10 Ways to Add Luxury to Your Life Without Paying Luxury Prices
Turn on the TV or flip through any popular magazine and you'll be assaulted with images of luxury: fast cars, sparkling jewelry, expensive clothes, and the independently wealthy people that enjoy them. (See also: 9 Insane Luxury Items for You to Laugh At)
We can't help but want nice things, but luxury isn't found only in things. The most luxurious moments — like sleeping in on a rainy day, reading a good book while lounging in a hammock, or enjoying a delicious meal with someone you love — don't require a trust fund. Focusing on things that really matter to you, and spending less on things that don't, is the path to true luxury. For everything else, refer to the list below.
1. Eat Well at Home
If you're a fan of fine foods, dining out can cost a fortune. However, if you've got cooking skills (or are willing to cultivate them) many mouthwatering dishes can be recreated at home for a fraction of the price. Use the money you save to splurge on a good bottle of wine and some chocolate for dessert! (See also: 10 Easy Exotic Meals You Should Be Making)
2. Rent Your Fashion
Love big name designers but can't handle the price tag? Platforms like Rent the Runway and Bag, Borrow or Steal make it easy to snag designer garments and accessories for a fraction of the retail price — and without the permanent commitment. Wear them for a while, then return and request something new.
3. Embrace "New to You" Furnishings
A well-appointed home doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. Thrift stores and consignment stores often hide great pieces that just need dusting or a coat of paint to look completely new. You can also search mobile options like Chairish, Krrb (pronounced "Curb"), and Move Loot to score stylish-yet-used stuff from your neighbors.
4. Share Your Car
Owning a luxury automobile means living with a hefty monthly payment, but who says you need to own it? Most cars are only in use a couple of hours a day. Car sharing platforms like Zipcar, RelayRides, and Getaround make it easy to only pay for a car when and if you need it — and these fleets include everything from SUVs to the newest hybrids.
5. Skip the Hotel
Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, a big chunk of your budget get gobbled up by the hotel bill. Unless you're smart enough to seek alternatives. Platforms like Airbnb, Couchsurfing, Tripping, and LoveHomeSwap make it easy to find luxurious, unique accommodations in the most desirable cities around the world, all at a fraction of the cost of a traditional hotel. (See also: When Should You Get a Vacation Rental Instead of a Hotel?)
6. Be a Secret Shopper
Want access to half-price flights, free hotels, and cheap meals around the world? Sign up to be a secret shopper for big brands who want to test customer service without tipping off employees.
7. Get Crafty
If you want a home that looks like a million bucks without going into debt, think about crafting your own furnishings and decorative items. You'd be surprised how different things look after a fresh coat of paint, the addition of a few plants, and a funky DIY lamp or two. (See also: 7 Cheap Home Decorating Projects That Look Amazing)
8. Look for Marketing Events
Many businesses are willing to offer free food, booze, and swag just to get people in the door. Pay attention to grand openings, orientations, and customer appreciation events that are open to the public. Be sure to dress the part and be ready to ward off aggressive sales people.
9. Leverage Your Skills
I've used my skills as a freelance writer to land concert tickets, press passes to conferences, and awesome gadgets. Do you have a skill that could make you a desirable audience member? It never hurts to ask!
10. Go Local
Whether you're planning a staycation or headed to a new place halfway across the globe, one thing's for sure: The memorable experiences you crave won't be found in tourist traps or the hotel lobby. Use platforms like Vayable, EatWith, and Triip to find unique and affordable excursions hosted by locals who know and love the area.
How do you enjoy life's luxuries without paying full boat? Please share in comments!