I have a problem with the general blogosphere. At some point, the personal finance community conspired without my knowledge and decided eating out is the worst crime an indebted person can commit. And you know what I say? Bullshit.
I eat out a minimum of twice a week — usually once at Chipotle, and once at a sitdown restaurant. I also buy alcohol to drink at home, and consume it more days than I don’t. I do these things unapologetically because I can, regardless of the financial hard asses that say I shouldn’t.
Eating out while in debt gets a bad rap because it is a luxury. It’s not essential to everyday living. And this is 100% true. But I bet $5 (shut up, I don’t really gamble), you spend your money on a lot of things I think are nonessential. Like gambling $5.
Let’s start with furniture. Guess what? You don’t actually need almost all of it. Therefore, it is nonessential. A mattress on a floor is enough to live.
That just sounds silly, right? Well, I only have a mattress on a floor. It has white sheets on it and no comforter. I don’t own a couch, a chair, a real desk (I use a refrigerator…), a table, or a dresser. Yet somehow I am magically surviving without them. If I don’t need them, neither do you.
But here’s the thing. We have different priorities. You value having furniture. You value having a nice looking home. I value wine and pizza. Why can you have nonessentials and I can’t?
Or what about the other “needs” dictated by society but necessary for no one? A dishwasher, a microwave, a television — are these really as important as the air you breathe? The answer would be no.
So if you have them and you are in debt are you a terrible, wasteful person? Of course not! You prioritized those items. But I prioritize chicken kebabs and pad thai.
Just to piss everyone off, having pets and kids is also NONESSENTIAL. Now if you already have them, you need to make sure they are fed and clothed (the kids, not the pets). But if you don’t and you are in debt, you shouldn’t have them because they are unnecessary.
Now you may be seething because kids and pets are so important to you. They are your priority! But they really weren’t necessary were they? Neither is my eating out, but it is my spending priority. You have kids and I have burritos.
We don’t have to have the same priorities in life. And while you might argue kids, pets, and couches are more important than eating out, this is only your opinion. At this point in my life, eating out is the thing I value.
Is it consumable while most of the other things aren’t? Sure! But it is what brings me the most joy. Eating out is not essential and I will never pretend it is. However, it is my thing. And it is no less important than your thing.
Y’all pay for a lot of crap I don’t. And because of that, I will not let you hate on my eating out. It is my money and I’ll do what I want to. And I want to eat it. Om nom nom.
[Image from Main Frame Review]