12 Pampery Indulgent Things That Are So Worth It, Even If You’re Simplifying

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.

1. Massage

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.

2. Coaching/Mentoring/Counseling

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.

5. Travel

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.

8. Books

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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  • The Vizier

    Hi Barrie,

    I like this article since I too have some indulgences myself, although I try my best not to let it get out of hand.

    I have gone for a few massages and I do understand where you are coming from. But like you, I don’t really do it often although it is a great treat once in awhile.

    My main indulgences are books, comics, action figures and games.

    Books: I love to read. I usually read about history, empires, emperors, science fiction, self-help and so on. I thought that I was the only one who has books stacked up next to my bed haha! And yes, like you I also love the smell of books, I prefer the “new” smell to the “old” one though. But reading a good book is always great.

    Comics: I like comics and manga. I love the stories they tell. Some of them are actually very moving, especially the mangas.

    Action Figures: Hah, this is indeed an indulgence. When I read about some character long enough, I form an attachment and it is great to see it come to “life” in the form of an action figure.

    PC Games: Reading about empires and history just isn’t fun if you cannot reshape it according to your wishes. That’s why games are good form of distraction. It allows you to go away into another world. But of course all things should be done in moderation.

    Thanks for sharing this great post Barrie!
    .-= The Vizier´s last blog ..How a Great Friendship Ended in Tragedy =-.

      Barrie Davenport

      Hi Vizier,
      You have opened my eyes to a new perspective about PC Games. You clearly have a wonderful imagination. Isn’t it great that there are cool things out there to spark and stimulate your imagination? Thank you for sharing your indulgences. Thank you for your kind comments.

  • Roberta

    I am a rational adult addicted to “The Phantom.” It is delivered to my inbox daily – of all the comics I get, this is the one.
    Hmmm….horse stables. I love the smell, I love grooming and working with tack. Haven’t done it for awhile. A local therapeutic horse program needs volunteers….indulge while giving back – can’t beat that.
    Movies – I used to go all the time and haven’t for ages. Took myself to “Secretariat.” Next time, I will bring ear plugs for the forever commercials but wow, what a film, what a horse and owner.
    Books – real ones. I have a Nook. I have Kindle app., Barnes & Noble app.: I read the real books. A house is not a home without books and dogs.
    .-= Roberta´s last blog ..Animal founder founder dies founder- woman- animal – News – Sedalia Democrat =-.

      Barrie Davenport

      OK, I must check out comics. Two readers in a row who put them on their list of indulgences! I should have included movies on my list too. I love going to movies — much more than watching a DVD at home. And I totally get the love of horses. That was a passion for me as a kid. Thank you for sharing Roberta!

  • mliav

    The good meal out is high on my list. Just the fact that you don’t have to clean up and do the dishes afterward is worth the splurge!
    .-= mliav´s last blog ..The Secret is Appreciation =-.

      Barrie Davenport

      Absolutely! Or shop for the food, put it away, prepare the meal, and then listen to your kids complain about it! 🙂

  • Steve-Personal Success Factors

    Love hearing about the laptop and the good haircut. Both are high on my list. Your comment about the squirrel with bangs cracked me up. In college, I went to a beauty school because they were offering $3 haircuts. After I came out, I had to go to the local barbershop and pay full price for an old fashioned flat-top to minimize the damage 🙂
    .-= Steve-Personal Success Factors´s last blog ..The Lazy Mans Way to the Best Year Yet =-.

      Barrie Davenport

      Hi Steve,
      Well, from your photo, it looks like you and your hair have well-recovered! I think we all have a bad haircut story. Thanks for sharing yours.

  • Martha

    Great post – and all of yours are! This one in particular struck a cord with me though as I’m a newly retired massage therapist with 17 years of experience under my hands!

    Massage therapy can be an indulgence or often, for some folks, a way to eliminate pain, physical and mental. Healthy touch is a must for so many folks, especially the elderly and physically abused. There is a concept called “skin hunger.”

    Hmmmm, maybe I need to start a blog about the benefits of massage therapy and all it entails!

    I’ve actually been thinking about that for quite a while now. Even have a report written…..

    Now where is that URL I purchased?! lol

    Thanks for the nudge and reminder,

      Barrie Davenport

      Yes, yes, yes!!! Start the blog. And throw in some health and nutrition info too. That would be a great blog. If you need help getting it started properly, check out the A List Blogger’s Club. There’s a link on my sidebar. It is the best value I’ve seen in a long time. Tons of info for a nominal cost.

  • Martha

    Hi Barrie,
    Just a quick note as I see you moderate your replies – the two hyperlinks at the bottom of your post aren’t working for me. Maybe they are broken?! I use the latest version of Firefox, fyi.

    Thanks for a great blog….Wishing you all the best,

      Barrie Davenport

      Thank you so much for letting me know Martha. I fixed them. I really appreciate the heads up!

  • Jeanne

    I agree with all of your list of indulgences and will be calling for my massage in a few minutes.

    Another specific indulgence that the men in my life had tried for years to persuade me to give in to is – good athletic shoes, particularly for running. I guess this fits somewhere between your “Expensive shoes” & “Good Equipment for your hobby”. I never minded paying more for my sons running shoes, cleats, etc. But when it came time to my walking/running shoes, anything over $35 just seemed excessive – until I wound up with an injury. Now, I happily consult with experts at the local running store for the shoe that would work best for me, regardless of price.

    I also really enjoy getting a mani-pedi and having long chats with good friends – sometimes, at the same time!

      Barrie Davenport

      Hi Jeanne,
      I thought about adding the running shoe category, but you are right — it fit in both categories. You’ve inspired me to go get new running shoes myself. I guess if I can feel the pebbles under my feet through the shoes, I’ve worn them too long! I love the long chats with friends too (especially you), but thankfully, you don’t charge me! 🙂

  • Tiffany

    Travel has to be my number one Indulgence–No, that’s the wrong word. It’s a MUST. When single, I would not even date a guy that wasn’t free to travel and when I married my Husband that was somewhere in the Vows. 🙂 We don’t have a Global Budget (yet) but luckily we live in the middle of a State that’s bordered by the Atlantic and the Blue Ridge Parkway/Pigsah Forest so that doesn’t stop us from day hikes, weekend road trips or E-Saver flights.

    **Last night I did sell off Furniture just last night to have extra money to drive down to Charleston or Savannah next weekend for a Ghost Tour. 🙂 $235 is just enough for gas and hotel.

    Other loves: Good desserts. Good music. Performing Arts.

      Barrie Davenport

      That is so funny Tiffany — you actually did sell your furniture. You have your priorities straight!! You live in a beautiful area. I went to Furman in Greenville, so I spent time in Pisgah. I also love Charleston. The Ghost Tour sounds great. I hope it’s a blast. Sounds like we have the same line-up of indulgences. Thank you for you comment!

  • Carolina

    the things you wrote about kind of brought a smile to my face. i love exercise, so i recently invested in a personal trainer to learn to strength train. i also bought myself a yoga pass for the weekends. I’m considering signing up for weekend yoga training. i love travel so i make it a priority as well. I recently made a personal mistake and have decided to invest in some counseling to try to figure things out – i feel like i need the help to assist me in focusing my priorities and getting rid of all the clout that often confuses us when wanting to make a decision. And best of all, I owed myself a haircut for at least 5 months and I finally went yday. My hair smells delicious and is quite voluminous. 🙂 Thanks for reminding me how important it is that we invest in the things we love.

      Barrie Davenport

      Hi Carolina,
      I’m so glad it made you smile! Yoga, exercise, counseling — all great things that will make you a better person. And your hair will look great while you are doing these things. What more could a girl want? 🙂 Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it.

  • Alex Yong

    Every fortnight I would go for a good sauna and massage. And a good meal with the right ambiance is a great. I frequently drive to another state just to enjoy the food! After all working so hard and being stingy to ourselves isn’t fair, right?

    Thanks for a lovely post, Barrie.
    .-= Alex Yong´s last blog ..Little Big Things =-.

      Barrie Davenport

      Oooh. A sauna and a massage. Now that sounds wonderful. I’m sorry you have to drive to another state for a great meal! But some things are worth traveling for, right? Thank you for sharing Alex.

  • Alex Blackwell

    Mary Beth and I love a good meal out. It’s so important to us, that we actually budget for it so we can enjoy and not feel guilty afterward.


      Barrie Davenport

      That’s the way to do it Alex. It’s no fun to indulge if you know you can’t afford it. I hope you and Mary Beth enjoy a lovely dinner out this weekend, and raise a toast to the pleasure of your indulgence!

  • Elizabeth

    It’s true, a massage isn’t an indulgence as much as it is preventive maintenance. But also an indulgence!
    My must-have is a $400 blender to make vegetable smoothies, the only way to get 10-plus servings a day. It’s a chunk of change, but once you have it, you’re set. If you want more info, check out greensmoothiegirl.com. A friend recommended the site and it really upped my nutritional knowledge.
    Must go sell some furniture now.

      Barrie Davenport

      That sounds yummy. I want to check it out. For $400, that must be some blender! If it cleans up after itself, I’m sold. 🙂

  • Daniella

    Going out for coffee. I usually make my own coffee in the morning (and it’s delicious!) but going for a good cup of coffee, or latte, or steamer that someone else makes for you is fantastic. Add a book, or a friend to chat with and I’ve got the perfect indulgence.
    .-= Daniella´s last blog ..Evolution of Dance =-.

      Barrie Davenport

      That sounds lovely Daniella. It’s especially wonderful on a rainy, snowy, cold morning. Wanna meet for coffee this weekend? 🙂

  • Jeremy McCarthy

    Hi Barrie, great article!

    I work in the spa industry which often wrestles with our reputation as a source of pampering indulgence rather than a source of wellbeing. In my blog, “In Defense of Pampering” I argue that we are both: http://psychologyofwellbeing.com/201006/in-defense-of-pampering.html. And both are important.


      Barrie Davenport

      Yes, these small things can make a difference in our well-being. It’s amazing how we put those at the bottom of the list sometimes. Most of us have to choose our indulgences, but I would gladly sacrifice a new car or an updated kitchen for a wonderful trip and a few massages a year!

  • tina

    Am fairly new to your blog, but I LOVE it! You are a real inspiration. I am working on starting a blog myself and hope I can come even close to your quality and value of contribution. Agree on your list of indulgences. Top of my list is travel without a doubt. We have been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit with our children and they have told us that it was one the best things we could have done for them!
    Warmest regards,

      Barrie Davenport

      Hi Tina,
      Thank you so much for your very kind comments. I am so glad you discovered my blog and hope that you will subscribe. Congrats on starting your own blog — that’s wonderful. The best thing I ever did was get involved with the A List Blogger’s Club (see my sidebar). They provide a real road map on how to create a successful blog — tons of great info. Your children are fortunate that you instilled a love of travel in them. It really opens up a new world.

  • Dori

    Hi Barrie,

    in my “special” case my indulgence is wool. Very nice and often very expensive wool. I love to create pullovers, jackets coats and scarves and to knit them with my beautiful needles from rosewood 🙂 That makes me really happy.

    Thank you for this wonderful post,


      Barrie Davenport

      That sounds lovely. Do you sell your knitted items? I’d love to see them.


        Hi Barrie,

        no – not yet 🙂 I just started to give away some knitted things to people I adore – to get more place in my wardrobe (I hope my English is understandable).

        Have a nice day – Dori

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  • Cristina

    What a lovely list 🙂
    I particularly agree with:
    massage, books, haircut, sheets (hate polyester!), travel, equipment…well, all of it, to be honest!
    I’d add music, living close to nature, and a fireplace. And fresh flowers (or plants).
    And chocolate.
    OK, I’d better stop…
    .-= Cristina´s last blog ..Living Modern: The sourcebook of contemporary interiors =-.

      Barrie Davenport

      Since you blog about beauty, I would imagine your list is very, very long! Fortunately, there is so much beauty that is absolutely free. As always, thank you for your comments.

  • Sam

    My indulgence is Hookah at a lounge. I don’t do it very often, but the feeling I get socially, or even alone is relaxing and fun. The second, is yoga classes. Again, every so often, and I try to do it on my own every day, but I like getting input from professionals in case I’m doing somethign wrong. I would hate to sustain injury because I was doing something wrong on my own for a long while. I love your blog, it’s very inspirational!

  • Eileen

    Loved your list. It really made me evaluate my life and appreciate the pampering things I do without really thinking of them that way, like great sheets and comfy shoes (Don’t take away my Pikolinos!) My greatest indulgences are books and art. A visit to an art studio, gallery or art fair fills me with joy and inspiration. And, of course, no indulgence can compare to a steaming cup of freshly ground French roast! Great blog.

  • Be Yourself (or how I take care of myself first so I can take care of my family better)

    […] course, it doesn’t hurt if you pamper yourself once in a while. In fact, I’d say schedule it into your day, your week, your month and your […]

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