So last night, my husband and I went out on a date. This doesn't happen too often. So when he asked if I wanted to go out (and use a gift certificate we got for Christmas), and then see a movie, I was excited.
We went to a local restaurant that's a little bit fancy-ish, but obviously not too fancy, since the guy next to us was wearing a jogging suit (really?). Someone had given us a gift certificate. We never go there - it's kind of expensive and not really our taste.
So anyway, my husband had two beers, and I drank two glasses of Shiraz. We ordered a shared appetizer of calamari. We both had a ceaser salad. Colin had prime rib, I had one of the specials - it was shrimp with homemade egg noodles in a creamy tomato sauce. We had no dessert; Colin had a cup of coffee.
The food was good. Not spectacular, but good. I would not go there again. We had a $100 gift certificate, and it still cost $40 out of pocket! (Please don't think me a cheapskate!) It's just not our kind of restaurant. Everything is ala carte, which means you pay for everything separately. In most restaurants, (or atleast the unclassy ones that we frequent), you get a salad and a side with your dinner. Not here.
The prime rib was a decent size, but my dinner consisted of 3 shrimp on some egg noodles. For $21.95! Crazy! (I think.)
So, dinner was fine... the company was good, and after all, we did have that gift certificate.
Then, we went to the movies. (We saw Hot Tub Time Machine which was as hysterically stupid as I suspected it would be. The 80's references absolutely cracked us up!).
I'm sure you've all seen how movie prices are going up. For the two of us to see a movie, it cost $21.00. No popcorn, no soda or snacks (ya know I was stuffed from those 3 shrimp I just had)! Just a movie - for 21 bucks. Then, the ticket taker checked my purse to make sure I wasn't bringing in any contraband...popcorn, soda, snacks of my own.
"What's your point?", you ask. My point is this: how can people afford "date nights" every week??? I'm in the poor house after just one date! If we didn't use that gift certificate, last night would have cost over $150!! For two people!! What if I wanted popcorn? $6.00 later.... Soda - $3.50! $3.50 I tell ya! Insanity!!
Now grant it, we don't usually go to restaurants like that. But no matter where you go, you can't get a decent meal for two people for under $60. Around here. (we are 45 miles North of New York City). Now add your kids to the mix. You know you're not taking them to a movie and not getting popcorn!
I am so looking forward to some summer movies... Toy Story 3 and Shrek to name a couple. But, I'm not going to see those movies in the theater this summer. By the time I take my son to a movie, and buy popcorn and soda (because you obviously can't sneak anything of your own in!) it will cost an arm and a leg. And ya know what? Three months later when it comes out on DVD, I'm buying it anyway!
Now if my family of four went out to eat and to a movie, it would cost about $75.00.... if we ate at McDonalds!! Not a fancy-schmancy restaurant. McDonalds.
How do families do it nowadays? We don't go on vacations. (we've been on two cruises in 15 years). We don't drive fancy cars (I have a 3 year old minivan). We don't buy designer clothes. We don't eat out every week. But there are people out there that do do these things. I mean, I find it so hard to make ends meet with just the every day expenses and living that we do.
Did you ever see the commercial where the guy has a big house and car, a pool, a country club membership, etc, and he says, "how do I do it? I'm in debt up to my eyeballs!". It makes me laugh every time, but really, it's not funny. The way the economy is going makes me think that everyone must be in debt up to their eyeballs! It's a sad fact that I can't leave a grocery store without spending between $100 and $150 every week to feed a family of four. What about these families who have 4 or even 5 kids? And have 2 cars? And go to Disneyworld every other year? And skiing in the off years?
I wish I knew the secret. I wish I knew how this is all going to unfold, with the economy in the state that it's in right now. It makes me nervous for my kids in the future. It makes me nervous for my future! But atleast I can honestly say that even though we're not driving fancy cars, eating in fine restaurants every week, vacationing in the tropics, or buying vacation homes, etc.... we're content.
At the end of the day we have eachother. When I go to sleep at night, I can rest easy knowing that everything I love is right under that roof with me. My husband, my kids, my pets. That's it. That's enough. And quite frankly, I'll take what I can get.