Monday, August 20, 2007

When Luxuries are Worth It

K and I were on our way home from the movies the other night—The Bourne Ultimatum, which hit the international-espionage spot—and he asked if I wanted to stop for a drink. I didn't—I was hungry and wanted to get home to get some late dinner, and not have to eat out. He said he wanted a Scotch. I mentioned that we still had some Scotch at home, a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black someone had brought to his birthday party. It's not his favorite kind, though—he likes a single-malt called Dalwhinney. In deference to my desire to go home, he wondered aloud if perhaps we could duck into a good liquor store to see if they had the right stuff.

Lo and behold: two blocks later, we stumbled over a really nice-looking liquor store. K stood in the Scotch section, noting that the price for a 750-mL bottle of the good stuff would cost him $42 plus tax. He looked over at me. I think he thought my frugal self would be a little judgy about the purchase: he sighed and made some mention of being irresponsible with money.

I absolutely didn't think this prospective purchase was an irresponsible one, though, and I told him so: I explained that I feel really strongly that purchases that bring you real pleasure are good ones, and purchases that don't are bad ones. I said I think that buying mediocre food instead of packing your lunch is a bad purchase, but that bottle of Scotch was a good purchase, because of how much enjoyment he'll get out of being able to come home and fix himself a glass of his favorite Scotch. (On another note, of course, I think this purchase may ultimately save him money, since if he wants a glass of Scotch, he doesn't necessarily have to pay a bar's markup to get it, and it's not as if he's going to suddenly stop drinking the stuff because it's pricey in bars.)

The whole point of spending money on non-necessities is pleasure. I'd rather pack lunch for a few days and have the money for something I really want than nickel and dime myself out of the more pleasurable purchase to save myself the tiny bit of time and planning it takes to put together a lunch in advance. More bang for your buck. Isn't that the whole idea?

While we were at the store, I picked up a bottle of the Columbia Winery's Cellarmaster's Riesling for $12. I wanted something different than the Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling I used to drink all the time in Portland (my roommate and I used to pick up a bottle at the Plaid Pantry and split it while sitting out on our little balcony--by the way, it's a good budget bottle, one of Wine Spectator's Best Values), but couldn't bring myself to lay out the $25 for their Eroica, even though I've heard great things about it. I stashed my bottle in the fridge, so one of these late summer/early fall days, I'll be able to come home and spend a pleasurable afternoon with a good bottle of wine.

I'm looking forward to it. I think that's worth the $12.

8 comments:

Serenity23 said...

I've been a lurker for a long time. I love Riesling. I'll have to try that brande.

Anonymous said...

The Eroica is quite good, if you have a chance to try it, i would recommend you give it a try. As long as you don't mind paying a little more for it, that is - perhaps use it as a reward for meeting a goal that you have for yourself.

SF Money Musings said...

I haven't tried the Riesling but now I'm curious.

The RoxyAnn Winery in Medford has som e lovely pear wines that go well with some good cheese. Oregon's got some great wines and beer especially the Rogue Brewery.

Amy said...

Also good and cheap, and what made me move to "wine drinker" status:

Fetzer Gewürztraminer

It's white, and off-dry, and spicy, and great with pad thai. They Valley Oaks label looks fancier than I remember, the last bottle I bought was, I believe, $9.

Amy said...

And something I would never have found without this post:

Wine Spectator's Value Wine List, accessible for a one month $8 membership fee. I don't drink enough wint to make it worth while, but I'll have to see if the library has a subscription.

MEG said...

I totally agree that it's important to spend on things that truly increase your quality of life. That's what being wealthy is all about.

Of course you still have to live within your means, but allocating 10% of my income to "fun money" is a key part of my financial plan! I could reach my financial goals faster if I cut that spending and saved it instead--but what's the point of that? I'd be rich, deprived, and not very happy.

PS-I like your blog and am putting a link to it on mine. I am also a liberal arts lover who blogs about finance!

SavingDiva said...

I would agree with you that your bf's purchase was a wise one. In a few glasses, the bottle will have paid for itself...plus, you don't have to tip...and then you wouldn't have to purchase a drink to sit with him...

allese said...

I love good wine... (and am a big fan of Riesling)...

a splurge on a good bottle makes a lovely moment... decadent.

I could be totally off base here but that's what saving is all about--- you save so your secure so you can better enjoy the moments in the future....

Good choice!