On Not Being Cheap

It’s going to be a slow blogging week — I have two short trips coming up later this week/early next week, so not only won’t I be around much, but my end-of-July post will be several days late, most likely. (Not that anyone cares that much! 🙂

I also had a guest this past weekend, and since we have mutual college friends that live here, not only did me and my friend go out to eat twice, but we also bought food so we could have our friends over for dinner. And even though all this pushed me over budget for the month, and I’m having some mental trouble with that, I think I need to relax.

The two meals out were about as inexpensive as possible: we had pupusas on Friday night for less than $10 for both of us (I paid) and breakfast at a diner on Saturday morning for somewhere between $10 and $15 (she paid…and omg, as I write this, I’m realizing that I was still sleep-deprived enough that I forgot to leave a tip on the table, as I’d promised to do when she went up to pay the bill. Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeez. Sorry, waitresses.) So, even though if I’d been on my own I would have eaten both meals for ‘free’ at home, eh, I can’t get too worked up.

The shopping trip for dinner is the one that broke the budget. Between the farmer’s market and the grocery store I spent $100 (!!!! — nb, not everything was just for the one dinner, some of it was pantry stuff and household stuff I needed for the future. But it was kind of an unfortunate amount anyway.)

I’m not really sure how I’m going to handle this in the future. Right now I’m handling cooking for others on a budget by doing it less, instead of by finding less expensive ways to do it; it just seems wrong to have people over and not feed them something interesting and made with high-quality fresh produce 🙂 Plus, when you’re cooking for more than one, quantity issues come into play. The title of my post started off as having decided that I did put a priority on not being overly “cheap” — as obsessed with money as I am lately, I don’t want to get so obsessed that I stop having people over, you know? But as I type, I’m feeling like I ought to spend more time thinking about how to really cut those expenses down. Like, could I make a pasta dish with vegetables and cheese instead of the four kinds of middle eastern salads I made on Saturday night! I don’t know. Deserves more thought, I guess.

9 thoughts on “On Not Being Cheap

  1. Isabella W says:

    I will look forward to your end-of-month report. I think you can really crank out some good food for guests without breaking the bank. I like to do Tex-Mex. There are lots of great recipes out there using fresh ingredients, and you can include lots of fresh produce like tomatoes and avocados. A favorite of mine is chicken tortillas with peppers on whole wheat tortillas. Include all the aforementioned veggies and you have a great meal. For dessert,serve a simple quality vanilla ice cream with fresh berries.

    I have always done a lot of entertaining on a budget. The key is to have a good plan!

    1. Tex-Mex is a good idea! I need to overcome my instinct to serve six things 🙂

  2. I feel the same way! I had planned on a no-spend week last week and then BF invited friends over for a BBQ and bonfire…I felt I had to go out and get groceries so I had lots to feed people.

    1. right? Hospitality is so important to me — if people are coming over, I want to have a lot around. Sigh.

  3. Man, whenever I have guests and I do a specific dinner/meal shop, it turns nasty. I always end up blowing the budget. It’s like when I was at my friends place two months ago and I bought dinner for an entire dinner party – it wasn’t that bad, but it was still $60+… That’s nearly a weeks worth of groceries for me and the man.

    Enjoy your trips 🙂 And I am looking forward to your month end recap, even if you think no one cares 😉

    1. Oh, but really nobody will care if it’s four days late 🙂 And yeah, I spent about as much on that party as I spend in a week normally, or a little more, even. Oh well. I just need to find some awesome, yet cheap, yet filling recipes to serve people!

  4. I find that having people over for dinner you can maybe feed everyone for the price you would feed yourself eating out (depending on the amount of people you have over of course).

  5. I struggle with this as well. It feels weird to feel like you have to choose between your friends and your money. I always go overboard when I have someone over. I’m afraid that they will starve to death and it will be all my fault. I’m sure there must be a good solution…..I just don’t know what it is. Have a good week :).

    1. I know, it’s the urge to be hospitable — after over a decade of feeding people I have finally managed to get the quantities under control, at least. I definitely used to have that “if I don’t have twice as much as we need everyone will die of hunger” thing, and I’m better at calculating now. But I also feel like I want it to be *good* food, and that’s my hangup! It’s good to know other people have this problem, at least, and it’s not just me 🙂 Have a good week yourself!

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