Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Little Luxuries

Everyone has them--something unnecessary you do every once in a while to indulge yourself (I qualify it with unnecessary because, for example, eating is necessary to sustain life, but eating gourmet meals every night is not necessary). Maybe you don't realize you do it, or you hide it because it's something you'd rather not reveal--like getting your back waxed or having Botox injections. It's not necessarily something physical, either--maybe you see new movies as soon as they come out, or have season tickets to your favorite sports team's games.

My little luxury used to be going to coffee shops. Now that I work from home and don't know any good coffee shops in my area (which makes me miss Michigan and Virginia oh-so-much), I've outgrown that one (don't worry, I've found a new one). My husband's little luxury is video games. He has five game systems and probably around 200 games. I counted them once last year, and the total was around 150. It has only grown since then. Of course, I can't write about luxuries without mentioning Jason's big luxury: his red 1997 C5 Corvette that he got for his 26th birthday last year (the second Corvette he's owned, spoiled man--the first was a blue 1998 C5, which he decided to trade in for a new car with fewer maintenance needs after we got engaged). That's him in the picture with his car at a "Vettes for Vets" fundraiser for a nearby veterans' hospital last fall--a cause close to his heart since he's a veteran as well as a Corvette enthusiast. We got the Corvette out of winter storage over the weekend, and he's itching for nice weather so we can take the Targa top off and go for a ride. We don't need three cars, of course. But he loves this car. Not as much as he loves me, mind you, but enough that I couldn't say no to him getting it because it makes him that happy. And he did get it for a steal--it's in immaculate condition and had ridiculously low mileage for a 10-year-old car, plus he got it at a price a few thousand dollars less than you generally find.

My new little luxury is getting my nails done every few weeks. Not the fake, glued-on claws like Jerry Springer guests wear, but a technique called overlay in which they use a powder which, when combined with an activator liquid of some sort, forms into a gel to create a hard coating over the nail so it's longer and stronger. I discovered this when I was looking into options for our wedding. I've kept up going every few weeks ever since--it's addicting! My hands look better than ever and it keeps me from picking at my cuticles. Plus, it keeps my nails from bending and chipping at the ends from typing so much. Nail techs recommend that you get a fill every two weeks (to fill in the area where your nail bed has grown out), but I try to stretch it as long as I can. I usually end up waiting until they either look atrocious or are too long to type. I've tried a few different nail salons here in Dracut (a small area, admittedly), and have finally found one where they are both low-cost and do a consistently good job: MyLe's Nails. They're actually cheaper than the other places I've been--only $18 for a fill and manicure, which usually runs $24-$26 around here. I pay with a 20-dollar bill and don't worry about change, so there's no fuss. Usually I go for something pretty tame, like a French manicure or shades of pink or peach. This week, though, I felt like blue, so now my hands look like they belong to a seventh-grader. A married seventh-grader. I ruined two nails on my right hand within minutes of leaving the salon, so I'll probably change the color on my own in a few days. Note: I had serious second thoughts about posting a picture of me with no makeup on, but I decided I couldn't be bothered to retake it, so I'll leave it. Jason thought it was cute, anyway.

Growing up, I never splurged on things like manicures. I only got my hair done professionally for a dance one time (prom my sophomore year). I never went tanning (well, only once to build a base before we went on a family cruise--I burn, so my mom thought it'd be a good idea... tanning to build a base, that's so 90s!). I didn't get expensive senior pictures (we went to the local portrait studio and the results were rather awful). In college, I lived at home two and a half out of my four years because it was cheaper (and because I actually like my mom and sister and enjoy being with them). Because my parents are divorced, we always lived pretty frugally, and I still try very hard to be a smart shopper and "pay myself first" (as my mom would say). It's hard sometimes--I prefer to buy organic produce, I have a penchant for Gap clothes, and I like to go out to eat on weekends--but I think Jason and I do a much better job than a lot of twentysomethings. He doesn't think me getting my nails done once or twice a month is unreasonable, and I don't mind him buying the occasional $60 video game. I'm glad we can agree on acceptable splurges.

What are your little (or big) luxuries? Maybe it is a tiny thing, like spending an extra 50 cents for a shot of vanilla in your latte, or maybe it's something awestriking* to those of us who have student loans and starter jobs. How do you justify them--do you have to? To whom? What luxuries do you wish you could have?

* My lovely, Angela (of Angelaboration), created this word-which-is-not-a-word. For more on "awestriking" and why it should be introduced into the popular lexicon, read #5 here. We want everyone to use it so it will spread like wildfire. Try using it in a sentence today!

1 comment:

~Angela~ said...

I buy lunch every single day. It usually costs about $5 (which is CHEAP in the city) to buy from the cafeteria at work. I know I could save money by making my lunch myself, but I work that $25 into my weekly budget because it makes me happier. Sandwiches always taste better when someone else makes them.