My rule: If I ogle something for over a year and can afford it, I get to buy it. With that in mind, my two "luxury" purchases of the summer have been Vibram Five Fingers shoes (~$80) and Bose Companion II speakers (~$60, refurbished - thanks to my brother Jason for the tip).
I feel kind of guilty for getting such nice things, but I am going to use them, and I usually don't spend a lot of money. I still look at the cost of eating out each night when I travel for work and fight the urge to skip a meal, even if it's going to be reimbursed. When I was about to go on my first trip, I mentioned to a friend that I could probably just eat one meal a day if I stuffed myself with trail mix and bananas from the Red Hat office I was visiting, so I wouldn't have to expense so much, and was told to "buy the $expletive food, you idiot, they budget for that kind of thing." (Similarly, my dad had to yell at me to start booking hotel rooms rather than a bunk in 20-bed hostel rooms.)
Obviously I need to revise my notion of money. It's great to be able to live cheaply, but being afraid of money and not wanting to deal with it - having it or spending it or getting it - because you don't know how - is never a good thing.
On an unrelated note, I keep on feeling like a little fish who keeps on getting thrown into progressively larger and larger ponds - although by now I think I've graduated on to rivers. Maybe even oceans. Anyway. It's exhilarating, seeing how fast you can adjust and how far you can go and how much you can learn and pass on. I've learned to trust the little voice that goes "but but not ready yet!" as a reliable indicator that I am ready - unless I can articulate exactly why I'm not ready and what would get me to that point, I'm ready, just afraid. Dammit, why am I always afraid?
So looking forward to Paul Frields coming to POSSE tomorrow. Also saving plenty of room for that lovely BBQ. Oh, North Carolina BBQ. I knew there was a reason why the office was here.