Spending on Your Passion

Recently, I picked up two Le Creuset 5 1/2 quart French ovens on a special deal. I’ve been slowly upgrading our kitchen implements and I’ve wanted to upgrade our cracked ceramic casseroles with enameled cast iron that can be used over a burner and also thrown in an oven for baking purposes.

They were expensive, far more than the ceramic items we originally purchased for casseroles. However, the casseroles were already slightly cracked, didn’t heat evenly, and weren’t to be used over an open flame. The new ones fulfilled the exact need we had and allows us to also reduce the number of items in our kitchen cupboard, as several items are now headed for a future yard sale.

Here’s the real thing, though. I don’t feel bad at all about spending the money on the French ovens.

First, I planned ahead for buying them. I’ve been studying and planning for this purchase for a few months. I knew that I wanted to replace our casseroles after a dish cooked in the ceramic casserole was very unevenly heated and was developing a large, ominous crack on the side. I spent some time studying the options and decided that these were the ones I wanted.

Second, they’ll last forever. They come with a 101 year warranty. My grandchildren will be using them (if they want to, of course). I’ll never have to buy another casserole again.

Third, the purchase is in line with something I’m deeply passionate about. I love to cook, preparing elaborate meals in our kitchen. I also tend to get frustrated by items that don’t work well and I also strive to maintain what I have – I’ll stand there honing knives and other such things when there’s not a meal to be prepared. In other words, food preparation is a real passion of mine.

Here’s the real truth of the entire story. If it’s something you’re passionate about, you plan for it, and you can afford it, don’t feel guilty about buying it. There’s absolutely nothing “wrong” with living your life and enjoying the things you truly care about.

It only becomes dangerous when you begin to extend that policy into purchases of items you don’t really care about that much or that you buy impulsively. That’s a slippery slope into the type of consumerism that leaves you buried under a pile of debt.

How do you always distinguish between these two? It’s easy – just be mindful of yourself and how you choose to spend money. Look at what you’re most passionate about and how you spend your time. The more time you spend (and the more deeply you enjoy that time), the more worthwhile a purchase often is in that area. Whenever you consider a purchase, back off and ask yourself if you really need it or if there isn’t another way to scratch that same itch for a lower price. I often use the “thirty day rule” for any major purchase – I just wait thirty days and see whether it’s something that’s genuinely important to me or if it’s just a fleeting impulse that was better off ignored.

And if you’re wondering, yes, we used these at our Thanksgiving dinner. We made dressing in them and the dressing turned out exquisitely, cooked very evenly throughout and not sticking at all to the French oven. In other words, it’s almost perfectly what we wanted.

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