The first day at my new job, I went to lunch with some of the ladies, and I thought that was nice - they wanted to do something special and get out of the office so they could get to know me. However, it actually seems like they eat out every single day. Yesterday we went to an actual sit-down diner, and today we went back to the expensive cafeteria. (There are two cafeterias at the hospital - one is pretty low key, with sandwiches, soup, entrees of the day, salad bar, etc. I can usually get whatever I want for five bucks or less, including fries. The other one is actually several retail food shops, sort of like a mini food court - we have a Wall Street Deli, Mark Pi's, some Italian place that serves pasta and pizza, and a coffee bar/smoothies place.) No one has mentioned going to the regular cafeteria (although they have just as much variety, are somewhat closer, and are cheaper - and the ladies seemed to know an awful lot about the menu at Nick's Diner. (One of them had a fully punched buy-nine-get-tenth-free card, and said it was her second one. She's only been here a year and a half.)
So I am wondering what I should do. On the one hand, one of the ladies is basically going to be my mentor and I will be with her all the time, and I do like her so I don't want to miss out on lunching with her. Plus, I hardly know anyone else. And two, I don't really want to sit at my desk and eat like I did at my old job. That was very sad. But on the other hand, I don't want to drop six or seven dollars a day on lunch. Previously I usually brought in frozen dinners or Chunky soup, but there is no microwave at these locations (although there is in the cheaper cafeteria!) - so maybe I will start packing sandwiches or something that can be eaten cold? I gotta figure this out before I hemorrhage lunch money!! I've been paying for lunch with a $25 Visa gift card I got for Christmas from a family friend so I'm not hurting yet.
One thing that I think is interesting however is that my mentor lady was talking about how she's basically perennially on the edge of bankruptcy ever since adopting her children - the adoption cost $50,000 for both children, and they haven't had much extra money since. But, and this is a big but, she then went on to describe the lavish birthday parties she throws for them. Her kids just turned four, and she didn't do anything for their first birthdays, but each birthday since then they have each had a huge to-do with tents, decorations, full costumes for everyone, etc, to the tune of about $2,000 each. So two children, three birthdays each at $2,000, that's twelve thousand dollars! She also admitted to being a huge shopper - so between the shopping, the huge parties, and the eating out every day, I am not surprised she has money problems. On the way back from the diner I had to go to the bank and deposit some checks, since they are now open only while I am at work (as I am now working real hours) and my mentor lady asked jokingly if I was in the zero-money club too. I just kind of laughed and didn't say anything, I did not want to say that I was in there depositing six checks for a total of $2500, most of which came from CashDuck, and was going to my Roth IRA. I don't think they would have been laughing much after that.
Question for the rest of you - Do you feel like you are a big stick in the mud because you are financially responsible? How do you keep from raining on others' parades (even when that parade is running them into bankruptcy?)