Friday, September 17, 2010

Fiscal Friday: Feed me, Seymour

Welcome to Fiscal Friday! This post was inspired by a blog post by librarian friend of mine. She was lamenting that going out to eat can be a little pricey, and given that half of her household is in school, that makes it a little tough.

I totally sympathize, and it's where my Mad Money spending account came from. I live in a big-time foodie part of the world, and I really do want to experience some of its amazing offerings. But I can't just scrape up $100+ at a moment's notice to go to the fancy-pants restaurants! (to give some context, I try to keep my eating-out expenses under $200/month)

One of my friends mentioned that she sets aside $20 a month in cash into an envelope, and intends to use it for an annual Amazing Dinner Out (we're talking $200+ to eat at the restaurant she mentioned). I don't do well with cash sitting around - somehow I dip into it for other spending - but I loved her idea. So, with my lovely bank USAA, I opened a separate savings account, labeled it Mad Money, and started saving a little bit of money every paycheck. I started small, just $10/month, but then I paid off the last of my debt and bumped it up to $25/paycheck. I don't miss it, and I know it's there if I really DO need it, but mostly it just adds up.

So far I've used Mad Money this summer to eat at Prospect, a new restaurant in San Francisco where a coworker's partner is the pastry chef. I used Mad Money in January to take advantage of Dine About Town, where I squeezed TWO fancy meals out of the account: at Le Central, a French bistro that's been open since the 1970s, and at Chaya Brasserie, a Japanese-American fusion restaurant.

Next up? I think I'll see if I can find anyone who wants to eat at a local-to-me honest-to-goodness-Michelin-starred restaurant. I think if you do the tasting course and paired wines it's something like $90 per person - not something to be undertaken lightly, but certainly something I can save for with my Mad Money account!

As a side note, I'm so glad I track my spending - it was the only way I could locate the names of the restaurants I ate in 9 months ago!

1 comment:

  1. I've been contemplating switching to USAA for my banking, not just my credit card, and you calling them "lovely" was the tipping point. :)

    Once I finish up my adorable Bugs checks (dragonflies, butterflies, lady bugs, and bees, Oh My!), I'll finally make the jump. The checks are just too cute to waste.

    Thanks for helping me finally make a decision!