Times When We Don’t Keep A Track Of Our Dollars

by golbguru on October 16, 2007

We do try to save money on a lot of things in life and generally tweak stuff here and there a bit to get some extra juice out of our financial resources. However, there are rare occasions when we ignore the dollars and just focus on maximizing our experience. Here are two such examples.

expensive restaurant1. Eating at an expensive restaurant: JD @ Get Rich Slowly recently posted an article about how to eat at an expensive restaurant without destroying your food budget. Although the article makes some valid points on how to reduce your bill, it’s really not for people like us. Yes, we do try to reduce our expenses on eating outside, but that doesn’t happen when we head out for a dinner at an upscale restaurant (the term “upscale” is relative - for us, $50+ for a dinner for two is upscale).

If we decide to go to an expensive restaurant, it’s mostly because we want to eat enjoy certain specific items on the menu, in a generally pleasing and relaxed atmosphere. The food and the experience are the driving factors - not the money. It’s the mildly intoxicating, cozy feeling of a *hearty* meal that measures the level of our satisfaction from a given restaurant.

If, on a given day, we have chosen the most expensive restaurant in town for that kind of a feeling - then that’s that, we would be eating there irrespective of how much it’s going to cost us (within reasonable limits, of course). On such occasions, there is no micromanagement about how we can save bucks by using tricks like sharing a single dish, eating a snack at home beforehand, eating just the appetizers, etc. Generally this happens when we are in a “live to eat” mode; when we are in a “eat to live” mode (courtesy: exams, report deadlines, etc.), we don’t care about what we are stuffing ourselves with - we just try to get the most out of as little money as possible.

vacations2. Vacations: Earlier this year, we went on a quick vacation to Philadelphia/New York. Although, before we embarked on the trip, I had planned on keeping detailed records of our expenses, I quickly gave up that idea. On vacations, things are driven by enjoyment, convenience, and the overall experience - money takes a back seat (again, within reasonable limits).

On this particular vacation that I mentioned, we had a general large number in our mind - set as the *budget*. But, we didn’t have any specific plan on how to stay within that budget. Of course, it wasn’t a frugal thing to do - in the conventional sense; but, that wasn’t the intention anyways. We had fun, and that’s what mattered.

These are just two examples at the top of my head right now, but I am sure there are other such occasions… and I am sure some readers will have something similar to share along these lines

All in all, I guess it boils down to saying that there are two types of functions that can be maximized (this type of language is called “engineering jargon”) - sometimes independently of each other: frugality and fun.

Frugality is no doubt a good thing to be maximized for the betterment of you and the universe, but sometimes you got to stop worrying about the pennies and enjoy the fun part.

Image credits: www.massas.com, www.internationalliving.com

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tim 10.16.07 at 8:59 am

I hate spending money on bad food no matter if it costs $1 or $100. I agree with you. If you are going to go out, as anything else, budget for it.

the same goes with a vacation. set a budget and enjoy the vacation. too many people end up worrying about money on a vacation, i wonder how they can consider it a vacation at all.

2 MoneyNing 10.16.07 at 9:31 am

:) My dad once told me that if you don’t have the cash, you shouldn’t eat out but if you are outside already, you should pick the food that you like and not look at the prices!

3 Patrick 10.16.07 at 10:48 am

I just went on a cruise and I thought about taking detailed notes about how much we spent, and on what, but I quickly decided against it too. It went against the spirit of being on a vacation. That said, I did take a few notes here and there about ways you can save money while taking a vacation, but they were general ideas, and not a detailed thesis paper. Afterall, I was on vacation!

4 stidmama 10.16.07 at 1:31 pm

I think this is a very wise post. There are times, when we are celebrating, when we are financially able, that it makes sense to look at “intangibles” as much as and maybe more than the financial or physical bottom line. Life is NOT just about putting food on the table (or a roof over the table). We also have hopes, dreams, laughter and tears. These life events often require calculations to include additional, non-monetary factors.

Skiing produces no particular quantifiable benefit that I can use to justify the costs: gear and equipment, lift tickets, transportation to the slopes, etc. are all VERY expensive on our budget. The “exercise” is minimal unless one is doing cross-country, and it is certainly dangerous. But the look on my children’s faces when they come in from a day on the slopes is worth it.

Some years we cannot afford it, but when we can, there is no question. It is our family’s treat and celebration for being together.

Thanks for a thought-provoking article.

5 dimes 10.16.07 at 8:13 pm

I agree about not worrying too much about spending while on vacation. As long as you don’t go haywire (nighttime carriage rides in Central Park, or something), the biggest expenses are usually airfare and lodging, which you worry about BEFORE you go, usually.

6 Lissie 10.17.07 at 1:18 am

In Australia and NZ we have the BYO culture- you are allowed to bring your own wine or beer and either there is no corkage - or its less than A$5. Now that they have also introduced screw tops to a lot of bottles - its great if you don’t finish the bottle its easy to take home with you.

7 Tim 10.19.07 at 9:37 am

I was snookered into splitting a $600 bottle of montrachet when i was on a vacation once. the wine was good (wine is never worth $600 though) but definitely a lesson that I learned about booze in restaurants and not letting the waiter choose for you. good thing i was naive and young at the time so I can snicker about it now. how foolish.

8 Healthcare Training 07.19.12 at 9:00 am

If i have Money i don’t west money i will use for poor people and hungry people because money is not with us always so that mony use for poor people

9 Hårtransplantation 08.28.12 at 12:27 am

Many people spend much more than they can afford when they go out at night clubs and similar places.

10 Property Marbella 08.28.12 at 12:30 am

Alcohol makes people take fast Cell Phone Loan when they are drunk and want to party more and can not afford.

11 3 star Hotels Delhi 03.15.13 at 11:32 pm

I consider the idea of paying bills as an important task and must be kept essencial. It is indeed good to pay bills before the week ends. It’s even better to pay the bills once you have the necessary amount to pay it.

12 Watch Latest Videos 03.15.13 at 11:32 pm

Great tips. I usually don’t bring too much money with me. Aside from the reason that i wiil not be able to spend too much than what I have, It’s also a good precaution for muggers.

13 Variac 09.03.13 at 1:03 am

I love these articles. They are very helpful. The only thing I didn’t like about this is that it assumes you are selling a tangible product. I want to be some kind of life coach or spiritual coach. I can’t put that in my trunk and sell it. How do I market something like that?

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