Saturday, April 23, 2016

I'm a Restaurant and Book Junkie


There are spending triggers get many of us that are trying to retrain our spending habits in order to reap better or more important rewards down the line. I know some women it is clothes, shoes, or bags of any kind. Others it might be perfumes or cosmetics. These have not been my money sucks.  Mine continue to be books and impromptu meals/bar nights out. I have scheduled activities out with people, DH for example, and budget for what I think is a reasonable amount. It would be all fine and good but then the extra's start being layered. 

I had put what I thought was a healthy $200 in my budget for eating out in April. The two biggies were going to be taking my daughter and her friend to our favorite Mexican restaurant, and then meeting up with another couple for dinner this past week. We thought that might have left another $40 or so for an inexpensive burger or pizza meal out or the odd meal DD#2 might need. Before this April tightening of financial reins, I realize now I didn't have a clue with a) how often I or a family member eats restaurant food or drinks and appetizers in bars, and b)  how much we were very quick to just pull out the credit card to pay the tab without thinking of how much we actually spend out in a month. I've been in denial becasue we comfortably pay the Visa at the end of the month, but then wonder why our liquid savings rate is not higher. The plans got postponed with our friends, but even so, I estimate we are well past that $200 with another week of month left. 

Book buying is another vice. Say all you want about libraries, and thrift stores being free and cheap and I'll agree with you. Sometimes, too often, the allure of having my own copy, feels like getting a fix. I like the intellectual high it brings me. "I'm literate. I have an extensive library. My family read's a lot-can't you see by the amount of books of varying subject matter and topics?" Of course many of those books have not been read, and are just becoming clutter fodder. I have raised offspring of book junkies as well. There are book people in the world and I am one of them.

I combined both my vices on Thursday attending a talk and book signing by writer Mary Sharratt, who writes fascinating books about women in history. A cousin of mine is her local tour publicist and the event was in my town at a bar with a cozy side room. I had a couple short beers, and a large order of stuffed breaded mushrooms to share with my cousin and her aunt, also my cousin. Then of course, I wanted a copy of each of the books Mary had for signing, one for DD#1, one for DD#2, and one for myself. At least I didn't buy three copies of each-I have some restraint. My impromptu night came in at $82. Yesterday I added another meal out to my tab when my friend, the other S (we have the same name and are known as the S's, but in full), stopped for lunch before the wedding at a quaint place she knew about on route.

Not the hole plugging in April I was going for. While this is discouraging, it is a good wake up call to think through the question of what do I want now or what do I want more, and be honest with myself. Sometimes it is very gray, like Thursday night. I did not know anything about Mary Sharratt's work, and now, learning about her research, and the lives these women led, I am eager to read more. I haven't see my cousins in ages, probably a couple years. The place cleared out pretty quick after the talk so I was able get a good catchup for  nearly an hour. One of my sisters had joined by this point as well. Granted, I didn't have to buy any books, let alone three.


My humble, but tasty, scone coffee cake.
To support my impromptu meals and book buying habit,  I'm going to need to continue to economize elsewhere. This mornings breakfast was a baking riddle using up the last of a tub of yogurt, the last of a round box of  quick oats, and miscellaneous pantry items baked in a square pan. The result is a large coffee cake scone-tastes pretty good slathered in jam or honey, and made for pennies. I'll wash bedding, using my clothesline to dry, and won't run the dishwasher until every nook of it is full. I'll update the meal plan based on changes and the few groceries purchased in the last week. I think I can officially transition to spring clothes, but will need to do a bit of repair to unravelled skirt hems and perhaps button replacing, so will do that this weekend, and not buy new. 

I can't be complete hermit though the rest of the month.There's a community hootenanny all through the town at various bars and the performing arts center starting late afternoon. There's no cover charge other than the price of food and drink. Getting out for a nice night of music and a beer or two with friends, enjoying the simple things in life, is worth the money. So is keeping family ties connected, meeting and talking with writers, and having lunch with a lifelong friend. I want these experiences more both now and later.



8 comments:

  1. I didn't realize until I began tracking our Eating Out last year how much it really cost. I know we eat out a lot while on trips but all those take-out meals(which we are more likely to do than eat out really b/c I hate being annoyed by other people while I eat lolz), one here, one there, they add up and quickly!
    Perhaps it might be worth it since you still want to dine out to find groupon deals local to you and/or buy discounted gift cards to restaurants and/or eat more strategically(smaller items, less alcohol, share a meal-that sort of thing so you spend less).

    I am not a book hoarder, never have been but I do enjoy reading and do it often. Hubs use to drop a lot of cash at Amazon and B&N on books but I showed him how much he was spending and how it would affect when he was able to retire and he's been better about using the library(tho they don't cater to his interests there). He does still have to buy some books but I've been asking him to try the used sellers on Amazon first and that has helped.

    So your eating out fast for April didn't pan out, how did you tighten up the budget?

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    1. Where we have tightened up has been groceries and household items. I've had really strong success there. And while I am bemoaning the amount on meals/happy hours out, I (not counting DH and DD) have not bought lunch or a morning drive through coffee all month (that I remember LOL). As I said, it is the impromptu outings that have added up without my noticing, so a Groupon probably wouldn't help unless for a planned meal, but that is a good idea. I'll have to watch and learn how you do the various cards and might be a good idea for DH, if he remembers to use them instead of his credit card.

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    2. Oh and you should post your impromptu scone coffee cake sometime. That cake looks good and not too sweet.

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    3. It was basically my muffin mix I have under my kitchen tab, but no banana, the vanilla yogurt instead of milk, at least 1/4 if not 1/3 less sugar since the yogurt was sweetened, and I probably had more oats becasue i emptied the container. I also did not put any oil-actually a mistake, but seemed just fine. Today, completely cooled, it seems more bread like, and I ate without putting anything more on and it was pretty good-slightly sweet and held a good texture.

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  2. We eat out at least once a week, and I mean the complete eat out experience including drinks, appetizers, dessert and after dinner drinks. TheHub grew up never eating out and this is a big entertainment deal to him. I would prefer to pare it down to at least every other week but I don't see it happening.

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    1. Groupon might be a great option for you-if it is inevitable and planned, you could at least spend less. I think since I know these are my problem budget areas, and while I'll try and curb them, other areas are/should be easier to scrutinize without changing our lifestyle or natural tendencies. Plus, I don't want to socially isolate myself at the time when I have finally moved into a more well rounded mental state, albeit a work in progress.

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  3. We rarely eat preferring to put the money towards trips away etc however, that's not to say we don't eat out for birthdays and special occasions we just don't do it every week. This weekend however, was my birthday we were away and ate out six times Blimy we don't stint on weekends away lol. I spend a lot on books too but now I sell something if I want something new this extends to clothes books and any other paraphernalia I want. I'm having a good eBay run at the moment which practically funded our little trip.

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    1. I think we could cut down on the meals out that are just plain laziness, and that alone might save $100 or so every few months. That would make the going out for drinks and appy's more palatable and budget friendly. Plus, our daughter doesn't really like to go out to eat-prefers home food. I am happy I am thinking through options-it will stay part of our budget, but maybe not such a big part if I am thoughtful.

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