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Photo By: independentman

This article in today’s Globe and Mail reminded me of a dining experience I had earlier this year. Along with three friends, I went to a well-reviewed restaurant in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood.

Despite its location in the city’s artsy yet poorer neighbourhoods, our party of 20-somethings was the youngest in the restaurant. It may have been because of this that we had horrible service. We saw other people seated after us place their orders well before we did–at least half an hour after we sat down. Our server, who claimed to be new to the establishment was curt, neglectful and even borderline bitchy when we asked about the excessive sediment in our wine.

For the most part, our food was fine. Had our service been better, we likely would have ordered another bottle of wine, just like we would have ordered dessert. Instead, we asked for our bill after the entrees. The service ruined an otherwise OK meal. We have vowed never to return to the restaurant, but we still left a decent tip of at least 17%.

If presented with this situation again, I would not tip that much again. We probably should have discussed our “beefs” with the manager, but by the time they took our entrée plates away, we just wanted to get the hell out of there and forget about the whole thing. Clearly, I haven’t forgotten about it.

In the newspaper article, an exerpt from Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip — Confessions of a Cynical Waiter, the author describes seven types of tippers. On that night, I believe we were “Flat Tippers.”

This is how he describes them:

“You could spill hot soup on their baby or treat them like the Sultan of Brunei, they’ll always tip you 15 per cent.”

If you had planned a nice dinner out and received service like we did, what would you have tipped? What do you tip for good service?

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Photo By: Anderson Mancini

The first thing, and possibly the best thing I’ve done to save money so far is cook. I’ve always loved being in the kitchen but up until a few weeks ago, I let laziness get the better of me. Instead of cooking, we would order delivery from nearby sushi places, Swiss Chalet or pizza twice a week. As I’ve pointed out before, laziness costs money. But laziness also made us eat unhealthy meals that were often less satisfying than something homecooked. I was also feeling guilty about the horrible amounts of waste takeout and fast food containers create.

This all changed when we committed to meal planning. Every weekend, I search my favourite food websites, cook books and magazines for healthy, uncomplicated and tasty dishes to make. The grocery bill ends up being longer and more expensive, but for about $40-50/each, we end up with a full week’s worth of meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Some might say that $50 in groceries is a lot for one person and they’re probably right. I’m working on being more frugal at the supermarket, but that said, I’ve sill managed to save a lot of money. Here’s a chart I created to compare what I was spending on food each week and what I’m spending now:

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