I don't know anyone who hasn't at least thought about scaling back and simplifying their lives. In fact, most folks have been forced to cut back because of this unnerving economy. In my own community, I've watched as some of my favorite boutique stores and restaurants have shut their doors. Car dealers for luxury vehicles are now standing on street corners wearing clown suits and sandwich signs to entice us to buy bling that is no longer a status symbol.
People who once had lives of excess now must prioritize their spending and rethink their life purpose. There are others who always lived on the financial edge and are now truly suffering. Most of us are somewhere in between. For myself, I no longer find much enjoyment from spending money on unnecessary stuff. It almost feels tawdry.
All of us have had to re-frame our thinking about what's important in life.
If you spent the 80's and 90's chasing your tail and accumulating glittery things, you have probably smacked up against an existential wall in recent years. At least once, haven't you thought, “There's got to be more than this?” Hence, all of the blogs and articles about simplicity, personal growth, minimalism, and economizing.
As I have given away my padded-shoulder power suits, simplified my home, and cleared away a lot of the physical clutter of my life, I've also reclaimed parts of my lifestyle that are really worth salvaging. Scaling back is essential, but we don't want to throw away the baby with the bath water.
I embrace the reality that sustained happiness comes from within. But if we are honest, there are some indulgences that do bring enough pleasure to justify the expense (if it's within your budget).
Here's my list of indulgences, and maybe you share some of these. I'd love to hear from you about the pampery things that you treasure, even as you practice the art of simplifying your life.
If you have ever had a massage from a really good massage therapist, this will probably be on your list too. At $60-$80 a pop, I don't do this often, but it is such a delectable treat. I leave the office like a boneless woman. Usually there is drool on my face and massage oil in my hair. I don't care. Ahhh. It's the best.
If you are trying to overcome something, deal with something, or make your life better, hiring a professional will get you there faster — no doubt about it. Asking for help to improve your life is one of the best ways you can spend your money. Do you research and find someone who has a strong track record with people you respect.
3. A Really Good Meal Out
When my children were small, we suffered through many mediocre meals at fast food restaurants or kid friendly places like Chiles or Applebees. I'd rather eat out less often, but enjoy an outstanding meal where the cuisine is something I couldn't or wouldn't prepare at home. The ambiance has to be right too. And the wine. And the service. (Not picky, am I ?)
4. Tickets To Your All-Time Favorite Band or Performance
My 16-year-old son loves the musician called Deadmau5 (pronounced Dead Mouse). He talked about a recent concert for months prior to the event, and saved his money to buy the ticket. He even spent weeks creating a paper mache mouse head to wear to the concert. If you have that kind of passion about a group or performer, by all means, buy a ticket and see a performance. You won't forget it. There's nothing like a live performance.
This one is way up there for me. I love going to new places, seeing new scenery and the way other people live. I also crave natural beauty and impressive landscapes. I would start selling items of furniture in order to travel if I had to. Not only is travel just plain thrilling, but also it expands you as a person and makes you far more interesting!
6. Expensive Shoes
I'm not talking about a fetish here. You don't have to be Imelda Marcos, but owning one or two pair of really good shoes is eye-opening. If you've ever spent the day with your feet crammed into a pair of cheap heels or heavy oxfords, you know precisely what I mean. A well-constructed pair of shoes is like liberating your feet from tortuous bondage.
7. Good Equipment For Your Hobby
If you have a hobby or activity that you are passionate about, then get the proper equipment so that you can enjoy the hobby to the fullest. I used to play a lot of tennis — badly. I told myself that I couldn't have a new racket until I improved. I was using a wooden racket from the '70's. I didn't improve. Hmm. Once I got a racket that didn't have a 3-inch string diameter, I was able to actually hit the ball.
I know the Kindle and it's newer cousins are the most convenient and least expensive way to purchase and read books. But I like books. Real books with covers and pages and inky words. I like holding them. I like the smell of them. I like the way they are stacked up next to my bed. Books make me happy.
9. Nice Sheets And A Great Pillow
I'm sorry, but polyester sheets feel like you are cocooned in a canvas bag. When the sheets make noise every time I move in bed, I know that natural fibers have left the room. Real cotton sheets and a squishy, down (or allergy- free fake downy stuff) pillow are just a little slice of heaven.
10. A Good Haircut
A couple of weeks after my first child was born, I went to a Super Cuts or Cuts Are Us (one of those drive-through hair places). I came out looking like a squirrel with one inch bangs. A fat, milky squirrel with raging hormones. If a haircut comes with a key chain or free car wash, run for the hills. With cuts or color, most of the time you get what you pay for.
11. A Cushy Chair
Do you have that one piece of furniture that you can really sink into, throw your legs over, or better yet fall asleep in? I've seen lots of man chairs, usually a recliner of some kind. I prefer the female version — a club chair that swivels and has a tall back. An ottoman must accompany it.
12. A Laptop
For the longest time, I really resisted getting a laptop. I already have a computer on my desk, and I didn't want to be tempted to work all the time. Plus, it seemed excessive. Well, I'm a blogger. So if I wanted to travel anywhere for more than a day or two, I was scrambling to find a computer to update my blog. My laptop gives me peace of mind and convenience.
I'd love to hear from you about your indulgences — the small or big things that you allow yourself from time to time to add joy, fun, convenience, or comfort to your life. We all have them, even as we are trying to scale back. Even if we can't afford them ourselves, let us enjoy yours vicariously!
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