Essential v Extravagant?

As I get older, I'm realizing that whether something is an essential or extravagant is totally relative.  For example, in my early twenties, I was living in a flat in San Francisco with two other girls.  Strangers that already lived there when I found the available room on Craigslist.  Over the course of the 5 years I lived at that apartment, there were multiple times that I tried to convince my best friend, who at the time was living in Elko, NV, to move to SF.

During one of my visits to Elko, we went to her grandparents' house and we were both complaining about the high cost of living in the city, and the near impossibility of finding anywhere to live.  (Those were the days!  A 3 bedroom flat in the Richmond for $1800.  Ha!  Little did I know prices would more than quadruple in the next couple years.)

Her grandfather said to us, "Isn't there a studio or something that the two of you gals could share?"  My friend and I looked at each other and both wondered out loud, "When does it end?"  Oh, to be in my twenties again.  Not!

But the point is, it was a possibility to live in a one room studio with my best friend.  No living room, no dining room.  Sharing the one room and one bathroom with someone else.  The thought of having my own room, let alone my own apartment or even my own house, was so far fetched and extravagant.  At that time, something like my own apartment felt as unbelievable as commuting to a job on the moon.  It seemed as extravagant as using fine china and crystal for a picnic in the park with toddlers seems now.

Now, having my own space (with my family) feels like an essential.  Of course, I realize that we could lose what we have at any moment.  Both my husband and I are fortunate to have good, steady jobs, and fortunate that we can afford our home and groceries and bills.  And if our situation dramatically changed, then our "own space" would go back to being an extravagance.  But that's kind of my whole point: it all depends on the context of the rest of your life.  I'm sure there are plenty of things that wealthy people would consider an essential that would make my jaw drop.

Along those lines, but much less dramatic, I'm finding that some things that I even very recently felt were extravagant might be becoming essential.

For example, a clothing steamer.  Essential or Extravagant?  Or somewhere in between?

I have to dress more professionally at my current job than I did in the past.  I've been at this job for nearly 2 1/2 years, but I kind of was late to the party as far as my wardrobe.  And I don't iron.  So... a clothing steamer... essential or extravagant?

Steam and Go Garment cleaner, HauteLook $69

I certainly don't need the fanciest... maybe the $19 one?


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