Saturday, October 17, 2009

Why Add Food to Finance and Frugality?

This topic for me is a little bit interesting for me to write about. When some of my friends visit the site, they are like "Why do you add food"? Well I add "food" for many reasons. Like I have mentioned before I like studying languages and one of the cheapest ways to practice speaking a language is to eat at international cuisine places. Today I ate at a Chinese food place (which I already reviewed) to practice my Chinese (which is rusty). However since this is a bit of a tangent, I will say I mainly like going to places that specialize in international cuisine for the people. At the end of the day, I will probably forget the taste I just acquired, but the service and atmosphere is something I will remember. Another thing I like doing is try to eat out for cheap.

Why spend $12 for Ma Pang Tofu when you really do not have to? Sure it will not taste high class, but it will still taste good if you read the food reviews and decide for yourself. I mainly do the food reviews so I can point out places in Reno which are cheap to eat at with good service and to mingle with people. A lot of the ideas I got from learning about frugality I learned partially from my stay in Okinawa, Japan and from my final year in college. When I lived in Japan, I woke up one day to find that I had a $700 phone bill from calling home. I was irate that I let my bills pile up. I was borrowing money from my teachers and paying them back from the money I was getting (meaning less money for the next month to live on). I had a bad habit of buying textbooks. And when I say bad, there would be days where I chose the highly detailed textbook over food. Literally. When I came back to America, I saved a little money, but that was all put towards paying tuition for my final year. Seriously, I was in financial straits.

Afterwards I started to get influenced by my room mate. He was saving all this money from doing content writing online. Sure some of his habits were out there, but he knew how to pinch a penny. I got a job with the city of Reno working for the Recreation Department and I was making terrible money due to the fact I could only work part time. But seeing my roommate living on half of what I make (which was $850/month!) I got to thinking about how I was going to save a bunch of money. When I moved I had the same job, but more bills, yet I managed to figure out a way to save $300/month. I basically split the rent of the house 4 ways and paid utilities which took most of the money. I had changed, I was not spending money like it was water. I became more cautious, less careless. To me it was not about how much I could make because I was beyond that. I was about how much I could save. When I finally moved on to Sam's club I was mainly focused with budgeting.

Now how does all this relate to food? When I was struggling there was one luxury I was determined not to live without ever again. That was food. It is food that keeps us going and trying a different country's food or native cuisine was one of the things that motivated me to save more. I wanted to be able to buy food at any given point without stress. So what did I do? I budgeted the money and cut the fat from my life. (i.e. video games, wastefulness, and textbooks) And this is when I came out with the golden frugality rule. Pick one luxury and budget accordingly. My need for language books will never be satisfied. I realize that. However, I will restrict my self to where I pick that as a luxury for that month and eat out less. So when I called my blog, Food, Finance, Frugality I meant "food" is 9 times out of 10, my luxury in life and even though I am frugal, I will not bend on eating out because it indirectly helps me in my other goals which is meeting people and communication. There are things in life that should be enjoyed, so if you enjoy food, by all means eat good food. If you enjoy video games, budget for video games. If you enjoy other things budget for it. You will be psychologically more well rounded.