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Old 05-15-2013, 12:00 PM   #21
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It's been increasingly "against the grain" in the last 3-4 decades, but over the course of *most* the history of the USA, most folks have indeed become more frugal.

The spendaholic mentality really came into being in an era where a middle class with nearly unbounded optimism still believed in upward mobility, increased prosperity as we get older, raises that beat inflation and job/retirement security. Absent those factors the default behavior *has* been frugality.
Well, let me rephrase then. During my lifetime, frugality has never been the default or normal behavior (I'm 51). So this idea that Americans are "fed up with being frugal" just strikes me as odd. Since when have they been frugal? Not since I've been alive and paying attention.

My definition of "frugality" is probably tighter than most, too -- derived from voluntary simplicity and leading cheapskates -- which is another reason why the article's reference to "frugality" (as reducing the number of trips to restaurants and buying fewer $60 bottles of wine) doesn't ring true for me. That ain't frugality; that's just cutting back a little.

I guess everyone has different definitions of frugality, though.
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:11 PM   #22
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We prefer to pick up filet and lobster at Costco. DH prepares them perfectly while we sip some wine; no tax or tip required and we get a great meal at a fraction of the cost.

I agree that there is probably a lot of frugality fatigue, but I wonder how many people have adjusted to a more frugal lifestyle and will not be completely returning to their old ways.
Yep, that's where we get our king crab - no need to pay urge $$ at a restaurant when it's so easy to fix at home.

But we do go out to eat a lot - but for things I don't know or care to prepare at home.
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:31 PM   #23
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As the recession ever so slowly recedes, an increasing number of Americans say they are less frugal than they were a few years ago.
I think as 401k and brokerage statements arrive people see the growth over the past 8 or so months and they "feel" richer. I think people generally are very careless with their money and in recent time, past 35-40 years, frugality has been as important as virginity. Easy come, easy go, people don't have the time or want to spend the time to make a meal and clean up.

I'm not a good example as I grow a lot of my food so eating at home has even less cost associated with it than for the average person. I've always been frugal and always will be but that's me.
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:39 PM   #24
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I enjoy "eating out", but prefer ma and pa funky places that let you BYOB.
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:15 PM   #25
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A while back Bogleheads had a poll "How many $100 meals have you had in a year". I voted zero. Just came back from a week in Napa Valley and San Francisco, today I would have to vote way to many.
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:49 PM   #26
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New local Mexican kitchen All day happy hour on Sundays 2.95 margaritas and 2 dollar street tacos and of course free chips and salsa....we have got to get out of the house a couple times a week so we try to pick a nice place and usually split a dinner or I just eat off hubby's plate and have soup. Too many calories to eat a whole dinner..but all the restaurants by us are usually busy no recession here
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:50 PM   #27
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I would agree with the premise in the OP. My husband and I go out to eat lunch at a thai place near my work about every 6 weeks. (I brown bag in leftovers the rest of the time.)

We noticed during the trough of the recession, there was ample parking in the strip mall that has this thai restaurant (as well as mexican, 2 fast food joints, a subway sandwich place, and a food court with 4 small restaurants.) Lately it's gotten to the point that the parking lot is completely packed.

We attribute it in part to rampant hiring by Qualcomm - which is in the area - as well as other high tech software/hardware/biotech companies.
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Old 05-15-2013, 04:43 PM   #28
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I have no idea which is right, so I am not challenging the OP, but here are two recent links suggesting just the opposite.

Americans Cut Restaurant Spending as Taxes Bite: EcoPulse - Bloomberg

http://restaurant-hospitality.com/co...ing-could-fade

My point, you can find a (reasonably) convincing article supporting almost any POV on the misinformation superhighway...

Our restaurant spending has been mostly unchanged for many years, but we're borderline foodies, one data point.
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Old 05-15-2013, 05:58 PM   #29
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I take my wife out to a nice restaurant at least once a week. Depending on the place, we usually spend $70 to $200. Been doing that since we got married. Outside of the usual living expenses (food, utilities, etc.), we don't really spend much on anything else, so I still consider us to be frugal. We much prefer spending our money on experiences (dining, weekend getaways) than on "stuff".

We've also been noticing that the restaurants are getting fuller lately, even in the middle of the week.
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:27 PM   #30
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I think that how you feel about this may depend on where you live. We spent a fair amount of time in Florida in Dec, Feb, and March.

We noticed many half full shopping malls, lots of closed restaurants, etc. We saw many sandwich boards outside stores-especially barbers/hair salons for $8. hair cuts. We were a little surprised.

We also noticed, for the first time, quite a few elderly women working in retail stores.

I hope that the economy is improving for those folks.
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:49 PM   #31
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When we are not travelling, we typically (3/4 of the time) will only go out to eat with friends or extended family. Yeah, so not too often with just those living at home (currently DW and DD2). So the extra expense seems more justified since it's a true social event.

But I'm often surprised at these fairly expensive restaurants with families that don't appear to be rolling in money, yet very comfortable in this kind of dining experience, as if they do it all of the time. Makes me feel like we should go out more often. I think that the name of that family I mentioned earlier was "Jones" :-)
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:14 PM   #32
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We received a gift certificate for a chain restaurant for Christmas. The closest location to us was in a relatively low income part of our metro area.

When we went out to use the certificate, I was surprised to see the place packed and how much people were spending (presumably not everyone else had gift cards) on what I thought was kind of bland, chain restaurant food. Some of the people had 6 - 10 people in their groups and the entrees were $12 - $20 each, plus drinks, appetizers, desserts, tax and tip.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:26 PM   #33
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Restaurants sales at all-time high as recession fades - NBC News.com

They're either living in a different reality from me, or they're simply ignoring the reality that frugality is the new level spending plan.
I don't know that I would describe it as people being fed up with frugality as people feeling secure in their jobs and seeing the economy improving to the point where they are comfortable spending.

The idea behind the Fed's easy money policy is to get people to spend money and get the economy moving! Car and truck sales are way up. Home sales are way up. All this translates into more restaurant, manufacturing, financial, construction and retail jobs. Increasing profit expectations are moving the market higher. People feel wealthier and spend more than they would if the market was going down. The Fed appears to be accomplishing what their objective.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:37 PM   #34
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I think most of us fall into this part of the article:

"However, many of the Americans who are spending less say it’s their new normal. That’s especially true for individuals closest to retirement age. About 46 percent of people in the 50 to 64 baby-boom age bracket say they are spending less."

When I ER'd 2+ yrs ago I cut out our wine club purchases. Limited the price I will pay for wine. Started frequenting new dining spots for lunch instead of dinner. And we set a limit on the amount we are willing to spend on "expensive" dinners meaning we may cut out wine or desserts to keep the cost down. So I probably go out to more restaurants now but at a lower cost per meal. I continue to buy local/seasonal/organic foods for cooking at home. I admit it . . . DW and I are foodies . . . but I'm just more frugal about it these days.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:52 PM   #35
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Restaurants sales at all-time high as recession fades - NBC News.com

They're either living in a different reality from me, or they're simply ignoring the reality that frugality is the new level spending plan.
I believe a big chunk is from business lunch/dinner. Therefore, when the business is picking up, so is the spending in restaurants.
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:52 AM   #36
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I notice a lot of the nicer restaurants are now charging $4 for one 12 ounce bottle of Budweiser. I just get water in that case. $4 is just way too high, imo, and I'm surprised folks apparently do pay that much. Well, I can always go to my favorite Italian place where the 23 ounce draft of local brew is only $3.
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:16 AM   #37
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I stopped ordering anything with alcohol in it years ago because the prices were so high. We usually just get iced tea or coffee.

That is of course when we go out for meals at all, which is pretty rare.
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:11 AM   #38
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I frequently order beer out at bars / restaurants. I love beer - and frequently beers I'd like to try are available only on draft and not in bottles/at home.

I try to limit spending on many, many things, but this isn't one of them. I need to enjoy some of my life now and not save everything for an uncertain future.
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Old 05-16-2013, 05:16 PM   #39
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I notice a lot of the nicer restaurants are now charging $4 for one 12 ounce bottle of Budweiser. I just get water in that case. $4 is just way too high, imo, and I'm surprised folks apparently do pay that much. Well, I can always go to my favorite Italian place where the 23 ounce draft of local brew is only $3.
I don't buy beer in typical restaurants (especially chains) because all they have is Inbev and MillerCoors stuff. Totally not worth the money or the calories. Local places with craft beer, I'll buy one, but usually time my visit on nights when pints are $3 or so. The only beer I drink at home is my home brew. That's $10 a pint ($0.50 for ingredients and $9.50 labor )
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Old 05-16-2013, 05:55 PM   #40
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In the hunter gatherer days you had to be concerned about falling into a pit of vipers.

That's how I look at eating in restaurants. Forget the cost, add oil salt and surger to anything and it tastes good. It's your health that gets ruined, it just takes longer.

Restaurants are todays modern viper pit. Tell me something more dangerous to our body that we're continually exposed to on a daily basis.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm on my way to McDonald's.
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