Author Topic: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.  (Read 4461 times)

kaypinkHH

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Hi there! Long time reader first time poster.

TL;DR: Two jr. mustachians forgot that lifestyle inflation is a thing and spent too much money on GROSS FOOD.

I consider my husband and I Jr. Mustachians..In 2013/2014, as fairly recent university graduates I read every single post, from start to finish. We quit cable, sold off a car that had payments, got some old bikes, bought a 2009 Honda fit in cash monies, got the cheap cellphone plan etc. etc. We fully drank the koolaid. Husband had just finished his masters, and we were watching every penny to see where we could save. Back then our variable expenses every month (Groceries, gas, shopping misc) was ~$1500 a month, not amazing, but not too bad for downtown Toronto. We were doing ~$500 on groceries, and $200 on entertainment (restaurants and other events). We would scoff at the antimustachian lifestyle of our coworkers and family members. We both were/are working as engineers (plus some side hustles), making good money and were able to buy a small house in the crazy Toronto market back in 2014. 

Fast forward 2 years: I got a job working on a Field Rotation- this meant pay increases, living expenses paid for, travel allowances.  Hubby had to stay in Toronto for work, so we started long distance. We bought a 2007 Prius (cash monies!) and I found a tiny apartment to rent below my allowance (allowing me to get the cash difference), still we scoffed at the anti-mustachian coworkers who spent their full allowance on giant trucks and fancy restaurants every day. In addition, we started Airbnbing our basement, making us some good money on the side! 

I'm wrapping up my field experience, and decided to check Mint to see how things were going. We are exceeding our savings goals, and our house is doing fantastic (until the bubble bursts and we lose it all :P), so we had been more focused on that, not so much our spending. So, just for fun, I checked to see what our spending had been through this 1 year experiment....

I almost cried.  In the past 6 months we have spent on average $1285 a month on Food (incl Restaurants and Groceries.) Excuse me while I hang my head in shame.

Groceries: $588/month <- We eat mostly vegetarian, so that feels high to me...
Restaurants: $423/month <- WHAT!!!
FAST FOOD: $273/month <- EW!! WHAT!! GROSS!!

Non mustachian excuses: "Some of that grocery money is on Airbnb supplies" "Well, I'm still below my living expense allowance" "We like eating at restaurants it is our hobby" "A coworker came to town who was living in a hotel so we went out to dinner every night for 6 weeks" "We didn't get the economy of scale because we were living apart" "We are living apart, so every weekend together is a special weekend and we don't want to cook!"

Mustachian truth: We let our high savings rate/and laziness/and excuses distract us from curbing our stupid spending habits. If we continue at this rate of spending potentially an extra $600/month, we would be wasting $100,000 (or potentially delaying retirement by 1-2 years!!!...ALL FOR CRAPPY FOOD!)

Also not to be ignored are the health effects of eating in this way...Now I must hang my head in shame and also go for a shame jog around the block.

To wrap this all up...I'm heading back home in about a week, and we are going to try to reduce our spending to $500 a month for groceries and $150 for restaurants - and really focusing on spending restaurant money on delicious unique food we haven't yet mastered at home, or social events. We are going to try to have more at home parties/potlucks and pack food with us when we can, and most importantly MEAL PREP AND PLANNING!!

Consider this a friendly reminder to go check your spending once and a while, and try to avoid hanging your head in shame!



talltexan

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2017, 09:10:11 AM »
how much yield can you get just by not buying alcohol at restaurants. Everyone orders margaritas and then looks at me strangely now, but I like saving money more than they do.

kaypinkHH

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2017, 09:25:14 AM »
We aren't huge drinkers, but doing a quick assumption that 25% of our restaurant cost is the alcohol, we are looking at a $100 reduction just from that!

That being said..margaritas are delicious, just not needed every time we go out to eat, especially when every time we go out to eat is almost every day.

FINate

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2017, 09:31:33 AM »
I know the feeling....we've had periods of stoopid food spending in the past. Always shocking to have the hard numbers staring back at you.

But also, dig into the Mint numbers a little bit. We've had it misclassify things in the past, like an insurance payment that somehow was classified as fast food.

kaypinkHH

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2017, 09:37:53 AM »
At first, a bunch of my rent payments (covered by work) and credit card payments were on "Restaurants", it looked like we were spending multiple thousands per month. It almost made me have a heart attack. I sorted through all the categories associated with food, to make sure the correct things are there. Where we may be at a miss is there may be food stuff hidden in other categories, but that would make it higher and just prove my shame more! Just by gut feel, this amount seems right, I knew we were overspending, just didn't realize how much! 

aceyou

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2017, 12:00:07 PM »
I'm right there with you.

I spent 950 over the last 30 days on groceries/restaurants according to Mint.  I was SHOCKED!!!  We have averaged 450/month over the past year.  Combination of:

- we have been eating out more, it's summer and we are teachers and lots more social opportunities.
- we have been picking up the tabs for others a lot...we are higher earners than many of our friends, or are just in a much better financial position. 
- we've bought a TON of fresh fruits/veggies. 

We need to find a way to do these things while getting the spending back down...this is ridiculous!!

GrumpyPenguin

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2017, 12:36:36 PM »
Welcome, OP!  I love how your first post is in the Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy section for self shaming :p!

Up until the beginning of last year, I ate out almost every single lunch during work days.  Not only was it expensive, at the end, I didn't even like the food and it definitely wasn't good for me.  I pack my lunch now and am much happier with this choice.

kaypinkHH

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2017, 12:47:05 PM »
Haha thanks grumpypenguin, I tend to revel in "fails" more than successes, so I spend most of my time lurking the Antimustachian boards.

I went out to dinner with work peeps last night at one of my fav local restaurants, and I can tell I'm getting sick of the food!  Definitely looking forward to getting back to cooking! I grew up in a house that rarely did restaurants, and always had home packed lunch and spent my first 6+ professional years making my own food for lunch and dinner, just need to get back in to routine!

And ACEYOU, your friends are lucky they have such generous friends! I do have a social group that is mostly "starving artists" so I'm hoping they will be easy to convince to trade our restaurant/bar nights for potlucks and BYOBs!

yourusernamehere

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2017, 05:52:22 PM »
Great first post! Love your self-awareness and humor. I'm working on rolling up our spending over the last few months- I think I might need a Shame Walk too!

Ocinfo

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2017, 06:20:55 PM »
I'm right there with you. Often spend $1k+ per month on food for two early 30s people in DC. That's with consciously focusing on keeping my spending down. We honestly do not eat out much but a simple trip to Trader Joe's (a few block walk) is almost always upwards of $100 and 1 person can easily carry the two bags home. Dinner for 2 at a low key Italian place with some house wine and tip is $125. Dinner at the Michelin star restaurant next door to my place, easily $200 if any drinks are ordered. We have got it down to $800ish recently so I suppose that's a start. Savings rate is over 50% so I pretty well accept it and focus on other things.


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farfromfire

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2017, 06:46:04 AM »
I'm right there with you. Often spend $1k+ per month on food for two early 30s people in DC. That's with consciously focusing on keeping my spending down. We honestly do not eat out much but a simple trip to Trader Joe's (a few block walk) is almost always upwards of $100 and 1 person can easily carry the two bags home. Dinner for 2 at a low key Italian place with some house wine and tip is $125. Dinner at the Michelin star restaurant next door to my place, easily $200 if any drinks are ordered. We have got it down to $800ish recently so I suppose that's a start. Savings rate is over 50% so I pretty well accept it and focus on other things.


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I believe you have a different definition of "low key" than many.

Ocinfo

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Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2017, 07:21:01 AM »
I'm right there with you. Often spend $1k+ per month on food for two early 30s people in DC. That's with consciously focusing on keeping my spending down. We honestly do not eat out much but a simple trip to Trader Joe's (a few block walk) is almost always upwards of $100 and 1 person can easily carry the two bags home. Dinner for 2 at a low key Italian place with some house wine and tip is $125. Dinner at the Michelin star restaurant next door to my place, easily $200 if any drinks are ordered. We have got it down to $800ish recently so I suppose that's a start. Savings rate is over 50% so I pretty well accept it and focus on other things.


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I believe you have a different definition of "low key" than many.

Figured someone would jump right to adding shame after I shamed myself. I never claimed all of this was "low key". If you want some low key examples, spent $32 on a couple burgers at Shake Shack without any alcohol. A dinner at Chipotle is around $25 for two. Dinner at a run of the mill Chinese place, $40.

I travel a lot and, in most cases, the food in Major cities is at least 50% more than smaller areas. My wife and I cook dinner 5-6 nights a week, pack lunches 3-4 days, and still spend a stupid amount. It would be an insane amount if I didn't track it and pay attention.


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DarkandStormy

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2017, 08:10:34 AM »

Figured someone would jump right to adding shame after I shamed myself. I never claimed all of this was "low key". If you want some low key examples, spent $32 on a couple burgers at Shake Shack without any alcohol. A dinner at Chipotle is around $25 for two. Dinner at a run of the mill Chinese place, $40.

Wut?

https://www.shakeshack.com/location/union-station-dc

^Here's a D.C. Shake Shack.  I can find any combination of two burgers for under $14.  Get two waters.  Boom.  You're Shake Shack bill just got cut in half.

https://order.chipotle.com/entree/burrito

^I just went to Chipotle's order online and picked D.C.  A chicken burrito, with non-guac sauce and EVERYTHING ELSE added in between costs $7.28 after tax.  Times two that's $14.56 w/tax - probably less if you get it to go (I think $13.90?).  Either way, you can lower your Chipotle bill by over TEN DOLLARS for the two of you - I have no idea how you come up with $25 for two, that's insane.

https://www.yelp.com/menu/reren-washington

Oh look, I can find "run of the mill" ramen bowls for $10 each x 2 = $20.  Even the fancier entrees I can total two of them for under $25. 

https://www.yelp.com/menu/shanghai-lounge-washington

Another Chinese place where I don't come close to $40 with two entrees.

https://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/china-boy-washington?select=A7CIWVdCmSjvsk-eS2M8lQ&reviewid=CaJO38jz1rQIr1iz33Ixgg

The #1 rated Chinese restaurant on Yelp - and once again, can't come close to $40 with two dishes.

So yes, I think there are very different definitions of "low key."  There are also very different definitions of "average spending" as I just outlined a bunch of options that blew the #'s you listed out of the water.  I've got to face-punch you on this line - "That's with consciously focusing on keeping my spending down."  Sorry.  If you're cool with it, that's fine.  But you can't really complain about "spending a stupid amount" when I just outlined how you can spend up to 50% less in some cases on eating out in D.C.
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farfromfire

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2017, 08:36:46 AM »
I'm right there with you. Often spend $1k+ per month on food for two early 30s people in DC. That's with consciously focusing on keeping my spending down. We honestly do not eat out much but a simple trip to Trader Joe's (a few block walk) is almost always upwards of $100 and 1 person can easily carry the two bags home. Dinner for 2 at a low key Italian place with some house wine and tip is $125. Dinner at the Michelin star restaurant next door to my place, easily $200 if any drinks are ordered. We have got it down to $800ish recently so I suppose that's a start. Savings rate is over 50% so I pretty well accept it and focus on other things.


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I believe you have a different definition of "low key" than many.

Figured someone would jump right to adding shame after I shamed myself. I never claimed all of this was "low key". If you want some low key examples, spent $32 on a couple burgers at Shake Shack without any alcohol. A dinner at Chipotle is around $25 for two. Dinner at a run of the mill Chinese place, $40.

I travel a lot and, in most cases, the food in Major cities is at least 50% more than smaller areas. My wife and I cook dinner 5-6 nights a week, pack lunches 3-4 days, and still spend a stupid amount. It would be an insane amount if I didn't track it and pay attention.


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Is your account here operated by more than one person?

You claimed a 125$-for-two restaurant is "low key", which is very far removed from most others' definition of low key. That is why, to paraphrase myself, I believe you have a different definition of "low key" than many.

EDIT: Regardless - you know where you are posting. My response is not shaming you in any way, just highlighting a curious use of a phrase. Do you want a pass on face-punching here because you detailed some of your expenses? If so, this is really the wrong place.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2017, 08:42:23 AM by farfromfire »

DTaggart

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2017, 08:57:53 AM »
You are all welcome to join us in the Rein in the grocery spend 2017 gauntlet thread. Lots of good ideas and support there :)

Lepetitange3

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2017, 09:09:42 AM »
My mother just had a heart attack when I told her there are some mid30s childless couples spending north of 1k on food in DC.

  She fed a family of 9 (2 adults, 7 children, 6 of whom are only 12-18 months apart so that's right 6 of us were teenagers at one time) on 800/mo or less in the D.C. Area (Arlington).  And we did eat out with All of us. 

My parents retired to elsewhere but they are literally in DC right now sending me pics of food from all the yummy places they are eating out at as 2 childless adults on vacay for a few weeks in DC.  The food budget for 3 weeks eating out all meals - $450-500z. AND my parents are not into frugality, or aware of the existence of MMM, and they're loaded.

Sorry, the face punch is obligatory here.

Ocinfo

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2017, 09:19:37 AM »

Figured someone would jump right to adding shame after I shamed myself. I never claimed all of this was "low key". If you want some low key examples, spent $32 on a couple burgers at Shake Shack without any alcohol. A dinner at Chipotle is around $25 for two. Dinner at a run of the mill Chinese place, $40.

Wut?

https://www.shakeshack.com/location/union-station-dc

^Here's a D.C. Shake Shack.  I can find any combination of two burgers for under $14.  Get two waters.  Boom.  You're Shake Shack bill just got cut in half.

https://order.chipotle.com/entree/burrito

^I just went to Chipotle's order online and picked D.C.  A chicken burrito, with non-guac sauce and EVERYTHING ELSE added in between costs $7.28 after tax.  Times two that's $14.56 w/tax - probably less if you get it to go (I think $13.90?).  Either way, you can lower your Chipotle bill by over TEN DOLLARS for the two of you - I have no idea how you come up with $25 for two, that's insane.

https://www.yelp.com/menu/reren-washington

Oh look, I can find "run of the mill" ramen bowls for $10 each x 2 = $20.  Even the fancier entrees I can total two of them for under $25. 

https://www.yelp.com/menu/shanghai-lounge-washington

Another Chinese place where I don't come close to $40 with two entrees.

https://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/china-boy-washington?select=A7CIWVdCmSjvsk-eS2M8lQ&amp;reviewid=CaJO38jz1rQIr1iz33Ixgg

The #1 rated Chinese restaurant on Yelp - and once again, can't come close to $40 with two dishes.

So yes, I think there are very different definitions of "low key."  There are also very different definitions of "average spending" as I just outlined a bunch of options that blew the #'s you listed out of the water.  I've got to face-punch you on this line - "That's with consciously focusing on keeping my spending down."  Sorry.  If you're cool with it, that's fine.  But you can't really complain about "spending a stupid amount" when I just outlined how you can spend up to 50% less in some cases on eating out in D.C.

Every price I included is an accurate representation of what my wife and I typically spend when going to run of the mill restaurants within a 10 block radius of my home. I'm not denying that one can go to Shake Shack, get two single burgers and a cup of water for a lot less but I go there for more than that such as cheese fries, a double burger, milkshake, etc...Italian restaurant wise, I've had the exact same meal in Italy for less than half the price of the place we go to near home (about twice a year).

You can punch me in the face all you want. I'm not looking to reduce my spending in this specific area beyond being aware of it and keeping it around $1k per month. I'll be FI in my mid-30s and likely keep working a bit after that. My original point in commenting is how easy it is to spend a lot of money on food in a large city without really trying (agreeing with OP).


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Lepetitange3

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2017, 09:23:52 AM »
Ocinfo - if you're spending that and you're on track for FI- awesome!  We all know you'd get closer to FI cutting that down, but if you're living the life you like and making progress, no judgement on that front.

It is possible to eat out for less I think is where everyone's going here.  Much less.  It's also possible to whip up some tasty burgers, cheese fries, and shakes at home on a fraction of that.  It's all about choices.  If your choice is working for you and isn't holding you back, more power to you.  But for a lot of people- that food spending is holding them back a ton.  Or they're still hair on fire in debt and spending that.  And that's a no go/facepunch territory.

Ocinfo

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2017, 09:25:13 AM »
My mother just had a heart attack when I told her there are some mid30s childless couples spending north of 1k on food in DC.

  She fed a family of 9 (2 adults, 7 children, 6 of whom are only 12-18 months apart so that's right 6 of us were teenagers at one time) on 800/mo or less in the D.C. Area (Arlington).  And we did eat out with All of us. 

My parents retired to elsewhere but they are literally in DC right now sending me pics of food from all the yummy places they are eating out at as 2 childless adults on vacay for a few weeks in DC.  The food budget for 3 weeks eating out all meals - $450-500z. AND my parents are not into frugality, or aware of the existence of MMM, and they're loaded.

Sorry, the face punch is obligatory here.

As I've responded elsewhere, I'm not looking for a face punch. I'm consciously spending the money.

Where are they eating every meal out, everyday for 3 weeks for $~25 per day? I'm serious, I'd like to eat there?


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Lepetitange3

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2017, 09:29:49 AM »
It varies.  She's hitting all the old haunts.  And there's some fancy dinner in there too.  Most of the meals are at tasty ethnic type small places.  Punctuated with pricier big dinners. 

Ocinfo

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2017, 09:38:03 AM »
Ocinfo - if you're spending that and you're on track for FI- awesome!  We all know you'd get closer to FI cutting that down, but if you're living the life you like and making progress, no judgement on that front.

It is possible to eat out for less I think is where everyone's going here.  Much less.  It's also possible to whip up some tasty burgers, cheese fries, and shakes at home on a fraction of that.  It's all about choices.  If your choice is working for you and isn't holding you back, more power to you.  But for a lot of people- that food spending is holding them back a ton.  Or they're still hair on fire in debt and spending that.  And that's a no go/facepunch territory.

Agree. My food spending likely adds 6-9 months to my FI date, I'm OK with that. As I've said, we cook at home 5-6 nights a week. Last night, I grilled chicken and had some penne arrabiata, homemade garlic toast and a side salad.


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DarkandStormy

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #21 on: July 14, 2017, 09:42:14 AM »

Every price I included is an accurate representation of what my wife and I typically spend when going to run of the mill restaurants within a 10 block radius of my home. I'm not denying that one can go to Shake Shack, get two single burgers and a cup of water for a lot less but I go there for more than that such as cheese fries, a double burger, milkshake, etc...Italian restaurant wise, I've had the exact same meal in Italy for less than half the price of the place we go to near home (about twice a year).

You can punch me in the face all you want. I'm not looking to reduce my spending in this specific area beyond being aware of it and keeping it around $1k per month. I'll be FI in my mid-30s and likely keep working a bit after that. My original point in commenting is how easy it is to spend a lot of money on food in a large city without really trying (agreeing with OP).


Quote
I'm right there with you. Often spend $1k+ per month on food for two early 30s people in DC. That's with consciously focusing on keeping my spending down.

Quote
still spend a stupid amount.

Quote
If you want some low key examples, spent $32 on a couple burgers at Shake Shack without any alcohol. A dinner at Chipotle is around $25 for two. Dinner at a run of the mill Chinese place, $40.

This doesn't make sense.  You're admitting to "spending a stupid amount" on food/food out, but say you are "consciously focusing on keeping my spending down."  I point out how all three of your "low key" examples are b.s. and how you could easily shave off $10-$15 per visit.  That's not "consciously" focusing on keeping spending down.  You're making excuses to justify "how easy it is to spend a lot of money on food in a large city without really trying."

All that said, it's fine - they're your choices, it's your life - but I have a time with your, I'll call it sympathizing with the OP, when your statements don't line up.
The Chase Trifecta:
Earn 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points with Chase Sapphire Preferred - $4k spending in 3 months.
https://www.referyourchasecard.com/6/2MOVOLZCEJ
Earn a $150 bonus with Chase Freedom Unlimited - only $500 spending needed in 3 months.
https://www.referyourchasecard.com/18/ENYF0FTS66
Earn a $150 bonus with Chase Freedom - only $500 spending needed in 3 months.
https://www.referyourchasecard.com/2/DBOP9XI9XT

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Ocinfo

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Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #22 on: July 14, 2017, 09:57:15 AM »

Every price I included is an accurate representation of what my wife and I typically spend when going to run of the mill restaurants within a 10 block radius of my home. I'm not denying that one can go to Shake Shack, get two single burgers and a cup of water for a lot less but I go there for more than that such as cheese fries, a double burger, milkshake, etc...Italian restaurant wise, I've had the exact same meal in Italy for less than half the price of the place we go to near home (about twice a year).

You can punch me in the face all you want. I'm not looking to reduce my spending in this specific area beyond being aware of it and keeping it around $1k per month. I'll be FI in my mid-30s and likely keep working a bit after that. My original point in commenting is how easy it is to spend a lot of money on food in a large city without really trying (agreeing with OP).


Quote
I'm right there with you. Often spend $1k+ per month on food for two early 30s people in DC. That's with consciously focusing on keeping my spending down.

Quote
still spend a stupid amount.

Quote
If you want some low key examples, spent $32 on a couple burgers at Shake Shack without any alcohol. A dinner at Chipotle is around $25 for two. Dinner at a run of the mill Chinese place, $40.

This doesn't make sense.  You're admitting to "spending a stupid amount" on food/food out, but say you are "consciously focusing on keeping my spending down."  I point out how all three of your "low key" examples are b.s. and how you could easily shave off $10-$15 per visit.  That's not "consciously" focusing on keeping spending down.  You're making excuses to justify "how easy it is to spend a lot of money on food in a large city without really trying."

All that said, it's fine - they're your choices, it's your life - but I have a time with your, I'll call it sympathizing with the OP, when your statements don't line up.

Let me put it this way, if I didn't pay attention to it, the spending would be much more. I track everything in Mint and there are many occasions when I say "no" to eating out because it's the 18th of the month and we've already spent $700 that month. Lifestyle inflation is real and needs to be kept in check. We do have a different definition what that means and that's OK. To me, it's a problem if one isn't aware of it and/or if it seriously affects financial goals. Food costs don't cause me a problem (6-9 months delay of FI in mid-30s) and I'm fully aware of what I'm spending.

BTW, see you're in Columbus (assuming it's Ohio and not Indiana or Georgia). I'm from Ohio and go back to Columbus a lot. My favorite Chinese place there costs $25 for the same meal that is over $40 in DC.


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kaypinkHH

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #23 on: July 17, 2017, 06:42:42 AM »
Now this thread is just making me hungry! (Shake Shack, Chinese food, Italian food...om nom nom).

1 week left until I'm back home, and I've already started planning out meals for then. Hubby and I are going to try to go extreme frugal with food for a bit when I get back, just to get ourselves back on track. I found a youtube series (I'm sure one of many) where a guy in NYC spends $3/day for one week for food <- Including spices! TBF, he does steal free condiments from restaurants to create spices/sauces, which I won't be doing, but he does have some clever ideas! (Brother Green Eats is the channel).

I did like at the beginning of his challenge he went out to do groceries, and hadn't had breakfast yet, and he goes "I'm really hungry and it would be really easy to go and spend $4 on convenience store snacks, but I already spent my $21 for the week!"  I like that way of thinking about it!

DTaggart, thanks for the Link!! I'll definitely check out that thread!

Oh and Lepetitange3, don't tell your mother that there are 2 childless people living in Toronto spending EVEN MORE THAN 1K a month on food! I wouldn't want to be causing anyone to have a heart attack!

DarkandStormy

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #24 on: July 17, 2017, 07:23:12 AM »

Every price I included is an accurate representation of what my wife and I typically spend when going to run of the mill restaurants within a 10 block radius of my home. I'm not denying that one can go to Shake Shack, get two single burgers and a cup of water for a lot less but I go there for more than that such as cheese fries, a double burger, milkshake, etc...Italian restaurant wise, I've had the exact same meal in Italy for less than half the price of the place we go to near home (about twice a year).

You can punch me in the face all you want. I'm not looking to reduce my spending in this specific area beyond being aware of it and keeping it around $1k per month. I'll be FI in my mid-30s and likely keep working a bit after that. My original point in commenting is how easy it is to spend a lot of money on food in a large city without really trying (agreeing with OP).


Quote
I'm right there with you. Often spend $1k+ per month on food for two early 30s people in DC. That's with consciously focusing on keeping my spending down.

Quote
still spend a stupid amount.

Quote
If you want some low key examples, spent $32 on a couple burgers at Shake Shack without any alcohol. A dinner at Chipotle is around $25 for two. Dinner at a run of the mill Chinese place, $40.

This doesn't make sense.  You're admitting to "spending a stupid amount" on food/food out, but say you are "consciously focusing on keeping my spending down."  I point out how all three of your "low key" examples are b.s. and how you could easily shave off $10-$15 per visit.  That's not "consciously" focusing on keeping spending down.  You're making excuses to justify "how easy it is to spend a lot of money on food in a large city without really trying."

All that said, it's fine - they're your choices, it's your life - but I have a time with your, I'll call it sympathizing with the OP, when your statements don't line up.

Let me put it this way, if I didn't pay attention to it, the spending would be much more. I track everything in Mint and there are many occasions when I say "no" to eating out because it's the 18th of the month and we've already spent $700 that month. Lifestyle inflation is real and needs to be kept in check. We do have a different definition what that means and that's OK. To me, it's a problem if one isn't aware of it and/or if it seriously affects financial goals. Food costs don't cause me a problem (6-9 months delay of FI in mid-30s) and I'm fully aware of what I'm spending.

BTW, see you're in Columbus (assuming it's Ohio and not Indiana or Georgia). I'm from Ohio and go back to Columbus a lot. My favorite Chinese place there costs $25 for the same meal that is over $40 in DC.


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Fair enough.  Maybe what I was trying to point out is one can "control" the cost of meals out by avoiding milkshakes/drinks, sides, etc. if you're eating out but don't want to spend $40+ for a meal.

Yes, Ohio.  We have more people than all the other Columbuses combined, but usually have to include "Ohio" on the end haha.  There are some hidden gems around here - I know this when we travel to larger cities and try to find comparable meals.  That said, you can easily spend $100+ at any of Cameron Mitchell's restaurants (we don't).
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Rubic

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #25 on: July 17, 2017, 07:45:09 AM »
No shaming from me, but I'll note that the amount of money spent on
OP's choices appears inversely proportional to its nutritional value.

For myself, I've noticed as my diet improves, my food expenses
decrease.

kaypinkHH

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #26 on: July 17, 2017, 09:09:49 AM »
No shaming from me, but I'll note that the amount of money spent on
OP's choices appears inversely proportional to its nutritional value.

For myself, I've noticed as my diet improves, my food expenses
decrease.


Totally correct! (And fair to point out!)  In 2014/2015 we were both very conscious of what we were eating (due to fitness training and wedding goalz), since then we have really let things slip both financially and nutrition wise, we got away with it in 2016 since we did some stupid fitness races and a marathon, 2017...not so much.  Very much looking forward to not only getting back on a financial diet, but also getting back to eating healthy!

GrumpyPenguin

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #27 on: July 17, 2017, 12:27:12 PM »
I'm right there with you. Often spend $1k+ per month on food for two early 30s people in DC. That's with consciously focusing on keeping my spending down. We honestly do not eat out much but a simple trip to Trader Joe's (a few block walk) is almost always upwards of $100 and 1 person can easily carry the two bags home. Dinner for 2 at a low key Italian place with some house wine and tip is $125. Dinner at the Michelin star restaurant next door to my place, easily $200 if any drinks are ordered. We have got it down to $800ish recently so I suppose that's a start. Savings rate is over 50% so I pretty well accept it and focus on other things.


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Yowza! We're the same demographic, I think we're in the $300-$400/month range total for two in the same area. 

We mostly eat at home, but yeah, we're that couple that goes into Shake Shack for two single burgers and water when we feel like junk food.  It's not primarily cost that reigns us in though, if you get a double smokeshack burger + cheese fries + shake, you're talking 923 + 640 + 750 = 2313 calories (more or less, depending on options) for one meal!  Ouch! My body would hate me. One single burger is 385 calories.

Some extra cost info:  Couple days ago I picked up 1 lb of carrots, 2 green peppers, 2 corn on the cob, 2 avocados, 2 tomatoes, 10 wheat tortillas, and 2.2 lbs of bananas from a chain grocery store within walking distance from my apartment for $8.60.  I can drop $100 pretty easy at Costco, but I can't see doing it at Trader Joes myself.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 12:32:12 PM by GrumpyPenguin »

Chesleygirl

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #28 on: July 17, 2017, 01:52:15 PM »
I'm pretty much done with restaurants, too. I get an occasional coffee or bubble tea when I'm out.  The food expenses really pile up.  I used to dine out with a group of women friends and they picked a nice restaurant, but then someone would always "forget" their wallet or leave a cheap tip, or it would be their birthday and we'd buy their food. So I'd pitch in to help out, but that drove up the costs for me. So, to make a long story short, I stopped having lunches with these people. I don't know who is buying for them now. :(
Overall, I don't care how people spend their money, but when they start trying to spend my money, that's where I draw the line.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 01:54:08 PM by Chesleygirl »

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #29 on: July 17, 2017, 03:04:46 PM »
I stopped having lunches with these people. I don't know who is buying for them now. :(

Thanks for the giggle, I needed that.
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A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #30 on: July 18, 2017, 07:30:58 AM »
I'm pretty much done with restaurants, too. I get an occasional coffee or bubble tea when I'm out.  The food expenses really pile up.  I used to dine out with a group of women friends and they picked a nice restaurant, but then someone would always "forget" their wallet or leave a cheap tip, or it would be their birthday and we'd buy their food. So I'd pitch in to help out, but that drove up the costs for me. So, to make a long story short, I stopped having lunches with these people. I don't know who is buying for them now. :(
Overall, I don't care how people spend their money, but when they start trying to spend my money, that's where I draw the line.
Food expenses add up, and the food usually isn't as good, and it's slopped up with so many calories I feel like running a marathon afterwards.


TheAnonOne

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #31 on: July 19, 2017, 09:58:32 AM »
I'm pretty much done with restaurants, too. I get an occasional coffee or bubble tea when I'm out.  The food expenses really pile up.  I used to dine out with a group of women friends and they picked a nice restaurant, but then someone would always "forget" their wallet or leave a cheap tip, or it would be their birthday and we'd buy their food. So I'd pitch in to help out, but that drove up the costs for me. So, to make a long story short, I stopped having lunches with these people. I don't know who is buying for them now. :(
Overall, I don't care how people spend their money, but when they start trying to spend my money, that's where I draw the line.
Food expenses add up, and the food usually isn't as good, and it's slopped up with so many calories I feel like running a marathon afterwards.

Yea, for me I started cracking down on spending last NOV and dropped from mid 50k zone to sub 40k zone. Part of that was certain bills, one being the GYM membership.

Now we cook at home A LOT more, we still go out to eat WHENEVER WE WANT, we just want it less now. Spending dropped from (4,000 - 4,600) a month to (2,700 - 3,000) a month.

We shaved YEARS off FIRE (looking at 4 years now vs 8) and oddly enough, lost 20 lbs after canceling the gym membership, just by eating better!

Rubic

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #32 on: July 19, 2017, 10:29:05 AM »
We shaved YEARS off FIRE (looking at 4 years now vs 8) and oddly enough, lost 20 lbs after canceling the gym membership, just by eating better!

Not surprising: https://www.vox.com/2016/4/28/11518804/weight-loss-exercise-myth-burn-calories

kaypinkHH

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #33 on: July 19, 2017, 01:47:17 PM »
We shaved YEARS off FIRE (looking at 4 years now vs 8) and oddly enough, lost 20 lbs after canceling the gym membership, just by eating better!

We also cancelled our gym memberships this past April, we weren't using it enough! I definitely think if we cut back on all the crap we were eating, we will see some changes! Also congrats on the 4 year plan!!

kaypinkHH

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #34 on: July 31, 2017, 11:50:56 AM »
Small update!
1st week back we maybe spent a total of ~$25 on food out of the house, and both were for social events! If we keep this up we save ~$550 a month! A MONTH.

Based on that math I will forever hang my head in shame at the ~3,300 WE WASTED over the past 6 months.

Travis

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Re: Self Shaming Confession- Lifestyle inflation is a thing, Yo.
« Reply #35 on: July 31, 2017, 01:21:01 PM »
We shaved YEARS off FIRE (looking at 4 years now vs 8) and oddly enough, lost 20 lbs after canceling the gym membership, just by eating better!

Not surprising: https://www.vox.com/2016/4/28/11518804/weight-loss-exercise-myth-burn-calories

Most reputable exercise gurus will say the majority of weight loss occurs in the kitchen.  It requires you to get the right nutrients in, the useless calories out, and build long-term habits which is why fad or starvation diets don't work.  Your body rebels and gets you to get back to consuming calories no matter where they come from.  Gradual diet changes; however, are sustainable.  One of my friends lost something like 150 pounds in just over a year.  In addition to working out like a beast, she consulted a nutritionist regularly. 

Even though weight loss isn't an issue for me (great metabolism) I cut out all kinds of sugary snacks from my diet because they're expensive and didn't keep me full for long.  After replacing them with less expensive, but far fewer calorie snacks I don't feel and more or less full. Now I just need to get my child off of them which is a noticeable portion of my grocery bill.