I have acne. It’s quite severe acne actually, as I get cysts that are leaving deep scars. Some of it is genetic, some of it is hormonal, some of it is stress, and some of it is the food I eat. I’ve been fighting it for years (9 years seriously, 14 years total). I’m on 3 separate medications from the dermatologist for it. I’ve spent literally thousands of dollars trying every cleanser, cream, serum and peel on the market that I could get my hands on. I read books, I read blogs, I made my own cleansers, I tried diets and I tried organic supplements. I know they say it gets worse before it gets better, but after a couple weeks of trying something new, if not after a couple of days, my face would be swollen with infection raging beneath the surface.
I promise this has to do with finance.
Finally, after years of searching, I found a moisturizer that works. My skin calmed down, the swelling went down, and the big one: my face doesn’t hurt anymore. It’s been wonderful. There’s only one problem with it.
It’s $160 an ounce.
I managed to make the two samples I had last 3 weeks before I broke down and bought a small jar. Usually paying an exorbitant amount of money on something like this would easily fall under the wants category when it’s compared to a $5 moisturizer from the drug store. But what happens when the $5 moisturizer doesn’t work? When the frugal option doesn’t work, at what price does the need turn back into a want? It seems to be a highly personal question, with no strictly correct answer. Organic food may not be a necessity for most people, but maybe for the person who is allergic to pesticides it is. Take the singer Jewel for instance; before hitting it big she was living out of her car in Alaska with a kidney problem that she couldn’t afford the medication for. Her doctor told her to drink lots of bottled water. For anyone else bottled water is a frivolous and unnecessary expenditure, especially when you’re homeless, but for her it was necessary.
So I’m curious, where do you cut off your needs vs. your wants? Do you set a strict dollar limit? Or is it subjective? I’d love to hear from you on this.