I was in the premier Italian supermarket in my neighbourhood in this end of festive season. The panettoni weren't marked down enough, and little else was. However homemade smoked turkey was. Obviously the whole bird was out of reach, not just in terms of budget - albeit on discount - but in terms of the number of friends I'd probably host, especially since one couple are dealing with serious disease. I did buy a thigh/drumstick quarter of another bird. I am VERY thrifty and was feeling foolish after my purchase, although it was considerably less than $20 Cdn.
Having terrible qualms about spending too much, though I am actually extremely careful about what I buy in terms of food, clothing or anything else.
Silly, as I'm sure my friend back from Cuba will love this and the little Mitteleuropaïsch spread I'll make around it. It is screaming for homemade red cabbage, and the good whole rye bread a friend is baking now.
My own rule of thumb for "luxury or not" when I was still working was if things cost no more than one or two luncheon vouchers (which were 7 euros when I was working -- now my ex-colleagues get 9 euro vouchers). Since we often squandered two luncheon vouchers for lunch, I could often talk myself into buying small luxuries at the supermarket that cost no more than 14 euros. As a salaried worker, those vouchers were only costing me 2.80 each. When I stopped working, 7 euros became real money again, so I cut back.
When I took my mother on our first vast world trip (my father was babysitting my grandmother) and had access to 50% discounts in most of the high end hotels, I realised how she had scrimped and saved all of her life when she said, shocked, as we arrived at the hotel in Jeddah -- "But we don't need a hotel this nice!" It didn't take her long to get over it, though, because she really liked the Raffles in Singapore and the Méridien in Hong Kong...
Well, aren't those among the top hotels in the world, especially in terms of service and "attentions"?
As for my smoked turkey, I broke it down and the flesh is now in thick slices or chunks to be repurposed, and the bones frozen in a little packet. They will make outstanding broth or stock with some other bones and bits. A friend really wants to eat some of the smoked turkey, so we'll do that soon, and I've made red cabbage for it.