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7 Splurges People Are Still Buying

Little Indulgences That Defy the Recession and Boost Spirits

3. Entertaining at Home

Most people may not be eating out as often as they used to, but they're still socializing -- at home.

"People are having potluck parties, they're having people to their home as opposed to six or eight people going out to dinner," says Jacob Maurer, vice president of merchandising at Sur La Table.

Not only are potlucks a great place to use your newly honed cooking skills, entertaining at home also takes some of the sting off the cost of alcohol.

Alcohol sales are down -- especially at restaurants and for pricey beverages. But "people still want to get together, they still want to entertain themselves, have drinks with friends and family," says David Ogzo, chief economist at the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

And at your place, the tab doesn't pack as much of a punch.

"At home, you're not spending $14 on a martini or $6 on a glass of beer, so it's considerably less expensive," Ogzo says.

4. Fillers, Not Facelifts

People aren't getting cosmetic "work" done like they used to, but the economy may actually be prodding some people to consider minor cosmetic procedures.

Cost is an obvious reason why people are delaying major cosmetic surgery. They may also be reluctant to take a lot of time off work for a long recovery, says Alan Gold, MD, president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS).

Nonsurgical cosmetic procedures -- such as Botox injections, laser hair removal, and injectable wrinkle fillers -- were also down in 2008, according to the ASAPS.

But some people are still springing for certain procedures because of the recession, because they're staying in the job market longer, thanks to evaporating retirement savings.

Older workers "want to avoid the ageism you sometimes see in the business world, and look as young and vibrant as they feel," Gold tells WebMD.

5. Bargain Makeup Strong

Heard the saying that lipstick is recession proof? It turns out that cosmetics really do have some staying power during tough economic times.

Consumer research firm Mintel predicts a 10% rise in U.S. cosmetic sales from 2008 to 2013, up from Mintel's previous prediction of 7% growth from 2007 to 2012.

The reason? Makeup makes for a feel-good purchase that doesn't break the bank. And women would rather cut back on a lot of other things before they mess with their mascara.

"Consumers will continue to shift household spending and eliminate luxuries such as gym memberships, vacations, and curtail apparel spending, but color cosmetics remain an affordable luxury," Mintel's report says.

"Because women have an emotional tie to their makeup (and appearance), cosmetic purchases easily fall into the 'non-negotiable' category."

But that doesn't mean they're willing to pay a pretty penny for makeup. Mintel predicts that people who usually buy expensive cosmetics at department stores will "increasingly trade down to drug store selections."

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