The other day a friend mentioned she’d never gotten a professional massage. That it seemed insanely indulgent, spoiled rotten, a total unattainable dream. That got me to thinking, because see, I view massages as like completely necessary elements of health and wellness. I practically have an unalterable massage budget.

Yet, we drive one budget car for our whole family. We just don’t care about cars, really. Sure, if we had money to burn we’d get something lovely with leather seats, but until then it’s Hyundai Elantra 4 LYFE.

Yet, we spend way too much on eating out, since we like, um, delicious foodstuffs. We are really picky foodies.

Yet, I never, ever, ever, spend money on clothes for myself. That seems somehow decadent to me, to buy something that doesn’t come with a thrift store price tag or from Target or Marshall’s (maybe, for a splurge).

The other day, I bought myself some comfortable pajama shorts to sleep in. I couldn’t believe I was spending money on sleepwear. I don’t think I’ve done that in at least ten years. I usually wear whatever daytime clothes become unwearable in daytime, if they’re comfortable. I remember once as an older teenager, my mother would always buy me pajamas for Christmases and birthdays because she knew I was this weird ascetic teen who was so in my head and saving all my pennies for backpacking to Europe trips that I slept in cargo pants and even jeans.

While I’m not sleeping in jeans these days, I still find it uncomfortable to spend money on certain things and yet easy on other things. I’m lucky in that my husband shares my financial value system. Down the block from the first apartment we shared on Manhattan’s Upper West Side was a Tui Na Chinese massage place, open amazingly into the late weeknight hours. I mean, this place was like four buildings down from us. How could we resist an hour deep tissue massage along with our delicious take out or sushi dinner du jour?

I’ve had mysterious constant kind of muscle/myofascial pain for most of my adult life, so massages are a health must for me, especially as I train more. They can never, ever, ever be too much pressure for me and if I accidentally overpay for a fancy, spa massage with a practitioner lightly tickling my skin, I’m pissed. I need serious knot work, crazy death grip.

Everyone should get a massage, at least once. Maybe I’ll get that friend a gift certificate. So she’ll be forced to use it, and not spend the money on her kids, or whatever.

What do you consider verboten luxury and what do you “give” yourself?