Icon: I don't know about that. My wife and I eat good enough food. It's not exotic or luxurious, but it's not junk. I'm really not wasting away (I could do to lose a little round the middle). For the dogs (one a standard sized tugou, the other a slightly smaller mutt), she buys a whole lot of meat (beef, I believe) once or twice a month. She freezes it and then cooks it for them, and she gets bones from somewhere else too. They get other things here and there. They're not wasting away either, and the vet always says they're in good condition.
I really don't think my wife and I live a Spartan lifestyle. All of our needs (including things such as insurance, investing and an emergency fund) are covered. We put little bits aside for various things in terms of entertainment. We generally have quite modest desires though. If we go out, we'll go for a bike ride or a hike, or we'll drive to the beach. Things like that that don't cost a lot of money. This weekend, for my wife's birthday, we're going away to Green Island for a night. I got one of my colleagues to help me find a decently priced place. Actually, precisely because we don't do a ton of expensive stuff all of the time, when we do splash out a little, it's all the more exciting. On the rare occasions when we do eat out (because I honestly think that my wife and I make much better food than most restaurants, especially considering the cost), it's a special occasion.
I grew up primarily in the 1980s. Back then, people didn't have tons of "stuff" like they do now. Sure, there were kids at my school who did have tons of stuff, and their families used to take expensive vacations, but so what? My parents put all of their money into paying off their house and educating their kids. Between the ages of five and eighteen, I didn't go out of Australia. In fact, I remember two vacations (plus one sporting competition) that didn't consist of going to visit my uncle in Canberra at Easter or Christmas. My parents used to buy fish and chips about once every two weeks. We used to go to a Chinese or Italian restaurant maybe once or twice per year. Yet I don't feel like I led a deprived childhood. I was always doing stuff with my father, whether it was building stuff or driving somewhere to look at a garage sale or some books he'd seen advertised. I had everything I needed, and I got birthday and Christmas presents, and they were memorable precisely because I didn't get something every single week. People have got themselves caught in a trap now regarding money and expectations.
And you coming in to scold us all like some kind of sour-puss kindie assistant who favors olive cardigans and lemon drinks without sugar. -- Muzha Man
One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words "Socialism" and "Communism" draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, "Nature Cure" quack, pacifist, and feminist in England. -- George Orwell