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In the complex world of personal finances, there’s a curious habit that often puzzles me: the choice to dine out despite tight budgets. Delving into the psychology, social factors, and joys of shared meals, let’s explore why people continue to embrace this experience, even in times of financial constraints. Join us on a journey to unravel the motivations behind this behavior and understand the fascinating interplay between desire and economic reality.
To begin, a user replied, “When you are totally broke, you need a bit of pleasure. I used to do it at my most broke. It made no sense, yet I felt like I’d die if I didn’t.”
Another user added, “It makes perfect sense. Seriously that could be the tipping point for people if you can’t even get an ok meal. It’s incredibly unhealthy and dangerous to just constantly have stress and depression without even one thing to look forward to.”
Work Long Hours
A popular comment was, “I work 12 hours a day in the Texas heat. I do not feel like cooking a meal when I get off. I feel like lying down and doing nothing. Aside from my own experience, I think it’s proven that the more tired you are, the harder it is to resist temptation and make good decisions.”
Another comment was, “Sometimes you don’t cook because you work such long hours that you don’t have time to get groceries and prepare something.”
One person simply put, “Depression.”
A second person replied, “Place is already messy from not having the energy to do the things I know I need to do. Just throw everything thing away and take the trash out on my way to work. On top of everything already feeling like it’s crumbling, staying broke doesn’t bother me much anymore. I’ll get paid again, lol.”
A reply was, “I think people also do it because it makes them happy too, even if it’s not good financially in the long run. It’s fun to leave the house and fun to eat in new places surrounded by people, especially if you’re with friends, and if you hate cooking or cleaning dishes, it’s a respite from it. For some, it’s also the only “fun” thing they spend money on.”
Part of Society
One user commented, “Eating out is immediately gratifying and makes you feel like you’re part of society. Long-term financial planning is lonely and scary. And for youngins in our current, odd, nefarious housing market economy where lousy houses in somewhat desirable houses cost half a million dollars, it may be what they need to feel like they can keep going.”
One response was, “I work full-time and go to college full-time. Pay for it all myself. Not even 10 minutes ago, I spent $20 out of my remaining $25 to order food. I don’t get nice things. I have a $75 margin each paycheck that I get to play with. I had a horrible day at work and wanted my favorite food. I’d rather have my favorite food and barely scrape by for the next week than go to bed after eating a bag of peanuts.”
A user replied, “It is a form of entertainment when you can not do anything else. I know I am there. Gets you out of the house.”
A second user added, “Eating out and shopping at Walmart was the only entertainment we could afford growing up poor.”
A comment was, “Your favorite takeout meal or even just a $5 six-inch sub from Subway can be comforting when you have a hard day.”
Cheaper Than Other Things
One person said, “Cause when you’re poor, you’re sad, and food is cheaper than drugs.”
Another person said, “At least I am not like my broke friends who spend several hundred dollars a week on cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs.”
A user commented, “Eating out can be very affordable…if they use coupons and actually eat leftovers. A $10 large pizza coupon could feed a dude for like 2 or 3 days alone.”
A second user replied, “A big one for me is that a $10 salad once or twice a week is still less than the produce I can’t finish in a week to make my own salads. Or at least the same price and more convenient at work.”
One comment was, “I had a roommate once who ordered Doordash for most of his meals and spent most his days playing video games. Some people are broke because they are lazy, and lazy people don’t like having to cook for themselves.”
A person said, “One thing it seems a lot of people aren’t really touching on is the fact that stuff like fast food is literally designed to be super addictive.”
Unskilled In the Kitchen
A user wrote, “Feeling unskilled and not being able to make tasty food regardless of following recipes.“
Another user commented, “It’s only easy to learn those things if you have quality time available to invest in learning them. Seven pm after a draining day at work is a terrible time to take any new information in.”
A popular comment was, “Shopping for one person ironically is more expensive than for a family. You also need to keep track of the expiry dates, and you’re the only person who’s supposed to eat everything. At a small premium, all those problems disappear if you go eat out or order something.”
Another popular comment was, “Have you ever tallied up how much it costs to make a salad? I don’t mean just lettuce and tomatoes. But lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, croutons, grilled chicken, dressing, etc. It’s more expensive. And don’t say I can make more than one salad with the stuff because lettuce lasts like 1.5 days.”
Escape From Reality
Finally, someone said, “If there’s no hope of ever getting ahead, and every second of every day is mostly miserable, it’s a small escape from the realities of this capitalist heckscape–realities which, again, show no signs of changing.”
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