The Good Life

Indulging yourself in 2014

A checklist for indulgence and splurge all year long

While it’s mid-January already, it’s not too late to put together a to-do list. Not one about losing weight or drinking less or buying fewer clothes though (why be dreary?), nor one about being organised at work, spending more time with family or using technology more efficiently. Instead, it’s time to figure out some big-ticket luxuries and expenses, money spent not so much spontaneously as wisely:

January: The India Art Fair is a good start to learn about art. The fair is a great opportunity to see the works of some of India’s most celebrated artists and indulge in that one big talking point that will keep your dinner guests engaged for a good part of the year. Cost: anywhere between a few lakh and a few crore. My recommendation would be a work by a master — a Husain will never go unnoticed.

February: Surprise someone this Valentine’s — your sweetheart or spouse would be ideal, but diamonds really are any girl’s best friend, so why leave out your mom (or mom-in-law, if you wish to score brownie points), sister or daughter? Think of it as an investment that can be turned into cash anytime, anywhere. Cost: budget ₹1 lakh per reasonably sized stone and work your way upward.

March: I associate spring with exams — never a happy time — but now that one doesn’t have to worry about swotting, use the dreaded month for a tech upgrade. Buy the swankiest Apple MacBook with the widest screen and you’re off to a good start. Pair it with an iPad and an iPhone and you’re officially cool. Cost: less than you would imagine but more than you would want to spend on a few tools.

April: Before summer sets in and the new fiscal calendar kicks off, everyone’s thoughts turn to watches. It’s when my wife goes shopping for time — it starts off with her wanting to buy an Omega (her father had one) but finding something else. I’m not a watch person, but I wouldn’t mind a Panerai myself. For women, all those blingy pieces from Gucci and Bvlgari are worth a look. Cost: a good piece will set you back around ₹5 lakh and the best, around ₹15 lakh.

May: Vacation time. You’ve done London and Paris, and Bangkok is too downmarket for a ‘proper’ holiday. The world seems to be a small place, so here’s my pick — Morocco for the exotic, South Africa because it is still hip, Kenya for a safari and New Zealand because the scenery is better than Switzerland. Fly business class, stay at the best resorts, visit the spas. Cost: ₹7 lakh per family member per week, minus the shopping.

June: Summer means books and catching up on reading. Raid the bookstores, go online, hunt for first and rare editions, load up on the thrillers, locate illustrated books. And then hibernate in an air-conditioned room. Cost: negligible.

July: The monsoon is a great time for buying new clothes — don’t ask why. The best global brands are all here and they’re great with fits, but if you can afford bespoke, now is the time to get measured for a suit by a master cutter. Treat it as a legacy, though I doubt you will be able to pass it on to your son. Cost: for a suit, ₹1-3 lakh; for shirts, ₹25,000 on an average; for trousers: likewise; for shoes: ₹20,000-1 lakh.

August: Start stocking up on gifts — weddings and the festive season are approaching — everything from household goods (Rosenthal and Lladro) to electrical fittings, furnishing and jewellery. You can recycle old gifts, but some people deserve better. Cost: as much or as little as you like.

September: Since this is when the kids leave for their overseas studies, you will be tied up planning for their expenses — air tickets, clothes and pocket money. And perhaps a surprise, too — a camera or, as an indulgence, even a car. Cost: upwards of ₹5 lakh.

October: This is when you allow a bit of pampering for yourself. Perhaps the LED TV you’ve always wanted, in an almost wall-to-wall size. Cost: ₹5 lakh or a bit under.

November: Stock up on your wines, plan wine parties, discuss vintages and join wine clubs. It will portray you as a person of some elegance and refinement. Cost: ₹1-2 lakh for wines, the same amount for a wine cooler.

December: For a year well spent, don’t grudge a bit of spending on the lesser privileged — give to charities and NGOs. Cost: 10% of your income, after taxes.