfortable, it just seems like he is sharing something that he does that brings him some pleasure.
    Trent, how low to you let the temp get before you turn the heat back on?
    The lowest I have experienced was 56 ( The norm for me is around 62ish before I turn the heat up). But like I said some days I just like feeling warm and leave the heat up around 71.
    To each his own.

  10. Other Jonathan says:

    valleycat said “If I were so cold I had to wrap up in a blanket, I don’t think my fingers would stay warm enough to type. We don’t keep our house all that warm & I usually have on a sweater or robe, but we don’t turn off the heat completely.”

    Really? My wife and I wrap up in a blanket around the house all the time, but it’s by no means freezing. “Wrapping up in a blanket” is akin to “putting on a sweater and sweatpants” – would you only go to such extremes of bundling when you would literally be too cold to type otherwise?

  11. jim says:

    I think different people have different sensitivity to differences in temperature. I don’t mind heat as much as many people. But colder temperature bothers me more. The amount of body fat you have plays a factor in how you react to temperatures. But more than that, if you acclimate yourself to higher or lower temperatures then you can tolerate them much easier. When people from California come up to visit in the winter they act like they’re freezing to death if its under 55 degrees out but thats cause they’re used to 75 degrees. But if you’re used to a real winter when it usually hits 30s or below then 50 feels warm. I remember visiting Florida in the fall one time and the news was all abuzz about the cold weather. They acted like a blizzard was coming. I was confused until I realized that 65 degrees was considered to be news worthy ‘cold’ temperatures for them.

    So if you’re used to sitting in a 65 degree house all day then you get more acclimated to 65 degrees. It doesn’t seem cold cause you’re used to it. But if you set your temp to 72 degrees then you get used to 72 degrees and 68 feels cold.

  12. Michael says:

    King is gender-neutral. Queen specifically means a female.

  13. Kai says:

    In the sense that ‘king’ means the ruler of a nation, and was historically that, then no, calling the customer the highest position of power is not in itself a sexist statement just because it historically happened to be that that highest power was a man.

  14. Des says:

    I’m confused – Is Elizabeth II the king of England then? Everyone refers to her as Queen…

  15. Jackie says:

    King is gender-neutral if you forget that women are people.

  16. Des says:

    Subtle sexism and racism are easy to miss or ignore. Anyone remember “flesh” colored crayons? ;)

    The problem is that the masculine experience is assumed to be the “normal” or “standard”, and then there is the feminine version of normal. Flesh-colored crayons imply that flesh is normally Caucasian, and that there are other versions of that “normal”. In the same way, using masculine versions of words when you mean to use something gender-neutral exposes an underlying assumption that the feminine experience is a different version of normal. If king is gender neutral and queen is feminine, what is the masculine version of the word?

    I know that seems like an overreaction to some. If you’ve never been discriminated against, it is easy to say that those that have are over-sensitive.

  17. Steven says:

    Queen doesn’t always refer to a woman…

  18. Michael says:

    Jackie, if there was one gender there would be no such thing as gender neutrality. Come on…

    Des, the opposite of queen is earl, and QE2 is king of the United *Kingdom* and is also queen of it, both titles being equal. By contrast Charles would be king only but have just as much power as Elizabeth. The key is that the title is an office held by a person.

    I know you intend to be correct here but this is not like “fireman” or “chairman.”

  19. Kate says:

    Funny that I would read this post as I am sitting with a throw from my sofa wrapped around my legs and the thermostat is set to 62 degrees. Jim has a good point–works in the summertime with air conditioning, too.

  20. Johanna says:

    “the opposite of queen is earl”


  21. David says:

    If by “the opposite” is meant “the male counterpart”, then the “opposite” of queen is of course king. An earl holds a rank in the British peerage below a marquess and above a viscount. There is no direct feminine form of “earl” as there is of other ranks in the peerage:

    Duke – Duchess
    Marquess – Marchioness
    Earl – Countess
    Viscount – Viscountess
    Baron – Baroness

    A mild example of gender inequality is this: if a Duke marries, his wife becomes a Duchess, but if a woman who is a Duchess in her own right marries, her husband does not become a Duke. That is why the present Duke of Edinburgh did not become Prince Philip when he married Princess Elizabeth in 1947 – he had to wait until 1957 when his wife, by now Queen, gave him the title of Prince.

    To redress the balance, the children of princes are themselves princes and princesses, while the children of princesses are not (unless their father is also a prince). However, since October 2011 the first-born child of the reigning monarch will become heir apparent to the throne and will become the Sovereign on the death of the present monarch whether he or she is he or she, so to speak.

  22. Riki says:

    Michael, Queen Elizabeth is not the king of England. That makes no sense.

    And . . . “If there was one gender there would be no such thing as gender neutrality . . . ” – huh?

  23. David says:

    Queen Elizabeth is indeed not the King of England. She is, to use one of her many official styles, Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith.

    At least, she is this everywhere except in Scotland, who never had a Queen Elizabeth the First. Good Queen Bess died in 1603, but the Act of Union between England and Scotland was not passed until 1706 in England and 1707 in Scotland, giving rise to a ludicrous situation where for some months England was united with Scotland but Scotland was not united with England. As late as 2002, the leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party wrote to Her Majesty asking her to adopt the title Elizabeth the First while in Scotland. Her Majesty’s reply is not recorded, because the Queen can do no wrong and what she said was certainly not suitable for a family audience.

  24. Sabine says:

    You don’t just save a few pennies by turning the heat down, it can be a few hundred dollars. We always reduced the temperature in our house down to 60 over night, but now we also don’t increase it to more than 64 during the day. We have space heaters in every bedroom, bathroom and the living room which we use when we are really cold. We also use blankets and my son loves his blankets with sleeves. Estimating from our use of heating oil and our electricity bill ,we will save a few hundred dollars this winter. We also got used to the temperature. When I’m in a room warmer than 64/66, I feel really hot.

  25. Joan says:

    My family also turns the thermostate off at night, it only goes down to 40 (FORTY)degrees, so it is still warm enough to keep the pipes from freezing. We use heating blankets on each bed, sleeping warm in a cold room. Our electric bill is much lower than others in this area. We also have fewer colds. I get up early, turn on the heat and jump back into a warm bed for an addition half hour. Been doing this for years.

  26. Kai says:

    “16 Des @ 6:02 pm January 18th, 2012
    The problem is that the masculine experience is assumed to be the “normal” or “standard”, and then there is the feminine version of normal.

    Now instead of being male-centric, you’re being anglo-centric. There are countries in which ‘king’ is the name of the ruler, and women rulers have thus been styled king.
    It’s not racist to speak about a time in which racism existed. It is not racist to assume that when one speaks of a slave in the american south, we mean a black person. Even if an act is discriminatory, referencing it is not by default.

    Just because it is discriminatory that king is often the highest rank, and usually only able to be filled by a man does not make it sexist to reference ‘king’ when one wants to suggest a total ruler.

  27. Johanna says:

    “Now instead of being male-centric, you’re being anglo-centric.”

    Well, we *are* speaking English, aren’t we? In English, “king” means a male monarch. Whether there are other words in other languages that mean other things is not especially relevant.

  28. David says:

    Not perhaps totally relevant, but in Denmark the film King Kong had to be retitled Kong King, because “Kong” is the Danish word for “King”.

  29. David says:

    Perhaps more relevant, this statement:

    “There are countries in which ‘king’ is the name of the ruler, and women rulers have thus been styled king.”

    is one for which I would be most interested in seeing some evidence. I cannot at once call to mind such a country, but this may be due to my ever-declining faculties.

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