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The Affordable Luxuries We’re Treating Ourselves To Right Now

Our pick of the products guaranteed to spark joy.

With the cost of living higher than ever, and economic stressors occupying more of our brain space than most of us would probably like, splurging on something new can often feel like the last of our priorities. 

But, ironically, uncertain times like these are also often when we crave the hit of dopamine that comes with treating yourself to a new candle, or a bunch of fresh flowers, the most.

Carrie Bradshaw. (Credit: Image: Getty)

This pattern is nothing new; in fact, economists use it as a heat check for which way the market is going. American economics and sociology professor Juliet Schor dubbed it “the lipstick effect”, where women purchase affordable luxuries for a much-needed dopamine hit.

“They are looking for affordable luxury, the thrill of buying in an expensive department store, indulging in a fantasy of beauty and sexiness, buying ‘hope in a bottle’,” she wrote in her 1998 book, The Overspent American. “Cosmetics are an escape from an otherwise drab everyday existence,” 

So, if what Juliet theorised is true, maybe there is something a little deeper to that thrill we get tapping our card for a little treat (and still being able to afford rent that week)?

Blair Waldorf. (Credit: Image: Getty)

When bigger splurges, like a dress or a holiday, feel out of reach, studies tell us that smaller purchases can provide an instant hit of dopamine without the guilt or overwhelm that comes from spending out  your means. 

And in a world plagued by pandemics, outrageous rental prices, and Harry Styles dating Emily Ratajkowski, surely the positives of these kinds of purchases outweigh any possible negatives? 

So, in honour of treating ourselves to the kinds of things that make us feel good, be they frivolous or not, we’ve rounded up our picks for the little luxuries guaranteed to spark joy in your daily routine. 

10 Affordable Luxury Buys


Simone De Winter Super Cosy Socks, $16.95 from David Jones


Slip Pure Silk Skinny Scrunchies, $39 from David Jones.


Gingerlilly Janine Natural Bamboo Pyjamas, $129.95 from THE ICONIC.


Frank Green 34oz Stainless Steel Ceramic Reusable Bottle With Straw Lid, $59.95 from THE ICONIC.


Nécessaire The Body Wash, $42 from MECCA


Ouai Hand Wash, $49 from SEPHORA.


Gem Fluoride Triple Whitening Toothpaste, $12.99 from Adore Beauty.


Grown Alchemist Roll-On Deodorant, $35 from ADORE BEAUTY


Maison Balzac Le Sable Candle Mini, $29 from ADORE BEAUTY


Ilia Balmy Gloss Tinted Lip Oil, $43 from MECCA

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