Should you, or shouldn’t you? April 4, 2013Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
Tags: budget choices, budget limitations, frugality
Silence Dogood here. When you live on an extremely restricted budget, as our friend Ben and I do, impulse buys are a fantasy and every expense must be weighed aginst the corresponding loss of money. The “should we or shouldn’t we?” question inevitably comes up, and we have to weight the pleasure of the experience against its cost. Sometimes pleasure wins, sometimes it doesn’t.
I was reminded of this just this morning, reading our local paper’s “Go Guide.” I hate reading this because it’s packed with things to do in our area: restaurant reviews, restaurant ads, movies, concerts, museum exhibits, the lot. And all of them cost money, often outrageous amounts of money. And of course I want to go, go, go.
Today’s section had a review of a wonderful Japanese restaurant and sushi bar that I’d never been to and that had an absolutely fabulous menu, an announcement of special April Saturday brunches at one of my all-time favorite restaurants, a recreation of an authentic supper on the Titanic at another restaurant, featuring actors playing roles as guests and crew, and a France-versus-Italy supper and wine taste-off at a local landmark hotel. (I was especially tempted by the Titanic meal, since Last Dinner on the Titanic is one of my favorite cookbooks.) And that was just the food (and just a very small selection of all that was on offer).
“Hey, Ben, look! They have $5 and $10 off coupons for Fiesta Ole!” I blurted. Fiesta Ole is our favorite local Mexican restaurant.
“How long are they good for?”
“Through April 17th.”
“Why don’t we go tonight?”
Gulp. Suddenly, we were in “should we or shouldn’t we?” territory. We both enjoy Fiesta Ole; it makes the best, to-order guacamole I’ve ever eaten. (They’ll do it tableside for $3 more, and someday I’m going to splurge to see what they’re doing.) I love their high-end margaritas. But our friend Ben swears that the margaritas I make are the best he’s ever had. I know my refried beans are the best anybody’s ever had. And I also know that I could make us an in-house “Fiesta Night” with tacos or burritos and all the toppings, with chips and an assortment of salsas and guacamole, and with margaritas and/or sangria and/or palomas, for maybe half the cost of going out. Aaaarrrgghhh!!! What to do?!
This applies to vacations, too. OFB was adamant that this summer, we’d go to Arizona and New Mexico. Great idea! We both love Pueblo pottery, jewelry, and other Native crafts of the Southwest. I haven’t been out there but once, and that was over a decade ago. OFB would be thrilled to go every year. So okay, we’re going… in theory.
Also this morning, OFB suddenly said, “Of course, we could go to the Finger Lakes instead. You loved the Corning Glass Museum when we went a few years ago.” Yes, I did. Yes, I loved the boat ride on one of the lakes. And yes, we didn’t see any of the others, or follow the famous wine trail, or have time for many of the other pleasures the area offers, since it was our first trip and we only had three days. But also yes, it would cost us a lot less to drive a few hours north than to take a trip that took us far to the west. It seems that “should we or shouldn’t we?” was at work again.
So we probably will go to Fiesta Ole tonight. It won’t absolutely kill us to spend $40 or whatever after the coupon deduction, and it will be our first dinner out in a couple of months. Will we go to the Southwest, or even the Finger Lakes, this summer? Who knows? Should we, or shouldn’t we?
‘Til next time,