Thus, we were all intensely aware that there was no free money lying around. Often, the parents borrowed from the rainy-day-fund. We became intensely aware that the rainy-day-fund was being depleted.
Those were the hard cold days before credit cards. So, there was no concept of spending money and then worrying about paying that later. If we didn't have it, well, we couldn't spend it either. It was, therefore, no surprise that, for instance, we did not have a fridge at home, nor a "scooter" leave alone a car.
Every once in a rare while, we would be allowed to get "hotel food"--those tasty puri/potato or masala-dosai or, yes, ice cream! I did not know of a phrase called "eating out." Well, with mother making awesome foods and snacks and sweets, why would we want to eat out anyway, eh!
It is a different world now. It seems like everybody eats out. I simply do not understand how that can be possible. Do people have unlimited expense accounts?
Turns out that "adults tend to underestimate how much they spend on eating out by more than twice what they’re actually spending." Yep, they have no idea how much they are wasting, er, spending. A few years ago, I remarked in class that back in my undergraduate days, we would split a cup of tea from the corner stall--we could not afford even that cheapest tea. We took for granted that students would have to live on tight budgets. And, I continued on with the contrast of students walking around with mochas and lattes, which easily add up to quite a few dollars per month. People blow their budgets on eating and drinking out.
This phenomenon matters because around the world, people are eating out more than at any point in modern human history. According to most estimates, it constitutes as much (or more) than 45 percent of food expenditures in the United States.It is insane!
More importantly, studies have shown that those earning less tend to spend a greater proportion of their disposable incomes on eating out.
On top of that, I should also note here my grandmother's observation: While mothers and grandmothers prepare healthy foods for their families, the "hotel" people do not care. One grandmother loved remarking, "and you never know where their hands went before they cooked."
Grandmother was not way off:
while eating out doesn’t necessarily need to be unhealthy, people often aren’t aware what’s in the prepared meals we’re buying from restaurants, markets and cafeterias.The solution is simple, I think. Don't eat out often. Live within your budget. Make your own damn meals and coffee, instead of wasting time on Instagram! Right?
Nope. This is America. Nobody will listen to General Malaise!
The Greek philosopher Plato once said, “The first and best victory is to conquer self.”Apparently all I have is discipline and no fun. As a cousin once told me, "live a little!" I am left with only one alternative: As an American, I will blame my parents for instilling in me such a fun-killing discipline ;)
But in a culture that implores people to “let loose” and “live a little,” self-control shouldn’t be equated with self-punishment. I like to point to a maxim of celebrated chef Julia Child: “You must have discipline to have fun.”