Dinner or a Coffee Table…what’s your choice?

Awhile back a friend and I were chatting about money and we discovered we had a major difference in philosophy. She had been out the night before and spent $200 on a typical Saturday dinner with friends. Since I have never, ever spent $200 on dinner, my reaction was, “$200 on dinner? That’s a coffee table!”

She would rather spend $200 on a nice meal with friends. If I’m going to spend that kind of money I want to have something more to show for it than a good memory and indigestion. She felt that she’d rather have experiences than things. Which isn’t entirely true, as she has lots of things. She also has lots of money, thanks to a very wealthy Daddy.

I place great value on a good experience. A choice between a $200 trip to Disney with Son and a $200 coffee table? I’ll choose the Disney trip every time. A choice between a $200 coffee table and a consumable dinner that will probably leave me bloated and tipsy?

Hello, Pottery Barn.

I have to choose, as I don’t have lots of money. When you have lots of money you don’t always have to make those choices. Not that my friend doesn’t enjoy bargain shopping – she does. It’s almost a requirement for friendship with me (just kidding, my big spendafriends!). I wonder what her choice would be, though, if she didn’t have a Daddy with deep pockets and truly had to choose one or the other. It’s an impossible question to answer, as she’s always had money, and that has shaped the personality and values of my wonderfully quirky friend.

Another interesting by-product of this philosophical difference is that it’s easier for her to let go of things. She doesn’t care if she paid $10 or $1000 for something – if she has no use for it she’ll toss it without a second thought. In the garbage. Ohhhhhhhh…..

Me? They’ll have to pry the 50 cent ceramic frog I got on clearance for a penny out of my cold, dead hands.

Now I know that all us frugalistas would rather put $200 towards debt or into savings, but put that aside for now and play along.

What would you rather do? Are you having champagne with my friend, or getting a Pottery Barn fix with me?

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5 Responses to “Dinner or a Coffee Table…what’s your choice?”

  1. Emily Says:

    Can I go for a $100 dinner and $100 coffee table? 🙂

    for this specific instance, I say pottery barn all the way. i am not all that into expensive dinners, especially since the more expensive, the smaller the portions. that’s not an experience i think is worth that money.

    Other experiences trump home decor though just not $200 for dinner out.

  2. Lisa Says:

    Emily — I came to comment the EXACT same thing — I want a $100 dinner out and a $100 coffee table. 😀

    The best meal of my life — Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, barely came in at over $100 for both Frank and I.

    I’m guessing though, that $200 dinner wasn’t just two people, and there was at least one bottle of wine involved. 😉 So maybe it really was like my $100 dinner, just more crowded and/or with more alcohol.

  3. Good Fountain Says:

    I’d take the coffee table.

    But probably not from Pottery Barn…

  4. Kate Says:

    It all depends on the occasion. $200 on dinner is way too much for a casual occurrence, but once every 4 or 5 years I find myself with my husband, or my two closest friends, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston, dinner at Aujourd’hui. It is amazing, and it’s always for a celebration, and creates big memories. To me, that’s worth it, and I’m content with my free, hand-me-down coffee table as is.

  5. Carnivals and linkage — Bumblefucked Says:

    […] You Going To Be This Way the Rest of the Time I Know You? on Dinner or a Coffee Table…what’s your choice? (Bumblefucked note: Our coffee table came from Target and was $14.97 not […]


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