Chris loves to look at trends in our spending year over year, and he noted that in 2020, unsurprisingly, our grocery and takeout/delivery food spend was at its all-time highest levels. Part of the reason it is like that is not just because we were all sheltering in place, not just because we couldn’t dine out at restaurants, but it’s also because all of our work and pleasure travel was completely cancelled. A lot of our spending on dining out, indulgent/specialty foods or drinks happens when we are traveling. During travel is when we’d pick up things we normally wouldn’t find here in New York, such as haskap berry jam, passion fruit jam, a South Australia wine vinegar, or a dong ding oolong loose leaf tea from a very specific region in Taiwan. In 2020, I surprisingly not only drank ALL my tea that I got in China with the exception of some high end loose leafs that I’m spreading out (and… I got a LOT), but I nearly went through my entire supply of Sri Lankan Dilmah tea, which we usually get when we’re in Australia because they do not seem to distribute to the U.S. So that led me to buy matchas, some other sencha and genmaicha green teas from the Japanese grocery store, and also a few Nepali teas. With the world at your finger tips, I’ve been relying on online sources to send me the world to enjoy through my mouth. We’ve also been more indulgent with things we normally don’t buy much of, such as Indian sweets. This last weekend when we were in Jackson Heights, we spent nearly $38 on rasmalai, gulab jamun, pista rolls, and kesar ladoos from our favorite sweets shop, Maharaja Sweets. It was a record! I normally never get more than a pound of sweets there (the pricing is roughly about $11-12/lb, depending on which sweet you choose).
We have saved a lot of money because of the pandemic, but we’ve also managed to indulge in other areas, and with us, “indulging” tends to be through food.