I recently bought a new shaving product at Lush, and as I was rubbing it on my whiskered face, I noted wryly that it did not "lather slightly" as the girl at the store had suggested it might in the presence of a bit of water. On the other hand, it does its job very well, and after about a week of using it, I have decided that I will probably buy more once this runs out. It is not as classy as using shaving soap and a brush, but it is quicker and more convenient. Also, it smells nice.
Then again, I would hope that this stuff would work well, as was not inexpensive. I could probably have bought 2-3 cans of shaving foam for the price of this little jar of shaving cream.
That's when the odd thought struck me: we've made it.
We are not rich, but we've reached the point where we can indulge ourselves with minor luxuries without having to debate over it. I glanced around the bathroom, and while it is not exactly a den of modern luxury (in fact ripping it out and replacing it entirely is in my long-range plans), we have a few premium products here and there.
When I first bought this house, I would keep an eye open for bargains. I would save money by buying things like soap when it was marked 2:1, or I would make my own shampoo with ingredients like dish detergent, glycerine and vinegar. My kitchen was stocked with mostly no-name products. When atara quit her job and went back to school, we crimped down even harder. We cut out essentially all dining out, and we limited ourselves personal spending allowances of $20 a week. We tried to keep our grocery bills under $60 by living on things like beans with rice.
I did a quick, mental inventory of some of the premium items we had in our bathroom while I was standing by the sink with a razor in my hand. We have an assortment of things from Lush, which is not entirely renown for their low prices. Our boutique bath soap is hand-made locally from goats' milk. We could have bought a 6-pack of soap at a bargain store for the price of a single bar of this soap, yet we grabbed four of them on the last day of the farmers' market because it is very nice soap. It does not get us any cleaner than the bargain store soap, but it is more pleasant to use. I mulled over the fact that just a few years ago, I'd have considered what we spent on the soap to be an unseemly amount, but the extent of our debate when we bought it was limited to whether we should get three or four bars.
So I dare say I had my, "we've made it" moment.
atara told me about one of the authors she follows who had a similar observation. He was driving through an unfamiliar town when he needed gas. He stopped at a gas station, filled the tank, swiped his card and was on the road again when it occurred to him that he had no idea what the station had been charging for gas. He noted that if he had reached a point in his life where the cost of gas was no longer even worthy of thought to him, then he had reached financial success.
I don't think we are quite there yet. We don't stand in line for the latest electronic toys, and we still consider the second-hand thrift shop to be a perfectly good place to buy our clothes. We keep tabs on the price of gas. Still, it is nice when we have reached the point where we can spend far too much money on goat soap without stressing over it.
So we may not be rich, but we are clean, and we smell pretty.
Good enough, I say.