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Question of the Week - Luxury You Can't Live Without

There is a joke that's been handed down in my family. A one-liner, really. My mom's dad used to say it about her, and now my parents say it about me and my sister. "She's an expensive filly to keep in the stable!" Luckily, I find it funny, not demeaning. I also know it to be true.

My family was by no means wealthy when I was growing up. I certainly have had my share of lean years by myself and with my hubby. In fact, our first year living together, while I was in grad school and he was supporting us with some low-paying job, we lived on Raman noodles, struggled to make ends meet, and really had no money for any extras. I think our biggest splurge at the time was basic cable.

But we've worked out way up, and now we have a very comfortable live. We tend to be house poor (and now child poor, too), but we have a really nice house and most of the household conveniences we could want.

We are both very lucky and work very hard. Not everyone out there is as lucky as we are, and not everyone has two partners who work at well-paying jobs. Not everyone has, wants or needs the luxuries that we have.

I wonder about when we have more children, because kids are expensive! Will we still be able to keep our family living in the style to which we have become accustom? Will this filly still be able to keep her stable as nice as it currently is? Will I have to give something up?

Which brings us to this week's Question of the Week:
What household luxury could you not live without?

I'm going to exclude electricity and running water, since our society, communities and households are not built around those as fundamentals (I make this assumption, but feel free to correct me if this isn't true about you internetters reading my blog).

For me, it honestly is the cleaning service who come every other week. I'd rather give up my cable, heck even my TV, my internet (easy to say for me, since I am online all day at work), my AC, even my dishwasher. But my wonderful, thorough cleaning people? Not on your life! I don't have the time and energy to clean after working 40 hours or more a week, plus I'd rather spend that time with my daughter. The dust and cat dander build-up wrecks havoc on my allergies, and doing the cleaning myself means makes my allergies worse. I could go back to nagging my husband all the time, but that was not good for our marriage.

So I need the house clean, I can't do it myself, and I don't want to add a strain onto my marriage. The cleaning service stays!

How about you? What would you fight to keep, even at the cost of all the other luxuries?

Comments

Rudyinparis said…
My luxury is co-op shopping. I can't think of one single other thing that applies. We don't have cable, and I shop at thrift stores (even though we could afford otherwise, it's just a natural inclination.) We happily drive older model cars that are paid for in full. I guess the other thing, on behalf of my husband, would be good beer. We currently are loving Two Hearted Ale, out of Michigan. It is so delicious!
Colleen said…
hmmmm....can I offer one little nugget of advice since you're starting the baby chase again? save up a little before #2...it's the double-daycare that kills ya (or babysitter...whatever your situation is at that point). :)

So...that being said...the one luxury I couldn't give up would probably be television. While I am a HUGE internet junky, I could still manage stuff at work. But the TV is what keeps me sane sometimes...I like being transported into whatever world I want on demand...funny, dramatic, poignant, scary, etc. Yes, I could do that with books, too, but uh, we said luxury, right? :)
Becoming Mommy said…
Actually, I'd go with the luxury of having pets. I really wouldn't want to do without my "girls". But we've eaten ramen, had no cable, no internet, no phone...

Second would be the organic healthfood we buy and the option of having our holistic medical care in addition to allopathic. Most people in this world have trouble getting just the basics of both, we're blessed with so many options.
La folle maman said…
I second the cleaning service. I never knew how good it could be until we got one during my third trimester. And now it's NEVER going away. I'd give up our house phone and cable before giving it up.

However, the second luxury I can't do without is internet. It's not really a luxury in our house though, it's crucial to my job. So does it count as a luxury then?
egm said…
I've gone without cable, I've fed my dogs cheap food. I still buy a lot of generic and store brand stuff. I've never done the Ramen noodle bit, but we ate a LOT of peanut butter while my husband finished school (and I worked two jobs).

But the one household economy that has never stuck around here is cheap coffee. I've worked very hard to break myself of the $4/day espresso drink habit, but I refuse to give up the good, Fair Trade beans.
z said…
Ditto on the cleaning service. The nagging definitely not good for the marriage.
Second luxury would be internet. Would give up TV before internet anyday.
heSaid said…
I think I would do anything to keep my computer and my Internet. While I too have access to the Internet at work, I feel that the ability to unplug is still somewhat of a vague outline in the distance, I don't yet see it clearly, but I know it is there. When my computer is down for one reason or another, I somehow feel the ripple effect of that error through out my entire life. I seem more surly and more tassiturn, seems conflicting but not really, you can be rude in the times between silence. And my charming personality seems to rebound rapidly after my computer is working again. And as far as the Internet goes, the computer is just boring without the Internet. So, this is a "luxury" that will have to stay for the sake of my marriage.
Cloud said…
Good beer (good beer = happy Hubby, and I like it too). And high speed internet.
I'm Not Skippy said…
TiVO.

Although that cleaning service idea may be worth parting with it.
K8 said…
Internet, without a question. We've done a lot of luxury paring recently, and it's the one thing I will not let go. I have a good excuse in that I need it for my work (should I ever get any), but really it's my connection to the rest of the world.
Jan said…
Mine are both related to the kids. I work part-time (instead of full-time), which is definitely a luxury. We also pay more for childcare than we have to, because we think the place they go is fabulous. If I had to choose between the two, it would be a very, very hard decision.

Is it weird that I sometimes miss how we used to be very frugal, back when we needed to be?
Anonymous said…
Definitely the internet since I am a SAHM. We don't have a cleaning service and I don't consider AC to be a luxury in DC. I know I can do without a dishwasher and cleaning service (thankfully husband is pretty helpful in that respect and we have lowered our standards since our kid appeared and expect to lower it even further with #2). The TV is no biggie, we don't have fancy cars...so yes, the internet. But second would be the amount of organic food we purchase which at the moment we look at as a necessity since our daughter is not yet two and I am pregnant. Apparently, up to age two and when pregnant, it's best to eat as much organic as possible.
Michelle said…
Oh man, I am bad about this. My real problem is, no doubt, that I secretly view many luxuries as necessities. Luckily I am fortunate enough to afford our bills- but it is close, sometimes! But still...budgetting is not my forte.

That said, I can't deny that I love eating whatever the heck I want. Going out for Japanese food every couple weeks. Buying seafood from the overpriced-but-fresh expensive grocery in our area. I have a hard time limiting myself here.

The other thing is having money to do things with my kids. That sounds a little vague, but I've learned that swimming lessons at the YMCA, for example, are much more expensive than anticipated and involve a new $100 a month commitment. Sheesh!
HeatherY said…
I'd have to say my computer and high speed internet. Also, we do buy a lot of organic products as well. It costs more but in the long run is so much better for all of us.
Housekeeper for sure. But also...and this will make me shallow, but then again, I am indeed shallow...manicures and pedicures for me and my daughter every once in a while...thats luxury for both of us and very fun as well. Cute question!
Shellie said…
The washer and dryer. And for my husband, it is food. Expensive food is so worth it, if you just want a steak and lobster, you just spend!
paola said…
Our live in babysitter. Well, she doesn't actually live in with us (thank god), but my MIL lives under us and because of her love of staying home (that is, spending every moment of the day at home so she can clean), we have a 24 hour baby-sitting service. This really is a luxury as we have been able to maintain our social life over the last 3 years, and basically live like TomKat or Brangelina, but without the great hair.
Kristina said…
Directv-DVR, fabulous hairdresser for highlights, food quality- I didn't realize how much better I ate than some Americans until I look in other peoples' carts.

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