Post your justifications for luxuries

See, this is where my need for justification comes in. There are essentially four people living on my husband’s salary. Now, we live in a low-cost area, and it’s a pretty decent salary. And he benefits from the really, really good sheets, too.

But at the end of the day (or pay period), there’s only so much “disposable income” left over. The fifteen-year-old goes round and round with us about what “necessities” are (because we supply her with necessities, and the luxuries have to come from Christmas and birthday gifts, or out of her allowance). I’ll grant you we indulge her at gift time. For Christmas, she got a 10 gig mp3 player, and for her birthday last month, she got a 20" flat screen TV for her room, as well as digital cable (which adds another $5.00/mo to our cable bill) and a DVD player. We also just bought her a cell phone, because we like to be able to keep in touch with her while she’s roaming around, and, well, it just seems safer. But we drew the line at buying her the model with the camera. That’s a luxury.

The six-year-old, fortunately, is content with what her $6.00 (every two weeks) allowance will buy her.

But hubby has his indulgences, too. He just spent $350.00 on new custom-fitted roller skates, and justified it like this: getting back to skating will help him get back in shape; if he rents skates at the rink, they fit like crap, and his feet hurt too bad to stay out on the floor the whole time. Therefore, he’s paying for rink time he’s not using. And besides, good skates can run unpwards of $1,000.00 so, $350.00 is a bargain!

I think we do a pretty good job of balancing everyone’s needs and wants.

I spend a lot of money on cosmetics and fitness, which I justify by telling myself that I’ll have to drag this body around for the next seventy-odd years, so I might as well take care of it. Which admittedly doesn’t make sense when one takes into account the fact that I eat whatever I want and smoke as well (albeit one or two a day). But life rarely makes sense. :slight_smile:

Books. Whenever I need to treat myself, I buy a couple of books.
My down comforter and my down pillows.
Bath sheet towels.

–Good wine and alcohol. Like others have said, life is too short.

–Going out for a nice dinner every so often with my boyfriend (see above)

–Nice clothes (I’m so picky about clothes and hate most stuff, so when I find something I actually like and that fits, I don’t care how much it costs)

–Nice shoes (see above)

–Like Sattua I must have the Best Yarn. If I am going to take the time and effort to knit something, it should be in the nicest yarn possible.

–Good toiletry items: shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, body wash, shave gel, razor, etc.

–I hardly ever wear makeup, but for the times that I do, I like the Good Stuff. I spent a lot of money on a stash of Mac cosmetics. The hefty price is so worth it for the quality!

The occassional latte: I need to get enough calcium in my diet.

Tea: Good tea is expensive. But it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than lattes.

Eating out: The Best-Kept Secret on Campus is the little cafe where you can get an amazing, delicious, made-from-fresh vegetarian soup and a fresh-baked roll for under $3. I could theoretically pack a lunch for less than that . . . but for Pete’s sake, why would I?

Why do luxuries that I can afford require justification?

Well, for some people, no justification is required. This is especially true if you’re on your own. But when you’re part of a family, it’s sometimes a challenge to balance everyone’s wants and needs. Plus, sometimes it’s just a fun little game I play with myself. Sometimes I try to mentally justify buying something I don’t even really want, just to see if I can come up with something good. (I don’t actually buy that stuff, mind you, I just see if I can come up with reasoning that would justify it).

Old china is one of my favorite luxuries, so I was partial to this essay just because of its title, but the rest of it talks about how much sweeter little luxuries are when they are truly <i>luxuries</i>, and how they seem to lose something when they are easy to afford. Basically, when the “why not” factor comes into play.

Old China, by Charles Lamb

Norinew, I’m glad that you get so much pleasure out of your little indulgences. Keep it up!

Reading to me is, first and foremost, the transfer of ideas from the author to me and then my interpretation of those ideas – but reading books that are well-crafted, with much thought put into their design, makes it a much more well-rounded experience for me.

I check a fair number of books out of the library, but I much prefer to read a book that is mine, mine, mine – and most of my books are published either by the Library of America (I’m a subscriber at around $30 each) or Folio Society (around $40-$70 US – I was a member for several years, but I get them more thriftily on the Internet now) editions. As an LOA subscriber, I get the versions that come inside a sturdy slipcase rather than a dustjacket. The Folio Society books, too, come inside a slipcase. I buy these books for the wonderful ideas and stories they contain, but I get much sensory pleasure from feeling the fine paper on my fingertips, admiring the craftsmanship in the bindings, and simply seeing them on my bookcases.

I could save a lot of money by getting more books from the library, or by purchasing cheaper paperbacks or mass-produced hardcovers – and I’d deprive myself of part of the pleasure I get from reading. I’m perfectly happy with store-brand or generic consumer goods, and I choose to spend the money I save on those items on well-made books.

I am in a position of trying to justify the luxury of buying paperback books. My husband can no longer hold a paperback, so for books he will want to read, I have to buy the hardback. I hate reading hardbacks. Sure, the look nice on the shelf and last longer, but I like reading and abusing paperbacks.

Organic fruits and vegetables–I think it’s worth a little extra to eat lovely food.

Semi-expensive skincare products and makeup–L’Occitane, Body Shop, Lancome, etc.–It’s a habit I guess, if I had to go on the cheap I could, but this stuff just feels better.

Car washes–I feel more guilty about this for some reason, but I like lookin’ good in a clean and shiny car.

I guess I don’t really have to justify these little things, I can afford them.

Unlike most necessities, quality sheets are just the type of product where internet bargains are plentiful. I too forgo PJ’s and used to insist on 500-1000 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. Unfortunately, my bed partner for the past couple of years hates both fabric softeners and using a clothes dryer - so they aren’t soft enough for my taste. That’s why they’re packed away & it’s been flannel ever since.

My justification for all my girly luxuries is simply that I am female. The lone female* in a family full of men and boys (husband and three sons).

If momma ain’t happy…

*I am also the only girl in a whole generation born to either side of my family. I have 4 females in the generation before me (2 on paternal, 2 on maternal) and 2 females in the generation after me (both on the paternal side). Females are in short supply at my family reunions.