Author Topic: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.  (Read 6320 times)

kite

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https://blog.mint.com/mint-money-audit/paying-off-30k-in-debt-and-a-baby-on-the-way-091917/

It boggles my mind.  The advisor is of the opinion that prepping your own meals is only worth doing if you enjoy it. 
Got That?
Don't take the healthier, cheaper option unless you enjoy it. 

Imma

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2017, 06:47:49 AM »
Because expenses aren't the problem, you just need more income. It's totally understandable that you can't make ends meet when you only earn $100.000 between the two of you. Having $30.000 in consumer debt and no savings and a baby on the way is totally not a hair on fire debt situation. I mean, cooking your own meal every single day while living in NYC, that's totally unrealistic. You need to stop feeling guilty about eating out.

UKMustache

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2017, 07:00:52 AM »
The end of the article suggests that they get things they need for their baby by asking friends and family for gifts, just after suggesting they maintain their restaurant habit.  This is supposed to be a financial advice article?

I'm aware we have community standards, I cannot pass comment on the author in a way that meets those guidelines.

marielle

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2017, 07:15:06 AM »
But it's a "it’s a big part of the culture to experience restaurants" in New York. How dare anyone suggest they stop their $400/month entertainment?

I'd like to see how they manage to eat out with a baby. I guess takeout/grub hub/uber eats...

MrMoneySaver

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2017, 07:17:08 AM »
Seem to me the author is accommodating the fact that they live in NYC and probably have a tiny kitchen, and also may lack cooking skills. The idea is probably to give them advice that they might actually use, as opposed to taking a harder line which they will reject.

Anyway, I don't think the root problem is low income or a restaurant habit. I think they need to GTFO of New York and move to a lower-cost-of-living area.

Laura33

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2017, 07:29:33 AM »
OMFG.  I cannot imagine worse advice.
Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

Imma

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2017, 07:32:12 AM »
I'm sure he's trying to give advice they might actually use, and to tell them to save up $10.000 before the baby is due is a good thing. But if you're $30.000 in consumer debt while earning a good income, at least you should suggest spending less on crap.

I know about apartment living and being really busy and 3 course home made meals might not be realistic for everyone, but no matter where you live, you can always make peanut butter sandwiches and that's the kind of debt emergency they're in right now (well, maybe not for the pregnant lady, but most restaurant food is hardly better). There are options that are just as quick and a lot better for your budget and health than 'switch from sit-down restaurants to fast food'.

Just Joe

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2017, 08:38:18 AM »
About the author: "Farnoosh Torabi is America’s leading personal finance authority hooked on helping Americans live their richest, happiest lives. From her early days reporting for Money Magazine to now hosting a primetime series on CNBC and writing monthly for O, The Oprah Magazine, she’s become our favorite go-to money expert and friend."

Holeeee-cow! Another reason not to take the MSM as the final word on anything. Do more homework and research. Their advice is always suspect to me.

I look at the MSM as beholden to their advertisers first and last. A lifetime of debt is a good thing - right?

wonkette

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2017, 09:33:37 AM »
This is the dumbest advice. The dude in this case study should be keeping his most flexible gigs, taking on full time childcare, and going to CUNY part-time. http://www2.cuny.edu/financial-aid/tuition-and-college-costs/tuition-fees/#1452179204200-d27abe14-99f4

And they should pay back their friend who lent them $5k especially if they plan to send the baby registry to them!

MrMoogle

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2017, 09:55:32 AM »
Yearly Income: 100k
Yearly Basics: 36k (3k per month for rent, utilities, cable and car payments - who needs a car in NYC??)
Remaining: 64k - although taxes come out somewhere
Let's talk about the 5k in food/entertainment, and ignore the other 59k that's going who knows where.  Really it's more than 59k, since they are using credit cards.

I agree, 5k in food/entertainment isn't the big problem, it's what hasn't been mentioned in the article.

honeybbq

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2017, 10:06:14 AM »
Where is all their damn money going?

It's not at the restaurants as pointed out (if that truly is only $400/month).

What a horrible, horrible article.

mm1970

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2017, 11:00:03 AM »
"laboring in the kitchen" when she talks about making pasta from a box?

These articles make me feel badass.  Seriously.  We are almost out of clean tupperware because I have stuff stashed.  We've basically been eating random bits of things this week (it's a crazy week).  I made up a black bean/ sweet potato patty thing.  (And made it 2x.)  Leftover rice mixed with chicken, frozen veggies, and beans.  Throw that on a tortilla.  Raw carrots and cucumber.

Today's lunch, I went to make my normal salad and put the good stuff on the bottom of the tupperware, then realized I only had 2 lettuce leaves.  No prob.  After staring at the counter for 5 minutes, I micro'd some frozen green beans, let them cool, and threw them in there.  Good enough.  And made a salmon salad with a can of salmon.  (My husband opted to go out to lunch instead of make PB&J, because he's out of turkey and has been eating random bits of things all week too.  He doesn't do that often, so no biggie to me.)

Poundwise

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2017, 11:04:38 AM »
mm1970, here I came to scoff, and now you've made me hungry!!

Chesleygirl

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2017, 01:25:42 PM »
Seem to me the author is accommodating the fact that they live in NYC and probably have a tiny kitchen, and also may lack cooking skills.

I can sort of see this point, but one doesn't need advanced level cooking skills to make a sandwich.

I have been in a situation where I had no microwave, no fridge, no cooking utensils and I so I sometimes got fast food because it was easier. But sit-down restaurants - no way. These people seem privileged enough though, that they probably have a decent kitchen, even if it's small.

However, I read the article and they were being advised to buy take out food, or buy meals they could heat up, rather than dining out at restaurants. So it seems, they are being told if they don't have time to cook from scratch, it is okay. I have a very low food bill every month, and even I don't cook totally from scratch.

Chesleygirl

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2017, 01:30:29 PM »
The end of the article suggests that they get things they need for their baby by asking friends and family for gifts, just after suggesting they maintain their restaurant habit.  This is supposed to be a financial advice article?

This part is kind of yucky. It assumes their friends and family can afford to subsidize their lifestyle. They might have debt too or be struggling financially.

I used to dine out with a group of women who assumed I could buy their lunch at Maggiano's, an Italian restaurant. They'd show up and say they forgot their wallet or they'd order food and drop hints about how they were struggling financially. Or they'd even ask the waiter about a free birthday drink or lunch. I was criticized when I stopped buying for one particular person. I was told I had no empathy and one person sort of attacked me on facebook because of it. I don't dine out with these people anymore!  If someone can't afford a restaurant and thinks I should pay, my advice is they need to grow up really fast.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 01:32:17 PM by Chesleygirl »

mm1970

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2017, 01:42:57 PM »
The end of the article suggests that they get things they need for their baby by asking friends and family for gifts, just after suggesting they maintain their restaurant habit.  This is supposed to be a financial advice article?

This part is kind of yucky. It assumes their friends and family can afford to subsidize their lifestyle. They might have debt too or be struggling financially.

I used to dine out with a group of women who assumed I could buy their lunch at Maggiano's, an Italian restaurant. They'd show up and say they forgot their wallet or they'd order food and drop hints about how they were struggling financially. Or they'd even ask the waiter about a free birthday drink or lunch. I was criticized when I stopped buying for one particular person. I was told I had no empathy and one person sort of attacked me on facebook because of it. I don't dine out with these people anymore!  If someone can't afford a restaurant and thinks I should pay, my advice is they need to grow up really fast.
that is totally yucky.  I stopped going out with a coworker once who would always stiff us on the bar bill.  Like he'd have two beers and only pay for 1.5.  Or he'd eat someone else's fries.  Once he threw in less money than the pregnant woman who drank water.  I said "nope! Double that!"

I mean, I realize this was before everyone had a smart phone calculator in their pocket.  But we were all engineers.

Chesleygirl

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2017, 01:50:26 PM »
These ladies, most of them wouldn't tip, either. It was embarrassing. One of them would only tip one dollar, no matter how much the food or service cost.  She'd spend $30 on lunch and tipped one dollar. This makes no sense. The person decides it's okay to spend $30 on lunch, but then decides they can't afford to tip more than $1.00?  It does not make sense.

Tass

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2017, 02:21:28 PM »
Quote
Cooking and preparing your own meals becomes another stress point. And nobody wants to be stressed when they’re pregnant!

Sure but... only one of them is pregnant... and the one who isn't, isn't even working full time-yet. Surely he can handle some of that cooking stress by himself? I got the impression he was a grown-up.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2017, 02:30:09 PM »
These ladies, most of them wouldn't tip, either. It was embarrassing. One of them would only tip one dollar, no matter how much the food or service cost.  She'd spend $30 on lunch and tipped one dollar. This makes no sense. The person decides it's okay to spend $30 on lunch, but then decides they can't afford to tip more than $1.00?  It does not make sense.

I think it's because they watch too much television and read too much fiction. On TV and in movies, people are always dining out, meeting in restaurants, and eating or drinking together. But they never show the bill being paid, and they don't demonstrate people chipping in based on what they actually ordered or ate. It's kind of like the way they show actors hailing taxis and getting in, being driven around, and arriving... but they almost never show them paying the bill.

People develop a sense of what's normal based on examples that don't have to be in real life. If the overwhelming majority of their examples are from pop culture and media, then in their minds they're sophisticated restaurant-goers who can afford the meals. If they aren't shown the experience of budgeting for a restaurant meal, setting the money aside, going out, and spending and tipping appropriately then that's not part of their experience. Plus, if they read "chick lit" or romance novels targeted toward women, they develop an extremely unrealistic idea of just when and how they should be treated to a meal.
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WhiteTrashCash

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #19 on: October 06, 2017, 02:33:42 PM »
This is where I paste in a meme from They Live that says "CONSUME".

Chesleygirl

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2017, 02:56:37 PM »
People develop a sense of what's normal based on examples that don't have to be in real life. If the overwhelming majority of their examples are from pop culture and media, then in their minds they're sophisticated restaurant-goers who can afford the meals. If they aren't shown the experience of budgeting for a restaurant meal, setting the money aside, going out, and spending and tipping appropriately then that's not part of their experience. Plus, if they read "chick lit" or romance novels targeted toward women, they develop an extremely unrealistic idea of just when and how they should be treated to a meal.

I think some women not only think the men they date should always pay, but their women friends should pay for them too. It seems to come from a sense of entitlement, and also if they think a person is "nice" they start trying to take advantage of that person. Some of the stuff they tried to pull at these lunches was pretty outrageous. I started insisting on a separate check and that made them really uncomfortable, they had to limit what they ordered because they knew they couldn't try to lump their orders in with mine. Then, it got worse as one of them was nervy enough to outright tell me I should be paying for someone else, "because she struggles financially, shame on you, you should offer to buy her lunch".

And sure, they probably do watch movies, tv shows where the characters dine out often, without a care in the world.

TryingtoFIREinNYC

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2017, 03:12:17 PM »
I'm gonna play devil's advocate (as a New Yorker) and say that socializing in NYC is almost completely dependent on going out to meals and drinks, as the insane rental prices means that one invariably lives in a tiny apartment with barely room to entertain friends, and your social circle is spread out over various non-centrally located neighborhoods, and no one has cars, so it is incredibly difficult to maintain a social life without spending regularly for the privilege of sitting in a bar or restaurant.  So it may be more this couple's desire to have friends than their desire for fancy food that drives them to spend on "going out".

That said, you can get creative.  I tend to buy 2 slices of the infamous $1 pizza before meeting friends, to curb the appetite so I don't spend a ton on food.  I try to gather friends at happy hour bars and restaurants with exceptionally good deals....my wife and I cut a $1000 a month "going out in NYC" habit down to $200 by watching our MINT budget and still have a social life in NYC so it IS possible......




Cranky

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2017, 03:42:39 PM »
When my daughter lived in Manhattan, the kitchen was so small that you could stand at the sink and stretch out your arms and touch the walls on either side (and I've got short arms.) I probably could have balanced on one foot and reached back with the other one and touched the other wall with *it*.That was a tiny, tiny kitchen. I did not realize that they sold stoves that small.

And yet, they ate pretty much every meal at home because they didn't have any damn money.

People are silly.

MrsPete

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #23 on: October 06, 2017, 04:27:01 PM »
desperate for a financial audit to help them find ways to reduce debt and save up before embarking on parenthood.
But not desperate enough to do something rash; for example, boiling their own pasta.

Altogether they spend about $3,000 a month on items including rent, utilities, cable and car payments.

Yeah, those are all necessities. 

Regarding John’s career, he recently left his commission-only job in insurance sales because it paid very little.

"Very little" could be very helpful.  Why is he not doing this job PLUS the solopreneur stuff he's doing for a friend? 

With only an associate’s degree, he’s also contemplating going back to school and getting the full bachelor’s degree. He’s not sure what he would want to study just yet. Plus, completing school would be a huge time and financial commitment. Is now the best time to enroll? Will it be worth it in the long run? The couple wants advice.
Good advice:  Finish your education before you have a child.  Will his education be less expensive and less a commitment in the future?  Is he going to wait 'til the child is grown? 

Julia said she feels guilty spending so much on restaurants. I could suggest cooking more often at home, which would save them a hundred dollars or so per month.

When you feel guilty over something, there's usually a good reason. 

However, that’s not a terribly realistic plan unless they enjoy cooking.

By that logic, I should stop cleaning my toilet and washing my clothes.  I really don't enjoy those tasks. 

Otherwise, cooking and preparing your own meals becomes another stress point. And nobody wants to be stressed when they’re pregnant!
She's already stressed over the debt.  Wouldn't attacking that lessen stress?

Finally, register for baby gear, clothes and other necessities! Friends and loved ones will want to shower you with baby gifts, so make it easy for them and point them to an online registry. And be open to receiving hand me downs and gently used gear. Tap into a neighborhood parent network where you can ask for items and score freebies.

And when those baby shower gifts are outgrown?  Then what? 

Chesleygirl

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #24 on: October 06, 2017, 06:21:36 PM »
However, that’s not a terribly realistic plan unless they enjoy cooking. [/b]
By that logic, I should stop cleaning my toilet and washing my clothes.  I really don't enjoy those tasks. 

Otherwise, cooking and preparing your own meals becomes another stress point. And nobody wants to be stressed when they’re pregnant!
She's already stressed over the debt.  Wouldn't attacking that lessen stress?

Finally, register for baby gear, clothes and other necessities! Friends and loved ones will want to shower you with baby gifts, so make it easy for them and point them to an online registry. And be open to receiving hand me downs and gently used gear. Tap into a neighborhood parent network where you can ask for items and score freebies.

And when those baby shower gifts are outgrown?  Then what?

When those are outgrown, they just ask for more stuff. :(  Of course.

Anyway, it is silly for the author to act like cooking is just some unnecessary hobby, or this couple is too self-important to take on such a "menial" task.

These people may have also drastically under-estimated just how much they spend dining out. We did the math one time and added up everything we'd spend eating out for one month, and it came to $500.  I was shocked, because it was mostly McDonald's (my spouse and daughter) and a few tacos here and there. It included only one restaurant meal at a sit-down restaurant. And my spouse was eating out every day for lunch.
 
Now I don't eat out anymore at all unless I'm traveling. And then, I'm careful about what I order off the menu, only drink water and don't order dessert.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 06:24:56 PM by Chesleygirl »

FireLane

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #25 on: October 06, 2017, 07:30:40 PM »
I'm gonna play devil's advocate (as a New Yorker) and say that socializing in NYC is almost completely dependent on going out to meals and drinks, as the insane rental prices means that one invariably lives in a tiny apartment with barely room to entertain friends, and your social circle is spread out over various non-centrally located neighborhoods, and no one has cars, so it is incredibly difficult to maintain a social life without spending regularly for the privilege of sitting in a bar or restaurant.  So it may be more this couple's desire to have friends than their desire for fancy food that drives them to spend on "going out".

As a New Yorker, I disagree! I think one of this city's great selling points for aspiring early retirees is that there are so many cultural attractions other than the default option of going to a restaurant.

You can go to free or cheap museums, art shows, music shows and comedy shows. You can tour historic neighborhoods and famous buildings. You can go to the park or the beach. Or you can just walk and people-watch.

Just Joe

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #26 on: October 06, 2017, 08:17:33 PM »
How many of us go camping and make up a really satisfying meal on a one or two burner stove with miniature dishes?

Look at van campers - you can see some really small kitchenettes.

Where there is a will there is a way to eat in. As far as entertainment goes - you're on you're own there.

I'm perfectly happy with a good beer and a place to chat once in a while. Could be a pub, could be a porch, could be a campfire.

martyconlonontherun

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #27 on: October 06, 2017, 08:35:44 PM »
Wasn't this the same author that did a video for yahoo with MMM?

It's not great advice but not horrible. She's basically Telling the person who won't bike a mile to work to take a $5 Uber each way instead of paying $15 for daily parking.

Laura33

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #28 on: October 06, 2017, 09:59:57 PM »
I'm gonna play devil's advocate (as a New Yorker) and say that socializing in NYC is almost completely dependent on going out to meals and drinks, as the insane rental prices means that one invariably lives in a tiny apartment with barely room to entertain friends, and your social circle is spread out over various non-centrally located neighborhoods, and no one has cars, so it is incredibly difficult to maintain a social life without spending regularly for the privilege of sitting in a bar or restaurant.  So it may be more this couple's desire to have friends than their desire for fancy food that drives them to spend on "going out".

As a New Yorker, I disagree! I think one of this city's great selling points for aspiring early retirees is that there are so many cultural attractions other than the default option of going to a restaurant.

You can go to free or cheap museums, art shows, music shows and comedy shows. You can tour historic neighborhoods and famous buildings. You can go to the park or the beach. Or you can just walk and people-watch.

Damn, I wish I were a New Yorker and could weigh in knowledgeably on this debate.  But regardless of the right answer here, the elephant in the room is that they are shortly going to have a baby, and babies have been known to put a crimp in people's socializing for a while.  So to me, the only possible logical advice is "learn to cook some basic dinners now, so you're not completely fucked when you need to figure out how to get food into your body after three solid weeks of sleeping in two-hour stretches."
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EricL

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #29 on: October 07, 2017, 12:48:48 AM »
The sad part is that I thought this was an article by a poor, indebted person trying to justify pissing away a measly $100 when there were 30 grand in debt. Been there, done that.  When you’re that deep in the hole and you need 1000 months of $100 surpluses to pay it off, a splurge sounds sensible. It’s not.  But the despair behind that reasoning is palpable.  I was going to defend the poor bastard. But to find this is the advice of an alleged financial professional is depressing indeed.
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Chesleygirl

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #30 on: October 07, 2017, 03:26:59 PM »
I wonder when cooking became some really difficult skill.  A friend of mine still makes all her son's food and he's 18. She insists he can't do it himself. She even left early one time when we were out, because she had to go home and fix his dinner.
When I was 10 years old I was making my own sandwiches and heating things up in the microwave. I don't get how someone cannot do these things.
In fact, if someone is rushed and busy, it's often easier to eat at home. Going out for food takes more time.

penguintroopers

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #31 on: October 07, 2017, 09:00:05 PM »
I wonder when cooking became some really difficult skill.  A friend of mine still makes all her son's food and he's 18. She insists he can't do it himself. She even left early one time when we were out, because she had to go home and fix his dinner.
When I was 10 years old I was making my own sandwiches and heating things up in the microwave. I don't get how someone cannot do these things.
In fact, if someone is rushed and busy, it's often easier to eat at home. Going out for food takes more time.

I'm thinking it slowly phased out for everyone currently under 27 or so. Either our parents didn't cook at all, so we had no one to learn from, or cases like your friend where they aren't taught at all.

I leveled up my cooking skill pretty quickly through when I realized we could either spend $1000/mo on food, or $1000/mo on paying off student loans and then $1000/mo on whatever we want.

Roe

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #32 on: October 08, 2017, 03:07:53 AM »
Quote
Cooking and preparing your own meals becomes another stress point. And nobody wants to be stressed when they’re pregnant!

Sure but... only one of them is pregnant... and the one who isn't, isn't even working full time-yet. Surely he can handle some of that cooking stress by himself? I got the impression he was a grown-up.

That bit was really weird. Does she assume the cooking is the woman's job, or does she assume they are both pregnant?
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mm1970

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #33 on: October 08, 2017, 08:35:38 AM »
Quote
I'm gonna play devil's advocate (as a New Yorker) and say that socializing in NYC is almost completely dependent on going out to meals and drinks, as the insane rental prices means that one invariably lives in a tiny apartment with barely room to entertain friends, and your social circle is spread out over various non-centrally located neighborhoods, and no one has cars, so it is incredibly difficult to maintain a social life without spending regularly for the privilege of sitting in a bar or restaurant.  So it may be more this couple's desire to have friends than their desire for fancy food that drives them to spend on "going out".
I get this. I do.  I lived my fresh out of college years in DC.  My housing varied over the years from shared to not, and no - I wasn't doing any entertaining in my studio apt.  I ate out a lot with friends, and 10 years later found an old credit card statement and oy!

One thing these folks will need to do (and someone else mentioned it), is cut back their social engagements, once they have a baby.

Quote
I wonder when cooking became some really difficult skill.  A friend of mine still makes all her son's food and he's 18. She insists he can't do it himself. She even left early one time when we were out, because she had to go home and fix his dinner.
When I was 10 years old I was making my own sandwiches and heating things up in the microwave. I don't get how someone cannot do these things.
In fact, if someone is rushed and busy, it's often easier to eat at home. Going out for food takes more time.

I'm 47 and I didn't learn to cook until I was 31-32.  Now, I even am old enough to have had home ec!  But I had many older sisters and a mom who cooked, so I ended up doing the dishes.  And it doesn't mean I *didn't* cook until then - I did.  I was just bad at it, and cut or burned myself often.  I got fat on my husband's cooking, and then I got to working on weight loss and got frugal at the same time.  That's when I learned.

Imma

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #34 on: October 08, 2017, 01:26:12 PM »
I'm 27 and lucky I grew up in the countryside. I learned to cook from scratch with lots of homegrown produce, meat, poultry and eggs. My step-MIL is from the same background so we can really bond over that. But I know a lot of people that never learnt to cook, both old and young. In the older generations men traditionally didn't cook, I know lots of divorced middle-aged men living off fast food.

Hula Hoop

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #35 on: October 08, 2017, 02:19:37 PM »
I learned to cook as I have a much younger sibling and my mother was a single parent with a high powered career, which meant I looked after my baby sister after school until she got home, which was often after her bedtime.  I had to learn to get a meal on the table quickly so I just did it.  I used to do the shopping too.

I'm just amazed at all the people who never learned to cook as children/teens.  What were their parents thinking?  My husband didn't learn to cook (even boil an egg) until he left home at 19.  His mother did absolutely everything and didn't expect him to do anything around the house as he's a boy.  Luckily, he's a pretty good cook now thanks to online cooking websites.


Hargrove

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #36 on: October 08, 2017, 04:26:49 PM »
One of the most helpful pieces of advice on MMM's blog for me personally was the declaration that, if you have a full-time job and a part-time job and go out to eat sometimes and pay off debt every month, you're not using the part-time job to pay off debt - you're using it to go out to eat sometimes.

The attribution is totally arbitrary but the fact is you could drop going out to eat and, with it, a whole PART-TIME JOB. If you don't think of making your life more efficient in these terms, you will continually be amazed at how it all tumbles by. You won't have a stash, but you'll also be underappreciative of going out to eat and blowing piles of money all the time. I love the posts about the service-army and hyper-vigilant waiters and such - they're hilarious and accurate.

Chesleygirl

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #37 on: October 08, 2017, 05:40:08 PM »
I had a friend who used to eat at Taco Bueno. She'd buy a taco, and the receipt printed out giving her a free taco on her next visit if she filled out a survey. So every other taco she got, was free. That was all she had for lunch. She saved a ton of money when she lived with  us.

aasdfadsf

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #38 on: October 08, 2017, 08:33:38 PM »
Quote
I’d rather they save every spare penny between now and next spring than put more towards debt, or at least until John starts to earn a higher and more consistent paycheck.

Ideally they will have a 3 or 4-month emergency savings account (roughly $9,000 to $12,000) by the time the baby arrives.

I have never understood why anyone thinks this is good advice. If you pay down the debt, you can always run the debt back up if an emergency arises. There is nothing to be gained by having an "emergency fund" in this case. You're just choosing to be paid 0.1% in one account instead of 18% in another. Nuts.   

aasdfadsf

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #39 on: October 08, 2017, 09:58:12 PM »
Concerning the baby stuff, to be fair and speaking as someone who recently had a baby, friends and family will usually line up to give you presents whether you want them to or not. Which is fine! It's their way of showing love and maintaining a relationship. You can also get all manner of used baby stuff at thrift stores for next to nothing. You should never (or rarely) be buying new clothes, toys, or books. All that stuff is available second hand or will be given to you. So this isn't bad advice. 

A more serious problem is that the author did not address what to do about child care. That is by far the most expensive thing. Either dad-who-can't-cook puts off his schooling and employment aspirations for two years or more, or they fork over some serious coin. That's a hard decision and one that a good financial columnist might have an useful take on, if only there were any.

penguintroopers

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #40 on: October 08, 2017, 10:09:30 PM »
His salary: $500/week * 52 week/year = $26,000
Her salary: $70,000, hopefully $100,000 in less than 1 year

So calculating for right now: $70,000 + 26,000 = $96,000

Lets take off 35% for taxes (I'm assuming high city taxes here, just to be conservative) = $62,400

$3k/mo in living expenses = $36,000

$62,400 - $36,000 = $26,400 net per year

Something tells me restaurants are not the problem here. It's spending on spendypants level. But somehow they need more income?! Can someone tell me when we lost our minds and decided almost $100k/year is not enough?!

Something also tells me I should apply to be a mint column advisor, because she should have given more facepunches in her assessment of their financial picture.

runbikerun

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #41 on: October 09, 2017, 12:39:07 AM »
I don't get this "cooking as a source of stress and difficulty" attitude. You absolutely can choose to cook things that are a lot of work (getting the skin on pork belly to crisp up properly while cooking the meat slowly and carefully is something I still only get right about 50% of the time), but you can learn a week's worth of simple recipes and take care of 95% of your meals with those few items. Hell, if you're desperate to avoid work, just buy a bag of Ikea meatballs and a few jars of sauces to throw on rice or pasta.

It's not hard to learn how to cook to an acceptable standard.

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #42 on: October 09, 2017, 07:17:00 AM »
I don't get this "cooking as a source of stress and difficulty" attitude. You absolutely can choose to cook things that are a lot of work (getting the skin on pork belly to crisp up properly while cooking the meat slowly and carefully is something I still only get right about 50% of the time), but you can learn a week's worth of simple recipes and take care of 95% of your meals with those few items. Hell, if you're desperate to avoid work, just buy a bag of Ikea meatballs and a few jars of sauces to throw on rice or pasta.

It's not hard to learn how to cook to an acceptable standard.

But it does require some advance planning, which is a skill not presently taught or valued in our society.

In order to get the desired pasta dinners, peanut butter sandwiches, cereal, vegetables, beans, rice, and fruit a person has to work out an intelligent meal plan, check the fridge and cupboard to see what's on hand, write down the grocery list, go shopping, get the groceries (which involves a lot of standing in line), bring the results home, and put them away. From that point on, a week's worth of food fixing is easy.

I've been thinking the matter through and believe that a lack of advance planning and follow-through skills may be to blame. Too many people have grown up believing that being "spontaneous" and "free-spirited" means never following through on a plan or being willing and able to change at the last minute. For some it turns into a fear of commitment.
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Laura33

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #43 on: October 09, 2017, 07:51:40 AM »
I don't get this "cooking as a source of stress and difficulty" attitude. You absolutely can choose to cook things that are a lot of work (getting the skin on pork belly to crisp up properly while cooking the meat slowly and carefully is something I still only get right about 50% of the time), but you can learn a week's worth of simple recipes and take care of 95% of your meals with those few items. Hell, if you're desperate to avoid work, just buy a bag of Ikea meatballs and a few jars of sauces to throw on rice or pasta.

It's not hard to learn how to cook to an acceptable standard.

But it does require some advance planning, which is a skill not presently taught or valued in our society.

In order to get the desired pasta dinners, peanut butter sandwiches, cereal, vegetables, beans, rice, and fruit a person has to work out an intelligent meal plan, check the fridge and cupboard to see what's on hand, write down the grocery list, go shopping, get the groceries (which involves a lot of standing in line), bring the results home, and put them away. From that point on, a week's worth of food fixing is easy.

I've been thinking the matter through and believe that a lack of advance planning and follow-through skills may be to blame. Too many people have grown up believing that being "spontaneous" and "free-spirited" means never following through on a plan or being willing and able to change at the last minute. For some it turns into a fear of commitment.

I suspect it has more to do with decision fatigue.  I sort-of resemble this, because I have ADD, and while I have developed a number of coping mechanisms over time, there are weeks that it's all too much -- work stuff, kid school stuff, DH travel stuff, cat stuff, my own medical stuff, etc. etc. etc.  And then Saturday we run around doing a bunch of other stuff, and so I wake up Sunday morning, make pancakes, get the kids out the door to Hebrew School at 8:30, and now it's time to make the menu for next week and shop and cook, and I just cannot muster the mental energy to do it.  Or like Friday:  I had food in the damn fridge to make a lovely meal of chicken and waffles and salad and fruit, and I worked and went to crossfit and came home exhausted and starving, and again, I just couldn't face standing there for another hour pulling it all together.

Not that any of that is an excuse; my own lazy habits are what brought me to the grocery challenge this year, and I am learning to plan better for failure (e.g., at least Friday we had weisswurst from the freezer instead of takeout).  But I do feel like life is just busier than it used to be -- and, in fact, that for many people and in many places (such as, say, NYC), being "busy" is a badge of honor.  And when you're busy-busy-busy managing all of these other areas of your life, and you live in an awesome place like NYC with awesome restaurants around every corner, it's easy for meal prep to be the thing that gives.

Which is why the advice was so disappointing.  People in that kind of rut need to be woken up and given coping skills, not told that what they're doing is perfectly normal and reasonable.
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craiglepaige

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #44 on: October 09, 2017, 11:01:50 AM »
I remember living in Puerto Rico back in the late 80's and seeing my mother, a mother of six, cooking in a kitchen the size of a walk in closet. The kitchen was so small that you couldn't open the oven door with your hand all the way on the handle because your hand would get crushed between it and the wall. 

We NEVER ate out other than picking up food on the side of the road(best their is) or grabbing a $8 pizza from a place called Marios(great pizza).  I don't recall EVER sitting at a restaurant with my family for a meal. There was no money for that.  You make do with what you have.

Spending $400+ a month on restaurants, besides whatever else they eat, is beyond ridiculous when you have $35k in debt.
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mm1970

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #45 on: October 09, 2017, 12:17:51 PM »
Quote

I suspect it has more to do with decision fatigue.  I sort-of resemble this, because I have ADD, and while I have developed a number of coping mechanisms over time, there are weeks that it's all too much -- work stuff, kid school stuff, DH travel stuff, cat stuff, my own medical stuff, etc. etc. etc.  And then Saturday we run around doing a bunch of other stuff, and so I wake up Sunday morning, make pancakes, get the kids out the door to Hebrew School at 8:30, and now it's time to make the menu for next week and shop and cook, and I just cannot muster the mental energy to do it.  Or like Friday:  I had food in the damn fridge to make a lovely meal of chicken and waffles and salad and fruit, and I worked and went to crossfit and came home exhausted and starving, and again, I just couldn't face standing there for another hour pulling it all together.

Not that any of that is an excuse; my own lazy habits are what brought me to the grocery challenge this year, and I am learning to plan better for failure (e.g., at least Friday we had weisswurst from the freezer instead of takeout).  But I do feel like life is just busier than it used to be -- and, in fact, that for many people and in many places (such as, say, NYC), being "busy" is a badge of honor.  And when you're busy-busy-busy managing all of these other areas of your life, and you live in an awesome place like NYC with awesome restaurants around every corner, it's easy for meal prep to be the thing that gives.

Which is why the advice was so disappointing.  People in that kind of rut need to be woken up and given coping skills, not told that what they're doing is perfectly normal and reasonable.
I can definitely sympathize with the decision fatigue.  Two parents, each with a full time job.  Volunteer work at the school.  Two kids, 2 baseball schedules, music practice, work stress, doctor's appointments, random school holidays.

I have a produce box delivery on Saturdays now.  It helps but...

I cannot tell you how many times on Sunday, I just sit and stare.  I can't face it.  I know I need to prep it for the week, and make at least one meal ahead of time. 

But I stare at it.  Then I write a few things down so that I can get it out of my head.  Then I sometimes take a nap.  I mean, get home from baseball then??  Face washing and prepping berries, melon, 3 heads of lettuce, kale, the world's largest bunch of celery (seriously 3 feet long), carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, baby peppers, beets.  Have to think about what will go bad first, what must be cooked, what is good for lunches vs. dinners, etc.  It makes me so so tired.

(Of course, Mon-Weds is now easy, because I can just assemble salads in the morning, throw veggies and dip into containers, and the fruit is already cut up.  But I still have a hard time facing it.)

And then there's the 11 year old who wants to eat out.  Because his friends eat out.  I know why they do (decision fatigue, the mom and I talk about it a lot).  This weekend I said "fine, but use your own money and you have to pay for daddy too because he's driving you.)
« Last Edit: October 10, 2017, 10:21:00 AM by mm1970 »

Abo345

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #46 on: October 09, 2017, 07:50:35 PM »
...

But it does require some advance planning, which is a skill not presently taught or valued in our society.

In order to get the desired pasta dinners, peanut butter sandwiches, cereal, vegetables, beans, rice, and fruit a person has to work out an intelligent meal plan, check the fridge and cupboard to see what's on hand, write down the grocery list, go shopping, get the groceries (which involves a lot of standing in line), bring the results home, and put them away. From that point on, a week's worth of food fixing is easy.


This reminds me of a day I was eating home made vegetarian chili at work for lunch. A coworker was AMAZED I cooked it myself (" it wasn't from Wendy's?!" ) I explained chili is real easy, all you do is buy canned beans, canned diced tomatoes, canned broth, fresh bell peppers etc from the store, dump it in a pot, throw in some seasonings and BAM u have like 4-6 meals all cooked for the week. You barely have to even cut anything, most of the work is just opening cans!

His response: but then I have to go to the grocery store

Apparently that was not a part of life for him. So he ate out for literally every meal.

remizidae

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #47 on: October 09, 2017, 08:03:11 PM »
A friend of mine still makes all her son's food and he's 18. She insists he can't do it himself. She even left early one time when we were out, because she had to go home and fix his dinner.

Wow. She is really screwing over his future spouse. That's why women should look for sons of single mothers to date--the guy who had to do his own laundry and make lunch at 10 is going to be a better partner for the rest of his life.

runbikerun

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #48 on: October 09, 2017, 11:48:07 PM »
A friend of mine still makes all her son's food and he's 18. She insists he can't do it himself. She even left early one time when we were out, because she had to go home and fix his dinner.

Wow. She is really screwing over his future spouse. That's why women should look for sons of single mothers to date--the guy who had to do his own laundry and make lunch at 10 is going to be a better partner for the rest of his life.

I don't do laundry in our house, but the trade-off is that my wife hardly ever cooks. If I worked a nine-to-five instead of having late shifts, I think her share of the cooking would drop to zero. And all because my parents split when I was seven and my mother is a terrible cook.

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Re: $35k in debt is no reason to stop dropping $100/week in restaurants.
« Reply #49 on: October 10, 2017, 11:32:01 AM »
These ladies, most of them wouldn't tip, either. It was embarrassing. One of them would only tip one dollar, no matter how much the food or service cost.  She'd spend $30 on lunch and tipped one dollar. This makes no sense. The person decides it's okay to spend $30 on lunch, but then decides they can't afford to tip more than $1.00?  It does not make sense.
I have seen that with people. Mostly acquaintances or co-workers. I end up adding more to the tip to make it 15-20%. Then I make a note never to go out with that person again. Small price to pay for an insight into someone.
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