My friend Colleen wrote a blog post about guilty pleasures, as in the things that you are willing to drop more money on than you probably should, and ended with encouragement for others to write about their own guilty pleasures.
I read the post immediately before going out on a run, and the more I thought about it the more fun it sounded. It may come as a shock to some folks since I’m generally the notoriously thrifty person. We’ll just say that I’m choosy on where to spend my cash, and there are definitely some areas where I am happy to spend my dough. And while I was on that run I knew what the first thing on the list had to be:
Where I live.
Yep, that’s a view from my route via Google street view, except that my view was way prettier because I was running just after the sun had come up and the clouds were reflecting pink over the mountains. This is a hill in the middle of Boulder appropriately named “Panorama” that’s covered in unique, bajillion-dollar houses with amazing views.
And even though I’ll never afford to live in one of the many amazing houses in this town, I definitely pay more to live in this town than if I lived ten miles outside it. But it’s worth it, as you’ve probably heard me say before. Not only is it a quirky town, walking to work is important to me — saving me ohsomuch stress. The views aren’t that bad either, along with the easy access to nature. One of my favorite runs is the seven-mile loop up and back down the canyon, and this morning I hiked Mt. Sanitas for the first time — incredible views!
Yup, this place suits me. If I ever lived somewhere else, it would have to be a place with great walkability.
The second guilty pleasure I spend money on is a whole category:
I know that I could probably survive just fine off noodles and hot dogs and “frozen vegetable medley”, but I wouldn’t want to! You have to eat to survive, and you may as well enjoy what you’re eating and put delicious and nutritious (they can overlap) food in your mouth. Some subcategories of food that I spend more on:
- Fage yogurt. Have you seen that commercial that says “There are some people who say it’s the best yogurt they’ve ever tasted”? My friend introduced me and I haven’t touched Yoplait ever since. I’ve tried Oikos and Chobani, and Fage really is the best. But at $1.50+ per cup, it’s certainly an indulgence. (A month ago I found it for $1 each, and did a happy dance right there in the grocery store.) I’m bought some milk this week and plan to try making my own from scratch — just because I’m the person who has to try everything apparently…
- Fast food. If I don’t feel like cooking, I can’t run to Wendy’s or Taco Bell any more. (Well, extremely rarely.) Instead I’ll be spending a few extra bucks to get Chipotle or Spicy Pickle or Noodles or Panera or Smash Burger or Five Guys. The only drive-through places I go any more are Good Times or Chick-fil-A. Higher price, better food. It’s worth it.
- Produce. I can spend $1.50 on a Snickers, or I can spend $1.50 on berries (when they’re on sale). And even though I do like a Snickers every now and then, during the summer when produce is abundant and on sale I just gotta have it all. Right now in my kitchen I have tomatoes, potatoes, avocado, cauliflower, bell pepper, jalapeno peppers, carrots, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, spinach, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, and a grapefruit. Oh, and frozen grapes and bananas.
Food exception: I knew eating out at every meal for three weeks last summer would get pricey. So most days it was pre-made sandwiches from Tesco. And I learned that, thankfully, three weeks is not long enough to get sick of Tesco sandwiches. 🙂
Now enough about my food obsession. There’s something else I pay more for:
Yes, that’s three pairs of the Brooks Adrenaline series. In my defense, the red ones were too small so I lost a toenail, so I got the grey ones a size bigger which were still too small and I lost that toenail again, so now I have the giant blue ones and apparently for me size 10 means 10 toenails even if they look like clown shoes. But I still trail-run in the grey ones (they have better traction) and use the red ones for walking.
Running shoes are over $100 a pair, which makes this smelly pile worth almost as much as the computer I’m typing on. But ever since I put on that first pair of Brooks and my shin splints vanished I’ve been hooked. Shin splints have since come back, probably as my running style changed.
When I injured my calf a few months ago, as my physical therapist (also a runner) was taping me up she said she had recently read literature that name-brand running shoes aren’t necessarily better than Walmart shoes. Having run (and injured myself) in Walmart-ish shoes, that blew my mind a little. So I’m going to stubbornly be the person who continues to believe that expensive = better in this department and shell out big bucks for shoes. I’m hopeful that the next pair I buy will be trail runners to break in for the Pikes Peak Ascent…
Okay, those are the three primary things I could think of that I am snobbish about spending more money on. A few runners up:
- Sheets. I bought a $40 set of sheets for bed that were pretty and also claimed to be organic cotton. Softest, most-awesome sheets ever…
- Tom’s of Maine Cinnamon Clove toothpaste. It’s yummy.
- Expensive things that I know will have to last a while. Examples: bicycle, vacuum cleaner, computer, my car. I don’t go for the most expensive, but I definitely go for mid-range over cheapest and read loads of reviews to make sure it’ll hold up.
- Local products, like Go Lite.
With those indulgences, let me say two things I refuse to spend lots of money on:
I have heard the argument SO MANY TIMES that nicer clothes last longer so it’s worth the investment. Well, not on me, they don’t last longer! Earlier this summer I bought a maxi dress. I was riding my bike to work, and I always take care to tie up my skirts (yes, I ride a bike in dresses; in Boulder that’s totally normal) but the skirt slipped out, got caught in my chain, was smeared in grease, and several holes were made. Oh well. I only spent $15 on it so no big loss.
I live in my clothes, and I wear them out. Tomato stains don’t care if it’s an $80 dress or a $20 dress. There are some cheap clothes that wear out faster than I can destroy them that I’ve learned to stay clear of, but on the whole I’m okay with spending little and being able to get a lot of use out of what I wear. Which is why almost everything in my closet comes from Target, Old Navy, Charlotte Russe, and Ross.
Clothes exception: undergarments. Well-fitting is worth the extra money.
I don’t buy books. I know, I know, some of you just had a heart attack. Breathe.
I love to read, but several years ago I realized there were books on my shelves that I had only read once, and that was a decade ago. And yet I continued to let them take up valuable space and cart them around from apartment to apartment. So I pared things down.
Now I make good use of my library card and of friend who are always willing to let you borrow their books. I’ve read four library books in the last two weeks. It cost me no money or square footage. The only books I’ve acquired in the past few years were free, ones I planned to write in, or if I was supporting the author directly (like Colleen).
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Well, there you go folks. My own personal guilty pleasures along with a few.. uh.. don’t-worry-about-them pleasures. How about you? Feel free to comment, or write your own blog post, or just have fun thinking about it.