Striving to live virtuously through self-improvement: Frugality

The Oracle

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by Annie Tran:

What the heck, where do all of my Benjamin Franklins go? Seriously! Everytime I open my wallet, the number of bills I have seem to be getting smaller. And in reality, it is. I don’t claim to be an out of control shop-a-holic, and I’m really not one to go out on impulsive lavish shopping sprees and pull out wads of cash, but all of my money seems to be going down this bottomless drain. What is this bottomless drain, you may ask? My ever-expanding stomach.

My primitive caveman-like nature always seems to find a way to overtake my slight body. I’ve only recently started to notice how quickly my money is able to disappear, but I ignored these warning signs after I received my beautiful red Bank of America debit card. I’m the type of girl that will drive 30 minutes to the middle of nowhere, just to try out some supposedly new exquisite cuisine that I heard about that very day. When I took on this article, I wondered if I could really be frugal for a whole month, and I have had my obstacles along the way. Whoever thought that those $1 cookies and $4 pearl milk tea drinks would start to add up? Being the clueless and obviously not budget-efficient person I am, I did not foresee this.

The word frugality had never been a big part of my economic vocabulary, especially after moving to an affluent community like Palo Alto. I started to believe that it was the norm to go out for food every other day and spend $10 per meal just to eat with some friends and have some good conversation. The first week of my struggle with frugality did not go well. As a matter of fact, I was caught red-handed several times with all sorts of bought snacks on multiple occasions by The Oracle staff and received a thorough scolding by the Centerfold section editors each time.

Thus, I started to leave my wallet at home and tried to ignore the various welcoming restaurants and cafes that seemed to be clamoring for my attention. However, my foodie cravings started to gnaw at my stomach and I gave in to this demanding black hole I call a stomach. As I passed through Cupertino the thought of scrumptious, juicy lemon pepper chicken wings from Wingstop suddenly popped up. My goodness, I couldn’t have passed over the green buckaroos quick enough. I felt legitly buzzed on food and after going through 11 of those scrumptious wings, I slouched in my seat and happily entered a food coma. However, that fleeting feeling of happiness did not last long.

A feeling started to seep in, along with a tinge of regret. It took me a few seconds to come to the realization of what it was: guilt. Was it really worth the $15 I forked over, not to mention the gas I used, just to fulfill my foodie cravings? I analyzed my situation and took out my wallet and looked over all the receipts. I had spent over $35 on food items in one week. I decided that a course of action must be taken, so I took a seven day hiatus from spending and tried to make lunch. I’m not a real stickler for the kitchen, but I made my little PB&J sandwiches and stuck with it. It really wasn’t that bad. I’m still alive, aren’t I?
The moral that I have to give to you today is that although most of our student body is part of the fortunate few among our population that can afford to spend money on non-fast food restaurants on a daily basis, we need to take a breath and realize that these “luxuries” that we have given ourselves aren’t actually worth it. Instead of stopping by a Chipotle or Wingstop for some lunch and wasting over 10 bucks on a meal, close your wallets and try out the cafeteria food, especially since we now have an all-you-can-eat salad bar for only five bucks.