Cheap Ways to Get These 8 Expensive Indulgences

By Mikey Rox on 19 June 2015 1 comment

As capitalism-loving Americans, we rather enjoy the finer things in life. Gourmet dining, fancy cars, high thread-count sheets that feel like Cumulus clouds… these are a few of our favorite things. The only problem, however, is that most of us can't afford those items — at least not on a regular basis. But where there's a will, there's a way. Check out these cheaper ways to score some of your most coveted indulgences.

1. Wine

Wine deal sites are aplenty, but if you want access to higher-quality wines at steeper discounts — upwards of 75% off even — follow these two tips from Mark Aseltine, owner of wine-gifting service Uncorked Ventures.

Shave 1/3 off the Retail Price With a Google Search

"Most winemakers have multiple projects, and almost always there's a small label that they own themselves included in those," he says. "That small label is often at least a third cheaper than their name projects — think a Napa Valley winery that you know well; any of them — but it'll take a few minutes of Google searching to find. Often these wines are made with equivalent grapes, in the exact same facility."

Join Your Favorite Wineries' Email Lists

"At least once a year a list ends up with a significant offer from second-tier wineries — a winery that's in most wine stores in your state, but not at your local drugstore or grocery store," says Aseltine. "Every so often, they'll offer huge discounts to move through some inventory, with about 75% off being fairly standard. Often it's what their middlemen are paying anyway."

2. Personal Fragrances

If your signature scent is "heaping piles of cash" while your budget is more like stacks of coins, there are ways to cut costs on personal fragrances. First, browse wholesale outlets that sometimes drastically reduce the retail price of a wide selection of perfumes and colognes. If you prefer to shop in store for scents — especially if you're searching for a new one — I recommend discount retailers like TJ Maxx and Marshalls, which typically have a decent selection of name-brand fragrances. If you want to go old school, visit your back-in-the-day department store, like Macy's or Sears, and ask for a particular sample at the fragrance counter; associates will likely have a small vial you can take with you. You also can visit daily deal sites and search for discounted fragrances.

Yet, if you're not all that worried about the logo on the bottle but rather just smelling like a million bucks, ditch the bells and whistles in favor of "designer imposters." Since you can't patent a fragrance, many scents are duplicated without a distinguishable note, so nobody will ever be the wiser.

3. Chocolate

Have a hankering for authentic and oh-so-creamy Belgian, Swiss, or maybe even Peruvian chocolate? Join the club — literally. With a subscription club, you can sign up to have some of the world's best chocolate shipped directly to your door. Tiered subscription levels will determine how much life-enhancing chocolate you'll receive, but you can be sure that it's sourced from only the best makers. Award-winning chocolate club Cocoa Runners, for instance, partners with more than 45 global chocolatiers to bring its subscribers a new experience each month at a fraction of what it would cost if you cultivated the bars yourself.

4. Caviar

If there's one single dish that says "I'm in the money," it's caviar. But these unfertilized fish eggs — most commonly harvested from sturgeon, salmon, and whitefish — will put a pounding on your pocket if you don't know where to look. Which, thankfully, is not very far.

According to The Kitchn, there's plenty of local, sustainable caviar produced in the United States that is exponentially cheaper than what comes directly from elsewhere. And when you buy home-harvested caviar, you're not only cutting the cost of this commodity for yourself, but also reducing your carbon footprint since no roe (fancy term for fish eggs) will have to be flown halfway across the world to get to your table.

5. Coffee

As a cost-saving measure on your daily routine, my Wise Bread colleagues and I are often recommending that you reduce your trips to your local café for those cups of joe to go. But if you must get your fix, at least try to talk your way into free or discounted java drinks. Reddit offers several helpful tips for shaving money off your Starbucks bill, in particular.

Real Simple also weighs in on how to buck the system with tips from an anonymous barista who's blowing the whistle on bloated café prices. "You can assemble your own iced latte, at a huge discount, by ordering a shot or two of espresso poured over ice and topping it off with the free milk on the condiment bar," the source dishes. "Or if you and a friend want an iced tea, place an order for a single cup straight-up. Many shops make their tea double strength and dilute it with water before serving. So you can just divide the tea between two glasses and add water and ice yourself. Voilà! Half-price drinks."

6. Cigars

Like wine, there's no shortage of online cigar shops and outlets offering discounted cigars. Cigars International is one of the most prominent cigar sellers on the Internet, and it offers reviews for many of its favorite budget cigars. Blind Man's Puff, a blog dedicated to cigars mentions that you can score cigars even cheaper than what discount sites are offering. For instance, Cigars International has a sister site called Cigar Bid where individual sticks can be purchased for about $2 less.

7. Designer Clothing

When you want to strut runway looks but lack the cash to pull it off full-price, you'll have to be resourceful. Luckily, there are many ways to cop discounted designer duds these days, including shopping at flash-sale sites like Gilt or HauteLook; haggling on off-season pieces in store; buying secondhand; swapping with friends; renting designer goods and clothing; and checking closeout websites, like Nordstrom Rack and 6pm.com.

Personally, I love visiting warehouse sales — both generic and name brand — to stock up on statement-piece wardrobe items. I once scored a $10 admission ticket on Groupon to a warehouse sale in Brooklyn, N.Y., where you could fill up a brown paper bag to the brim. I'm no stranger to Barney's legendary warehouse sale, where I've snagged $250 pairs of jeans for about $25. My pro tip for the latter is to wait until the tail end of the sale. The pickings may be slim, but the discount will bottom out at around 80% to 90% off, whereas when the sale first starts you're only shaving off between 30% and 50%. Your choice on whether you want the pick of the litter or serious savings.

8. Luxury Cars

One of the major problems with luxury cars — and cars, in general — is that they immediately lose major value as soon as they exit the lot. Despite this well-known fact, however, plenty of us pine for luxury cars to serve as — let's be honest — nothing more than a status symbol.

One huge way to save a bundle on a luxury car is to consider the spectrum of luxury cars. Prices vary, and you don't have to spend $75,000 on a Jaguar XJ if a Jaguar XF at $50,000 still suits your fancy. Keep in mind, too, that "luxury" doesn't have to mean typically high-end brands like Jaguar, Tesla, or Porsche. More affordable carmakers offer luxury options, including Hyundai, Lincoln, and Acura.

Another means of adding a luxury car to your fleet (or just your single-car garage) is to shop for certified pre-owned vehicles — used cars — that will save you a bundle on overall cost. While you may be able to afford the luxury vehicle at the drastically reduced price, however, it's important to consider the cost of repairs to a luxury vehicle (they're not cheaper), and there's a higher probability that your used vehicle will experience at least a couple issue during its lifetime with you.

Outside of buying a luxury vehicle to own, you can do a one-shot rental for an event to which you want to show up in style. Or, if you simply have the need for speed in a luxury car, you can schedule a driving experience with companies like Cloud 9 Exotics, which specialize in putting regular people behind the wheels of dream sports cars — I burned rubber in a Lamborghini recently — for a few laps around a track.

Do you have cheaper ways to get some of your favorite indulgences? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below.

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Guest's picture

6pm is awesome. Owned by Zappos, it has great customer service.

Guest's picture

Nordstrom Rack is one of my favorite places to get clothes. They have awesome brands and if you shop during their sales, you can score some great deals. My friend got a dress there for $50 that's priced for $328 at the regular Nordstrom. Win!