I work as Software Tester and donate a part of my income.
I got into EA in 2012.
I can't agree more. I've been to 5 in-person EAG(x) events in total and none of them without problems.
During the conference, I am usually fine. The emotional stuff hits me afterwards, on my way home or the day after.
What to do about it? My plan for the next EAGx is to take at least two days off afterwards, probably even three. Last time I went back to work too quickly, I was very distractable for more than a week. I don't want to repeat this mistake - I have responsibilities outside of EA.
In the early years of my EA journey, I tried to live on a small budget so I could donate more. I learned that I could be productive on a small budget.
There were times I worked on an old laptop. Some actions might have taken a few seconds longer, and I did not have much screen space. It was fine. What matters most about productivity is to do the right things, not to do the things slightly faster.
I exercise to keep my mind fresh. I don't go to the gym or take sports classes. I just do a bodyweight workout at home. Completely free. I also cook my own meals. I can only spend so many hours working behind a computer screen. Ordering food delivery or buying pre-prepared food does not save me time.
The biggest problem with frugality is socializing. To meet people, I need to travel and participate in the activities that they do. Sometimes it may be better to not be too frugal.
For example, my team works in the office one day per week. We have lunch in a restaurant - which is quite expensive where I live. When I joined the team, I brought my own food and ate it alone in the office. I felt unhappy about this. After a while, I decided to join and spend a lot of money on the "unnecessary luxury" of not socially excluding myself.
FWIW, I have a note from a Q&A with Leah Edgerton in 2021 mentioning that the funding gaps that Animal Charity Evaluators assigns to a charity typically does not get filled. The charities still don't receive enough money. One could verify that by comparing the funding gap with the actual money moved a year later. (I did not do that work so far, but could imagine myself doing that if I'm interested enough in the charity).
If true, I would not be very concerned about funging in ACE-recommended charities.
The Humane Slaughter Association (HSA) is another option that not many EAs seem interested in. HSA received two large grants from Open Philanthropy, in 2017 and 2019, but those were earmarked for specific projects, so general HSA funding may not be funged by them.
That is already a while ago. It might be worthwhile to check what they did after they received this grant and whether they have good follow-up work to do. Maybe they have room for more funding again, but Open Philanthropy downprioritized re-evaluating them? Or they aren't as promising as Open Philanthropy thought in 2019.
I briefly looked at their 2022 Annual Report. They were still working on fish and invertebrates, or funding research by others.
I once made a related mistake:
At uni, I needed to to interact with my supervisor multiple times. They were very busy. I had to discuss a problem with them, that would take, say, 15 minutes of their time, but also their attention. But 15 minutes was way too much to ask! So I shortened to 1 minute, and this one 1 minute conversation did not solve the problem. I was still stuck and had to return with a very similar question later. In the end, I took more of their time, rather than less.
I would have wasted much less of their time if I had literally said to them: "I have a problem. Could we sit down for 15 minutes to discuss? Do you have a moment that works for you? It doesn't need to be soon."
Guess how much of my own time this would have saved...
2 small donations through Effektiv Spenden.
Unfortunately I will not move a lot of money this year, nor will I spend a lot of time thinking about my donations. But I am happy that I can do at least this little bit.
* I thought that, if everyone with an income similar to mine would do this, the climate would be in a better state, but I was wrong. I quickly fact-checked this. This article on nature.com says "The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that an annual investment of $2.4 trillion is needed in the energy system alone until 2035 to limit temperature rise to below 1.5 °C from pre-industrial levels.". I understand from the article this includes funding from governments and companies. I am not going to disclose my income and my donation budget here, but I can say that my donation is much less than a fair share of this 2.4 trillion. (It may be, if my donation is unusually cost-effective). - apparently it's damn hard to fix climate change.
** there may be difference between funding gap that the org believes they have themselves, and the funding gap that ACE thinks the org has. I mean the latter.