Over the weekend I had the awesome opportunity to have lunch with my parents. I see them on and off here and there, but rarely do we get a chance to catch up over a nice (and in this case – fancy!) meal without a bunch of kids running everywhere – bless their miniature souls…
And knowing my ‘rents are approximately 87x more frugal than I am, I knew there had to be a catch to this fine establishment. I threw out a snarky remark congratulating my father on winning the lottery and asking him how much he had won, haha, and he quipped back that they were having a 3-course meal special for only $10.00, and to pipe down. Which, at this place, could barely get you a napkin! So needless to say I was pretty impressed with his find here, and appropriately shut my trap.
This is where conundrum #1 of 2 comes in.
We show up at the restaurant, not at all dressed like we were supposed to be since we were coming from an earlier event, and they seat us all the way in the back (probably because of our attire!) to start looking over the menu. It was one of those “pick 1 item in each of the course categories” types, and my mouth begins salivating within seconds. Sausage platter! Fancy named salads I’ve never heard of! Steak!! And we’re all happy little geese trying to figure out which of the awesomeness to select.
Then my father leans over to me and asks if “anything looks fishy?” “No, I don’t believe they serve any fish here, dad” I humorously reply ;) “You know that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m saying, look at this menu? Doesn’t it seem a bit *too* fancy for a $10.00 lunch? Steak?” “Hmm…. I dunno. Maybe just ask our waitress when she comes back?” *grumble *grumble*
The waitress comes back, and my father asks if this is the “right menu” for the $10.00 special – a little too loud for my taste. “Oh, no sir, I’m sorry. That’s for the lunch deal. We’re only serving dinner today.”
Now, to my father’s credit it was only 11:45 am. And it’s not like we were at some old folks home or anything like that. But I guess on the day we went (Saturday) they only serve dinner the entire day. Maybe because of this whole “special” thing going on, who knows. Regardless, the meal wasn’t $10.00, but luckily it wasn’t $100.00 either. The “dinner special” was $20.00 a person. Again for the same 3-course meal deal, only with more robust foods it seemed.
As soon as the waitress left to go get us some water, we all crouched in and asked each other if we should still eat there. Now that the price effectively doubled right before our eyes. It was a still pretty damn good deal, but knowing my parents we would have most definitely gone down the street to the deli instead had we known earlier. But now here we are at a fancy restaurant, seated, mind you, making the decision to either stay or go. And one you have to make quick before the drinks and scrumptious bread sticks start arriving!
What would YOU do? Suck it up and just enjoy the company and tasty food? Or kindly excuse yourself and mosey down the street caring less about “making a scene” and a fancy pants dinner?
Well, we all decided to happily stay. Probably because I was the first to chime in and say that it was still cool with me, because I had always wanted to eat at that restaurant anyways, and so this was the perfect opportunity to finally do so. To which my dad agreed, and then so did my mother. Though she wasn’t as okay with it as we were – which I love her for :)
So with that behind us, we go about our business enjoying each others’ company, and feeling like we’re on the set of Downton Abbey. Which, btw, gets crazier and crazier by the season. Why can’t they just let us be HAPPY for a few episodes?? Ugh…
And then came the decision for dessert.
Enter conundrum #2 – mainly, for just me
If you recall, I’ve been having quite the health concerns lately over raised levels of blood pressure, liver enzymes, my teeth, and unfortunately my sugar levels on top. Which I’ve sworn off as best I can lately, even in my COFFEE! Which you KNOW shows I mean business ;)
With that said, I’m left with problem of either a) eating some and calling it “an exception.” You know, for being so good about it lately (remind you of anything else we tend to do? Like with our money all the time?? :)), or b) staying strong and declining it, even though I’ve effectively already paid for it.
Again, I ask you good sirs and madams, what would you do in this case? Down the rich chocolate ice cream, or opt out and feel good about sticking to your guns?
Well, for better or for worse I chose the chocolate and tried to enjoy every last morsel knowing I was going to be pissed with myself later ;) It had been WEEKS since I’ve ingested any type of dessert lately, and man did that feel good… I don’t know if I could have sat there watching everyone else dip into it while I twiddled my thumbs?
But the entire time I was gorging myself, I also had the words of my good friend Nate rattling around my head as well. This is what Nate believes:
Once you’ve shelled out the money for something, it doesn’t matter whether you use, eat, or enjoy any of it or not. The money’s been spent, so your decision to take part in it shouldn’t have anything to do with the finances anymore.
He likes to use the example of pre-paying for an event, but then later not wanting to go to it for whatever reason (you’re sick, tired, “not in the mood”). The money’s already been spent, so why then go out and have a $hitty time and make it worse? It would be like you paid to have a $hit time! Instead, lay in bed and read or go on a walk or do whatever else you truly want to do in that moment.
I’ll admit he has a valid point there, but I’ll also admit he cares less about money than anyone I’ve ever met in my entire life! Haha… so for normal people like us, that can be REALLY hard to do. If we pay for something, dammit, we want to use it! Our hard-earned money isn’t getting wasted anywhere! ;)
But it’s an interesting thing to keep in mind for sure. Especially when you’re looking for ways to feel better about a situation that’s about to involve you losing money. When he had bought a plane ticket to come visit over the Summer that got cancelled, you could barely tell he was upset. Sure he wanted to see me and have a good time, but financially-wise it was all taken care of months ahead and wasn’t affecting his present, nor future, at all. So that was a nice effect! (Am I using all that affect/effect stuff right? So confusing sometimes!)
Anyways, there you have it. I chose to indulge myself in both these conundrums during our lunch/ dinner, and fortunately it won’t have much affect on our budget at all. It’s much easier to make quick calls like this when you know where all your money is!
Now I’m off to go Google what the actors of Downton actually look like in “real life”… I hear you can barely recognize them?
PS: In case you were wondering, or it changes your answers to the above, I paid for my meal myself. The Bank of Mom and Dad has been closed for quite some time now, but I will gladly accept their (free) home-cooked meals without ever putting up a fight ;)
[Awesome photo of Highclere Castle by garybembridge]
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!