I'VE SPENT a significant chunk of my life celebrating and embodying the "cheaper tastes better" aesthetic in nearly every facet of my existence. You know that mindset? You're just trying to survive, so you always purchase the least expensive option? That pure "oh fuck I'm a grownup fuck OH FUCK I'M ONE OF THOSE DERELICT ADULTS WHO SOMETIMES EATS DINNER AT GAS STATIONS OH FUCK THIS LIFESTYLE WILL ONLY BE ACCEPTABLE UNTIL I'M 25 YEARS OLD AT! THE! OLDEST!"
You're broke enough that you can't afford marinara sauce, so you just pour stolen Taco Bell hot sauce on your spaghetti. You're broke enough that you can't afford cheap fun beer, so you have to drink cheap sad beer. It's a vital lifestyle for some people, for a certain amount of time. You start to get your feet under you economically (at least somewhat, hopefully at some point)—but even then, it's hard to shed those cheaper-tastes-better instincts. I've discovered, though, that some things are definitely worth spending money on. This isn't lavish-type shit that's actually going to cost you a diesel grip of money, these are just micro-corrections that will drastically improve your day-to-day life.
LAUNDRY DETERGENT—Stop fucking with that cheap-ass laundry detergent! That shit is probably just bathroom soap and puddle water. It'll gunk up your clothes and make you smell like a not-super-recently cleaned bathroom. Avoid any laundry detergent with a name that sounds like Batman punching somebody: Yam! Dunch! Splatz!
Naw, you're worth at least Tide. AT LEAST Tide. Your bed is going to smell better, your clothes are going to smell better, your weird rash is probably gonna mostly go away. Here's a good rule of thumb to follow: Is the laundry soap I'm buying ONLY available at WinCo? Then I should probably avoid it.
MATTRESSES—I spent an entire year sleeping on egg-crate foam because I didn't want to spend money on a mattress. Futons have long been a staple for people who just recently got a liberal arts degree. What the fuck are we doing? You spend a third of your life in bed, and if you're depressed enough to settle for egg-crate, it's probably closer to half. Now I have a decent mattress—DECENT, not even good—and it's changed everything. I sleep better, have more energy, and my wardrobe has expanded greatly because I'm no longer balling up a bunch of shirts to use as a second pillow.
THIS COLUMN—Look, you're reading this for free on the internet or in a free paper you grabbed on your way into a casual sit-down lunch restaurant. If you want the REAL column, you're going to have to pay me for it. DM me on Twitter and I'll give you the wire info. It's $45,000. You'll get that pure, unstepped-on column shit in an attaché case delivered to your door. HMU.