Feeling Deprived?

by Katy on April 23, 2010 · 23 comments

Any level of a financially responsible life involves at least some degree of deprivation. This may range from not being able to going on round the world jaunts to not eating out as often as you’d like.

For me, it is the restaurant thing that gets to me. I’m not a super big fan of cooking, although I’m resigned to doing it and I’m not actually half bad. But there are certain types of restaurant meals that are simply not reproducible in my kitchen. This, for the most part are foreign styles of cooking like Indian, Japanese, Thai and the like. I do get my restaurant fix fairly frequently from going to lunch with my parents, (thanks Mom, thanks Dad!) but my family of four rarely eats out together. It’s just too expensive.

This doesn’t really make me feel all that deprived, but I do kind of miss it. Choosing exactly what I want to eat, having someone bring it to me and then having someone do the clean it up. It truly is heaven on a stick!

I don’t experience any feelings of deprivation about buying used, doing my own housework, (many people I know have cleaning services) bringing my own lunches to work, going on simple vacations or any other of the frugal activities that round out my life. Pretty much just the restaurant thing.

Are there areas of frugality that are making you feel deprived? Are you mourning those daily lattes or pick-me-up purchases? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

CC April 23, 2010 at 1:33 pm

I miss not buying a new book by a favorite author. I now wait for the library copy, sometimes its a long wait. But then again no matter when I read the book I am always wanting the next copy so waiting is good for me. I don’t miss going to the movies but sometimes I would like to just go buy the dvd. Another place where I wait for the library. Just saw Blind Side and I was only 80 on the list for over 600, I felt very lucky to get it so soon.

In most things I’m content, I would rather cook than go out. My small house is perfect for honey and me. And having fewer items(like books) makes it comfortable. All in all I’m happy living a frugal life. What makes it nice is knowing I can get whatever I want, I just don’t want very much. Keeps the feelings of being deprived low.


Jana @ The Summer House April 23, 2010 at 3:20 pm

We had gotten in the habit of Starbucks coffee every morning-yikes-that gets expensive so we decided to buy an espresso machine. Guess what? I make better lattes than starbucks and i can make it with my whole organic raw milk too. So I don’t miss depending on someone else for my morning happiness. It’s more work but worth it!


Melissa April 23, 2010 at 3:29 pm

I’m with you. Dinner out occasionally can be such a godsend. I figure it’s cheaper than therapy.


Loretta April 23, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Katy, I don’t feel deprived, as I don’t deny myself a treat now and then. Like you, I love eating out and usually do it with a group of girlfriends (eg we have bookgroup once a month and pick a Thai/Malaysian/Chinese restaurant, which are reasonably cheap). I must admit that my husband and I splashed out and had lunch at a gorgeous (expensive) seafood restaurant for our wedding anniversary – which we thoroughly enjoyed – but we don’t ever buy each other presents, and we rarely eat out together (he’s a really good cook). I still buy myself one new book a month if there’s something I really want to treasure and reread. I know if I put a blanket ban on no new books I’d break it the next day!


Kristen@TheFrugalGirl April 23, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Sometimes I feel a little bit deprived about not being able to spend as much on groceries as I’d like (not that I’d spend it on crap…I just would love to have money to buy tons of nuts and berries and cheese and other expensive foods to my heart’s content!).

I do grow a little weary of cooking every night sometimes, but you know, that’s life. Plus, it wouldn’t be healthy for us to eat out all the time even if it was economically feasible.

I think I appreciate eating out a lot more than I would if I got to do it all the time, so there’s a silver lining. lol


Cate April 24, 2010 at 6:06 am

I’m with you, Kristen! I would love some extra room in the grocery budget. It would be great to purchase more meat (we love buying sustainable meat, but it means we can’t afford a ton of it!), good cheese, nuts, wine, all the local produce we can eat, etc. 🙂


Karen @ Abundance on a Dime April 23, 2010 at 4:37 pm

There’s not really much in the way of material goods that I feel I’m missing out on – and I have awesome “yard sale karma” and find so many great things we need or want for next to nothing! I don’t miss eating out at all as I love to cook and I can make better quality food than any restaurant I can remotely afford 🙂 If I had a bigger grocery budget I would buy more organic food and fancy cheeses and that sort of thing. I would also love to have extra money for “experiences” like going to plays, concerts, ball games, etc as our family really enjoys those sorts of things and right now they’re a very rare treat!


Diana April 23, 2010 at 5:09 pm

I think it’s important to make conscious decisions and to respect the conscious decisions of others. I found this quote the other day, “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu. I think we should all try to do what we can and that “little bit” is different for each person.

Sometimes I feel a little deprived. I’m on a “just graduated, yet to find full-time work” budget and dwelling on what I don’t have or what I want can get me down. I remind myself of my wonderful friends and family and that helps.

Also, I tend to find myself feeling a little deprived when I get to close to the consumer culture, ie to much tv, glossy magazines, when I have to go the mall. I have to remind myself that most of the “need” is falsly generated to seperate me from money and that it’s not really making anybody happier.


Hiptobeme April 23, 2010 at 6:05 pm

I like to get my hair done professionally about once a year. I went two years this time though, so I didn’t feel as bad when I splurged with my best girlfriend for a new ‘do. Totally worth it. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.


Karen April 23, 2010 at 8:04 pm

No contest: not getting to eat out, and not getting to go to see plays are the 2 things that make me feel deprived while trying to live frugally. We love Thai, Afghanistani, Ethiopian and all sorts of ethnic/international food, all of which is hard to re-create at home. Sometimes we cheat a little and go out for lunch, but rarely. And being theater junkies, the high price of tickets is a real killer.


Angela April 23, 2010 at 10:50 pm

I agree with Kristen that NOT eating out all the time makes it more special, but if we had more money I would definitely like to eat out a bit more often, especially for ethnic food I don’t know how to cook. I would also like to travel more. And get a massage when my back is killing me.


WilliamB April 24, 2010 at 3:26 am

My biggest deprivation is of immediate satisfaction. I sometimes miss having whatever it is RIGHT NOW. No doubt the wait is good for my character.


HeatherS April 24, 2010 at 4:29 am

I sometimes feel deprived in the eating out area. Some nights I just really don’t want to cook again and would love to have someone else do the cooking and cleaning up for me! What I really hate is if we make the occasional splurge and eat out and then I am disappointed in the meal. That stinks!

I also miss being able to do the experience things like plays, concerts and shows that we just don’t spend the money on anymore. And travel, I love to travel but it’s just not in the budget which is ok b/c it’s also difficult to do with two young children. We are being frugal now so that one day we can spend money on traveling together.


nonlineargirl April 24, 2010 at 7:30 pm

I can’t remember the last time I bought a piece of clothes that was not at a consignment or thrift store or on deep sale. In my pre-kids life I engaged in recreational shopping, but that has pretty much gone out the window. I mostly make up for it by making myself clothes, but I still notice shoes.

Coffee is the other thing – and this is a habit we haven’t entirely kicked. My husband and I are addicted to buying our beans from Stumptown, which isn’t cheap. We’ve switched to the house blend to save a few bucks each time, but our tastebuds won’t let us dump Stumptown entirely.


Kayla K April 25, 2010 at 12:57 pm

I miss having trendy clothes. I don’t think I would choose to dress in classics if I could choose to dress any way I wanted. I would like to be more expressive with my clothing.
I splurge on going out to eat about once each week, but I have to cut my grocery budget back in order to do that. I would like to buy more expensive produce… like asparagus, kale, fresh herbs, etc, and more organic would be nice!


Marie-Josée April 25, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Eating out and enjoying wine are our favorite activities and they are the hardest things to cut out entirely for our family. We have reduced both to mop up some recent consumer debt, but have still kept our Friday night date and Saturday Lebanese take-out. We would all be depressed if we had to cut those out of our life.


Beth April 26, 2010 at 10:51 am

Musicals are an item I’d love to splurge on, yet I find it too hard to justify a $60 ticket for each of us for a single night out. I loved Free Night of Theatre!

Happily, my husband and I have each figured out how to make some of our favorite Mexican and Thai foods. There are some shortcuts that work pretty well, and ethnic food stores abound in the SF Bay Area. I stock up on 99-cent cans of curry paste and coconut milk and $2 bags of rice noodles when I visit the local Korean grocery. We keep our grocery budget slightly generous to account for the fact that trying new recipes serves up entertainment as well as nutrition.


Tracy Balazy April 26, 2010 at 3:55 pm

I buy cheaper wine. That’s about it. Instead of a $15 bottle with a cool label (I’m no wine expert, I just like what I like), I’ll get the $9 bottle of Barefoot or Little Penguin that’s been marked down to $5.50.

I don’t feel that refraining from buying new clothes (I only buy at resale) is a sacrifice, because I hate shopping at malls and chain stores, and I think resale’s way more fun.


Susan Lee - FL April 28, 2010 at 4:09 am

I’ve basically used the money we used to eat out with on good quality, organic, whole foods! I guess it’s like this: “spend more now on healthy food, spend less later on doctor’s bills.” Every time we go out to eat (once-twice monthly) I feel horribly guilty that the $45 we just spent for four people could’ve purchased several DAYS worth of food cooked at home in a healthy manner! So I guess I don’t feel all that bad about not eating out when I realize what it forces us to do: eat healthy at home!


VERY Deprived May 2, 2010 at 8:16 am

All around I feel deprived.
I infrequently I buy clothes (1 per 3 months I get one new item $50 or less), infrequenlty I eat out (about 6 times per year – this includes fast food), I haven’t had a vacaiton in over 4 years (this includes stay vacations around my home town (like going to the zoo or camping). I can’t even afford to drive the 6 hours needed to visit my grandmother for a weekend (gas, wear and tear on the car, eating out for 2 days and hotel – my grandmother lives in a senior’s home is just too much).
Money is so tight – I avoid others at work as I can’t contibute to office gifts or endure the pressure of what to say when other’s ask if I want to join them for a drink afterwork (this to me is eating out). BILLS, BILLs, BILLs – yes I can pay my own the cost of doing NOTHING.


Kathy Hairston October 19, 2017 at 7:44 pm

I do miss the trips to the spa for massages and facials. I also get invitations to lots of fundraisers (teas, open houses, casino nights) which I have to decline. I’m unemployed and my income is social security


Angela October 19, 2017 at 8:59 pm

Coffee and pastries at a coffee shop. It used to be a 5-7x/week thing. I’ve cut it down just to when we go out for a day trip or vacation, and I have to say, I enjoy it more now that it isn’t an every day thing. But man, it took months of willpower passing my regular coffee shop to finally not feel deprived.


Emily October 20, 2017 at 5:09 am

I miss going to the opera and theatre. I just can not justify paying the ticket prices even for the cheap tickets for one night of entertainment, but all is not lost as I can watch them free on youtube. Also I just keep remembering that it is the little sacrifices like not eating out ( which prompted me to learn to cook), buying thrift store clotes ( which prompted me to learn to tailor clothes to me since not many were in my size), staycations ( which prompted me to learn more diy home improvement things to make my home feel like a cruise ship), keep me debt free and able to work part time versus full time!!! I so agree that my frugality is buying my freedom.


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