Is luxury just about money?
I am in a quest of defining what exactly luxury means for Skimbacoers, for people like you and me.
When I started Skimbaco, Skimbaco.com was a store that sold $150 jeans for kids, and while my store wasn’t really a luxury store, it certainly was upscale, and I focused selling products that were high quality and unique. I figured: as a small business owner I can not compete with the prices or volumes of large retailers so I had to offer something different.
I shocked everyone because at some point I started working with Walmart. In fact – working with Walmart made perfect sense to me. I wanted to spread the message it is OK to splurge your money on one thing, and save your money on something else as long as it makes you live better. I think in today’s world it is too black and white to think consumers would segment in one demographic for their spending habits or income.
In fact I believe that most people splurge on one thing and save on something else. And if you don’t – I think you should. Everyone deserves luxury experiences. Most money savvy people that I know are not buying everything the top of the line – they are extremely frugal on certain things, so they can invest their money on the things that matter.
Once when we flew to New York from Europe our family flew in business class sipping champagne (well, I did, not the kids!) but once in New York I didn’t want to take a car service to Manhattan and took the subway instead. And instead staying in a 5th avenue 5-star hotel, we stayed in SoHo in a much cheaper hotel. A few months later we flew to Southern Europe with a discount airline RyanAir only to tour Tuscany and Monaco in style, that time we splurged on hotels, not on better flights.
My guess is that you spend your money a lot of the same way. You splurge on one thing – and save it on another depending on your priorities. And I think it is your personal taste and priorities that guide your luxury purchases much more than what your income level is.
For example, I met many skiers (also called ski bums…) during our Colorado years who spent several thousands of dollars on their ski gear but ate Ramen noodles for dinner because that was pretty much all they had money left for.
Can you identify yourself here? Or are you one of those people who would rather have always the “best you can afford” of each purchase and experience, and stick to your affordability level, and never really splurge on anything in a way that it makes you sigh “I can’t believe I spent that much money on it”?
But what is luxury?
There are two sayings “the best things in life are free” and “it’s the small things that count.” I completely agree, but how come when it comes to luxury it’s still very small things that make all the difference in experience and in quality and the price just gets higher?
Think of the thread count in cotton, the inches between the airplane seats, the years the wine has been in the cellar. Luxury can be a scent you smell, a noise-level or sound you hear, or luxury can be the temperature of the air. Luxury can be the years you can use the product, or the quality of the materials used. Luxury can be a hot or cold towel, ice in your drink, or even pizza – depending where in the world you are. Luxury can often be something very common when you have access to it in an uncommon place.
The things that make something luxurious can be very small, yet make all the difference in the world, and I believe everyone deserves luxury experiences and I think luxury IS accessible for more people than you’d think of. (I’m not talking in a global level here, I’m talking now on the regular privileged middle class folks in Western countries here).
Luxury is an investment
Luxury is often an investment that you make, and you reap the benefits for much longer than from non-luxury purchase. I’ve collected the same china since college, and most of the pieces still look good, but my dinner set isn’t cheap. The designer handbag you buy today? You can give it to your daughter one day. Over time, many luxury items actually become less expensive per usage time if you compare to lower quality products.
When it comes to luxury experiences, I believe everyone deserves once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Why not instead of going out to eat twice a week, eat out less, and make it fine dining and a luxury experience instead of just getting your belly full? Do you absolutely have to have the new wardrobe for your trip – or could you just skip buying a new suitcase and new clothes for your vacation and book a better hotel or go to a destination farther away instead?
Luxury is an investment, but not just for things and stuff – luxury can be an investment to yourself and to your happiness level. And no – don’t think I mean that you can buy happiness, you can’t. But you can create the feeling of luxury in your life that has nothing to do with money, and everything to do with your priorities in life.
Define YOUR Luxury
When we think what luxury is, I too, easily think of the things money can buy. Let’s stop that thinking for a while and think of the top moments in your life, the happy moments and the experiences you’ve had and when you’ve felt that “I wish I had more moments like this.” The real luxury in life lays in those moments, and those moments are the luxury truly worth going after and investing your money in.
Think of those ski bums – real luxury for them is to get as many ski days per year as possible. The real luxury is to feel the breeze in your face, the snow under your skis and experience the solitude of the mountains. And to do it with the equipment that let’s you have fun and keeps you from freezing. The luxury is hundred-dollar-long underwear that keeps you warm and ski goggles that won’t fog in. The luxury isn’t in the square footage of the place they live in, or in the car they drive, as long as they make it to the mountains. The ski bums know how to invest in things that truly matter to them, and live in a way that they can experience the biggest luxury of their lives.
Define your luxury feeling, your luxury moment and the feeling of bliss, and let that guide you in how you spend and invest your money too.
We would love to hear from you: what luxury means to you? We believe that living Skimbaco lifestyle does goes very closely hand in had living a “luxury lifestyle” but we define luxury maybe differently than some. We believe in splurging money in the things we are passionate about, but we also believe in living frugally in other aspects in life. It’s OK if we can’t have it all, but let’s do our best to collect the moments in life that make us live life to the fullest.