Tuesday, December 30, 2008

to buy or not to buy

The answer, most of the time, is "not buy." Spare yourself needless expense! Which comes in all forms, especially if you like being stylish and fashion forward! Still, I am pretty good at not spending much money, as I eat out only socially, pack lunches if I can choke down yet another sandwich (no public microwave at school), do not frequent cafes by making my own coffee in the morning and packing my own cans of Diet Coke to get caffeine jolts throughout the day, and vow never to buy anything I can make. I am really good at resisting buying baked goods, because I have that supercilious "I can bake better" attitude that is super annoying. I am weak when it comes to ice cream cones though, especially when it's gourmet ice cream like sage praline or candied walnut cardamom. I can make really good soup though, so I can't justify my $3.50 soup and cornbread at S.A's, except that it's the cheapest healthy lunch I have found (not that I don't love $3 hotdogs, $2.50 pizza slices, $1.50 bagels with cream cheese).

But there's a few things for The Great Organization/Life Rehaul 2009 that I am contemplating buying. After three years on my not-so-luxurious Ikea Sultan Fangebo foam mattress (5 7/8" thick, purchased in 2006 for $149), which resides in my Dalselv pine frame ($99), I have decided to upgrade it slightly by adding a Serta 4" memory foam mattress rejuvenator, along with a down-alternative cover. For the price of women's shoes, I am going to sleep more comfortably. I think that this is a reasonable investment, and I have a couple more years to enjoy it, so cost/night/nap should average out well.

Thus, not-purchased will be this dress, these shoes, this coat, or anything else that doesn't actively enhance my quality of life on a daily basis and of which I already have too many. Sigh. I am considering buying rain boots though, because they would improve my life on a daily basis for at least 3-4 months a year

Purchased was this bookshelf, because I ran out of shelf space half a year ago and my books in total disarray. This one came with free shipping (great for no car people) and pre-assembled (great for clutzy and busy people). I really like it. I may have to buy another one because I am continually buying books (which if academic and useful, are not counted as frivolous buying, and if fiction on sale/used, are budgeted the way coffee/ice cream cones are, 1-2 per week), which would mean not buying this dress. We never go on datey dates anymore anyway, and I cook better than most places that are not so expensive I choke on my amuse bouche of sweetbreads and flute of Roederer with guilt. But those dates are so fun. Before TD I never went on those kind of dates. Great way to celebrate an anniversary or birthday! But what makes them so fun is their rarity, and the fact that they signal really important occasions or special absconding from responsibility for an entire weekend. In general, I am super happy with going out once a week for a burrito or Chinese food or chicken and waffles.

But we're trying to improve my life on a daily basis, here, folks, and I eat in every weeknight and cook 2-3 times a week. I think that this recipe would go really far in doing that, and I would have leftovers for a couple of days, and I could use my new Le Creuset. I am looking forward to buying lots of ingredients for soups next week, and baking everything from cookies to scones to cake. Maybe I'll make candy too. So I resolve that if I buy stuff, it be for the purpose of eating and working better, and resting up so that I can eat and work some more.

This is almost a set-up for New Year's resolutions, except mine are extremely boring and aim really low.