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Friday, December 19, 2008

The One Luxury I Won't Do Without: Worth It

The “New York Times” today posted a set of short essays with this heading. The ones I read named tickets to the Nutcracker ballet (these are expensive) and a single oyster (this one cost $1.75). This reminded me of one of my favorite girlhood books, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.” The main character Francie is bookish girl (like me!). The family lives in terrible poverty. Francie loves to hold a mug of hot coffee; when the coffee is cold, she throws it out. A relative chides the family for waste, but Francie’s mother declares that everyone should have one thing to waste. So, like the oyster or the mug of hot coffee, your luxury need not be expensive.

My luxuries? Besides travel and my house (small, but too expensive for us at the time, now paid off), it would be Cabot extrasharp cheddar. Real parmesan cheese. Decent pasta. Plugra butter. Oops, that’s four. Talk about abundance. I can have those every day. I’m so lucky

For Frugal Daughter, it’s Chinese mary jane shoes in a rainbow of colors. These have become her signature footwear.

For Frugal Son, it’s a subscription to Saveur magazine.

For Mr. Dr. Frugal Scholar, it would be the complete set of Proust’s “A La Recherche…” in the leather-bound Pleiade edition. He bought this when he lived for two years in France after college. Hey! He already owns that, so he’s lucky too.

What’s it for you, dear readers?


The Fabric Bolt said...

First, in response to the bowling entry a few days back - yes, we all bowl here, but haven't in a year due to other obligations. When we first got into it we purchased all our own stuff - much cheaper and you can buy last year's model bowling balls for $9.99 on ebay and have them drilled for you. Also, if you find your grip style changes they can redrill the ball, which is what I did with mine.

Now, about the luxury. Once our house was robbed and ALL my jewelry was taken, I only replaced a few pieces which had good resale value (if ever needed in the future). I have a few pieces from Tiffany, but certainly not a jewelry box full! I would say my one luxury is a nice purse (also has good resale value!). It is one thing I use every single day, I'm at an age when clothes don't do it for me anymore, so the purse is it. With its great resale value, I can always gain a large portion of my money back when I want an update.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Fabric Bolt--Thanks for the bowling tips!

My parents had a similar response to a robbery...
Would love to hear more about your adventures in purses.
And I know what you mean about clothes not doing it any more!
Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

Chance said...

My "worth its" are good Sumatran coffee (but I nuke if it gets cold), and like you, Cabot Extra Sharp cheddar (bonus: local)cheese, freshmade goat cheese, toasted pinon nuts, homemade butter from Butterworks Jersey milk, plane tickets just about anywhere, the smell of a new book, fine power tools, single malt Scotch...the list goes on.

I had a stretch of poverty once, and my big splurge was having my laundry done and folded for me at the Chinese handwash place. Seven bucks once a month, precision folding, wrapped in blue paper, and I felt like a queen carrying it home, nevermind I ate at the Salvation Army soup kitchen more often than not. Some luxuries are Worth It, especially in hard times.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Chance--I love your list, except I prefer used books, especially if an interesting person annotated.

Anonymous said...

Hey, we're honored that Cabot's Extra Sharp made your list of indulgences!

I think I'll always splurge on flavored kombucha tea, semi-expensive jeans and an occasional plate of hot food from Whole Foods.

Anonymous said...

What a great blog--I've stumbled across it tonight, thinking of giving my own blog a similar focus for 2009.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Cabot Jen--I can't believe Cabot cheese has found our little blog!

@Terri--Keep in touch and we'll check out your blog!