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Archive for March, 2008

Luxury on a middle class budget

March 19th, 2008 at 02:46 pm

I love finer things. Living in New York and walking often through stores with finest imports, I feel the difference, and I want luxury in my life. The problem is, I also want to be financially responsible.

The key to achieving this is patience and choosing quality over quantity.
My relatives buy things they want right away. That includes financing furniture/tvs and huge amount of so-so clothing "because it was 50% off".

I am using the approach "one amazing thing at a time". When we moved into our apartment, we "inherited" old furniture nobody wanted, old plates, cutlery, bedding. We were just starting out, and our income has increased dramatically in the last 2 years.

Instead of quickly buying slightly better version of everything, we continue using it, and replace a few items a month with really nice staff that I will want to keep around for years. I hunt for each item for a long time, keep an eye on one, look for deals, coupons for the store if applicable. But in the end I will choose a luxury item I really love over a so-so item that is on sale.

Each thing is selected and enjoyed, not lost in a pile of same things. I know people who have like 20 to 30 of $40 sweaters in their closet that all look the same! I think you are better off having 3 great DIFFERENT style $200 quality cashmere sweaters that you love instead.

I absolutely love our new appliances, our slowly acquired down comforter and pillow, softest beautiful sheets, etc. Every time I come to bed I feel amazing. But... I still have one more down pillow to get. (too expensive to buy 2 this month). A superb Abyss bath sheet will also have to wait till next month. I will enjoy it when I get it though.

So for now, we will keep our old couch and folding kitchen table and many other things until we can replace them not with something "a little better" but something we will enjoy for a long time to come.

So my apartment is an odd mixture of luxury and old and cheap. Far from a consistent "style". I know it does not project a "right" appearance, but I am doing it for our enjoyment and quality of life, not to "impress". So for now I am fine with living in a half "Bloomingdales showroom" and half "dollar-store worker apartment." I do sometimes wonder if guests ask themselves "wtf is going on here?"

Major life decision - I want this apartment!

March 16th, 2008 at 07:15 pm

Yet it would be very tough. We'll be getting $500,000 in debt. Vacation/entertainment fund would be slashed to the bone. Also, 401K contributions would have to be reduced to just enough to get company match.

I am trying to weight pros and cons... But I just cannot stop imagining living there.

So... Pros:

Location - Manhattan, near a park, shorter commute.
Park is very nice, people lay on picknick blankets with notebooks when the weather is nice.
There is a nice long promenade where people jog along the river. I would love to do that.
I can also bike to work - there is a safe enough route on the edge of the island and it is only 45 blocks.
Access to all the things Manhattan has to offer. That one would be hard to explain in one post.

Layout - nicely planned apartment. 3 closets, spacious living room, very sunny, 5 windows facing tree tops. Very charming.

Lovely kitchen with good storage space - it would be pleasant to cook there.

Cons:
it is a co-op, but this is a Manhattan reality. Condos are rare and out of reach.
Maintenance is $900 a month, on top of the mortgage.
Plus, the assessment for new elevators is coming.

The sublet policy is only 2 out of each 5 years allowed, with board approval. So can't just easily rent it out.

Size under 600ft - but again, Manhattan.

Parking -- while this area has an easier parking than most, it still would be harder than where we are now.

DH's commute may be a little longer. (but he won't work in NJ forever, 3 years max)

I know it would be tight for a while, but our mortgage will stay the same, while our salaries will increase (and our rent would too.) I would also dump all the stuff I don't really love and simplify our living. I think, after all considerations, that living there would increase our quality of life. But this is a huge commitment.
Anyone has an opinion regarding this?

Do I need to pre-wash organic cotton flannel bedding?

March 11th, 2008 at 12:37 pm



I bought this new cute sheet set and am thinking on using it today, but I am to sick to go to the laundromat. How necessary do you think it is to wash bedding (sealed in a package) before using it first time?