Finance, Retirement planning, Spending

Sometimes you have to spend $100 on lunch

Buttermilk channel splurge

Everyone Dies

Not to be a negative Nelly or even a negative Fiddy, but it’s the truth.

My Dad died of a heart attack at 64.  Father-in-law died of a heart attack at 64.  My half brother died of a heart attack at 64. My Brother-in-law died of a heart attack at 53.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

I’m not saying I’m leaving this planet tomorrow or even at 64, but you know what, I want to enjoy my time here.

Most of the finance blogs I follow are still in hyper-frugality mode.   Me and my wife have done that for many years, but now in our early 50’s it’s a little different.

Since we became a one income household about a year and a half ago, we’ve been monitoring what we spend closely.  You can look at some of my frugal money saving tips here.

Actually, reducing costs is probably my stronger suit than making more money.  Growing up in a large family helped me with that.

However, as time marches on, and we’re in this pre-retirement holding pattern, I often think of these people.  Did they get done what they wanted?  Did they see everything they sought?  Long before bucket lists became popular, people were kicking it without fulfilling their lists.  Frugality or not, life needs to be lived.

When do you know it’s time to spend?

We had a couple that were our friends years ago and one time they visited us in New York City.  We got them hooked up with a hotel and 4 tickets to a Yankees game.  It was me, the husband and their 2 sons that went to the game. The kids were fans of the Yankees even though they weren’t from the region.  I was excited to share that with them.  However, I’ll never forget the feeling when the hot dog man came around and the Dad bought his kids a hot dog and he reluctantly asked me if I wanted one, and then looked pissed when I said “ok”.    Let me tell you something, you’re not being cool when you pull the Mr. or Mrs. Frugality card at times like that.  Take the big picture into account.

So for us, with this recent “life shift” over the past 2 years, I’ve found that it’s usually me that likes to plan a splurge day.  I’m probably a little better at doing that than my wife and since she works full time, frankly, I have more time to research options for a nice lunch.

One day recently, my wife had a sunny Friday off.  They recently started new ferry service near our home that takes you to 3 stops in Brooklyn that are not easily accessible by subway.  Some of the best restaurants in Brooklyn are tucked in those neighborhoods.  The ferry passes through a small waterway that has been name Buttermilk channel for the last 200 years.  There is a great restaurant by that same name located near one of the stops.  That’s where we settled, so after paying for car service over there, lunch, dessert and the subway home, the total was around $100 for the day.  Worth it.

Spending wisely but returning to home base

These splurge events are never the norm and we tend to snap back quickly.

One of the things that inspires me when I visit a nice restaurant is wondering how I might re-create the same or similar experience at home. I like doing this because it opens up new opportunities for learning and expanding horizons. Until I started making breakfast a year or two ago, I never really had any idea how difficult the coordination of cooking was.  We’ve made some other small changes, like using cloth napkins instead of paper.  Small boosts in “quality of life” experiences can go a long way to making you more humble and grateful for what you do have.  On that sunny afternoon, we had such a nice walk and talk and the lunch was marvelous.  Planning it and remembering it have me feeling like there can be true value in spending a little bit of your hard earned money.  Over time, it seems like saving money had become easier than spending it.  I don’t want to die trying.

Sunny stroll in Brooklyn