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My Indulgence Checklist

Updated on August 30, 2014

Everybody has their little indulgences; the kind of things they like to spend their money on to bring them pleasure whether they think they can afford it or not, simply because it improves their quality of life. Believe it or not, I didn't have many of these in my life. I've never been in a position where I had extra money to burn. Or if I did, I always managed to find moochers to leech it from me before I could use it for myself.

I could be bitter about it, but I'm having too much fun discovering all the new and wonderful ways I can spoil myself. So for my fifth hub, and to commemorate meeting my quota, I would like to share with you all the ways I'm enriching my life in hopes that you can be inspired to do the same.

If you're financially struggling, remember that you can finagle your spending habits to allow some room for maneuvering. According to financial guru, Ramit Sethi, a cheap person is cheap with everything... but a frugal person spends money on the things they love and is cheap with everything else.

Soap Mesh Bags

These are really, really cool. My ex introduced me to these little mesh baggies and I've been hooked ever since. You just put the soap right in there, zip it closed and it becomes an instant loofah! I know some people prefer shower gels, but I use bar soap. I have oily skin and shower gel doesn't help dry it out quite the same. This little packet makes lathering easier and more luxurious. They go for about $6 on amazon, or you can pick one up at The Container Store for about the same price.

I don't think I could ever go back to just using bar soap on it's own.

Gourmet Food

Even though I'm not exercising much these days, I still try to eat right. As you know, the "right" foods all cost more money because they are considered "gourmet". I can easily ring up a $150 grocery bill in Whole Foods and $100 in Trader Joe's for only a week's worth of grub for a single woman. The sad truth in this country is that anything cheap isn't good, and anything good isn't cheap. That's why I take the bus to two trains to work for 1 1/2 hours every single day to save myself the $7.50 metro north cost. That money adds up to an extra $37.50 every week I can spend on awesome noms.

For instance, I loathe cow milk, so I cannot praise So Delicious products enough. I also love a specific Earth Balance non-hydrogenated margarine flavored with coconut oil that they only sell in Whole Foods for $5. My tart cherry juice is almost $4 a bottle. I love a lot of the cereals in the organic section, like Envirokidz and Cascadian Farms. But not Kashi, those are freakin' gross.

The point is, if you want to go out of your way to eat healthy, you'll be paying out the nose. I know most people have way more important things to spend their money on, but food is mega-important to me so I make the investment.

Greenmarkets

I won't lie, this is where a vast majority of my money goes.

I know most people don't consider greenmarket produce "gourmet", but seeing as how it's 2-3x more expensive than supermarket produce, it can count as an intimidating indulgence to those who barely make ends meet as is. I look at it like this: the unhealthy amount of pesticides they drown store-bought produce in not only makes it taste off, but they are all dangerous to varying degrees and are proven to have negative impacts on both humans and pollinators like bees. According to the EPA, effects can range from damaging the nervous system, disrupting the endocrine system, to being outright cancerous. I always figured I could either pay for decent food now, or pay twice as much in hospital bills when I'm older.

Incidentally, when doing research for this article, I came across this article linking the pesticide Dichlorophenol to the development of food allergies. Turns out the same stuff is used to chlorinate our drinking water.

I'm not entirely sure what I'm supposed to do with this information.

Screw it, I sing the greenmarket gospels because naturally, locally grown food is way tastier, and I love the market-going experience as a whole.
Screw it, I sing the greenmarket gospels because naturally, locally grown food is way tastier, and I love the market-going experience as a whole.

Wen®

Stylist Chaz Dean created this cleansing conditioner without the lathering agent called Laurel Sulfate because it strips your natural oils from your hair, which is where you get that limp, gross feeling after a day or two of not washing it.

Let me tell you, a 16 oz bottle of this stuff costs $30-40. Worth. Every. Penny.

Before I found Wen® my hair was horrible. It was frizzy, thin and the ends were a jacked up mess. I felt like a freak, I had no idea what was wrong with me. As it turns out, it was all that laurel sulfate that was destroying my hair. From the first time I used it, I noticed an immediate difference. I cannot go back to regular shampoo, even if it would save me a ton of money. This stuff gave me my hair back. I'm eternally grateful and cannot recommend it enough!

Order it on wen.com or on amazon.

Vacations

This seems to be a huge indulgence for many people, and something I was never able to afford to do much. I have a whole list of places I want to visit before I die, but before this year I hadn't been able to get to any of them. I couldn't help but feel just slightly bitter when hearing about a coworker's trip to the Dominican Republic, or a resident's excursion to Aruba. The inner adventurer in me asked, "why can't I go too?" So this year I went big-- I shelled out over $1,100 for a trip across the pond. I've never had so much credit card debit in my life, but this was easily the most awesome thing I've ever done for myself.

What you're looking at is the famous London Bridge taken from the Thames Clipper. The boat ride was around sunset so I was able to get a shot during the day and at night for juxtaposition purposes. I was such a stereotypical tourist, but I was finally able to meet some internet friends I'd known for almost a decade and we had a blast. When I'm older, I won't recall the debt, but I'll still have these treasured memories. Not only that, but it gave me the travel bug. I'm scheduled to visit Las Vegas with a friend in November, and I can't wait!

Next year, I'm planning a trip to Hawaii and I'll be a stereotypical tourist there too. I'm currently working on rebuilding my life into something I won't need a vacation from, but in the meantime I'm just going to keep treating myself.

I'm worth it.

I took this when the Clipper docked in Greenwich, London, and will be laughing at it for the rest of my life. If you aren't American, you probably won't get why this is so funny. The little cow figurine too tho. Oh my gawd. ~Snortlaughs~
I took this when the Clipper docked in Greenwich, London, and will be laughing at it for the rest of my life. If you aren't American, you probably won't get why this is so funny. The little cow figurine too tho. Oh my gawd. ~Snortlaughs~

Restaurants

From the dirt poor to the filthy, elite rich, we all like to indulge in restaurant dining. As a foodie, I'm no different. Who wants to cook all the time? I'm all for birthday dinner parties, but sometimes it's better to let someone else do the work, especially if you can't manage to get a risotto just right. Chef Ramsay may make it look easy, but I assure you that it's not.

Despite the state of the economy, restaurants have continued to rake in profits. There are a couple of excellent places I could recommend to you if you're ever in the NYC area. Since I like to travel, I will in turn ask the locals for any recommendations they might have for me.

This photo was taken at The Strip House in lower Manhattan. It was over $100 per plate but the food was unforgettable. And the cake... well, see for yourself.


Thank you, Andrew Perell for this hilarious photo of Matthew and that deadly 24-layer cake. Leave it to a film student to get a shot like this.

You don't need to spend a fortune to get a great dining experience either. Brooklyn Bloom (1607 Avenue U in Sheepshead Bay) had this delicious mushroom pineapple chicken with green salad for only $4.50! And they have free wi-fi.
You don't need to spend a fortune to get a great dining experience either. Brooklyn Bloom (1607 Avenue U in Sheepshead Bay) had this delicious mushroom pineapple chicken with green salad for only $4.50! And they have free wi-fi.

Art Supplies

Because there are days I feel like being ten years old. Don't judge me.

Not for nothing, but art supplies are criminally expensive. When I went to SVA, I was spending like $10,000 just on supplies each year, not including the tuition. And that was in 1997! I can't imagine what it's like out there now. Art students, you have my condolences.

These days I restrict myself to bargain sketchbooks, crayons and cheap colored pencils from amazon. It's all I can afford.

When I'm rich, I'll buy a gazebo on a beach and be free to draw and color in whatever medium I choose. For now, I'm enjoying all the amazing high fantasy coloring books people are putting out there. Better 30 years too late than never.

Crafting

I'm a really big fan of working with my hands. I make all kinds of cool stuff. I sew, I make costume jewelry, I make dreamcatchers and I love soldering projects. My nine year old nephew wants to build robots when he grows up (because they're cool) and so this is definitely something I want to introduce him to when I get the extra time and money for NYC Makery classes. Seriously, if you live in the New York area and haven't taken a class from either NYC Makery, the Brooklyn Brainery or Skillshare, you're missing out.

p.s. Skillshare is global, and many of their classes are online!

Turning my plastic drawers into a chalkboard took me an entire weekend to do, but it was fun.
Turning my plastic drawers into a chalkboard took me an entire weekend to do, but it was fun.

Flowers

I work in a building where a lot of well-to-do people live, and I've noticed that a lot of them get flowers for themselves for the sole purpose of decorating their lavish apartments. For many years, I disliked the idea of cut flowers because,

a) They decay within days

b) I didn't have the money or inclination to get them myself, because why would I?

c) Up until that point, nobody had ever gotten me flowers before and inwardly, I was bitter.

So a few years ago I was with someone who got me flowers, and suddenly it was the greatest gift ever. I felt like a lady. And now that we're not together anymore, this road to self-love I'm on has me emulating the people who I work around, and I have to admit I deserve to get myself flowers once in a while, just to spruce the place up. Just so I can look at my work space, see the bouquet there and smile. It's not up to anyone else to get me flowers; I can do that myself.

What is your most frequent indulgence?

See results

My Curiosity Is Annoying

Out of a lack of anything better to do with my time, I began asking the people around me what they liked to indulge themselves on, expecting the results between my coworkers and the folks who lived in the building to yield vastly different answers. I got a mixed bag.

My coworkers' answers were the following:

  • Bath salts, body lotions, pampering stuff
  • Expensive electronics (tablets, iphones, etc.)
  • Video and computer games
  • Watches, hats, sneakers, clothes, accessories
  • Food, restaurants
  • Vacations, sightseeing
  • Cologne, perfumes
  • Haircuts, jewelry, grooming supplies
  • Going to lounges, bars and movies
  • Gym memberships
  • Playing lotto
  • Books, magazines
  • Education
  • Rec time, bowling/billiards/mini golf
  • "Me" time, because time is a more precious commodity than money.
  • Running an air conditioner (For some this is a luxury, I don't have one either)

The well-to-do residents gave me similar answers, but with a few variations:

  • Wine
  • Cigars
  • Yoga, Tennis and Golf
  • Accessories for the home
  • Mani/Pedi
  • Smoothies
  • Clothes/Handbags/Jewelry (One woman had over 31 handbags, why?)
  • Art Supplies (The good stuff, I'm sure. Nope, still not bitter)
  • Overseas trips
  • Investing in computer technology i.e. Stocks

It was a fascinating study, and I'm grateful to everyone who participated. More to come, so bear with me!



I hope you got some decent ideas for self-love and pampering from this article. If you'd like to share some of your own indulgences in the comments, or have any questions, feel free! Have a great weekend... and never forget to treat yourself!

You're worth it.

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    • Deanne Victor profile image
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      Deanne 2 years ago from Bronx, New York

      Aw crap, I screwed up. I put 1 1/2 hours of travel to work rather than 2 1/2 hours. But no, it's 2 1/2 hours. Dammit, okay. One of the harder steps to recovery has been not mentally beating myself up for my mistakes so I'm just going to put this here and let it go.

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