When I say “expensive,” I don’t mean they’re not worth every penny — just that they cost a lot of pennies.
So as a person who doesn’t have a lot of pennies, I thought I’d introduce this occasional series, Affordable Luxuries. These are things that are amazing, quality-of-life enhancing, and cost less than a bottle of 1961 Right Bank Bordeaux.
Remember candles? You probably saw them last at your 13th birthday party, but they still make them, and they’re terrific! Ikea sells 100 GLIMMA tealights for $3.99, so go ahead and buy a hundred or two. You’ll also want to pick up some candleholders, but those are pretty cheap too, and last forever.
Once you have a bunch of candles you paid next to nothing for, you can light them for any occasion, or no occasion at all. And then you’ll be the kind of person who eats dinner, watches TV, or reads the newspaper by candlelight, and you’ll feel great about it.
Unlike candles, you probably know about chocolate, and may even eat it fairly regularly. But it turns out really, really good chocolate is widely available in the United States, and is completely affordable. A bar of Green and Black’s organic chocolate retails for around $5 (though I’ve seen it cheaper).
On the one hand, that’s somewhat more expensive than a bar of Hershey’s milk chocolate. On the other hand, it actually tastes like chocolate, and will last you a good long while.
I personally prefer the 85% Dark Cacao bar, but don’t take my word for it: they’re $5, try them all!
Eating really good dark chocolate isn’t like eating cheap milk chocolate. My recommendation is to break off a small square, stick it in your mouth, and then just wait as it melts and the flavors consume you. Feel free to do this with candles flickering in the background (see above).
I don’t know about you, but I didn’t go to a car wash between age 17 and age 30. But it turns out they still exist, they’re great, and they’re completely affordable!
For $10-15, you can have the entire exterior and interior of your car cleaned. Dusty dashboards wiped, muddy interiors vacuumed, mirrors polished till they shine. I promise you will not recognize your car after it’s been professionally washed.
If you’re lucky you can still find a carwash that lets you ride through inside your car, which is even more fun and doesn’t cost anything extra. Bring a friend if you want to recreate your favorite car wash makeout scene from early-80’s TV and cinema.
You can also do this with chocolate (see above), although I recommend against bringing lit candles into the car wash.