Bill and I tend to visit restaurants for birthdays and anniversaries because we're very busy and/or cannot afford to do so outside of special occasions, but I think that's more acceptable.
Back in the day, when Dale was alive and working as a pipeline consultant, we ate out three to four nights per week. I was working as a store manager and often ended up staying past 7:00 pm, I'd come home, pick up Jamie and take her to the steakhouse, or the all day breakfast place. This ended briefly after Dale lost the consulting job, but began again once he started his own consulting firm.
Back then, it was nothing to spend $300 to $400 per week on supper; I can't tell you what that would have meant to my family two years ago (or last summer, for that matter) I suppose it's been a learning experience for us all.
Here's what I've learned personally;
1. While I truly enjoy buying leather handbags, they're at least $70 more than I'm comfortable spending and a helluva lot heavier. I'm not saying that I will always buy cheap vinyl bags, but for now I'm happy if I can get a good cross-body bag that is well made and has the look I'm going for.
2. I can buy all the high heeled shoes I want, but that doesn't mean that I'll have the energy to wear them on the weekends. Pile lined hiking boots and decent sneakers will get me through anything this year, including nights out at the dance club.
3. I no longer have my 50% clothing discount but I know the sales cycles at most stores and can find name brand jeans, khakis and blouses for $20, $13 and $15 respectively. I also shop bra sales and recently found one in purple lace (regular $49.99, now 50% off the last marked price of $39.99) At American Eagle, I found Bill two pairs of jeans that had been marked down to $14.99 a pair.
4. Even though I'm still gainfully employed, I go through the grocery store with a budget in mind. I buy meat in large quantities, separate it at home and store it in our 7 cubic foot freezer. I look for "buy 1, get 1 free" sales.
5. I'm getting my hair done in a salon again, but this time I'm going every six weeks instead of once a month.
6. Jamie gave me a Student Price Card, which gets me 10% off at lots of different places, including a large department store at the mall. I think I've saved at least $30 since I got it.
My biggest expense these days seems to be coffee. I make coffee at the office in the morning, but by afternoon when I go out to make my deliveries, I'm looking for iced coffee to get me through the afternoon. Most days, I spend another $6 on fast food. Bill and I were recently discussing this and want to make some changes, like making sandwhiches or subs or something to carry on the road. Seriously, our cholesterol will thank us.
Since I started this post, a bouquet of Edible Arrangements arrived from my office (love those fruit bouquets!) and Bill arrived with my birthday gift. Bye for now!