My Wish List, and the Likelihood That I’ll Buy the Items on It

If I don’t buy plane tickets, can I at least buy lipsticks named after the cities I want to visit?

Photo credit: votredame, CC BY 2.0.

As a kid, my siblings and I made wish lists before our birthdays and Christmas, filling them with toys and games. As I grew up, I never quite gave up the ritual. My current wish list is mostly a way for me to remember what I’d like to be saving up for. It ranges from practical things I should have bought already to extravagant items that I will only be able to justify after careful saving. I find it hard to justify buying the larger items on my list when there are so many other, probably better things that the money could go towards, but having the items on my wish list reminds me that they’re still a possibility.

Here’s my list, in order. Items closer to the top are more likely to be purchased this year. (Items on the bottom may never get purchased.)

Custom phone case: My case is getting a bit chipped and I’d like a new one with one of my own drawings on the back.
Length of time on list: Two years.
Cost: $30, which seems like too much to replace something that is still functional.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream: They named all the colors after cities around the globe and I’m a little embarrassed to admit that the marketing is extremely effective on me.
Length of time on list: Three weeks.
Cost: $7 for Istanbul, $14 if I get Prague as well.

Flats for work: I keep looking for slip-on loafers in women’s sizes that look like the shoes my male colleagues wear. Instead I find shoes that look like slippers I shouldn’t wear out of the house. Recommendations welcome.
Length of time on list: Two-and-a-half years.
Cost: $60, maybe more.

New bath towels: After visiting our families for the holidays, my own towels now feel insufficiently fluffy.
Length of time on list: Two months.
Cost: $45 for two, depending on whether buying the more expensive ones means they’ll actually stay nice longer

Kitchen table and chairs: Our IKEA table has moved with us into six apartments now and is a bit small for our needs. We replaced three of the chairs that came with it with ones that we bought at a garage sale. Everything is starting to look and feel worn out.
Length of time on list: Two years, with increasing urgency.
Cost: $450 at least. It seems like $80 per chair is the minimum.

Books: My book wish list could be a list of its own. Assume it includes at least a third of the items in my local bookstores.
Length of time on list: Ongoing.
Cost: $300 per year as a conservative estimate for piles of paperbacks.

Transportation to Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Mexico City, Cartagena, and Hanoi, to start: I’d like to visit friends and see my family on the east coast this year. It’d also be great to take some vacations and see new cities.
Length of time on list: Four months, also ongoing.
Cost: $50–$1,500 each.

Really nice watch: I’ve had my Relic from Kohl’s for about ten years now. I’d like a nicer watch, maybe as a reward to myself for accomplishing something big. I might start saving up for this with the envelope system.
Length of time on list: 18 months.
Cost: $600–$1,000, which could buy so many other things. Plane tickets, a large chunk of my rent, donations to causes that can stretch that money to help a lot of people.

Custom suit: I would love a badass suit that fits me perfectly and makes me look like a stylish, brilliant professional. All the power of Olivia Pope, none of the election corruption and whatever happened after Season 1.
Length of time on list: 18 months.
Cost: I don’t even know. Like $1,200? I haven’t wanted to look into it yet.

There will be other things that pop up here and there. In my quest for work shoes, I’m sure I’ll find metallic flats that I’ll want and will buy. I like imagining a future where I do have the funds and feel okay buying the more luxurious items.

Laura Chanoux works in higher education administration and loves making lists of gifts for other people.

This story is part of The Billfold’s I Want It Now series.

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