Tuesday, January 11, 2022

When to Up-Spend

Carpenters should always buy the most expensive hammer. That's obvious, yet few of us seem to really internalize that lesson.

For example, it’s crazy that most people spend a third of their lives nuzzling a cheap uncomfortable pillow. Even at my financial low point as a freelance jazz musician, I slept with a $$$ down pillow (with fancy hypoallergenic cover). The same people will jump to buy a BMW the moment they can afford one. I don't understand their priorities.

I use a portable vacuum several times per day. I want to encourage that habit, and for it to work reliably well. So I own a Dyson - which, even at its blow-out sale price, was still a luxury purchase. But I've never regretted it.

Here's the counterintuitive formula: Up-spend on items used most frequently. Not your most enjoyed or valued things, nor the things you most depend upon. I immensely enjoy my bottom-of-the-line iPad, greatly value my second-hand dvd collection, and depend on my house's merely-decent water heater. None were spendy. But the scrub brush I use on my back in the shower every day is the best one. I use it daily, and it never does anything to erode my joie de vivre. Over time, that adds up.

Anything that delivers daily irritation or disappointment gets improved if possible. My doors shut well and my light switches make a nice noise. This may seem petty, but improvement of improvable fine points is far more sane than rumination over the unavoidable. People mess up both sides of the Serenity Prayer.


Anonymous said...

Would love a pillow recommendation actually...

Jim Leff said...

Down is a rabbit hole. If you want to know the whole sordid story, work through this Dr. Bronner-like web site from a long defunct down company: https://web.archive.org/web/20130304060953/http://www.down-feather-bedding.com/index.php

Main takeaway: go for higher fill power. Not only better quality, it will usually be better processed and less allergenic (he gets way deep into the allergy question). And buy from a serious, expensive company so you don't get cheap down (or feather/down mixture) advertised as high down count. Don't economize. Go full Mrs. Howell.

You need to fluff it daily, thoroughly. And weekly or biweekly throw it in the dryer 15 mins (on low) with a few tennis balls to re-fluff. And get a high quality cover (though good quality companies sell them in tightly-woven fabric).

I'm highly allergic to down, but can verify that high loft down from a good company in a pillow with a quality hypoallergenic cover (careful...some are crinkly, like Saran Wrap) doesn't cause me issues.

Good news: big sale right now: https://www.canadiandownandfeather.com/collections/pillows-1/products/850-loft-hutterite-goose-down-pillow

competitor: https://dewoolfsonlinens.com/catalog/fill-batiste-white-goose-down-pillows-c-3_433_3417.php

Macy's top-of-line is also good, and they have deep sales sometimes.

Side sleepers need a full fill. Check with the retailer.

Hope that helps. One $250 pillow will last longer than six $40 ones, and you'll sleep much better.

James Leff said...

And weekly or biweekly throw it in the dryer 15 mins (on low) with a few tennis balls to re-fluff.

….also a moist wash cloth

Anonymous said...

Excellent–thank you for the recommendation. Mr. & Mrs. Howell would approve. :)

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