I digress, however. While money doesn't buy happiness; money can buy small things, simple pleasures, that bring a glimmer of sunshine into an otherwise darkening world.
Herein, I present a few of the simple pleasures in life, all priced under $30, that make me smile, and can make your day/week/month a brighter place...
Audible Membership: $7.49 first 3 mos/$14.95 thereafter.
Absolutely essential for the bibliophile. If you're like me, you love to read, but your schedule is hectic, and can only snatch 45 mins or so of free time to read a book. Try Audible. Perfect when doing laundry, bathing, getting dressed, commuting, cooking meals, cleaning, even while going to sleep (we all love a bed time story). A miserly $15 buys you a new friend each month in the form of a "credit". With tons of great $5.95 sales throughout the year, member gift certificates, and a wealth of deals, Audible is easily the best $15 you'll spend in a month.
Badger Bristle Brush
Unless you're an antiquated lumberjack, society generally wants most white-collar, non-academic professionals to be well-groomed; which includes, naturally, shaving. For some it's a chore. For others, like me, it's a pleasure. Irrespective of your stance on shaving, nothing --and I mean nothing-- gets your regions softer, more pliable, and gives you a better shave than a good old-fashioned badger bristle brush and some nice cake soap. Sure, it takes a bit longer, but it is a nice ritual, it smells nice, and your skin will thank you.
The "Pure" bristles are about $28 on Amazon; the "Silvertips" feel like a lover's caress, but are about double that. Good cake soap, such as is found at Pioneer Heritage Shoppe, runs you $14, and lasts about 2 months!
The reds get all the press: Cabernets get the money; merlot keeps Olive Garden in business; zinfandel gets the girls; and chianti goes well with fava beans. But, for my money, no wine beats the exquisite complexity of a nice chardonnay. So many varietals, there are literally as many complexities as your cravings could request. Some like their chards fruity, others crisp, others biting and sweet. Not the Shadow. Rather, I prefer mine to be earthy, rich, warm, with an oaken or buttery finish. And, man, is there a deal for you. Chateau St. Jeanne Sonoma County Reserve Chardonnay (2004), for the fantastic price of $27.99. If you want a complex every-meal wine, or one perfect by itself, one suitable for "polite" company, yet inexpensive enough to treat yourself to on occasion, this Orgasm-in-a-Glass is what you have been waiting for.
Fantastic kretek cigars. Retail for about $7-$12 depending on locale (but, available in bulk for $30.99 per case at Tobacco General online). Mild, micro-clove with a well-sauced filter; finely-balanced, beautiful blend of Indonesian spices and Turkish 100% pure tobacco. Good tobacco, good cloves, great deal...and go perfect with earthy beverages such as black Sumatra/Kona Peaberry coffees, amaretto and zinfandel.