October marks the upcoming release of Nom by SALT—a new app that helps you dine on a dime.
To celebrate, the SALT Blog is adding a dash of flavor to some of your favorite recurring features. From soup to nuts, we’ll be providing food for thought (and other food analogies) all month long. It’s Nomtober!
Today, Bridget shares why she finds it easy to live on a budget—but not eat on one.
I know I should be frugal, but I can’t with food. I just can’t.
I will go months without buying new clothes, I will forego owning a car for years, and I will read in the dark to lower my electric bill.
But I will not reduce my budget for dining out and groceries.
When I go out, I find it hard to be moderate in my spending. Dining out is an adventure, and I am indulgent to the extreme. I want flights of wine from Italy and my favorite beers from Belgium. If a martini costs $11, my first assumption is “delicious” rather than “overpriced.” If the menu boasts ahi tuna or any dish with lamb, I don’t even read the rest.
When a new restaurant opens, I can hardly last 2 weeks before I visit. Meanwhile, my established favorite hot spots are such a part of my regular repertoire that I feel like I’m there more often than some of the staff.
I can’t even be cheap when I buy groceries. You will find me stocking up on almond flour at $18 per pound to make French macaroons, and I buy chocolate in bulk from the local chocolatier to lovingly shave into delicate pieces for perfect French soufflés.
At the farmers market, I seek out handmade pasta dishes, free-range eggs, and meats made from unusual animals like elk. Anything that is exotic and/or delicious ends up on my plate eventually.
I love food. I probably love it more than anything else, because it’s such a worthy pleasure on which to spend money.
Still, I experience occasional bouts of guilt when I add up this spending and think what a dent it could make in my debt. However, I know I have neither the willpower nor the physical stamina to commit to a diet of ramen. If I allow myself one exception while forcing spending sacrifices in every other category, it will always be food.
In all honesty, permitting this indulgence is probably one of the reasons I can so readily commit to aggressive debt repayment and frugal living otherwise. Eating like I’m richer than I actually am keeps me from feeling deprived.
While I sometimes lament the absence of things that make it obvious I’m still on a budget, I am readily distracted from my self-pity at my next meal. If anyone criticizes me for eating like a queen while I live like a peasant, I can always claim it’s the best for my health and happiness.
Who can put a price on that?
What are the indulgences you can’t say no to—no matter the cost? Let us know in the comments.