As you age, different things become more important to you. Here are five things I’m willing to spend a little extra for.
1. Extra legroom.
My rule of thumb when it comes to airline travel is this: If it amortizes to less than $15 per hour, I upgrade. I will spend up to $75 to buy myself a few inches of extra legroom on a trip from Los Angeles to New York.
By and large, there is no longer any joy in airplane travel. It is a means to an end: just get me there. It used to be that vacations began when the car came to take you to the airport. There was no TSA demanding that you take off your shoes; you were fed an edible meal once on-board the plane; and you didn’t have the head of the passenger in front of you buried in your lap. Heck, they even gave you blankets and pillows routinely.
Now, traveling coach means banging your knees on the seat-back in front of you and praying that the guy in the window seat doesn’t need to use the bathroom.
So in an attempt to restore some semblance of civility to plane travel, I pay extra for a better seat.
What I won’t pay extra for: To check luggage. I’ve been COO (carry-on only) for decades and actually have little respect for those people who bring multiple suitcases on a week-long trip.
2. Nice hotel rooms.
I used to be an ardent backpacker who slept under the stars in a sleeping bag, turning my nose up at those who used tents and completely scorning anyone with an RV. Nowadays, I won’t sleep in anything other than a bed ― and actually refuse to stay in dumpy roadside motels. Some of our best road-trip arguments have come when my husband points to a budget motel and says, “it’s just for one night.”
I need a good night’s rest or I’m the Queen of Grump the next day. But it’s more than that. I like nice hotel rooms. I like luxury in the form of high-count Egyptian cotton sheets and high-end toiletries in those nifty little bottles that I stuff in my suitcase and bring home. I like when there is a rainforest shower and when there is a balcony with a pretty view. I like hotels with fancy spas and fancier restaurants. And I’m willing to pay more for it.
What I won’t pay extra for: WiFi. Any hotel that doesn’t offer free WiFi should just close its doors.
3. Organic food.
Yes, I believe that our food chain is, at best, dominated by harmful growing practices and chemicals. I am willing to pay more for fruit and vegetables that haven’t been sprayed with pesticides or have been treated with so many preservatives that they are flavorless. I read labels, don’t eat many animals, and pay more when the package says it is local and organic. I think that what we put in our bodies affects our health and I’d rather spend my money on farm-fresh produce than prescriptions.
What I won’t pay extra for: Crazy expensive food in shops where mostly what you are paying for is packaging and presentation.
4. Good cosmetics.
There was a time, probably when I was a teenager, when any old cosmetic on sale at the drugstore would do the trick. Nowadays, not so much. Actually, nowadays not at all. Today, after years and a drawer full of makeup mistakes, I have one brand and I stick to it. It never goes on sale and I pray it never gets discontinued.
Cosmetics, like true soulmates, are worth sticking with when you find a good one.
What I won’t pay extra for: As much fun as it is to get the occasional free makeover, I always tell them at the onset that I won’t buy a thing; it just makes me feel better to be honest.
5. Comfortable footwear.
My feet rule my life. They determine when I can go hiking, whether I can take a walk at lunch, and what I can wear to work. My feet will not tolerate being in uncomfortable shoes ― not even for an hour. I do not keep a pair of heels under my desk because there is absolutely no reason important enough for me to put them on. Ever.
But I do spend a small fortune on footwear. I know all the brands for women with bunions and plantar fasciitis ― two conditions that I live with. I have no price point when it comes to my shoes. I will pay anything for a pair that I can wear all day and still be pain-free.
What I won’t pay extra for: Over-the-counter “solutions” for foot pain. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all orthotic; you need them to be custom-made.