Recently I got a new lamp for the endtable in my living room. A new lamp with a stained glass lamp shade. 'Twasn't expensive as fancy lamps go, but 'twasn't cheap either.
I never bought items like this until, oh, the past four or five years. Always used to be, all my adult life, if I was going to buy something, I bought it on the cheap. A tee-shirt for 25¢ at Goodwill. A lamp for an Andrew Jackson at the local discount store. Or else I did without.
Did without: Let's not get into the time I found myself without a bed, and I couldn't afford to buy one, so for a year I slept on a rubber mat on a hardwood floor.
Just these past few years, for the first time in my life, my finances have expanded to the point where I can now afford to buy little items like my new lamp. Nothing real expensive. But I'm no longer scrambling to find the cheapest penny-pincher on-sale bargain I can locate.
On little things. On big-ticket items, like my Jeep, I still hew to "thrifty as she goes": bought that Jeep going on four years ago for $2,500, still runs like a top, and rarely a repair beyond routine maintenance.
And I'll be honest. Sometimes I feel guilty about purchases like this lamp. Sort of like I've let go of simplicity. Sort of like I ought to return to the days when I lived largely on rice, dried beans, and ramen, and $2.25 for a canister of Quaker Oats bought me breakfast for six weeks, carefully rationed servings of oatmeal that had better not run out before the six weeks are up.