The “great recession” has hit everyone. But Americans still love their luxuries and are prepared to spend frivolously on select items. So how do you pick your poisons in this new value-oriented luxury economy?

My rule of thumb is to spend for the best on things I use every single day. Things I don't use every single day, go for a cheaper version. Doing this kind of analysis really ensures that you're going to get a huge bang for those extra bucks you spend.

  • If you're a commuter don't skimp on a nice car
  • If you work in a cubible, don't skimp on noise reducing headphones
  • If you're on your feet all day, don't skimp on high-end comfortable shoes
  • If you're a computer professional, don't skimp on a laptop you'll love
  • If you're you, don't skimp on things you'll get pleasure from day in and day out

There's another element at work here, of course. If you don't get any more pleasure from a $1000 watch than from a $10 watch, then don't get the fancy one just because you wear it every day. But if you do get pleasure from a nice timepiece, don't deny yourself just because it seems like too much money. Think of it as spending an extra dollar per day for the next 36 months. That's more than covered by the joy you'll have every morning as you proudly don your beautiful watch.