Eating a Hole in Your Wallet


NAME: Amanda
AGE: 27
CITY: Los Angeles
OCCUPATION: Journalist
INCOME: $40,000/year
PROBLEM: Has no idea how to save for new car
GOAL: Show Amanda how fewer pricey meals will add up to new wheels!

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It was a sad sight.  My friend Amanda was in tears over the fact that she lives paycheck to paycheck, has no savings, and no clue how she could ever squeeze one more dime out of her salary to put away for a much needed new car. After all, she said to me, she’s just living, “like all her friends are.” After reviewing Amanda’s spending habits, I had a sneaking suspicion I knew what was eating a hole in her wallet – quite literally.

Mandy’s road to financial recovery started when I asked her to suggest a meeting spot for us to chat over dinner – she recommended one of her favorite restaurants and unwittingly put my my plan into action.

When I showed up at the posh Asian Fusion spot, (a.k.a. “Pricey Rice”) I picked up a menu and saw her car adding up in front of me.  Mandy was spending on meals what she should have been spending on wheels! Still, no one likes a lecture…

Amanda rattled off her order, which consisted of a $10 drink (she would have three before the night was over), a $12 appetizer and a $30 entrée.  Adding dessert and tip she would have just chewed through close to $100!  I decided it was time to dive into her pricey culinary habits and make my friend aware of her reality.

“So, this is your favorite place, huh?”

“Oh, definitely – this is THE place to hang on weekends.”

Amanda then proceeded to tell me that she dined at Pricey Rice, or a comparable restaurant, every Friday AND Saturday night!   Interesting…

She went on to tell me how she has absolutely NO WAY to get the car she needs – she lives paycheck to paycheck and sees no way to get ahead.  Her current car has about a year left before it heads to the junkyard and she cannot figure out how to save for a down payment on a new one in a year’s time – after all, she’s not expecting a raise!  She was about to say something else but then turned to a passing waiter and ordered another $10 drink.

“You know what I mean?” she said with tears in her eyes. “I just don’t know how I’ll ever do it.”

It was then I realized that my dear friend was having a total disconnect between her day-to-day life and her big picture goals. The good news for Amanda was that the answer was right in front of her – within the pages of Pricey Rice’s menu, if only her financial vision was good enough to see it.

I grabbed a handful of edamame and prayed my pal would hear me out…

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