Extravagance: Where do You Draw the Line?

Gloria Swanson
Too Much?
When I wrote a post about a $7,000 facial yesterday, it really struck a nerve with some of you (including the man who offers the facial!).

Check out the comments if you want, but be warned- Some of them get pretty nasty.

This is the kind of subject I can't bring myself to get personally worked up over- I just personally find a $7,000 facial to be extreme and I wrote about it. It goes beyond my personal limit of acceptable pricing PLUS I don't believe that Mila Kunis's face at the Golden Globes looked any better after the facial than any other actress's face that night, and I thought it would make for an interesting discussion.

But the rancor I stirred up among some of you made me realize that we could have quite an interesting discussion today about where you draw the line when it comes to extravagance.

So let's talk about it.

When I began writing for The Stir, I quickly realized that the readers here come from many different financial situations, and I've tried to address that in my posts. For example, while I think $150 is a great price for a winter coat, others of you wouldn't pay more than $50- so I try to give you a good range of prices from the incredibly inexpensive to the splurgey stuff.

In general, I don't have a problem with the way women choose to spend their money, provided they can afford it. Personally, I've lived through lean years when I could afford to buy nothing at all, and I've had years when I could afford some luxuries. My husband and I are adamant about being financially responsible, about giving to others "until it hurts," and about enjoying ourselves, too. I would hope everyone would try for all three of these things, whether they're making $30,000 a year or $3,000,000.

But yeah. A $7,000 facial crosses the line for me. $7,000 for plastic surgery sounds reasonable. A $7,000 wedding dress? Okay. A $7,000 hotel suite? WOW. It had better be SOME HOTEL SUITE. But I find it very hard to believe that a $7,000 facial would give you any different results than a really good $300 facial.

However, if Scott-Vincent Borba asked me to try out his $7,000 facial for free, you know I'd be all over it because I'd love to be proven wrong!

I'd also love to know what kinds of things have struck you personally as over-the-top. Where do you draw the line? Is anything too extravagant, period, or is it all relative?

And let's not get nasty and insult each other- My original facial post wasn't meant to hurt feelings (It really wasn't, Scott-Vincent, and you're putting yourself out there as a public figure so expect some criticism of your work. I do.) and I'd like for feelings to not get hurt in the comments.

 

Image via Foxtongue/Flickr

celeb style, skin

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nonmember avatar Anon

Some things are extravagant to me, for me, and if it's my money (or tax money) we're talking about. I don't pretend to understand how other people decide to spend their own money. I agree that if we have disposable cash, it is ideal to be charitable and fiscally responsible, and at the same time enjoy some comforts. However, I also believe that charity should be a private matter as well as completely voluntary. I shouldn't know or care whether the person I'm talking to has donated 1 cent or $1,000,000 in the past year; and vice versa.

miche... micheledo

Having lived in West Africa for a short time, I have a hard time spending money on 'fun' stuff - clothes, movies, toys for the kids, etc.  People live with so little and I have numerous changes of clothes - many that are old and don't fit well, but in other countries that wouldn't matter a bit!!


I agree, $7,000 is extravagant!  I would MAYBE spend that on a wedding (certainly not a wedding dress).  LOL!  So I even disagree with you there.  We didn't even spend $7000 TOTAL on the last 4 or 5 cars we owned.  I think the last four cars cost us about $2000.  :D 

SashaBW SashaBW

Lindsay I meant to leave a comment of support for you yesterday. There was nothing wrong with what you said (and I totally agreed, too).

nonmember avatar Jenny

I suppose everyone has their different thing that they would be extravagant about. I used to work with (wealthy) women who got massages nearly every week and got their nails done weekly. I could never get how they would pay so much money to have someone massage them and paint their toenails, but I could drop $2,000 EASILY in Sephora if given the chance. I would never buy a dress that cost $1000, but I could rack up that much in hair treatments in no time. So, I guess I can see how an actress, who makes her money by her face, could get spending that much on a facial.

hotic... hoticedcoffee

I stopped reading the comments on your other thread, and declined to leave me own, because I'm one of those that can get nasty about this, and I didn't feel that the intended tone of your article followed with the intentionally pot-stirring preachy-ness of some of the other bloggers. But I'll chime in now.


I personally wouldn't spend $7K on that facial treatment even if I had that kind of fun-money, because it sounds like a bunch of overpriced hooey and if I'm spending that kind of money, I expect more return than just refined pores for a week. 


That said, I always take issue when A decides B has spent money that B earned by working, winning, investing, inheriting (any legal, non-welfare way), in an inappropriate, selfish way and lists ways it could have been better spent.  I just think what people decide to do with their earnings (again, not their government hand-outs or ill-gotten gains) is entirely up to them, none of my business, and not for me or anyone else, to second-guess.  You can hoard every dollar you ever earn, give it all to charity, spend it all on shoes and gum - if you earned it, do whatever makes you happy. 

lilel... lilelvengirl

I feel like I'm at the bottom of the pile here.. I donate whatever time and money (don't have a lot) when I can to help others. But when it comes to spending money, I'm incredibly frugal. I had someone who wanted to buy a pair of jeans (they were heavily embroidered) for my birthday one year, but since she didn't know my size I had to go with her so I could try them on. When I saw that they were $120, I refused and told her I'd find something more affordable (which didn't insult her, she knows how I feel about expensive clothing). We ended up compromising on my present because the only thing I found in the store that I actually liked was a shirt on clearance for $6 so I got a nice shirt and a new (reasonably priced) cutting board instead for less than a 1/3 of the price of the jeans.  If you have the money and that's how you want to spend it, that's up to you. My idea of extravagence is spending $20 on a dress for a ball (it was second-hand, but that also doesn't bother me, as it was gorgeous and in perfect condition and I already owned shoes that matched!) or $50 on a dinner date for my husband and me. To each their own.

Marsh... MarshaCWP

I think most luxury goods are rip-offs.  That's why I wouldn't buy them even if I had billions of dollars.  I'm not paying someone an obscene markup just to have their name on something I buy.  But's that me.  People have the right to spend obscene amounts on trivial items, and I have the right to think they're stupid for doing so.


 

Just2... Just2busymom

I agree with MarshaCWP.  Although I think it's wasteful for people with so much money to spend it so frivolously.  With that kind of money so much good could be done with it, rather than used for a $7K facial.

PonyC... PonyChaser

I think everything is all relative.  For example, my in-laws were very frugal throughout their lives, and he made an incredible amount of money.  Because of that, they are very wealthy.  Also, because of that, they buy a new car every three or four years.  Seriously, they trade in their "old" car before the "new-car-smell" wears off!!  To me, that's incredibly frivolous, since I buy cars with the intent of keeping them for 10+ years.  Difference in wealth makes all the difference in how we spend it.


Now, what's over the top?  Those rap stars who get gold teeth with diamonds embedded in them!  First off... what was wrong wtih the teeth God gave ya?  Second... how on earth do you keep gunk out of that diamond?  eew.  So, yeah, stuff like that is 'over the top'.  I'd throw the $7K facial in there, too.  I really don't see how diamonds and rubies are going to make a bit of difference over a really good-quality soap and moisturizer combined with a healthy lifestyle.

Wheep... Wheepingchree

I think paying for cable is extravagant. I think $7K is a lot for a wedding. Also disposable diapers, baby food, and most baby gear (bouncy seats, swings, exersaucers, etc.). But I don't care what other people do with their money.

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