Some Small Things Are Worth Paying For

by Deana Burke

My mom made a bizarre comment in passing about tampons that has always stuck with me: “Don’t ever buy anything other than Tampax because you’ll be able to feel it.”

I don’t know that I (or anybody else, really) can necessarily “feel” a difference, but that’s not what matters. Buying Tampax instead of store brand tampons made my mom’s “time of the month” slightly more bearable. She afforded herself that small luxury not because she had loads of disposable income, but because she didn’t — and couldn’t — afford that feeling of luxury elsewhere in her life.

Small indulgences make budgets less bleak. I’m in the privileged position to believe that life is too short for 100 percent austerity, 100 percent of the time. My small luxuries have grown in relation to my income, but the idea remains the same.

For me, at this moment, my life is too short for:

• 1-ply toilet paper
• Store brand ketchup and mayonnaise (although mustard is fine for some reason)
• Anything from Forever 21

At the same time, I can’t get my head around certain “real” luxury spending. There are just way too many things that I could do with that extra $75 for first class train fare, for example.

For me, at this moment, my life is too long for:

• Ordering bottled water at a restaurant (tap is fine, thank you)
• Cable TV
• Shampoo and conditioner over $3

This is a fun game to play with friends, because the answers tend to be revealing, and are sometimes inconsistent. Take my list for example: It depresses me to use store brand mayo in my tuna, but I consider ordering anything to drink other than tap water at a restaurant akin to throwing money away.

What are on your lists?

Deana Burke tweets and “works” on the “Internet.” Photo: bradcerenzia

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