Expensive Meals, But at What Cost?

Ginia Bellafante’s most recent Big City column looks at young people/foodies who spend an extraordinary amount of money on food, including a 23-year-old MTV production assistant named Yaffa Fredrick who earns $30,000 a year after taxes and spends half of what she earns eating in restaurants:

Typically, she told me, she spends about $250 a week eating in good restaurants, which amounts to about $13,000 annually, and this does not include the additional $50 to $100 a week she spends on cooking classes, wine tastings and cheese pairings. Because about half of her salary is given over to food, she works an additional 10 to 15 hours a week tutoring and baby-sitting to supplement it.

Things I wished Bellafante addressed in her column that I believe would provide more insight into Fredrick’s spending: Does she have student loans or other debt? Does she save, or does she have plans to save? Are her dining out habits putting her in debt, or is she just dedicating what she’d spend on clothes/electronics/cable TV/vacations on food because she loves going to restaurants? Basically, I want to know whether or not the spending is irresponsible, or if she’s making tradeoffs. Because finding an additional 15 hours a week in side gigs to help pay for your dinners out doesn’t sound reckless to me, and we’d need a fuller financial picture before coming to any conclusions.