My wife and I have been together for 28 years. In that time we have been through times of both economic plenty and famine. While the good times are great we have learned how to make the best of the lean years as well by refusing to compromise on a handful of creature comforts and essentials that just make life better, regardless of our financial situation.

Here are a few things we’ve found over the years that enhance our daily lives, and make even the most trying times comfortable.

  1. A comfortable mattress and high quality sheets. Let’s face it, we spend 1/3 of our lives in bed and if we are not comfortable, it diminishes the quality of our life and can even affect our health. Spend a little extra on a good mattress. If you can’t afford a good mattress then get yourself a pillow-top cover or memory foam topper for your crappy mattress. And high thread count sheets are an absolute must. You can find excellent bargains online. Once you sleep on sheets that feel like butter, everything else will be like burlap on your skin.
  2. A good shower head. We’ve all lived in a place with lousy water pressure and a funky shower head. Seriously, nothing sucks like an unsatisfying shower. You never feel clean, it doesn’t wake you up, and and it can’t power away the day’s tension. Go to your local hardware store and spend a few bucks on an awesome shower head. Not one of those water saver things. I love the planet too, but showers are just too important to worry about saving Mother Earth. Get whatever floats your boat—high pressure, magic wand, pulsating massage, fire hose, gentle rain…it doesn’t matter. Just get something that makes you look forward to your shower. And don’t forget to take it with you when you move!
  3. Professional non-stick cookware. Sure…some of it can be horrifically expensive, but today, you don’t need to spend a lot to get some pretty decent cookware. And you don’t need a 20-piece set. Just make sure you have a good fry/sauté pan, a sauce pan, and a stock pot. And get some good wooden or silicon utensils. When you cook at home you’ll eat healthier, but to make cooking enjoyable, you need a few good quality basic tools.
  4. Nespresso machine. If you are a coffee or espresso drinker you can forget about every other kind of coffee making appliance on the market. Nespresso makes a line of pod-based automatic espresso machines that pull the best shots of liquid gold you will get anywhere. Now people may complain that the pods are expensive and if you’re living on a budget, this falls into the “frivolous” category. I strongly disagree. If you are as dependent on caffeine as I am, and you are concerned for the safety of your loved ones and coworkers, then the small extra expenditure each month for pods is a good investment. Seriously…this makes the best coffee/espresso you will ever have. And you know you’re already spending way too much at Starbuck’s, so you can afford this. But…if you really can’t afford it, then get yourself an old fashioned stovetop espresso pot. It’s amazing too, just not as convenient.
  5. At least one comfy chair. We all need a chair in which to just relax and veg out. Whether it’s to binge watch Dowton Abbey, read a book, or surf Facebook, your life has to include a place to plant your butt and chillax. While buying new is fine, you’ll save a ton of money and have a much better story to tell if you hunt for the chair in consignment and thrift stores. Make the hunt for the perfect chair an epic adventure. When you find it, you’ll know immediately and you’ll find a way to get it. And like the shower head…take it with you forever.
  6. Slippers. For years I was a moccasin around the house kind of guy. I loved my mocs so much I would often leave the house with them on and not realize until I was in line at the grocery store. It was the subject of much good-natured mocking from my entire family. But one day my mocs died and I couldn’t find anything decent with which to replace them. Then about four years ago my daughter gave me a pair of Uggs slippers. Every step is liking walking on a cloud. They are the most wonderful things I’ve ever put on my feet and I love that you can replace the sheep’s wool inserts. Having your tootsies wrapped in a dream as you prattle around just makes life better. And yes…I often find myself at the gas station rocking my burgundy leather Uggs. Represent!

What are some things you can’t (or refuse) to live without?

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