Seth Godin has a very short, but incisive post that points out something that never consciously registered with me.
I'm generally willing to spend more to get higher-quality goods. In the long run, with many items, at least, it's worth it. That's especially true if what you're looking at is going to be used frequently.
On the other hand, I buy almost nothing that could be considered a luxury item (in the sense mentioned here; in terms of 'necessary for survival'? Ok, I don't buy much that wouldn't be considered a luxury by that standard). Why? Well, I couldn't care less about status. I like my toys, but I won't even buy a really cool toy if I'm not going to use it. And if it's really cool because of features I won't use?
This is about the point where my wife would be pointing out the ridiculous amount I spent on my current home theater receiver. However, I'd never seen another that offered even half the features available in that one that didn't cost twice as much. At the time, I wasn't too happy with the sound of my old one. More importantly, I had already had to buy an outboard component video switcher to use with it that was out of inputs. There were also several surround standards that the old one didn't support (of prime relevance are DTS and SACD).
And then I saw the Denon receiver. It had all of that, plus a number of other surround formats I didn't need, but might use. It would also take all those component inputs and convert them to digital output if needed. Plus it had 5 HDMI and one DVI input. When I switched my system over to all HD video, I didn't need to do anything except switch inputs. Plus, I cut the number of cables approximately in half, even after bi-amping my front speakers (believe me, if you saw the rat's nest still behind it, you'd understand instantly why I noticed that).
It also does a bunch of other things that I probably won't ever use, but I'm indifferent to that stuff. But I definitely don't feel like I wasted any money on it. I just wish I had more time to use it, these days.
Ok, that's really more than I needed to say about that; my point about it is merely that it's definitely on the side of premium.
And I'm not going to go all fan-boy about it, but I buy Macs for the same reason. Perhaps a little extra cost (if you've never looked into it in detail, this point could be argued), but the extra features are more than worth it.