The luxury issue

What’s worth blowing your rent, and what’s best left to the rich.

As the economy slowly claws its way from the abyss, many of us once again can occasionally afford to buy things that would make our Depression-era grandparents gasp. But unless you're lighting stogies with hundreds, you still want to ensure that splurge won't come with a regret hangover. This week, we abandon our frugal ways to test out a slew of high-ticket items-from box seats at the Lyric Opera to first-class flights-to find out what's worth blowing your rent on, and what is better left to those with FU money.

Reasons to fly first class

If your trip’s long enough, a primo seat might be worth the price.

Ask the expert: first-class flights

How to earn enough miles to fly first class.

Single women and bottle service

Can a group of ladies use bottle service to meet men?

Ask the expert: bottle service

The justifications for ordering a bottle.

Using a personal shopper

A bargain hunter decides if personal shopping is worth it.

Ask the expert: personal shopping

Why pay someone to pick out your clothes?

Are premium seats worth it?

Evaluating premium seats at five Chicago venues.

$10 bribes

Can slipping a $10 bill get you a table at a crowded restaurant and other perks?

Five expensive restaurants worth the money

If you’re going to splurge, do it here.

Splurges and regrets

Chicago notables share the big purchases they’ve loved and hated.

Billionaire for a day

A cash-strapped Logan Square resident lives the high life for 12 hours.

The case against courtside Bulls seats

Save your cash and sit with the real fans.

I love my Tempur-Pedic mattress

Why a Tempur-Pedic is worth the considerable expense.

Spending a day at the spa

Treatments at the Peninsula Spa cost a pretty penny, so you might as well make the most of it.

Hiring a housecleaner

Why paying someone to clean your house is well worth it.

Three ridiculous high-ticket items

Would you buy a $640 dog bowl?