Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind”
~Henry David Thoreau

“Utility is when you have one telephone, luxury is when you have two, opulence is when you have three - and paradise is when you have none.”
~Doug Larson (middle-distance runner who won gold medals at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, 1902-1981)

“The saddest thing I can imagine is to get used to luxury.”
~Charlie Chaplin

So what is Luxury? According to the facts of the dictionary it is the following:
1. Something that is an indulgence rather than a necessity
2. The quality possessed by something that is excessively expensive
3. Wealth as evidenced by sumptuous living

Of course if I ask any person on the street I might not get just definitions but images of luxury. Some might say a Hummer is a luxury, while others may feel any car is a luxury. It will vary with each person I come across. I think the only thing they will agree on is that a luxury is not a necessity of life.

In writing this post I realized something, a luxury can be a necessity, such as clean water or food to eat that many people around the world don’t receive.

Perhaps instead a luxury should be defined as something inaccessible to the general population, that its value increases based on the demand.

Based on that definition I could have anything be a luxury at any time; if desire outweighs production of the item, it becomes a luxury. If China were to shut down its borders and not ship anything to the U.S, how might clothes, toys or other materials affect my idea of a luxury? I think I would cherish what little I did have, make it last longer and make sure it is well made.

I believe it is viewing my possessions around me in that light that can answer the question of “why be frugal?

If I look around my home and let the thought pass through my mind that the item I was looking at could not be replaced, how much more careful would I take care of it? How much more interested would I be to get quality products? And finally, how much more of an effort would I take to know about where my money went?


  1. Anonymous // Saturday, February 28, 2009 2:03:00 PM  

    Well sometimes time is a luxury, for those that haven't quite enough of it. I don't think a luxury is neccessarily a thing or collection thereof. I think it is honestly a frame of mind. You can live in the lap of luxury with an indulgence (like a piece of favourite cake)and a coffee.
    It's perspective my dear.
    Now I must go and languish with my dog on the couch a luxury I can ill afford as my house needs a dusting.

  2. Dawn // Saturday, February 28, 2009 2:06:00 PM  

    Very true, I can see how lazy days could be a luxury when responsibility beckons... good point.