When Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace prize it piqued our interest.  While we’re optimists by nature, we found ourselves a little worried. You know when a story climaxes too soon, the end result isn’t very satisfying. And we have very high hopes for the big O.  While we were debating the merits of the award, we thought back to Al Gore and his winning the Peace Prize for his work with the environment and climate change. How relevant to our work: conservation and careful use of resources are keys to being a modern woman living on a budget. President Carter and his Nobel Prize for brokering conflict resolution also comes to mind as our heart lusts after all those unaffordable but adorable things we once thought essential to our happiness. You know, like a day at the spa, dinner at Daniel, or that Narcisco leather jacket. We digress.  Anyway, it got us to thinking about thrift and virtue.

Since everything is about us (isn’t it?), we began to wonder if there shouldn’t be a prize for being thrifty. Don’t we too deserve a reward for being so mindful and careful about how we’re spending our precious resources? What’s more virtuous than thrift? Then we started to get nervous. Images of thrift started floating by: a wingback chair, a needlepoint stool, little tabby lapping a wholesome plate of milk, Aunt Jenny saving rubber bands. It’s safe and sensible being thrifty. But do we want to be so prudent all the time? No, not really.

Remember in our “Whap!” post we talked about the devil and the angel sitting on your shoulders helping you resolve your purchasing conflicts? How in our brownie recipe we talked about teasing your palate with different sensory sensations? Well, contrasts are what make life worth living; without the ups and downs where would we be? (Okay, on Prozac.) But how would we ever experience joy and sadness, pleasure and pain, love and hate?

We’d live a very boring and passionless life if we didn’t on occasion act on that little lust engine that drives us. (Think planting peanuts versus running Worldwide Pants.) After all, lust is the fuel that propels us forward. It’s green (the color of envy) and it’s renewable. The trick is for you to be your own lust-master.   On the surface it should be easier for us than for boys, but have you seen Alexander McQueen’s new collection? Yes, we want to be thrifty, but not all the time. Learn to be your own conflict resolution negotiator; by saving and conserving you’ll have the flexibility to go out and have a satisfying good splurge. A great splurge should bring peace (if not a peace prize)—not saddle you with anxiety or buyer’s remorse.

While we’re budget gurus, we recognize the eternal yin-yangness of life on earth. And so we celebrate the splurge as well as the conservation. We laud the new and shiny as well as the old and worn.

Tell us: what’s the biggest and best splurge in your recent memory?

This is an updated ‘oldie but goodie’ from Bitches on a Budget.

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