I won’t apologize for spending a few hundred dollars every weekend on food and beer

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How much would you say you spend on a typical weekend in Charlotte?

When you add it up, a fun-filled weekend in the QC can cost you a couple hundred bucks.

  • $40 Friday dinner
  • $50 Friday night at the club
  • $25 Saturday breakfast
  • $40 Saturday afternoon brewery
  • $50 Saturday night bar
  • $35 Sunday brunch
  • $50 miscellaneous (Lyft rides, Starbucks, etc.)

Yet whenever I ask people about how much their weekend costs, they either drop some ridiculously low number or look like they’re ashamed to admit how much they enjoyed themselves.

It’s impossible to have a great weekend for under $100 in a city like Charlotte.

This a young city that’s not particularly walkable, is obsessed with drinking, and has new restaurants opening all the time. It ain’t cheap to have a good time here. You don’t have to do everything, but pack 2-3 really great, memorable activities into a single weekend, plus catching up with friends, plus dating, and there’s no way to make it to Monday without cracking three figures.

You could obviously sit around at home and save money. You can eat leftovers, drink wine, and watch Netflix. People will generally marvel at you for your fiscal responsibility. But what’s the real cost of all those savings? You’re missing out on all the excitement.

I’d rather have a fun weekend than a cheap weekend. Yes, those two things are kind of mutually exclusive.

Going into your Friday with the goal of not spending too much money handcuffs you. Don’t be irresponsible, but don’t save just for the sake of saving. If you have it, spend it. It’s not your fault that there’s so much cool stuff to do here, and it doesn’t make you a bad person because you’d rather go out than stay in.

Why is frugality seen as a badge of honor?

There’s this attitude that it’s almost morally wrong to spend a huge chunk of your income on stuff that’s actually fun.

Have you ever read fiscal advice on the web? We’re supposed to go to work all week, spend our money only on bills, and then throw the rest into an emergency fund to never be touched. Anyone who has the gall to regularly spend significant money on luxuries is treated as if they’re short-sighted party animals, especially millennials.

Let’s be real though: They’re just self-conscious about their own financial choices.

Sometimes I feel like a small group of under-socialized couples has decided that the rest of us shouldn’t have fun because they personally choose not to.

I’m not saying that saving is bad. It’s a good thing to have financial goals. But savers can start to sound pretty bitter, or even wistful, when they talk about all the youngins out there with the nerve to spend their weekend partying.

I understand the argument many put forth that they’re saving their money now so they can enjoy themselves more in the future. Why not make the future right now? With the way Charlotteans drive, none of us are promised tomorrow.

Experiencing Charlotte is more valuable than a few extra bucks in your bank account.

When you get that paycheck, your bills are paid, and you’ve dropped some money into savings, you should feel free to blow the rest on getting to know Charlotte.

It’s no coincidence that the people who say “Charlotte has no culture” are the same ones who spend their weekends on their couch.

In 20 years, you won’t remember how much you didn’t spend this weekend. You’ll remember club hopping at the EpiCentre until 2 a.m. You’ll remember splitting a bottle of wine with the wife on a rooftop.

There will always be more money to be made.

And isn’t this why we have jobs in the first place? Life is a lot more fun when you realize you make money to enjoy life, not miss out on life to enjoy money.

Go a little crazy this weekend. Call up your friends from college and day-drink at Birdsong. Order a cocktail with something a little nicer than the house liquor. Re-watch a movie in theaters and get snacks.

Do it every weekend. You’ll hurt the feelings of self-righteous savers, but you’ll have so much more fun in the process.

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Dion Beary
| @hashtagdion
Columnist writing on Charlotte