Starbucks coffee, Harney & Son teas, silver serving pieces purchased in thrift shops, good chocolate, Mrs. Meyers cleaning supplies, a class to learn cake decorating or gourmet cooking, great olive oil, Einstein's bagels and coffee, a new book by my favorite author, Tresor, Lang Calendars, Half & Half, real butter, flowers, leather bound Bibles, broadband Internet...
What do all the above have in common? They are frugal luxuries on my list. To me, frugal luxuries are usually things I can do without but make life far better...easier...full of grace...by including them in my day to day existence. For instance, some items I include weekly because they're not that much more than run of the mill substitutes...as in using real butter and Half & Half.
Other items are more rare but just as special to me, like stopping for Starbucks a couple times a month. I can purchase four cups of McDonald's coffee for what one Starbucks latte cost me. However, when I'm sipping a coffee at McDonald's, I'm usually reading or chatting with someone. My lattes are an experience where I often close my eyes and breath in the very aroma of good beans and froth...yum. I figure $4.00 for a vacation is pretty darn cheap.
There are a few items listed that are purchased on only on special occasions. Rarely do I purchase a new Bible but I adore the feel and smell of new leather bound Scriptures. They do more for me than a hardback book (although I do have a few of those for studies). I have Tresor right now only because it was a gift. I sprayed on a short, fine mist this morning before church. Sometimes I'll mist the padded hangers where my sweaters hang and I'm welcomed the next day to a delicious fragrance when I slide open the wooden door on my side of the closet...not to mention when I wear one of my sweaters.
Speaking of aroma, not only is it delightful with the Mrs. Meyers products but they work very well. They cost a tad more (especially with shipping) than the over-the-counter-store-bought varieties of cleaning supplies but when I walk back in the room a half an hour after cleaning and I can still delight in honeysuckle...well, it's far worth it.
I usually purchase a nice calendar even though I have four or five sent free each year from various ministries and businesses. This year instead of my usual fine art Lang calendar, I went with Susan Branch again because I loved the pictures and prose of her 2007 calendar. Each month as I am nearing the end of the days, I am anticipating what the next month will bring in prose, poetry, and pretty pictures.
We must give ourselves permission to enjoy those small things which make our journey not only easier...but full of grace. Frugal luxuries are the oil on the wheels of our existence, for without them it is far to easy to have bitterness and grief become lifetime companions.
I have taken a sheet of pretty stationary and begun a list of my favorite frugal luxuries. The above is from that list. I'm tucking it in a special place and adding to it as I continue to ponder more possibilities. Once again it is all about doing what is in our reach...given what we have to work with...to enjoy the journey each day of our life.
I can't go to Paris but I can brew some good tea, drink from a favorite bone china tea cup on a thrift store silver platter, place a bouquet of flowers on the table, slip on my Goodwill cashmere sweater, grab a cat, curl up on the sofa...and enjoy my latest long-waited-for book...without any guilt because I know my frugal luxuries are just as dear as anything riches can buy.
I hope you make your own list...on pretty paper that makes you smile.
I hope these ideas remind you of the book called Frugal Luxuries (although I used that term before reading the book). It continues to be an all time favorite which I pull off the shelf and get inspired all over again. That book inspired the idea of frugal luxuries being a way of life!