Sunday, August 31, 2008

Small Treats or Overindulgence? Have I Stepped Over the Frugal Line?

What's the difference between small delights and decadence? And is it OK to build small treats into a frugal budget? I ask because I'm typing this post with shiny fingernails with white tips.

I have had a french manicure! The manicure took place over a week ago and I've found a frugal way to stretch out my fine-tipped fingers. (More on this later.) What's more, I found a frugal salon with high sanitary standards.

But what was I doing in the manicurist salon? Yes, I had to attend a weekend of events, including a big post-nuptial party for dear friends. But the truth: I was luxuriating in the pleasure of having my hands soaked, softened and wrapped in warm towels. I loved having my hands massaged and oiled with assorted potions for my dry skin and cuticles. And don't forget the filing and the painting: I was in salon heaven! It was a luxurious 20 minutes, with all of the magazines that I could read without ruining the wet paint on my nails.

I justified this little treat by promising myself that it would not be a weekly routine. Periodically, I told myself, I also go to professional basketball games and to movie theaters. But when does a periodic treat become a decadent indulgence? Here's my quiz:

1) How did you pay for the treat? It's a treat if I really have the money (through saving, budgeting or sacrifice) for the luxury. But luxuries become decadent if I have to neglect bills or other financial goals to pay for the treat.

2) How often will this so-called treat take place? It's a treat if the luxury takes place only once in a while. Luxuries slide into decadence if my treats become regular appointments in my date book.

3) Did you enjoy yourself? Treats are occasional luxuries if I can sit back and really enjoy the experience. Luxuries slide into decadence if I take the pampering for granted. It's dangerous if the luxury feels as regular as dental floss.

I'm curious about your dividing line between treats and decadence. What are the warning signs of overindulgence?


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@ Barnes & Noble
@ Borders


theparttimelife said...

I think of course it's okay to treat ourselves! But if you feel you want to a go a bit more frugal next time, you could check out the local beauty school as an option like I did.

Lisa said...

You have to treat yourself once in awhile! You are worth it! You have not stepped over the frugal line...Why work so hard to save and not be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor?
Cents To Save

Jadzia said...

I am ADDICTED to the French manicure. I also have three sons whose college educations are riding solely on me. I recently discovered that Sally Beauty Supply (which I think is everywhere) has a French manicure KIT that even a fumble-fingers like me can master (I did by the third try). It's $8.95 and has the base coat, the white tip polish, and the quick dry topcoat. The cool thing is that it has "guides" for the tips -- basically stickers that you put on your fingernails so that you end up with a perfect line. When you've used up all the stickers you can get replacements (also from Sally) that run about $3.50 for 50-100. I am typing this with perfect and CHEAP nails!