I do a bit of both. When we have time, we make the trek to a Market Basket to grocery shop. There isn't one in the city, so we do have to work it into our plans. The rest of the time I stop at the rather more spendy Star Market next to work because it's convenient as heck. Your dad would LOVE Market Basket though. It's by far the cheapest grocery store around (usually by actual dollar amounts) and their store products are fantastic. For the past few years they gave you a 4% discount on your entire order because the economy was still suffering. It's crazy how much you can get for what you spend. <3 the Basket.
Split the tax and tip evenly and then everyone pays for their own food and drink. This is what my friends and I have done for years and years and it works fine. A sister orders three glasses of wine (let's say they're $10 each), you'll be chipping in an extra $1.5-$2 max for additional tax and tip, and not 1/4 of $30. She's the one on the hook for the $30 of wine.
I would put myself (and husband) at solidly upper middle class. We are probably upper class in terms of joint income but we don't have a lot by way of assets. Home ownership in Boston/Cambridge feels like a pipe dream.
I could answer yes to all four of those questions but I feel like reality is so much more complicated. I mean, yes we can control the day to day, month to month stuff. All the bills are paid in full and on time. We have no debt beyond my student loans. We are able to save 10% of his salary before taxes, 6% of mine before taxes, and then a further 52% of mine after taxes. We can afford to travel and eat out and go to things like the opera without having to panic or eat ramen four nights a week. We currently have nearly $50K in savings that we could easily tap for an emergency or something or to live on if we had to (would likely last a year at our current lifestyle). BUT. We live in Boston. If we want to buy an apartment in Boston, it'll likely cost well north of $500K to do so. Our nearly $50K in savings look paltry in the face of that. A 20% down payment (even though I know we wouldn't technically need that as first time homeowners) seems like an actual impossibility. We don't quite live just on one salary, so a job loss would be a huge blow to us. I have no idea how we'd ever afford our lives and daycare, even if we never went out or traveled anymore. We will eventually need a new car and I don't quite know what we'd do if we ever needed a second car. I am secure today but I always feel like it's an illusion.
@Tripleoxer - We went to Taiwan Cafe and it was quite good. I didn't like the noodles in the sha cha sauce but only because I found it super bland and boring. The rest of it was super tasty.
I don't actually know what I spent but I do know that we checked a lot off on our ongoing list of "we should really do X more". Friday: went to the opera (my xmas gift, so $0) and saw Don Giovanni. It was absolutely wonderful even if Don Giovanni is a super rapey asshole. The singer playing him oozed smarm. The whole thing was so well cast and sung. Post-opera late dinner was in Chinatown ($50). I ate entirely too many dumplings. :/ But I do wonder why eating in Chinatown is not more of a thing in Boston. Our food was excellent but we almost never think to go there when we want to get dinner out. Saturday: this whole day was why I love, love, love living in the city. We slept in, then ran to Blackbird donuts (which wound up being 4 miles away on the route we took, not 3). I don't know what that cost, I was too busy chugging water as the husband paid. Probably $20 or so. Then we sat in Copley Sq at the fountain and people watched for an hour or so. Then the girls came by to see about cat sitting their cat for us. It is always kind of pathetic when kitty is reunited with her real owner because both kitty and LS clearly miss each other. Then they came shoe shopping with me (I got 2 pairs for $135) and we took them out to dinner ($50ish at Tasty Burger). Then husband and I decided to see the Avengers at the last minute ($50 for two 3D tickets and a beer). Sunday: we ran a bunch of errands and I returned various items of clothing purchased for the trip that I'd ordered online that didn't work quite right (+$120ish). I also got a pair of white capris at Banana that fit like an absolute dream ($90 for those, a shirt, and a caftan thing for the beach). And yes, online betting is open now for the length of time I actually get to wear them before I stain them somehow. Then we bought breakfast ($20) and his mom a plant ($26) before heading down to hang out with his family ($0). Total is: $300 or so.
@PicNic Oh man. What bar was it?
Ohhhhhhhhhhh..........this is like when I won the tasting dinner at Menton last month. It was just indescribable. The food and the service and the wine. Just all of it. So, so, so amazing. The macaroons the size of a nickle in circumference. The flower sandwich that somehow tasted like it had bacon in it. The foie gras frankfurter that just kind of melted in your mouth as you ate it. Worth the $750 we would've paid had we actually paid for it.
The LS story was great until I got to this part - "She is over it, because she has to be; she must go back to school. I am not; my heart aches for her, because she’s not old enough to see what I see, and because she’ll still be seeing it long after I’m gone." Don't leave. JFC, do not become a Big unless you plan to stick around. Do not leave and be one more shitty thing that happens in the life of the kid you're in. I know I am, by far, more involved than most (and probably more involved than I should be) but when I signed up, I signed up fully planning to stay beyond the year stipulated by the organization. Kids that need Bigs need them for a reason. Life changes but I've never left her life and I will never even though staying involved can be as hard as it is rewarding. I will end my rant now but I will probably stew over this all day.
@Stina Oh man, ALL the places! I am so incredibly excited I can barely contain it. We fly to Milan, then take a train to Monte Carlo. We'll spend a night and day there before getting in a rental car. Then we are driving to some mountainy region in France, spending the night in super cheap but apparently 5-star hotel with a michelin starred restaurant (which I know are plentiful in France but a novelty for me). Then we spend the next day on the Avergiene cheese trail. CHEESE. Then I get to stay in a castle that night. The rooms look fresh out of the 1970s somewhere but there's a moat, so I'm pumped. Then we drive to Paris and spend a few days there. Plan to do all the tourist things - Eiffel tower, catacombs, Berthillon ice cream, cruise of the Seine, eat and drink my weight in cheese, meat, and wine. Then we fly to Istanbul for two nights. Will try to hit a Turkish bath but we probably won't have time. Have already booked a kebab crawl. Then onto Santorini for a few days. This is the part of the trip where I plan to laze around and just relax. Beaches and eating and whatnot. The only thing we have planned is an afternoon-sunset boat excursion. We'll get to hike up an active volcano and swim in hot springs before eating on the boat as the sun sets. Then we go to Venice. We have opera tickets the first night but the rest of the time, we're just going to wander and do what strikes our fancy. Then we end in Milan for two nights. Going to do the fancy world food expo thing that's happening and see the sites. Then I will fly home.