If my girlfriend wants to go out to an expensive restaurant, how can I best tell her that I can't afford it occasionally (since I almost always pay for us both)? I'm fairly well off, but most of my money is wrapped up in investments, which I've accumulated over several years. I also have a little money in savings for emergencies and I live off what's left of each check after I put money in savings/investments. Sometimes money is "tight" just before I get paid again. My options are cut back until payday or take money from savings/investments.
I can technically afford a lot of expenses, but things like expensive restaurants are not in the budget I've allocated for myself. How can I communicate this to my girlfriend without saying that I can't afford the expense? In my mind, "I can't afford it" kind of means I'm living paycheck to pay check.