Some luxuries to make you feel way richer than you are
This week, I wanted to talk to you about the little things you can buy, or the little changes you can make, that make huge differences in terms of making you feel so much richer in your everyday life. And since there’s 18 of them, let’s cut to the chase with 18 little luxuries to make you feel way richer than you are.
Number one is fresh herbs.
Now, I’m someone who loves to cook at home and is pretty often evangelizing how much of a life changer it can be, especially when it comes to your budget. But one of the things that I think often holds people back from getting into home cooking is feeling like they don’t know what to do to get started or what products are really worth it in their kitchen.
And there are definitely going to be some things that are not worth the extra money. For example, a lot of those fancy kitchen tools that you use once and then just collect dust in your tool cabinet. But when it comes to things like fresh herbs, this is a little bit extra money that goes such a long way.
Not only can you grow herbs at home, often indoors, you can also freeze them. And depending on where you’re buying them, they’re often not that much more expensive than the dried version. And especially in spring and summer when you’re cooking all this fresh, flavorful produce-forward food, having fresh herbs makes all the difference. It makes eating at home feel more luxurious and, of course, therefore, make you less likely to always have to default to eating out.
But more importantly, it’s a small change you make that can feed into several different things. As I said, once you get past your fear of using herbs, you can start to grow them yourself for surprisingly little money. Bam, two hobbies in one, both of which make you feel super-rich.
Number two is fresh citrus.
Now, I must say that few things make me sadder in the kitchen world than people who have those little bottles of lime and lemon juice in their fridge. First of all, depending on where you’re getting your citrus, that’s often more expensive than just buying lemons or limes.
But second of all, fresh citrus is the best. And not only is it just the juice you’re using. In many recipes, it’s the citrus itself that goes into the food, like cut-up lemons on roast chicken, or a fresh squeeze of lime in one of your favorite Mexican dishes. The point is, like fresh versus dry herbs, this is one of those pretty cheap swaps that makes a huge difference into getting you into cooking, and feeling so much richer when you do it.
Number three is eating al fresco.
As I record this, I’m actually going tomorrow to a book club meeting in a park where we’re having a picnic and we’re all bringing food. And in fact, I’m using fresh herbs in this case, fresh basil to make my dish.
The point is, you don’t have to pay for some expensive restaurant meal with fancy outdoor seating to experience the wonderful joy that is eating outside when it’s first starting to get beautiful out.
For this book club, in particular, we all suggested parks that are a little bit less frequent than to go to Central Park or Prospect Park. Because part of the fun is exploring the place that you live. And if you’re lucky enough to have outdoor space in your home, setting up a simple table and chairs to eat outside as often as possible rather than always defaulting to your kitchen table makes a huge difference.
Feeling rich in life is about getting outside of your routines and really savoring things. And eating outdoors really helps you do that, especially when you refer to it as alfresco, which is very classy.
Number four is a nice sleepwear.
Now, I am someone who wears a kind of ridiculous Pajamas to go to sleep. And while people have rightly laughed at me for that when I’ve come out of the bedroom at, like, a group trip into the kitchen wearing this thing that looks like something that Ava Gardner would have worn, except I look like trash from the neck up, they feel like a dream to sleep in.
And more importantly, I find that I’m actually more motivated to do things like my nighttime Cleaning teeth routine, or generally taking care of myself before bed, when I’m wearing something that makes me feel comfortable, and adult, and nice instead of just, like, a disgusting promotional T-shirt I got at a conference four years ago that’s covered in mysterious stains. Nice sleepwear, whatever that may look like to you, is something that ultimately doesn’t cost very much, but makes a huge difference in how we feel around the house and when we’re in bed.
Number five is print magazines.
Now, this is going to be a controversial one. And I can already hear some of you screaming in the comments about how you can get content for free online, and publishing is dying for a reason, and magazines are a waste of money, and blah blah blah blah blah. Fine.
But for those of us who miss reading print magazines, which is something that I definitely feel, you would be shocked and honestly, kind of RIP publishing, at how cheap it is to get a year’s subscription. For example, I recently got a year’s subscription to Vogue for like $10 for the year. And every three months, they also send me a random gift on top of it. Last month, I got a really cute coasters. The point is, depending on how you buy the magazine, it’s really not that much of an investment.
And for example, every time I’m flying on a plane, I have something nice and entertaining to flip through. I also use Bon Appetit, where I actually cook the recipes often and just love looking through it. If magazines are something that feels luxurious to you, but you only ever default to getting them when you’re at an airport bookstore, consider getting a subscription because you would be shocked at the value per dollar you get.
Number six is nuts.
Now, I’m going to level with you. Nuts are kind of expensive. I buy bulk nuts from my local grocery store. I prefer, like, walnuts, and pecans, and Brazil nuts those are my favorites. But I also like almonds. And yes, they’re pretty expensive in bulk. But they truly are nature’s candy. They’re, like, the perfect snack.
And having a handful of them always in my pocket is one of the best ways I’ve found to mitigate impulse purchases of food and not feel that crazy, crashing about to pass out on the sidewalk hunger pang when I’ve forgotten to eat all day at work because I’m so busy.
Basically, they help you live a slightly better life. They’re full of protein and good fats, they don’t need to be refrigerated, and they’re super portable. Nuts are rich in nutritional benefits, and therefore rich in your life.
Number seven is a nice condiment.
Now, similar to herbs and citrus, this is one of those areas where, if you want to get yourself more into home cooking and feel like it’s a treat to cook at home rather than a punishment which you often avoid, the key is having the right extra little touches that will make each dish a lot better. And if all you have is Heinz ketchup and that really gross bright yellow mustard that gets the gross crust on it, you are missing out.
A jar of good mayonnaise, some nice mustard, maybe a couple of mustards, maybe some horseradish, hoisin sauce, hot sauces, sriracha, etc.
Having a nice array of sauces and condiments to choose from when making a meal at home means that anything you might default to on short notice is not just going to be a flavorless nothing. The right condiments can make all the difference.
Number eight is getting something tailored.
Do you ever see a picture of a celebrity looking unbelievably good in an outfit and you’re like, how do they get their clothes to fit that well? My jeans, or shirts, or whatever, never fit me that well. They wear nothing that isn’t tailored, except maybe, like, their athleisure clothes.
But even then, I’m suspicious. The secret to always looking fantastic, in most cases, is tailoring. And there’s almost nothing in your closet that couldn’t benefit from a little tailoring.
But it’s up to you to pick the things where you will most benefit from them. For example, having a few go-to pairs of jeans you wear all the time that are perfectly tailored to your body, or a few blazers and skirts that make up the majority of your work wardrobe, or even making a few of your go-to button-down shirts fit perfectly over your chest instead of awkwardly pinching, can make your whole wardrobe feel upgraded and always give you the confidence to know that you have certain go-to items in your wardrobe that will always make you feel great and look great.
Lastly, half the items in your closet that you’ve probably not worn for a long time are that way because you don’t tailor them. If good tailoring can rescue an item from the wardrobe graveyard where it’s just wasting your money and taking up space, it’s a win-win.
Number nine is having a clean place.
Now, we’ve discussed this amongst the blog team and think one of the best little things to do in your home, especially if you tend toward clutter, is to have a basket or two in every room where things can go when they’re just kind of lying around. And then once a week, you clear out those baskets and put the items away.
That way, you can ensure that on a day to day basis, you’re not just having like piles of stuff on your dining table, or by your entryway, or wherever it tends to pile up.
The peace of mind and that feeling of luxury that comes with having a space that’s clean, and surfaces that are blank, is priceless.
And ultimately, small changes like having those go-to baskets can be the difference between agonizing clutter and refreshing cleanliness.
Conversely, number ten is giving yourself more open space, i.e. getting rid of things.
The more you feel empowered in your home to edit out things that are not sparking joy, or just generally not really providing much use to you anymore, the better. Because in fact, often what can make us feel most rich and luxurious is having that freedom, and that openness, and not feeling encumbered by all that stuff you don’t need.
There’s a reason a lot of rich people tend toward, like, incredibly restrained minimalism. Because blank space is a luxury that is often difficult to buy, but we’re able to recreate it more and more in our own homes if we go out of our way to be really discerning about what is and isn’t bringing us value.
Number eleven is a full pantry of the right ingredients.
We will write an article on this blog about the basic ingredients you will always want to keep on hand in your kitchen to make sure that you can really whip up things on short notice, that you’ll have the basic needs for most recipes, and that you’re never going to feel like you’re constantly having to run to the grocery store.
There are several ingredients from each category. Obviously, things like your oils, your seasonings, et cetera. But having these items always at hand and getting them before you need them makes all the difference. Because ultimately, nothing makes you feel more luxurious than being able to open up your pantry and see that you have the things that you’re always defaulting to again and again. Half of what keeps people out of the kitchen is that feeling like they’re always having to run to the grocery store. So get out of your own way.
Number twelve is a pitcher of fancy water.
Now, this is another popular blog team thing, to keep a nice pitcher of iced water, with maybe some sliced up lemons or cut-up fruit in it, always at the ready. Not only is it kind of pretty to look at and fun to make, but it also encourages you to drink more water throughout your day.
And it’s just one of those little simple luxuries that makes everything feel so much nicer because you’re always hydrated and you never have to remind yourself to get up and go get more water.
In general, I think cute pictures are one of the most underrated items in basically every household, especially because you can use them for things other than storing beverages. But if nothing else, at least one pitcher at the ready that’s always full of fresh and possibly fruity ice water is a great start.
Number thirteen is candles.
There are 2 types of people in the world, the people who go to TJ Maxx, or Marshall’s, or Home Goods, and blackout in the candle aisle and come out with, like, 50 discount candles that smell wonderful and everyone else. I belong to the former category.
So I am very much on the budget candle equals luxury train. But if you are not, let me just say that, at these stores, you can get some of those big three-wick candles that burn forever. They cost $12. And they change everything. Because it’s not just the smell. It’s also the nice, beautiful moody lighting, it’s a nice little piece of decor, and in most cases, they’re really pretty candle holders.
So once they’re done burning, you can either refill them or use them for other things. I’ve converted several of my old candle holders into really cute little vases. You can also use them to store pens and pencils or in your kitchen. The point is, candles are one of those budget buys that always make you feel so much richer and luxurious. Please keep in mind that this refers to budget-friendly candles, not those crazy $72 candles that people put on Instagram.
Number fourteen is softer light bulbs.
And if you’re making the switch to LED light bulbs, which you should be, you can get light bulbs that you can even change their lighting, and how bright they are, and the color, and everything.
It’s very exciting. I’m a huge proponent in general of good lighting. Obviously, when you’re entertaining, it’s nice that everyone looks all sexy and warm. But even when it’s just you hanging out in the house.
Mark never understands why when I’m painting my nails and flipping through a glossy magazine, I have my candlelit, I have my cute little bedside lamp diffusing a nice warm light. He comes in and he’s like, Chelsea, the overhead light makes so much more light. Why? But I am creating a mood because I’m worth it. Good lighting makes everything feel richer. So get thee some better light bulbs.
So here’s the thing about wine glasses. You might think that they’re crazy expensive, but they’re surprisingly not.
I actually recently got a set of, like, a dozen stemless wine glasses on Amazon for, like, $15. And yes, I use them for wine, but I also use them for, like, cocktails, and ice water, and all kinds of stuff, because they’re great to drink out of and they’re super cute.
And I have a few other types of wine glasses that I have accumulated over the years, but all of them are dishwasher-safe, super sturdy. I don’t have to feel crazy upset if someone breaks one that someone possibly being me because they’re not expensive and few things make you feel more upgraded than finally drinking your wine out of a wine glass like an adult rather than drinking it out of, like, an old promotional coffee mug.
Plus if you want to get into home entertaining, which I feel like you should if you’re looking to find it nice alternatives to going out all the time, it’s nice to be able to present someone with a nice glass.
Number fifteen is a movie subscription service like the AMC A-list.
I remember during the halcyon days of MoviePass that we all sort of found that renewed love for how great it is to go to movie theaters. And then MoviePass died. And then, we were all like, oh right, this is $20 a ticket, never mind.
But there’s a middle ground. And if you get a subscription service that allows you to see multiple movies a month for a good price, you’d be surprised how much it can make up a nice part of your social outing routine without costing too much money at the moment. Combine that with smuggling in snacks from home the only way to do it and you can add a pretty budget-friendly activity to your regular routine.
There is a middle ground between MoviePass RIP and paying $20 every time you want to go to the movies as you do here in New York City. So check out your options.
Number sixteen is a well-stocked bathroom cabinet.
That means always stocking up ahead of time on things like Q tips, cotton balls, toilet paper, Kleenex, et cetera. These are the kind of things that you always need, always run out of and really miss when you don’t have them, especially toilet paper.
Either by setting these things on automatic order on a place like Amazon, or from your local grocery store, or by doing a once-monthly run for these types of things, ensuring that your bathroom is always well-stocked with the things you need is a small luxury that you will be so grateful when you have.
In fact, a fun fact is that I have little jars in my bathroom where I keep these things in surplus. And one of the things I used to have a jar of was, like, Unused toothbrushes. And then, everyone would come to my house, and, multiple times, people either used or stocked up on toothbrushes from my bathroom.
And now, I keep the lesser toothbrushes in the jar and the really fancy ones in my personal cabinet. So be wary about where you’re putting out all the goods.
Number seventeen is little dishes and jars to put around your home.
A long time ago, I started getting into the storage jar life in places like my kitchen, my bathroom, et cetera, and I have never looked back. I also have several cute little trays home.
And it’s just so nice having these cute little places to store these items instead of just having them be haphazardly all over the place or in makeshift storage. Small change, big difference.
Lastly, Number eighteen is a great night’s sleep.
Now, for many people, this will mean different things. But wherever in your life you can invest in better sleep from natural supplements to help you stay asleep, to the right sleepwear, to the right mattress all of this will ultimately come down to finding what’s wrong with your sleep and how you can make it better.
But if sleep hygiene is something you have a hard time with, or you’re not getting enough of it, there are few places where you can better direct your attention than how you sleep and the quality of that sleep. How we sleep affects every moment of our waking day.
And more importantly, it is one of those small changes that can make the rest of your life feel so much more luxurious because you’re not constantly exhausted going through it. So wherever the changes can be made in your sleep, give yourself the ultimate gift of making them.