There’s a fine line between buying stuff for the sake of consumerism and buying stuff because you deserve nice things. I’m not always aware of where the line is. There are a lot of things I love but never buy for myself, and this post is an ode to their splendor.

a pile of brown cardboard boxes tied with multi-colored ribbons with the text "An Ode to the Things I Love but Never Buy for Myself"

This post isn’t about things to buy yourself to feel better. Unless we’re talking medicine, I don’t think stuff can make you feel better. I will say, however, that using quality stuff can make your life easier. And while I’m a big fan of giving little gifts to myself, there are some things I never get.

(Oh, and if you need to, you can always buy yourself something nice from this list.)

An Ode to the Things I Love but Never Buy for Myself

Just because I don’t buy them doesn’t mean I don’t love them. Here’s a list of the top five thingsI love but never buy for myself.

001: Name brand office supplies.

Gone are the days when I could put in an office supply order at a day job and get the good pens and fancy Post-Its without batting an eye. Had I realized how expensive the good stuff was, I would’ve stolen more from previous employers.

One of my favorite stores to browse in is a good office supply store. Do I touch every expensive pen? Yep. I walk up and down the aisles and imagine being the sort of person who doesn’t scoff at the price tag and get the cheaper version.

Yes, I know quality stuff lasts longer and works better. But I also know that any office supplies I get aren’t strictly necessary. Approximately 98% of the work I do is done with a computer, so the pens and paper I get are really just for my own enjoyment, not actual business purposes.

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But still, I dream of the day where I am the sort of person who goes to an office supply store and buys every single color of Post-It note like it’s nothing. All colors. All sizes. I’ll be ready to leave little notes all over the place for the rest of my life.

002: Anything from coffee shops.

It’s no secret that I love coffee. I drink more than I should every single day. But I do it at home, and have since grad school.

It’s not that I’ve been listening to personal finance opinion havers. It’s that I want a cup of coffee when I wake up, and the best way to get that is to make coffee at home. Plus, I don’t put anything in my coffee. So fancy syrups and whipped creams are not something that really entice me.

Even so, I love the idea of going to coffee shops. (I used to all the time when I lived in a college town and met people for coffee.)

There’s something truly frivolous about a coffee shop to me. Yeah, a lot of people can get work done in a coffee shop, but I am not one of them. So a trip to the coffee shop is always a waste of time for a cup of coffee that is too much caffeine too late in the day for me.

But I still love it. The one time a year I do indulge the coffee shop desire, I regret it immediately, and I don’t sleep at all the following night.

003: Fancy pajamas.

As a child, I thought I would be the sort of person who had a nice pair of pajamas. And, much like the characters in TV shows, they wouldn’t be wrinkled after a long night of sleeping.

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Well, like so many other thoughts from childhood, this one didn’t pan out.

If I’m being honest, I’m much more of a goblin than people think. So, when it comes time to go to bed, I’m falling asleep on the couch in whatever clothes I wore that day. And since I work from home, most of my daily clothing is pajama-adjacent. Everything is very soft. We’re talking yoga pants and t-shirts.

So, do I need fancy pajamas in addition to my regular wardrobe which seems like it would be softer than what the fancy pajamas have to offer?

No, no I don’t. But could I have a really cool Instagram photo session in a pair of fancy pajamas? Heck yeah. Like, it would be me, fancy pajamas, piles of books, and just a very cozy Sunday morning vibe.

I will never take these photos though, simply because I won’t buy the pajamas and my daily clothes are not fit to be seen by humans.

004: Special editions of books.

I’m a monster who likes to crack the spines of books and write in the margins. For that reason, I don’t mind owning used paperback copies of everything. Plus, there’s something about a trip to the used bookstore that is infinitely more magical than a trip to a bookstore that only sells brand new stuff. And ordering books online isn’t magical at all.

Most of my books were purchased used, either from used bookstores or friends of the library book sales. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t covet the fancy hardbacks.

I can see them on my shelf now, all the nice dust jackets just sitting there, unmarred by human hands. Because that’s the thing–I wouldn’t read these copies. I wouldn’t want to harm them.

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And that’s why I don’t buy special editions of books, or even hardbacks if I can help it. I don’t want to have a bunch of expensive things that just sit on my shelf that I’m too afraid to touch. It just feels very Jay Gatsby to have fancy books you haven’t even read, and that ain’t my style.

005: Writing retreats.

Ah, writing retreats. You are my favorite thing in the world. But you are expensive and require a lot of planning to pull off. And that one-two punch is my kryptonite.

Plus, if we’re being honest, I’m at home alone five days a week while my husband is at work, so like, writing can happen at home, and it mostly does.

But even so, I dream of cabins in the woods where a desk sits under a window looking out into the trees. This cabin isn’t plagued by any of the things that most cabins in the woods are plagued by. There are no spiders or rattle snakes, and when the sun goes down, I’m not terrified of whatever forest spirits are lurking under the green canopy mere feet from the door of said cabin.

I think I probably wrote the posts about the free writing retreat and the afternoon writing retreat as a way to soothe my soul and trick myself into believing I have a little writing retreat at my fingertips.

What’s Something You Love but Never Buy?

Are you also not a coffee shop person no matter how much you want to be? Do you actually buy the good office supplies? What’s your favorite thing that you never buy for yourself?

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