Thursday, May 20, 2010

Single Ma Wants Me to Write About Booze. Again.

I do so hate to disappoint my friends!

In April's spending, I listed a total of $653 for dining, which includes all food bought in restaurants or take-out, as well as groceries and liquor. This is close to what I've budgeted for monthly spending for the last few years, $650. This always sounds like a lot, especially people who live outside NYC, but I've always rationalized it by noting that the culture here is just to eat out a lot, because people don't tend to have enough space to socialize at home. Compared to most of my peers, I probably dine in restaurants less frequently.

Anyway, of that $653, only $24 was sub-categorized as liquor. I was shocked to see this! The Dinner sub-category, for restaurant meals, was $336, and that probably included some wine. But other than that, I tend not to go out to bars and just drink wine at home. That wine tends to be purchased by the case, which Sweetie and I alternate doing. April was not a month where I made that purchase, but March was-- my liquor expense that month was $157. When we buy a case, it tends to come to a little over $100, as we try to find the cheaper stuff where mixed cases are discounted. Recent faves include Robertson, a South African Sauvignon Blanc, a Torrontes called La Linda, and Chateau de Castelneau Entre-Deux-Mers. If I started a separate blog called "Cheap White Wines I Drank This Week," would anyone read it?

The only other story I have to tell about booze is actually a couple of months old. Sweetie and I went out with an old friend who has become a total wine snob since moving to the West coast. We went to Henry's End, a cute little place in Brooklyn Heights that has a nice wine list. After much discussion with the waiter, a very good bottle of red wine was ordered. Then a different one was ordered when that was done. And then I think we might have had a third, I don't even remember! But what I do remember was feeling a bit shocked when I saw my share of the bill-- those bottles were way beyond my usual price range!
I don't remember what they all were, but I know one was called The Prisoner, which is listed at $55 on the Henry's End wine list. This is one of those classic situations that always pop up in etiquette columns, about how to deal with people who want you to pay for what you wouldn't have ordered if you were in control, but in this case, I have to say I didn't mind. The total I ended up paying for my share of the whole meal was something like $120, and it was an incredible meal. The wine was delicious and I was glad I tried something I never would have tried otherwise. And the friend knew us well enough to know that it wasn't a financial hardship totally out of proportion with our lifestyles.

So that's the scoop, SingleMa! You can live vicariously through my drinking while I live vicariously through your training for that 5k!


Kelly@TearingUpHouses said...

I was a little taken aback at even *the idea* of not sharing a tab when someone else ordered something if I shared it.

We rarely drink when we're out unless we're socializing, but I would never even consider not picking up our end of a tab no matter what someone else ordered. In fact, in our circles we usually fight over the entire bill. In the end it all evens out.

If someone did something particularly obnoxious over a tab, I would just choose not to dine with them in the future, but I'd never even consider trying to get out of paying for something I had a part of. You know?


Madame X said...

Kelly, I would never not share a tab either, but if I was dining with someone who I thought might be on a lower budget than me, I would try to order a cheaper bottle, or discuss the choice with people at the table to give them a chance to try to steer it that way if they had concerns.
When you're the person who can't afford the expensive item, it can be awkward to have to speak out, so I think if you're the person ordering the expensive item, you should stop to consider others rather than just assuming they're willing to pay as much as you are.

Joy said...

Yes, I would read a blog called "Cheap White Wines I Drank This Week." Especially for tips on where to buy aforementioned cheap wine in New York.

Parag said...

Every one has different budget while going out for a meal. It is essential to know everyone's budget and then order food accordingly.
Personal finance

Chris said...

Ayup, I'll read the new blog. Fits with my lifestyle.

K said...

Another vote for the cheap white wine blog! Even though I'm more of a white wine person. But seriously, you could add the occasional blog post about it, I'm sure there are a lot of readers interested in frugal wine options!

Anonymous said...

You'll probably get a few comments from people who are appalled by the $600+ (or $120-tab) figure, but as a fellow single, female, home-owning, gainfully-employed, (reasonably) penny-pinching, longtime NYC resident, let me say that both of those figures sound completely plausible and reasonable to me.

Prateek Parag said...

The author has jested about her fetish for wine and eating out while trying her best to exercise frugality within her 5k a month income. Makes for enjoyable reading.

Single Ma said...

Only $24 on likka? Either you have a stash at home or you're getting soft in your old age. LOL!

Thanks for the shout out. I hope you and your sweetie have a fabulous Memorial Day weekend!

Bankruptcy Ben said...

booze can get pretty pricy pretty quick.When I recorded my expenses for the first time I was shocked. I spent $200 on booze! since then I've started making my own booze! Savings here I come

Heaps said...

Wow you really do not spend a lot of money on liquor. I have only recently started drinking and boy have I been in for a surprise. Buying drinks at a bar or restaurant is quite expensive, and it needs to be much emphasized. It is no doubt best to buy beer or wine by the case and drink mostly at home.

I try to drink before I go out with friends, that way I don't buy too many drinks at the bar. Frugal as it may sound it really works. you'll save more than half on drinks.

By the way, I'm a college student having lived in NY all my life (currently in Wellington for two months though), and let me tell you, even as frugal as I try to be eating out eats a lot of my budget.