Monday, July 18, 2011

No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

Today, just by a twist of schedule, I'm going to wind up putting a $200+ purchase on my credit card for my boss. There's no other way to get the stuff we need in time for an appointment and I happen at this time in my life to have a credit card and even enough cash that I could float this purchase without having to sacrifice something in my life. Such has not always been the case. Most importantly I trust this person to reimburse me in a timely fashion. In fact I worry a little that she will feel uncomfortable that I've spent my own money. I know this is a safe bet.

$200 for this, for anything, feels extravagant to me. In some ways my brain still processes money as though I were 14 and buying my first pieces of clothing on my own. Really nice dresses should only cost $40. That's a splurge right there. Forty whole American dollars. Whew! It feels that way despite the fact that I shop for skirts and dresses and know that nice dresses classified as "affordable" are around $100 give or take. My new sandals were $85. If they'd been $35 sandals I'd have bought them in brown and black. In this case I made the executive decision to buy the black. Two pairs at $85 seemed too much.

Movie tickets should be $7 in my brain. They haven't been $7 since I moved to New York in....a year that had a 7 in it. Not 2007. Nope, not that one either. And yet last Thursday I spent $15 for a ticket to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts I AND II and still felt fine admitting that I was too tired to see Part II. So I gave the ticket to someone waiting in line for just that part. Though I want to see Part II on the big screen, and I will at some point soon, I was only rushing to the theatre on Thursday because it was an unmissable chance to see Part I on the big screen so sacrificing half the perceived value seemed fine to me since it was a timely opportunity.

I'll spend $4 on an ice cream and $12 on a cocktail because I know that's the going rate and I don't buy them everyday but I still get a twinge every time I do it. I spent over $600 on transport and gas on a trip home for the weekend and that felt...dislocating. It's summer, I rented a car so I could bring the dog, it made the whole trip smoother and nicer, it was unquestionably worth every penny but the thought that I am a person who spends $600 on a weekend away (with free lodging and mostly free food and free chicken hand fed to my dog who was walked for free) still surprises me every time.

So the question to kick off this week (mine started at 5:20 this morning, when did yours start?) is: What feels extravagant to you?

*Photo: The most expensive free item ever to enter my life. His name is Elvis and he eats special food, takes special supplements, requires special medication and has parts of his body specially ultrasounded at least once a year but twice this year.


  1. Anonymous3:22 PM

    any bottle of wine over ten bucks. eating out. babysitters! most new things to be honest, i started shopping resale out of necessity, but really prefer it now for things like clothes and household stuff.

  2. This is the second summer of gluing the soles back onto these flip-flops. I could buy another pair, but that's like $80. That's $80 I can spend on food. Good food. Last weekend, I got a pedicure. It was my first one in over year. It felt rather extravagant and sometimes I feel guilty for spending that money. But then I look down at my pretty gray toes.

  3. Flip flops. I buy Reef or Rainbow. Can be upwards $50 to $60 a pair.
    And you know... nuts. Nuts are expensive. But I treat myself all the time. May be that is where my money is going. Nuts.
    Flowers, trees and shrubs. I spent about $900 this year alone and that is not including all the water. They are perennials so I will see them all, fingers crossed, next year. It is an investment in my happiness.

  4. pedicures and manicures are the kind of extravagance i absolutely cannot justify - when i paint my nails, i trash them within 24 hours. the idea of spending that kind of money to have nails i'll trash in a day is really unsettling.

  5. Babysitters are hella expensive. Remember that you can sometimes get a certain neighbor for the price of a glass of sangria.

    $80 flip flops you guys? Really?!??! Wow. But if they're good to your feet I'm all for them. Good shoes are important, which is what I keep telling myself when I buy the $85 sandals.

    Laura, that's why I tend to go with the pedi but not the mani. The place I go does them well so they last and they do softening and shaping and pampering things to my overworked feet that I'd NEVER do on my own. The manis are WAY special occasion because I, too, am hard on the hands and often impatient about letting them dry. Definite extravagance but one I like to go for once in a while.

    I can't believe none of us have mentioned higher end personal/health care like massages. I've got a gift certificate for one burning a hole in, my...I need to go find it.