something extravagant?
May 21, 2015 2:13 PM   Subscribe

I received an unexpected $700. I want to use for super frivolous spending, and buy something that I wouldn't purchase within my normal budget. What should it be?

Things I've considered: Hot air balloon ride (seems too far away to get to), iPad or Apple Watch (but I don't know why I necessarily need one if I have an iPhone already?), ridiculous formal dress (seems like bad price-per-use, but could be fun), some sort of crazy bicycling stuff.

Other possibly relevant details: I live in DC right now. I'm visiting NYC for a day next week. My top hobbies are food and bicycling and travel. Other expensive things I've been into are scotch and wine, useful gadgets, newly released books (hardcovers! they are pricey!). I don't need furniture, and don't have time for fun classes right now.

To get normal AskMe stuff out of the way: I have no credit card debt, I save money responsibly, I have a travel budget which I take advantage of, and I'm comfortable with the rate at which I'm paying off my student loans. And I am sure that I want to buy something very nice (or pay for some sort of fun experience) rather than saving/donating.
posted by aaanastasia to Grab Bag (54 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Bike stuff will eat that up quickly. If there's some cycling toy/gear/clothing that you'd thought about buying before but dismissed as too spendy, there you go--now's your chance.
posted by psoas at 2:16 PM on May 21, 2015

Nice leather goods that will last for years -- a good briefcase, going-out bag, tall boots, good shoes, belts, that kind of thing?
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:20 PM on May 21, 2015 [6 favorites]

Best answer: I'm visiting NYC for a day next week.
Lunch or dinner at Eleven Madison Park or Le Bernardin, with wine pairings.
posted by melissasaurus at 2:21 PM on May 21, 2015 [24 favorites]

Best answer: Yeah. Bike stuff!

Personally, if I had that cash laying around, I'd upgrade my stem, headsets, bottom bracket, and all my hubs/wheels and cogs on my favorite frame. Shave a couple pounds of that stuff. And a King cage flask holder with some fancy, fancy scotch to put inside?

Also, $700 could get you some phenomenal rain/cold gear if you already have midrange stuff.

Or get your bike painted/powdercoated some outrageous color.
posted by furnace.heart at 2:23 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I would absolutely use that for an outrageous meal; maybe buy a new pair of shoes to go with it, too.
posted by backseatpilot at 2:24 PM on May 21, 2015

If not bike stuff, I'd splash out on a great spa weekend: book a great hotel, get a massage, eat at a restaurant you couldn't otherwise ever afford, etc.
posted by TwoStride at 2:26 PM on May 21, 2015 [4 favorites]

Use it to attend an event/fundraising dinner where one of your favorite living authors or personal heroes are speaking. Funds can cover travel and wardrobe.
posted by childofTethys at 2:27 PM on May 21, 2015 [3 favorites]

Thirding a blowout meal in NYC. One of my favorite experiences was the best meal of my life at a very expensive, very wonderful restaurant.
posted by craven_morhead at 2:28 PM on May 21, 2015

Take your BFF (Best Foodie Friend) with you to The Inn at Little Washington & make a memory for both of you.
posted by childofTethys at 2:30 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Kitchen Aid stand mixer, if you're a cook.
posted by feste at 2:30 PM on May 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

Have you thought about jewelry at all? $700 would get you a really great, one of a kind bracelet or stack of bangles.
posted by BibiRose at 2:31 PM on May 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

I would buy a really great bag. Let me direct you to functionequalsform's amazing comment.
posted by lalex at 2:32 PM on May 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

I would totally do a splashy meal like melissasaurus suggests, but are you into art at all? There's a pretty wide selection of original art you could purchase for that much.
posted by obfuscation at 2:35 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: An entire leg of Ibérico de Bellota ham with one of those wooden stands. I would put it in a well-trafficked location at home and just carve a slice every time I pass by.
posted by mshrike at 2:38 PM on May 21, 2015 [13 favorites]

Best answer: Do you like helicopters? I sure don't. But how about a helicopter ride around Manhattan.

You could also do a pretty nice weekend getaway for $700. If you can dip into your travel budget, I'd do a long weekend in Montreal.
posted by danny the boy at 2:40 PM on May 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

BTW, fares for a random weekend next month between DC and Montreal is about $350.

What I've been really wanting to do for a while now is just get the best room in any given hotel, maybe even locally. I've been traveling on a budget for too long, looking longingly at places I would love to stay at but can't justify.
posted by danny the boy at 2:43 PM on May 21, 2015

Take your BFF (Best Foodie Friend) with you to The Inn at Little Washington & make a memory for both of you.

This is a great idea, but $700 might not cover it.

I was there for my master's degree graduation present from a sibling, and dinner for two with wine pairings and cocktails was $1,000.
posted by jgirl at 2:50 PM on May 21, 2015

And that was in 2008!
posted by jgirl at 2:51 PM on May 21, 2015

Do you like massages/spa treatments/et cetera? I'm not talking about a quick service at a place in a chain of massage places, but a full-out day spa complete with steam room, sauna, quiet room, place to go have a meal, and so forth -- usually at a resort or upscale hotel. I bet NYC has a bunch of upscale swanky places like that. Do some research and book an appointment.

Or how about a winery tour/tasting? You're not going to be in NYC long enough to make a visit to the Finger Lakes practical (that's as long of a drive as it would be back to DC) -- but there are some good vineyards in Virginia and even central Maryland.

You can treat yourself (and possibly some friends and/or a significant other) to a weekend out in the country by renting a cabin. My wife and I have personally stayed in this cabin near Luray, VA twice (I proposed to her there on our second visit), and in this cabin in the Deep Creek Lake area of Maryland once. I would recommend both. You can also use VRBO to find something nice, or even Google.
posted by tckma at 2:52 PM on May 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

I might buy:

a kitchen aid mixer
2 really good knives
a vitamix or something like that
some stereo element
throw in other savings and buy a good mattress
a great piece of vintage jewelry
a really good coat
posted by vunder at 2:52 PM on May 21, 2015

A microfiber duvet, a set of fancy bedding, some posh new towels and extra nice bath things you wouldn't normally buy.
posted by emilyw at 3:11 PM on May 21, 2015 [4 favorites]

I'd hit up Komi for a meal and buy a bottle of Bowmore on the way home. Maybe shop around online for a small bottle of real balsamic vinegar.

Do you have a second laptop, ie. for the living room? I've gotten a surprisingly large amount of quality of life from buying a cheap laptop that lives on the coffee table and not lugging my super-light MacBook Air to the living room when I want to do computer stuff in the living room.

Oh, and probably a new amazing bike saddle.

emilyw is on-point. If your bed dressing is not perfect, an amazing down comforter is plush (pun definitely intended).
posted by General Malaise at 3:14 PM on May 21, 2015

$700 would just about cover this sushi knife. Or you could buy the same maker's santuko knife for around $300 and spend the rest on a polishing stone.

(In all seriousness, Japanese knives, and the waterstones used to sharpen them, are a rat-hole any foody and lover of useful gadgets should explore, even if not at the $700 level. The Japan Woodworker has been importing really high-quality Japanese tools & knives for many years, and their stuff is invariably worth the money)

On preview: real balsamic, the stuff in 100ml bottles, is worth trying at least once. Expect to spend $150 on 100ml. Or you could drop the entire bundle on a bottle of 1978 Barolo Monprivato (available at Acker Merrall & Condit, 160 W 72nd St, NY)
posted by mr vino at 3:24 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Prada wallet, yummy
posted by St. Peepsburg at 3:25 PM on May 21, 2015

I have harbored thoughts of a ridiculously expensive haircut, like with THE john frieda or similar, like maybe the hairdressers who were on what not to wear.

I mean, can you IMAGINE how awesome that would be????
posted by Ms Vegetable at 3:33 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A pair of really good really high end shoes in whatever style best suits you. It's an investment that will pay off in so, so, so many ways.
posted by KathrynT at 3:35 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

there's a few threads on the green about upgrading simple life things with better quality stuff that's just that much nicer - and how it makes one feel. you might seek out some of those threads and make a decision from there.
posted by koroshiya at 3:45 PM on May 21, 2015

If you love to travel, what about one or two pieces of high quality luggage? After buying and destroying multiple cheap suitcases over the years, I finally invested in a few Eagle Creek pieces about 6 years ago and they have been worth every penny.
posted by platinum at 3:53 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

A couple sets of really amazing sheets. Nice cool ones for summer, and flannel for the winter.
posted by DoubleLune at 3:54 PM on May 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

Tickets to see Fun Home on Broadway and dinner at Leopard at des Artistes
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:14 PM on May 21, 2015

1) agree with everyone saying amazing meal in NYC, but it may be a bit late for reservations at most of the really great places, although you might have more luck with lunch. Or you could save it for your next trip.
2) save it for buying a phenomenal souvenir next time you travel?
3) buying art--this is what I did with my last "wow, I wasn't expecting this" check. The lithograph in question makes me happy every time I see it.
4) You could use it for a really high-end basic element of clothing, like saving it till fall and buying a really luxurious winter coat or the perfect pair of gold hoop earrings.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 4:17 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

What about a nice DSLR camera, and then if you wanted you could take some lessons? I got one as a (rather expensive) gift, and it's fun people able to take photos that look like a professional shot them. I got into photography and started going to local events and shooting them for practice/fun. I have just an entry level Canon T3 Rebel but it looks so much better than point-and-shoot cameras.

I've wasted money on music toys, too. Like a Kaossilator Pro requires no ability to play a musical instrumental but you can still make little beats and song for fun. You just swipe or tap your finger. There's a cheaper version for $150 called Kaossilator 2.

You could also just get a small tablet. (There are Kaossilator type apps you can buy, although they don't necessarily compare to the real thing.) A tablet is the definition of a frivolous, unnecessary item.

Major a good kitchen appliance? A juicer?
posted by AppleTurnover at 4:20 PM on May 21, 2015

Best answer: I can only answer the foodie part, but I covet the olive oil from Lakonia.

Also, if I had money leftover, I would buy a bag from Rough and Tumble, which many Mefi's have said is great. It's relatively close to me, but I keep going, mmrrmrm, I can't justify the cost.

Or maybe some fresh wasabi.

Scotch: I'd be all over the best single malts.

Since I am a homebody, I'd also be buying the best sheets and pillows and comforters that money can buy. Some ambience lighting for the bedroom, maybe an art piece that I like.

Oh, and some truffles.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:22 PM on May 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

If it were me I would have a baller-ass meal somewhere with my nearest and dearest, and with whatever is leftover buy some GOOD skin-care products. Six months ago I splurged on $100 moisturizer and $35 face wash, and my only regrets are that I didn't wise up to the value of this investment 10 years ago...
posted by lovableiago at 4:27 PM on May 21, 2015

Luxurious linen sheets!
posted by pennypiper at 4:34 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

The best piece of cookware I have is this pan. Incredibly even heat distribution, large enough surface area to cook for a group, sides are high enough to keep it from being a giant mess, sloped sides means risotto is super easy to stir. With $700 to spend on indulgences I'd get that pan and I'd spend the rest on great wine.
posted by foodgeek at 4:56 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Get your makeup done at a counter and if you love it, buy everything!
posted by Youremyworld at 5:07 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Fancy outrageous NYC multi-course meal with wine pairings! Fancy outrageous NYC multi-course meal with wine pairings!

Do it, you won't regret it or forget it!
posted by pazazygeek at 5:23 PM on May 21, 2015

Best answer: One other thing I would get with this money if I had it: A leather jacket from All-Saints Spitalfields.
posted by pazazygeek at 5:24 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: i would get a leg of jamon iberico which would be steadily devoured throughout the summer.
posted by poffin boffin at 5:25 PM on May 21, 2015

One other thing I would get with this money if I had it: A leather jacket from All-Saints Spitalfields.

Oh, yeah, do this! I am NOT a leather jacket person but they are gorgeous and buttery buttery buttery...
posted by pennypiper at 5:51 PM on May 21, 2015

Buy a plane ticket for a family member and enjoy New York with them for a day!
posted by oceanjesse at 6:03 PM on May 21, 2015

JEWELRY. Something awesome you will wear forever! I personally would combine like $400 of jewelry with $300 of spa day or fancy food. I'm terrifically taken with Vanessa Gade, but maybe you like things with a more antique sensibility.

I'm also dying for a Rough and Tumble Bag since our last AskMe go-round about awesome spendy bags.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:09 PM on May 21, 2015

I'd absolutely do a spa weekend with a heated pool and all the meals included.
posted by Toddles at 6:50 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Go to the casino and put it all on Red.
posted by jeffamaphone at 6:53 PM on May 21, 2015 [3 favorites]

I would weekend warrior it for a long weekend from DC to (pick one): Chicago, New Orleans, Miami, Prince Edward Island, Key West, Newport,
RI or Bermuda.

Or, I would call all of my friends up, meet at my favorite dive bar and pick up the tab.

Or I'd hostess an awesome champagne and cheese/wine tasting.

Final option: full day wardrobe update, drunk shopping, fifth avenue.
posted by slateyness at 8:00 PM on May 21, 2015

Best answer: Hmm. Maybe I'm an outlier, but doesn't everyone have a moment when they really, really, really covet something extravagant and outside their price range? If it was me, I would sock it away until I was feeling that strong feeling and then blow it all if that was what the money was for.

If you have to ask for extravagant suggestions, do you really want it all that much?

Edit: On review, go with the big leg of ham suggestion. Or buy one of those 80 lb wheels of aged cheese from the supermarket and have a cheese party and do a celebratory dance around it or something. Oh, or buy a train ticket to Chicago and go to Alinea. I guess this was easier than I thought.
posted by mermily at 8:16 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Folding bike? I don't think it'd stretch to a brompton, but man are they awesome.

I almost spent my last windfall on a robotic vacuum cleaner.
posted by kjs4 at 8:22 PM on May 21, 2015

While I love amazing experiences, I agree with ideas of buying something super-high quality that you can use regularly and will outlive you and become part of your lineage. Like a nice piece of jewelry or a Saddleback leather bag or a Japanese samurai kitchen knife.
posted by gnutron at 8:39 PM on May 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

You like riding bikes? OMG get a recumbent. There's no going back.

Alternately, get a really nice generator+lights. And never have to deal with charging batteries again.
posted by aniola at 10:53 PM on May 21, 2015

This one will make you happy for the rest of your long, long life: buy an instrument and learn to play it.

You could buy you a good beginner's guitar (plus simple carrying bag and capo) for a lot less than seven hundred bucks. You could strap it on to your back or your bike's rack and bicycle away with it, so you could play in the park, by the river, in a field, at lunch.

If it has to be something smaller and more portable, get a ukulele, or something you can throw in your backpack and knock around, like a tin whistle or a harmonica or a recorder.

Or if it doesn't have to be portable at all, get a used piano someone needs to get rid of. I understand that some people will pretty much give away pianos if you will move them out of their houses, so you're mainly paying for movers plus a tuning after you get the piano home.
posted by pracowity at 11:58 PM on May 21, 2015

Response by poster: Oh my, you are all the best! I didn't even know that getting an entire leg of ham was possible. Also I had somehow forgotten all about my dream to buy a huge wheel of cheese and have a party. Those are definitely the front runners right now, but I will report back on what I actually do.
posted by aaanastasia at 8:46 AM on May 22, 2015

Response by poster: Update (tardy update, at that -- oops): I got a wheel of cheese and an iPad Air. Was happy with both!
posted by aaanastasia at 4:17 AM on August 25, 2015 [4 favorites]

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