luxury http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9620/all en-US How Much Would It Cost to Actually Live Like a Queen for a Day? http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-would-it-cost-to-actually-live-like-a-queen-for-a-day <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-much-would-it-cost-to-actually-live-like-a-queen-for-a-day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_wearing_crown_000041703122.jpg" alt="Here&#039;s how much it would cost to live like a queen" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As I gaze at pictures of smart Duchess Kate, Prince William, and their adorable royal offspring while waiting in line to pay for marked-down groceries, I can't help wondering what it would be like to live like royalty, even for just one day.</p> <p>But let's be real: The lives of today's royals are far too down-to-earth to aspire to. I mean, as long as we're dreaming, why not imagine what it would cost to live like the most famously extravagant monarch of European history &mdash; Marie Antoinette?</p> <p>The Austrian bride of King Louis XVI likely never suggested that citizens without bread eat cake instead, but her lifestyle was indeed so lavish that she was personally blamed for the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-money-lessons-to-take-from-the-great-depression" target="_blank">national financial hardships</a> that led to the French Revolution.</p> <p>A typical day in her life went like so: Her majesty rose at 9-ish, took breakfast in bed, then chose her day's outfits from a massive catalogue. On some days she had a bath, and then she was dressed and primped. Throughout the day, she would hold court, attend mass, take a music lesson, take in entertainment such as plays or operas or playing cards, or of course, visit her hamlet to play farm girl, accompanied by ladies in waiting. Punctuating these activities were formal meals, with spectators, and wardrobe changes.</p> <p>What would it all cost, in today's dollars?</p> <h2>Meals: $30,300</h2> <h3>Breakfast</h3> <p>Marie Antoinette's morning meal seems modest: coffee or hot chocolate and perhaps a pastry. But both beverages were wildly expensive in 18th century France. So let's compare it to today's most expensive coffee, the kind eaten by a civet and passed through its GI tract. You can get three ounces of it shipped next-day on Amazon for $100.</p> <h3>Banquet</h3> <p>The main meal of the day would be a lavish affair attended by many, and might feature <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/01/the-marie-antoinette-diet.html">pate, seafood, duck, rabbit stew</a> &mdash; or likely, all of the above, plus lots of chocolates for the queen. Although it probably can't compete in lavishness, <a href="http://www.wedding-spot.com/venue/317/Morningside-Castle/">Manhattan's Morningside Castle</a> does have one advantage of Versailles: modern plumbing. You can host 100 people there for a banquet for $30,000.</p> <p>Marie-Antoinette's evening meal was a simple affair of soup, a milk-soaked biscuit, and other hospital food. But because she still had to feed her ladies in waiting, let's put the cost at $200.</p> <h2>Clothing: $20,300</h2> <p>Marie Antoinette's clothing allowance is known: about <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2006/09/25/dressed-for-excess">$3.6 million</a>. But she went over budget, often by 100%. That works out to about $20,000 per day for clothes.</p> <p>That may seem like a lot, but keep in mind that each day she donned at least three outfits: a <a href="http://madameguillotine.org.uk/2011/01/31/marie-antoinettes-beauty-secrets/">velvet or silk morning gown</a>, a breezy day dress for visiting her hamlet and whatnot, and then a formal gown for evening. She rarely repeated outfits, instead giving them away to ladies in waiting or leaving them on display to the public in her three wardrobe rooms at Versailles. Today's prices would probably be similar: $10,000 for an elaborate designer ball gown, and $5,000 apiece for the other two dresses.</p> <p>For nighttime, Marie-Antoinette would be slipped into a fine lingerie nightdress &mdash; you can get a LaPerla version today for $300.</p> <h2>Toilette: $900</h2> <h3>Hair</h3> <p>Like nearly every minute of her life, getting her hair styled in the morning was a public event. Her paintings are evidence of her lavish hairdos. Sometimes she wore wigs, other times her natural hair was piled high and adorned with everything from feathers to jewels to figurines. It's not unheard of for upscale brides to pay $600 for wedding day updos, so let's peg that as the price for Marie-A's everyday do.</p> <h3>Makeup</h3> <p>Like other aristocrats of her time, Marie-Antoinette wore a thick coat of pale white lead-based &quot;paint&quot; on her face (which not only made her look stylish but hid any scars from childhood smallpox), streaks of rouge, black beauty patches, and other cosmetics. Makeup this elaborate won't be found nowadays outside a film set, so let's assume Marie-Antoinette employed her time's equivalent of a full-time movie studio makeup artist, who would <a href="http://work.chron.com/movie-makeup-artists-paid-14891.html">earn $88,000 a year</a>. That's $240 a day. Throw in $60 a day for the makeup itself.</p> <h2>Entertainment: $40,000</h2> <p>Entertainments would vary, but consider that nowadays you can easily spend $400 on a ticket to the opera or a Broadway show. Then assume you're paying for 100 of your best buddies to see it with you. Boom.</p> <h2>Little Farm: $200</h2> <p>Marie-Antoinette liked to leave Versailles proper to visit her little hamlet and working farm, where pigs, cows, and rabbits were raised, and vegetables grown. Operating a small farm costs about <a href="http://littleseedfarm.com/to-be-a-farmer-blog/small-farm-operating-expenses.html">$200 a day today</a>.</p> <h2>Overhead: $150,000</h2> <p>It costs France about $54 million a year to maintain and operate Versailles today, which works out to be $150,000 per day. True, the palace is used very differently now than it was in Marie-Antoinette's days, but let's call the many differences a wash.</p> <h2>Total: $241,700</h2> <p>While this is of course an educated guess, by looking at Marie-Antoinette's meals, clothing, toilette, entertainment, and overhead costs, it seems reasonable that you could live like her for a day for a few hundred grand. Just remember that it's important to specify <em>which</em> day you want to emulate: Certainly not Sept. 21, 1792, the day Marie-Antoinette's body was separated from her once-finely-coiffed head.</p> <p><em>If Marie-Antoinette is not your choice, which Queen (or King) would you choose to live like for a day?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-would-it-cost-to-actually-live-like-a-queen-for-a-day">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-frugal-guests-guide-to-surviving-wedding-season">The Frugal Guest&#039;s Guide to Surviving Wedding Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-little-things-that-make-and-keep-america-great">18 Little Things That Make — and Keep — America Great</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Lifestyle extravagance kings luxury marie antoinette princesses queens royalty Thu, 26 May 2016 09:00:12 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1717318 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Budget Purchases That Look Expensive http://www.wisebread.com/10-budget-purchases-that-look-expensive <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-budget-purchases-that-look-expensive" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000022178639_Double.jpg" alt="woman leather jacket" title="woman leather jacket" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've written about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-expensive-things-that-look-cheap">expensive purchases that looked cheap</a>, but what about the opposite &mdash; cheap purchases that look much more expensive than they actually are?</p> <p>This is what the essence of Wise Bread (and frugality) is all about: making smart purchases that are good for your wallet, image, and reputation. Whether it's a purchase for a special occasion, such as a birthday or anniversary, or simply sprucing up your home or wardrobe, these 10 products will shine &mdash; without eating a hole in your savings account.</p> <h2>1. Pearl Jewelry</h2> <p>Unlike diamonds, which are controlled by a cartel, pearls are relatively affordable. The ability to grow real pearls on oyster farms gives the jewelry business a resource for inexpensive, but genuine, cultured pearls. It's no longer a game of hit and miss for divers, who once trawled the oceans in the hopes of finding an oyster with a pearl. You can find beautiful cultured pearl necklaces and earrings for as little as $10. They will have the weight and&nbsp;<a href="http://jewelry.about.com/cs/pearls/a/pearls_facts.htm">luster of natural pearl jewelry</a> that costs thousands &mdash; and only a real expert can tell the difference.</p> <h2>2. Most Products From Ikea</h2> <p>Let's face it, Ikea is insanely popular for a reason. One look through the Ikea catalog and you'll see an awful lot of great design at a price that even Walmart would find hard to beat. Designers from around the world have put forward stunning products and furniture for a fraction of the price they would usually charge, including <a href="http://dsign-magazine.com/ikea-strict-designers-for-ps-collection/">Matali Crasset and Scholten &amp; Baijings</a>.</p> <h2>3. Invicta Watches</h2> <p>The name Invicta conjures up images of expensive timepieces and wads of cash, but that's not actually the case. While you can find Invicta watches that cost over $1,400, you can also buy models for around $50 to $100. They're heavy, well-made (usually in the USA), and water resistant to hundreds of feet. You get a fantastic presentation case, too. This <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006AAS5Q/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0006AAS5Q&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=K5PBLTU6J2RC4GZM">Invicta watch</a> at Amazon looks like it could set you back a grand, but it's only $70. Invicta watches make great gifts, and can often be found on discount sites at massively reduced prices.</p> <h2>4. H&amp;M Clothing and Accessories</h2> <p>When you look at what H&amp;M has on offer, you might think it's high fashion. But the great thing about H&amp;M is that you get incredible style for a steal. It's not unusual to walk into H&amp;M with $100 and come out with five or six items of clothing, including shirts, jeans, sweaters, and even jackets. Take a look at the current H&amp;M sale and give yourself a little test. Put the things you really find stylish and attractive in your cart without looking at the prices. Then, guess how much you've spent. The chances are, you'll be way over &mdash; probably by three to four times more the actual cost.</p> <h2>5. Leather Goods</h2> <p>There's something about leather &mdash; maybe it's the smell, or the fact that so many shoes and jackets are made from faux leather. However, real leather can be as affordable as the fake stuff, and on occasion, even cheaper. What you have to do is shop selectively, and shop when the sales are at their peak. Right now, places like Wilsons Leather are dumping their winter stock, and you can find leather jackets for 75% off. Stroll into work wearing a $500 jacket &mdash; no one has to know it only cost you $125.</p> <h2>6. Muji Products</h2> <p>When products get really expensive, you have to search high and low for the brand name. It's one of those &quot;people who know, will know&quot; deals. Now imagine products that have that sense of style and simplicity, but don't come with the ludicrous price tags. That's what it's like to shop at <a href="http://www.muji.us/store/special-offer-2.html">Muji</a>. From clothing, clocks, and furniture, to bags, storage items, and electronics, Muji is sophisticated style on a modest budget. Not everything at Muji is really cheap either, which means it's really hard to know what your Muji item cost. Maybe it was a few bucks, maybe a few hundred.</p> <h2>7. Scratch and Dent Appliances</h2> <p>We live in a society obsessed with getting everything brand spanking new, and absolutely perfect. The very idea that someone would sell you a stainless steel fridge with a scratch or dent in it appalls some people. If you're smart, you'll take advantage of that. Scratch and dent (aka, &quot;dent and ding&quot;) appliances are perfectly functional, and have just a few superficial flaws. Perhaps it was on a showroom floor and got a tiny scratch, or a dent in the bottom of the door from a careless delivery. These tiny flaws, however, come with massive savings. If you don't mind a few dings, you can take hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars off the price of a brand new, name brand appliance.</p> <h2>8. Used High-End Cars</h2> <p>If someone asks you what you drive and you reply &quot;A BMW,&quot; they don't usually say &quot;Oh yeah, is that one of those high-mileage used ones?&quot; A BMW is a BMW, and a Mercedes is a Mercedes. You would be astonished at the prices some of these cars are going for, right now. A quick look in my area of Colorado brought back results for BMWs with less than 60k miles for under $7,000. And these are not old junkers, they're 2002&ndash;2007 models. You can get financing, and for less than $150 a month, you can be driving around a top of the range BMW. A word of warning though&hellip; get it thoroughly checked out first, and make sure you know a garage that services BMWs for affordable prices.</p> <h2>9. Custom, Handmade Gifts</h2> <p>With the rise of stores like Etsy and eBay, homemade gifts are becoming much more prominent. Not made by you, but someone skilled and willing to charge a lot less than retail stores. You can find people on Etsy ready to make a personalized hat or scarf for next to nothing. They often do this as a hobby to earn extra cash, and the hourly investment is less than minimum wage on their part. But for some reason, they enjoy selling their wares. Just check out some of these&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pinterest.com/ann928/cheap-gifts-that-look-expensive/">cheap gift ideas</a>&nbsp;on Pinterest.</p> <h2>10. Personalized Photobooks</h2> <p>In the past, getting a custom made, hardbound book of photos, poetry, or stories would have been an expensive proposition. But now, on demand printing means you can have a site assemble a book of photos for as little as $13. Of course, you can put in all the bells and whistles and make something really extravagant, but even then the cost is going to be much less than you think. When you hand over a book, you are also showing people how much effort you have put into the gift. And if you really want to go all out, visit a store like <a href="https://www.lulu.com/">Lulu</a>. Here you can have someone's novel (a friend's or family member's, perhaps?) printed and published, and ready to purchase.</p> <p><em>What budget purchases that look really expensive have you made?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-budget-purchases-that-look-expensive">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/replace-these-8-luxury-buys-with-their-cheaper-better-alternatives">Replace These 8 Luxury Buys With Their Cheaper, Better Alternatives</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-more-luxury-buys-you-can-replace-with-better-and-cheaper-alternatives">7 More Luxury Buys You Can Replace With Better and Cheaper Alternatives</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-shopping-reminders-that-will-save-you-big">6 Smart Shopping Reminders That Will Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-kitchen-luxuries-that-are-worth-it-and-5-that-arent">5 Kitchen Luxuries That Are Worth It (and 5 That Aren&#039;t)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way">8 Little Luxuries That Go a Long Way</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping luxury more for less smart buys smart shopping Mon, 26 Jan 2015 18:12:07 +0000 Paul Michael 1283015 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Expensive Things That Look Cheap http://www.wisebread.com/10-expensive-things-that-look-cheap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-expensive-things-that-look-cheap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000019035137_Large.jpg" alt="woman shopping coat" title="woman shopping coat" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The intrepid Wise Bread reader can find a wealth of articles about how to find cheap things that look expensive. But what about the opposite? Want to know what to avoid, or just have a good laugh at how some people throw away their hard-earned money? Then read on for this list of 10 expensive things that look cheap.</p> <h2>1. Kanye West's $120 Plain White T-Shirt</h2> <p>That's not a pack of 10 t-shirts for $120. It's not a t-shirt personally worn and autographed by the singer who places himself on the highest of pedestals. It's just <a href="http://www.okayplayer.com/news/style-kanye-west-apc-120-plain-white-hiphop-t-shirt-sells-out.html">a plain white t-shirt</a> that he launched in collaboration with the high-end brand A.P.C. From a distance, it looks like a cheap white t-shirt. Up close, it looks exactly the same. You will have to go to great lengths to tell people just how much you paid for it, if you can find one. Yes, they sold out almost immediately, proving some people do have way more money than sense.</p> <h2>2. Prada Camouflage Saffiano Tote &mdash; Just $2495!</h2> <p>One look at this&nbsp;<a href="http://www.purseblog.com/totes/prada-debuts-camouflage-for-fall/">monstrosity from Prada</a> and you have to wonder what they were thinking. It's made of real leather, but looks like it's made of plastic. If it weren't for the Prada label, you'd have absolutely no idea it was made by a high-end purse maker, and the design is nothing special. What's worse is the camouflage pattern, which brings any sense of formality crashing to the ground. Once again, people with money to burn ensured this thing sold out. They are currently changing hands&nbsp;on eBay for $2,600. You'd be better off going to Wal-Mart and getting something for under $20; it might even look a lot better.</p> <h2>3. The $50,000 Diamond-Encrusted Bluetooth Headset</h2> <p>Say what you want about Bluetooth headsets (personally, I think they do a great job of making you look tacky), they are usually fairly inexpensive, and for the most part look discreet. Not so with the <a href="http://www.bornrich.com/diamond-encrusted-bluetooth-headset-from-plantronics-worth-50000.html">Plantronics Discovery 925 Diamond-Encrusted Headset</a>, coming in at $50,000. It looks like one of those berets you get from a dollar store, and yet if you bought one you'd be constantly cradling it to make sure your investment hadn't fallen out of your ear. It's a complete waste of money for even someone obsessed with gold, like Donald Trump (and it looks as tacky as one of his gold toilets).</p> <h2>4. The Breitling Bentley Flying B Watch &mdash; $189,900</h2> <p>The problem with anything diamond-encrusted is that you can get the same effect using cheap glass and crystal, and plenty of people have done just that, spending only a few bucks on watches covered in sparkle. So when Breitling released a watch that looked like a $25 special from Kohl's, but asked for the same amount of money that newlyweds spend on their first home, you'd think it would have tanked. Well, they sold out, too. You can now find used ones for a steal,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.essential-watches.com//watch/Breitling-J2836263-E512-Bentley-Flying-B-Chronograph-White-Gold-Diamond-Bezel-on-White-Gold-Bracelet-with-Silver-Diamond-Dial/52511?gclid=Cj0KEQiAlISlBRDHpIekkMGiiskBEiQAh-0KQI1LtjLLoLvy1h-kBO_XYEUzBooIXG4SpaxMXTSHC_caAj3k8P8HAQ">at just $66,450</a>, but it will look like you spent a whole lot less. Keep the receipt if you want to convince people how much of a connoisseur you really are!</p> <h2>5. The $32,000 Moynat Bicycle and Trunk</h2> <p>Forgive me for being ignorant, but I know several brands of bicycle and I have never heard of Moynat. But perhaps it's only for those in the know, because&nbsp;<a href="http://howtospendit.ft.com/gift-guide/7736-moynat-bicycle-and-trunk">this bike</a>&nbsp;(single gear by the way) will set you back over $32,000. It does come with a nice little trunk, filled with picnic items, but at that price you won't have a lot leftover for food. And better still, the whole thing looks like a low-end bike you'd get at Target or Walmart.</p> <h2>6. The Swarovski $1500 Crystal Catflap</h2> <p>Perhaps you think this looks like a great way to spend $1,500, but <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1158909/The-1-000-Swarovski-crystal-encrusted-cat-flap-creates-purrrfect-pet-entrance.html">this catflap</a> looks like a Bedazzler project done by a fifth grader. It's studded with over 1,000 of the finest Swarovski crystals, but thankfully it doesn't ooze the kind of style that you're paying for. The fact that it's close to the floor, letting your cat (who couldn't care less) go in and out on the muddiest of days, is neither here nor there. If you want to show off (your bad spending habits), this is a great place to start.</p> <h2>7. Moonbeam, the $1,499 Rocking Horse</h2> <p>Imagine the look on your kid's face when you tell them you blew the entire Christmas and birthday budget for them for the next five years on a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mommycouturedesigns.com/item_2168/Moonbeam-the-Horse&mdash;Childrens-Heirloom-Riding-Rocker.htm">rocking horse</a>. And not just any rocking horse, but one that looks like it was painted in a hurry by a kid younger than them. The blurb on the website waxes lyrical about handcrafted quality, and the &quot;non-traditional&quot; painted finish. I'm not one for being super traditional myself, but I do like the tradition of a rocking horse that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.</p> <h2>8. Anthropologie's $98 Toilet Brush</h2> <p>If I was going to spend almost three figures on a toilet brush, I'd want it to be some kind of light saber, with sound effects and the power to melt away the nastiest of bathroom issues. The <a href="http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/product/home-office/34077701.jsp#/">toilet brush from Anthropologie</a> looks like something you find at the dollar store. It's handmade in Sweden, but if you want to impress your friends when they come over, leave the price tag on it. They may not realize you have a Swedish work of art to clean the bowl.</p> <h2>9. A Gold-Plated iPhone 6 for $7,300</h2> <p>You can buy imitation gold cases for around $20 on eBay. Not many people do though, because they look tacky and gaudy. Thankfully, if you want to prove to the world that you know real style, you can drop $7,300 on a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.luxuryelectronics.com/inventory/iphone-6-24kt-diamonds/">case made of 24k gold</a>. The big question here is&hellip; do you then need a case to protect your case? This doesn't seem to be an idea that's been thought through.</p> <h2>10. The $70,000 Pop Art Teddy Bear Piggy Bank</h2> <p>Clearly inspired by the work of Jeff Koons, this <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2809587/A-100K-rocking-elephant-70K-piggy-bank-1-gifting-little-darlings-Christmas.html">Asprey piggy bank</a> will leave your actual bank account empty. At 16 inches high, and made from sterling silver, it's not small&hellip; but neither is the price tag. However, you may need to have your head examined after purchasing something that looks like it cost $10 from a thrift store.</p> <p><em>Do you know of expensive gifts or products that look really cheap and tacky? Leave your best examples in the comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-expensive-things-that-look-cheap">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-leather-cleaners">The 5 Best Leather Cleaners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-money-saving-tricks-to-know-before-buying-an-engagement-ring">12 Money-Saving Tricks to Know Before Buying an Engagement Ring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-blow-dryers">The 5 Best Blow Dryers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-gel-nail-polishes">The 5 Best Gel Nail Polishes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-waterproof-laptop-cases">The 5 Best Waterproof Laptop Cases</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Style luxury ripoffs vanity waste Wed, 21 Jan 2015 12:00:42 +0000 Paul Michael 1282523 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Scientific Reasons to Ditch the Luxury Brands http://www.wisebread.com/5-scientific-reasons-to-ditch-the-luxury-brands <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-scientific-reasons-to-ditch-the-luxury-brands" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young-woman-shopping-clothing-Dollarphotoclub_59172582.jpg" alt="young woman shopping" title="young woman shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Is it better to buy a Rolex than a Timex? What about buying a $50 bottle of wine instead of &quot;two-buck Chuck&quot;? They may be worse for your wallet, but buying these luxury items may actually mean you get <em>more</em> enjoyment from the product. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-little-words-that-will-get-you-the-best-price-every-time?ref=seealso">10 Little Words That Will Get You the Best Price Every Time</a>)</p> <p>Consider these five reasons the value of luxury is all in your head.</p> <h2>1. Your Brain Is Successfully Tricking You</h2> <p>For over 60 years marketers have recognized that the value of luxury is all in our heads. <a href="http://www.planetding.org/aboutme/files/PriceQuality.pdf">A 1949 article</a> noted a study where sales of women's pantyhose increased drastically when the retailer raised the price from $1.00 to $1.14, all because the higher price &quot;suggested higher value.&quot;</p> <p>So why is this the case? It turns out that increasing the price of the product actually changes the brain. According <a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/105/3/1050.full">to this study</a>, when a product's price goes up, it increases &quot;blood-oxygen-level-dependent activity in medial orbitofrontal cortex, an area that is widely thought to encode for experienced pleasantness during experiential tasks.&quot; So by purchasing a more expensive product, your brain physically changes and tells you that the product is better.</p> <h2>2. More Expensive Wine Tastes Better</h2> <p>Researchers <a href="http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/baba-shiv-how-wines-price-tag-affect-its-taste">did a study about wine</a> and found that more expensive wine tastes better. Subjects in the study tasted five different wines and were told they were being asked to rate the wine. The price of the wine was used to label the wine (instead of using A, B, C, D, E, for example). However, unbeknownst to the subjects, there were only three different wines, and two of them were tasted twice with one identified at a high price and one at a low price. For example, wine #2 was given to the same person, but it was labeled as both $90, its retail price, and as $10. What happened? The tasters rated the wine with the higher price as significantly better than the same wine priced cheaper.</p> <h2>3. A&nbsp;More Expensive Buffet Tastes Better Than a Cheap Buffet</h2> <p><a href="http://foodpsychology.cornell.edu/OP/buffet_pricing">In a recent study</a> researchers examined what happened when about 140 diners ate at an Italian all-you-can-eat restaurant but paid different prices. The diners were charged either $4 or $8 for the lunch buffet of pizza, salad, breadsticks. They were then asked to rate how much they liked their food after they were done. After finishing, the diners rated their experience and people who paid the $8 price rated the buffet as being 11% better than those who paid just $4. And the amount people paid for the buffet didn't affect how much they ate.</p> <h2>4. We Have a &quot;You Get What You Pay for&quot; Mentality</h2> <p>How many times have you heard the phrase, &quot;you get what you pay for?&quot; You've probably even said this to yourself on occasions when you've purchased a cheaper option and had it break on you. Perhaps you bought a $1 flashlight instead of the $15 Maglite at the $1 flashlight broke on its first use? Or you went with the $2,000 company to paint your house instead of the $7,000 company and they missed part of the trim or didn't reinstall the gutters properly.</p> <p>In these cases you probably told yourself &quot;you got what you paid for.&quot; But you are far less likely to notice when the cheaper option works just as well. What's the problem with this? By ignoring all of the times when things go right (and the cheaper option works just as expected) and only noticing when things go wrong (that is, when the cheaper option breaks), you are cementing the idea into your brain that luxury priced items are better.</p> <h2>5. Even McDonalds Tastes Better With Different Presentation</h2> <p><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/23/pranksters-trick-foodies-mcdonalds_n_6035542.html">Two Dutch pranksters went to a food show</a>, cut up McDonald's food to make it look fancy, called it &quot;organic,&quot; and what was the result? Instead of realizing the food was McDonald's (and not something these foodies attending the show normally ate), they rated the the food &quot;fresh,&quot; &quot;rich,&quot; and &quot;delicious.&quot; Their perception that the food was extra high quality was based on looks rather the actual quality of the product.</p> <p>So what is the takeaway from all of this research? If luxury is all (or mostly) in your head, is that a bad thing or a good thing? If you're actually getting more enjoyment from something that you pay more for, this seems fair. But, is it wrong to charge more for the same product just so consumers value it more?</p> <p><em>Have you ever been tricked into placing more value on high-priced goods?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-scientific-reasons-to-ditch-the-luxury-brands">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-all-the-frugal-skills-you-need-with-these-9-great-video-tutorials">Learn All the Frugal Skills You Need With These 9 Great Video Tutorials</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-financial-trick-lets-you-buy-happiness">This One Financial Trick Lets You Buy Happiness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/quality-over-price-15-items-to-spend-more-on">Quality Over Price: 15 Items to Spend More On</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-free-ways-to-cheer-yourself-up">30 Free Ways to Cheer Yourself Up</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-little-words-that-will-get-you-the-best-price-every-time">10 Little Words That Will Get You the Best Price, Every Time</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Personal Development expensive luxury price quality value Thu, 11 Dec 2014 18:00:08 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 1267187 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 More Luxury Buys You Can Replace With Better and Cheaper Alternatives http://www.wisebread.com/7-more-luxury-buys-you-can-replace-with-better-and-cheaper-alternatives <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-more-luxury-buys-you-can-replace-with-better-and-cheaper-alternatives" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl-listening-headphones-450654355-small.jpg" alt="girl listening headphones" title="girl listening headphones" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are plenty of ways to spend your money. But if you believe the hype and think you have to spend top dollar buying specific brands, you might be wasting your hard-earned cash.</p> <p>For every luxury or name brand product, there's a low-cost alternative that's just as useful. Recently I told you about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/replace-these-8-luxury-buys-with-their-cheaper-better-alternatives">8 Luxury Buys to Replace With Cheaper Alternatives</a>, and now I'm back for more.</p> <p>Here's a look at seven other brands you can afford to ditch to keep more cash.</p> <h2>1. Shark Navigator Instead of the Dyson DC41</h2> <p><img width="340" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Shark%20Navigator.jpg" /></p> <p>Just about everyone wants a dirt-free, tidy house. And if you or a family member has indoor allergies, a quality vacuum reduces the number of allergens in the home.</p> <p>The Dyson DC41 is an excellent choice if you're looking for a durable, swivel bagless vacuum with amazing suction. But with a price tag over $400, the Shark Navigator is the next best thing. This durable machine also features swivel steering, a detachable canister and a powerful suction. Overall, the Shark vac is just as good as the Dyson DC41, yet it only costs $149.</p> <h2>2. Sony Instead of Bose QuietComfort</h2> <p><img width="343" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Sony%20MDRNC7.jpg" /></p> <p>A quality noise-canceling headphone can block out the world around you and maximize your listening experience. However, there's a price for this experience.</p> <p>The Bose QuietComfort is one of the highest-rated noise-canceling headphones on the market. It has a comfortable design and folds for compact storage. But is it worth the $269-$299 price tag? Probably not if you're on a budget and looking for a basic set of headphones. As an alternative, Sony's MDRNC7 over-the-ear noise-canceling headphone offers fairly good sound and a foldable comfortable design. You can purchase a model for less than $50. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-noise-canceling-headphones?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Noise Canceling Headphones</a>)</p> <h2>3. Store Brand Coffee Instead of Starbucks</h2> <p><img width="340" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Folgers%20Coffee.jpg" /></p> <p>I realize that some people can't live without their daily Starbucks fix. Whether you're a regular coffee drinker or an espresso drinker, a Starbucks habit can run between $50 and $100 a month, depending on how many times you hit the drive-thru. The coffeehouse might be the trendy spot for your cup of joe, but <a href="http://www.smartasset.com/blog/news/the-5-best-cheap-coffee-brands/2">store brand coffees can be just as delicious, and definitely cheaper</a>. Maxwell House, Folgers, and Dunkin Donuts are good contenders, and these brands feature a variety of roasts and flavors for a fraction of the cost.</p> <h2>4. Hamilton Beach Juicer Instead of the Breville Juicer</h2> <p><img width="340" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Hamilton%20Beach%20Juicer.jpg" /></p> <p>The sleek design of a Breville juicer might work with a contemporary kitchen design. But why spend $100 for it when you can purchase a Hamilton Beach juicer for about $50?</p> <p>The Hamilton Beach model isn't as trendy or sophisticated, but what it lacks in style it makes up for in features. This juicer isn't as bulky as the Breville model, it's easier to clean, and it requires less storage space. And unlike its expensive counterpart, the small design lets you place a drinking glass under the spout.</p> <h2>5. Streaming Instead of Cable</h2> <p><img width="491" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/netflix%20tv.jpeg" /></p> <p>You might be able to justify the cost of cable if you actually have time to watch television. But if you only watch a few hours of programming each week, or if you can't remember the last time you watched live television, you're better off ditching cable and streaming your favorite shows.</p> <p>The cost of cable varies depending on the package you choose but can easily cost upwards of $100 or more. Starting at $7.99, you can get a Netflix or Hulu subscription and stream your favorite movies and TV shows to your computer, mobile device, or television.</p> <h2>6. DeLonghi Instead of the Rancilio Silvia Espresso Maker</h2> <p><img width="340" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Delonghi%20espresso%20maker.jpeg" /></p> <p>I don't know much about espresso makers, but apparently they don't get any better than the Rancilio Silvia espresso maker. This high-end machine is one of the best selling espresso makers. It's durable, easy to use and brews a mean espresso.</p> <p>But if you can't fathom paying $600+ for a glorified coffee maker, the DeLonghi espresso maker is a cost-effective alternative. This pump espresso maker starts as low as $99. It's just as easy to use and creates smooth, delicious shots.</p> <h2>7. Drugstore Shampoo Instead of Salon Shampoo</h2> <p><img width="340" height="340" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Herbal%20Essences%20Shampoo.jpg" /></p> <p>Pricey salon shampoos promise to condition, clean, and protect your hair &mdash; and for the most part, these shampoos live up to the hype. But most people can't afford to spend $15 or $20+ for hair care products. Drugstore shampoos might get a bad rap, but there are plenty of<a href="http://www.realsimple.com/beauty-fashion/hair/hair-care/shampoo-brands-00100000092555/"> quality, low-price brands</a>, such as Herbal Essence's Hello Hydration Shampoo and Pantene's Pro-V Moisture Renewal. Pick up a bottle for less than $7 to $9. Both have ingredients to strengthen and hydrate your hair &mdash; and they smell amazing.</p> <p><em>Tell me, do you have other luxury buys that can be replaced with cheaper alternatives? Please share in the comments below!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-more-luxury-buys-you-can-replace-with-better-and-cheaper-alternatives">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/replace-these-8-luxury-buys-with-their-cheaper-better-alternatives">Replace These 8 Luxury Buys With Their Cheaper, Better Alternatives</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-budget-purchases-that-look-expensive">10 Budget Purchases That Look Expensive</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-kitchen-luxuries-that-are-worth-it-and-5-that-arent">5 Kitchen Luxuries That Are Worth It (and 5 That Aren&#039;t)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way">8 Little Luxuries That Go a Long Way</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-add-luxury-to-your-life-without-paying-luxury-prices">10 Ways to Add Luxury to Your Life Without Paying Luxury Prices</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping cheap substitutes low cost alternatives luxury luxury buys smart shopping Wed, 08 Oct 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Mikey Rox 1228519 at http://www.wisebread.com Replace These 8 Luxury Buys With Their Cheaper, Better Alternatives http://www.wisebread.com/replace-these-8-luxury-buys-with-their-cheaper-better-alternatives <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/replace-these-8-luxury-buys-with-their-cheaper-better-alternatives" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/coffee-maker-176749039-small.jpg" alt="coffee maker" title="coffee maker" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Does the price of an item really determine its quality? Well, this depends on who you ask and what you're buying. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-an-above-average-life-for-below-average-prices?ref=seealso">How to Have an Above Average Life for Below Average Prices</a>)</p> <p>As a savvy shopper, I believe that paying more for certain items is a better buy. It's no secret that some higher-priced items last longer than cheaper versions, ultimately reducing how much we spend in the long run. But this isn't always the case. As a matter of fact, there are plenty of cheaper alternatives that are just as good (or better) than their luxury counterparts. Here are several of my favorites.</p> <h2>1. Mr. Coffee Single Serve Maker Instead of a Keurig</h2> <p>My obsession with Keurig started a few years ago, and I added this item to my list of things to buy that would make coffee-making easier and less wasteful for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-rent-your-place-on-airbnb-and-succeed">my overnight guests</a> since my husband and I aren't coffee drinkers.</p> <p>As far as hot beverages go, it doesn't get any better than a single serve coffee maker that brews a variety of coffees, plus tea, cider, and hot chocolate. But if you don't want to fork over $99 to $279 for a Keurig (depending on the size and model), a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007JNNQ6Q/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B007JNNQ6Q&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=QHP7HPF6SEQ5WDVO">Mr. Coffee Single Serve</a> maker is a low-cost alternative. These single-serve makers start at $59 and do everything a Keurig does for less. I've heard arguments that Mr. Coffee machines are even easier to use than the luxury single serve marker, plus easier to clean and available in a variety of stylish designs to match your kitchen decor.</p> <h2>2. Airbnb Instead of a High-End Hotel</h2> <p>Planning a trip to New York City or San Francisco and thinking about staying in a hotel? You can sleep in the lap of luxury for a few days, but there's a price to luxury. If you're looking to stretch your vacation dollars, using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-and-book-the-best-vacation-rentals">Airbnb to book accommodations</a> provides a cheaper, unique vacation experience. Not only can you meet your host and stay in an actual neighborhood, you get more bang for your buck, which generally includes use of a full kitchen, laundry room, free Internet, and potentially much more.</p> <h2>3. Moissanite Instead of a Diamond</h2> <p>They say diamonds are a girl's best friend &mdash; but if your love can't afford to splurge on a huge engagement ring, or if you're simply looking to add to your jewelry collection, moissanite is just as beautiful as a diamond minus the price tag.</p> <p>Diamonds are the hardest mineral known with a score of 10, yet moissanite stones aren't too far behind with a score of 9.25. Moissanite is more brilliant than diamond, resulting in a remarkable sparkle. And since the stone doesn't attract as much dirt as a diamond, it requires less cleaning and maintains its shine longer. If these features don't persuade you to take a chance with this stone, you might sing a different tune after learning that a moissanite sells for a fraction of the cost of a diamond. A 1.5 carat GIA-Certified Diamond can set you back $10,000, yet you can buy the same size moissanite for about $449.</p> <h2>4. Ninja Blender Instead of a Vitamix</h2> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000YRJT6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0000YRJT6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=CQ2FEAWTB7JGHHZI">Vitamix</a> is a popular and favored appliance in the health world, with the ability to turn fruits, vegetables, and anything else into delicious smoothies for energy, weight loss, or overall better health. But with a price tag around $500, it's a costly investment. Fortunately, this isn't the only option for drinking your fruits and veggies.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003VWXXXK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B003VWXXXK&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=4VKRW6QLI42CZDW4">Ninja Blender</a> does the same thing, yet has a price tag between $89 and $199. Smaller versions of the Ninja are compact and easily fit in cupboards, which is perfect if you live in an apartment or deal with limited storage space. Also, many models of the Ninja feature a pitcher with a single serve attachment, plus suction-cup feet that keep the blender in place while operating. Seriously, it's the best blender I've ever owned.</p> <h2>5. Concrete Countertops Instead of Marble Countertops</h2> <p>It's the epitome of elegance and luxury, but if you're working with a tight redesign budget, skipping marble countertops and going with a cheaper concrete alternative can save money without sacrificing your vision. I personally love the look of marble in a kitchen, but after pricing this material for my kitchen remodel and learning that prices range from $125 to $250 per square foot, I know firsthand that there are better ways to spend your budget.</p> <p>Concrete countertops are just as stylish and cost as little as $50 to $65+ per square foot. Not only is this material more affordable, it offers matchless strength and durability, it's easy to clean, and you can choose from a variety of colors and designs to give your kitchen or bathroom a custom look.</p> <h2>6. Night Therapy Instead of Tempur-Pedic</h2> <p>Tempur-Pedic has a generous selection of memory foam mattresses that conform to your body and promise the best night's sleep. But seriously, who really wants to pay $3,000 or $4,000 for a mattress? <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007I81EQG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B007I81EQG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=XQUIMXCDFVWI5SMR">Night Therapy</a> might not be a luxury brand, but this entry-level memory foam mattress has a <a href="http://www.sleeplikethedead.com/memory-foam-nitetherapy.html">comfort rating of 82%</a>, thus it's an excellent contender if you're looking for a mattress to provide support and reduce back pain. And with a price tag of $400 for a queen-sized mattress, you can get nine or ten Night Therapy mattresses for the price of one Tempur-pedic.</p> <h2>7. A Used Fancy Car Instead of a New Fancy Car</h2> <p>As much as I love a brand new car, there's no denying that used cars are often a better deal. Not only because &quot;a new car loses 11% of its value the moment you leave the lot,&quot; reports Edmunds.com &mdash; but because you get more for your money with a used car.</p> <p>If you have your heart set on a fancy car, used is definitely the way to get behind a fancier set of wheels without going broke. With improved technology, buying a used car doesn't necessarily mean that you're inheriting another person's car issues, either. Some people enjoy driving a new car every couple of years, thus used fancy cars are readily available; and since they're shelling out big bucks for luxury, they're more likely to take care of these vehicles.</p> <p>Also, styles in the luxury car market rarely undergo drastic changes from one year to the next, which means a two-year-old Acura on the dealer's lot could easily be mistaken for a newer model at first glance. Luxury features such as GPS, surround sound stereo, dual temperature control, leather seats, and wood trim are standard in fancy cars. Buy used and you can enjoy these features while paying $5,000, $8,000, or $10,000 less, depending on the year of the car.</p> <h2>8. A Small House Instead of a McMansion</h2> <p>Some people work hard and save a long time to purchase their dream house &mdash; which is usually a mini mansion with amazing views of an equally impressive back yard. To each his own.</p> <p>Rather than give into the notion that bigger is better, consider the benefits of a small house. Everything is cheaper when you go small from the mortgage to maintenance. Living in a smaller space also forces us to get organized, plus lower expenses translate into more disposable income, and who doesn't enjoy this? The key is choosing a square footage that's right for your family without feeling overly cramped. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-downsize-your-home-and-start-living-a-better-life?ref=seealso">This Is How You Downsize Your House and Start Living a Better Life</a>)</p> <p><em>Can you think of a luxury item whose cheaper alternative is better? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/replace-these-8-luxury-buys-with-their-cheaper-better-alternatives">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-pricey-things-you-shouldnt-buy-and-what-to-get-instead">14 Pricey Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy (And What to Get Instead)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-underwater-watches">The 5 Best Underwater Watches</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-exercise-mats">The 5 Best Exercise Mats</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way">8 Little Luxuries That Go a Long Way</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Shopping cheap alternatives luxury shopping smart shopping status Tue, 05 Aug 2014 21:00:04 +0000 Mikey Rox 1174404 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways to Add Luxury to Your Life Without Paying Luxury Prices http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-add-luxury-to-your-life-without-paying-luxury-prices <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-add-luxury-to-your-life-without-paying-luxury-prices" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/dinner-home-200420370-001.jpg" alt="eating at home" title="eating at home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="154" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>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: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-needless-9-insane-luxury-items-for-you-to-laugh-at?ref=seealso">9 Insane Luxury Items for You to Laugh At</a>)</p> <p>We can't help but want nice things, but luxury isn't found only in things. The most luxurious moments &mdash; 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 &mdash; 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.</p> <h2>1. Eat Well at Home</h2> <p>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: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-exotic-meals-you-should-be-making?ref=seealso">10 Easy Exotic Meals You Should Be Making</a>)</p> <h2>2. Rent Your Fashion</h2> <p>Love big name designers but can't handle the price tag? Platforms like <a href="https://www.renttherunway.com/">Rent the Runway</a> and <a href="http://www.bagborroworsteal.com/">Bag, Borrow or Steal</a> make it easy to snag designer garments and accessories for a fraction of the retail price &mdash; and without the permanent commitment. Wear them for a while, then return and request something new.</p> <h2>3. Embrace &quot;New to You&quot; Furnishings</h2> <p>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 <a href="http://shop.chairish.com/">Chairish</a>, <a href="http://krrb.com/">Krrb</a> (pronounced &quot;Curb&quot;), and <a href="https://www.moveloot.com/">Move Loot</a> to score stylish-yet-used stuff from your neighbors.</p> <h2>4. Share Your Car</h2> <p>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. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/car-sharing-why-own-when-you-can-just-share">Car sharing</a> platforms like <a href="http://www.zipcar.com/">Zipcar</a>, <a href="https://relayrides.com/">RelayRides</a>, and <a href="http://www.getaround.com/">Getaround</a> make it easy to only pay for a car when and if you need it &mdash; and these fleets include everything from SUVs to the newest hybrids.</p> <h2>5. Skip the Hotel</h2> <p>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 <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-rent-your-place-on-airbnb-and-succeed">Airbnb</a>, <a href="https://www.couchsurfing.org/">Couchsurfing</a>, <a href="http://www.tripping.com/">Tripping</a>, and <a href="http://www.lovehomeswap.com/">LoveHomeSwap</a> 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: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-you-get-a-vacation-rental-instead-of-a-hotel?ref=seealso">When Should You Get a Vacation Rental Instead of a Hotel?</a>)</p> <h2>6. Be a Secret Shopper</h2> <p>Want access to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sign-up-for-half-price-flights-and-free-hotels">half-price flights, free hotels</a>, 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.</p> <h2>7. Get Crafty</h2> <p>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: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-cheap-home-decorating-projects-that-look-amazing?ref=seealso">7 Cheap Home Decorating Projects That Look Amazing</a>)</p> <h2>8. Look for Marketing Events</h2> <p>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.</p> <h2>9. Leverage Your Skills</h2> <p>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!</p> <h2>10. Go Local</h2> <p>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 <a href="https://www.vayable.com/">Vayable</a>, <a href="http://www.eatwith.com/">EatWith</a>, and <a href="https://www.triip.me/">Triip</a> to find unique and affordable excursions hosted by locals who know and love the area.</p> <p><em>How do you enjoy life's luxuries without paying full boat? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beth-buczynski">Beth Buczynski</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-add-luxury-to-your-life-without-paying-luxury-prices">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way">8 Little Luxuries That Go a Long Way</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/replace-these-8-luxury-buys-with-their-cheaper-better-alternatives">Replace These 8 Luxury Buys With Their Cheaper, Better Alternatives</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-pricey-things-you-shouldnt-buy-and-what-to-get-instead">14 Pricey Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy (And What to Get Instead)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle Shopping cheap luxury discount luxury luxury Fri, 20 Jun 2014 17:00:03 +0000 Beth Buczynski 1145230 at http://www.wisebread.com Lifestyle Upgrades: Beware the Diderot Effect http://www.wisebread.com/lifestyle-upgrades-beware-the-diderot-effect <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/lifestyle-upgrades-beware-the-diderot-effect" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/diderot_effect_2.jpg" alt="Women on a luxury train" title="Women on a luxury train" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="145" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ever noticed how upgrading one thing means you have to upgrade another? There's a name for that &mdash; the Diderot Effect. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/have-style-not-a-lifestyle">Have Style, Not a Lifestyle</a>)</p> <p>We've just lived through an example of the phenomenon, because our apartment manager has just installed a bunch of upgrades in our apartment. It happened like this:</p> <p>The very old kitchen faucet started leaking, requiring a new fixture. But the new fixture wouldn't fit into the hole in the old sink, so we needed a new sink. The new sink wouldn't fit into the hole in the old countertop, so we needed a new countertop.</p> <p>Now, up to this point, the issue was just basic physics &mdash; things need to fit, or you've got problems. But then the issue shifted just a bit.</p> <p>A new countertop on one side meant that we needed a new countertop on the other side as well, or they wouldn't match. (And the half-walls at the entrance to the kitchen were topped with islands that matched the old counters, so they needed to be upgraded as well.) And, with the new countertops, the kitchen cabinets started looking pretty shabby, so they needed to be refinished. And the kitchen walls needed a fresh coat of paint.</p> <p>This is the dreaded Diderot Effect.</p> <p>The Diderot Effect is named after the French writer Denis Diderot, who wrote a famous essay on how the gift of one very nice item had made his other things look shabby. In an amusing fashion, the essay traces out the series of steps by which he ended up having to upgrade everything he owned.</p> <p>A whole lot of marketing is aimed at getting you to buy one nice thing &mdash; because the marketers know that having one nice thing will put you on the path to replacing many other items as well &mdash; things that are perfectly good, but that aren't as nice as your new thing.</p> <p>It's an easy trap to fall into, and a terrible one.</p> <p>Fortunately, the Diderot Effect is its own cure. While one nice thing makes your other stuff look shabby, when your stuff is all about the same, it produces a pleasant inertia that makes it easy to resist upgrades.</p> <p>Add to this the concept of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-wabi-sabi-simple">wabi sabi</a> &mdash; which emphasizes such values as simplicity, functionality, authenticity, and modesty &mdash; and it becomes easy to resist the Diderot Effect.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lifestyle-upgrades-beware-the-diderot-effect">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/replace-these-8-luxury-buys-with-their-cheaper-better-alternatives">Replace These 8 Luxury Buys With Their Cheaper, Better Alternatives</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way">8 Little Luxuries That Go a Long Way</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-add-luxury-to-your-life-without-paying-luxury-prices">10 Ways to Add Luxury to Your Life Without Paying Luxury Prices</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-would-it-cost-to-actually-live-like-a-queen-for-a-day">How Much Would It Cost to Actually Live Like a Queen for a Day?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-a-luxury-eccentricity">Choosing a Luxury Eccentricity</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle improvement lifestyle inflation luxury Mon, 27 Feb 2012 11:24:14 +0000 Philip Brewer 905623 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Kitchen Luxuries That Are Worth It (and 5 That Aren't) http://www.wisebread.com/5-kitchen-luxuries-that-are-worth-it-and-5-that-arent <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-kitchen-luxuries-that-are-worth-it-and-5-that-arent" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/luxury_kitchen2.jpg" alt="Two girls in a kitchen" title="Two girls in a kitchen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I love cooking. It's frugal, yes. But for me, it's more than that &mdash; cooking is a way to release stress, show people I love them, and (perhaps most importantly) feed myself delicious, healthy food.</p> <p>While I try to keep a pretty minimal and inexpensive kitchen, over the years,&nbsp;I have realized that there are certain luxuries that are well worth the cost. Here are five of my favorites &mdash; and five items that aren't so necessary. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-time-saving-kitchen-tips-from-an-insider">7 Time-Saving Kitchen&nbsp;Tips From an&nbsp;Insider</a>)</p> <h2>Kitchen&nbsp;Luxuries That Are Worth It</h2> <p>There are some of my favorite things to keep in my kitchen.</p> <p><strong>1. Good Cookware</strong></p> <p>There are a couple of pieces of great news about quality cookware &mdash; first of all, you don't need a lot of it, and second of all, it's often easy to find second-hand. In fact, especially when it comes to baking supplies, I tend to prefer older baking sheets and cake pans &mdash; I've found that newer non-stick baking sheets almost always burn the bottom of my cookies. As for what you're putting on the stove top, a good cast iron skillet can do wonders. And if you do want a non-stick pan or pot, I recommend something from&nbsp;Calphalon &mdash; it's good quality, scratch-resistant, and long-lasting.</p> <p><strong>2. A Quality Knife</strong></p> <p>One good-quality chef's knife &mdash; kept sharp &mdash; can be the only knife you'll ever need.</p> <p><strong>3. Silpats</strong></p> <p>As I mentioned above, I prefer regular baking sheets over non-stick ones, and I'll line them with Silpats &mdash; silicone liners. Silpats are easy to clean, make it so you don't need to oil your pans, and don't burn what you're cooking.</p> <p><strong>4. Garlic Press</strong></p> <p>In general, I'm against highly specialized kitchen tools.&nbsp;But I will admit my love for the garlic press &mdash; instead of trying to mince clove after clove of garlic by hand (I'm a big garlic fan), the garlic press smashes the clove with one easy squeeze.</p> <p><strong>5. A Few Nice Ingredients</strong></p> <p>Cooking is a lot cheaper than going out, even when you buy a few pricer ingredients.&nbsp;I love little items that can add big flavor &mdash; fresh herbs, finishing salts, miso, truffle oil, and good olives are a few of my favorites.</p> <h2>Kitchen Luxuries I Can Do Without</h2> <p>There are situations when some of these are worthwhile, but here are five kitchen luxuries that I generally pass on.</p> <p><strong>1. A Dishwasher</strong></p> <p>First of all, let me say that I'm writing this as someone who currently lives alone &mdash; the more people in a house, I think, the more useful a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-your-dishwasher">dishwasher</a> can be. At first, I was bummed to move into an apartment without one, but then&nbsp;I realized that I used fewer dishes and washed them faster if my dirty ones sat in the sink instead of the dishwasher.</p> <p><strong>2. Highly Specialized Appliances</strong></p> <p>Crepe maker. Quesadilla maker. Waffle maker. These all clutter up your kitchen for foods that you make &mdash; what, once a month? Crepes and quesadillas can be made on the stovetop, and that waffle batter will also make lovely pancakes &mdash; take your waffle craving to a restaurant.</p> <p><strong>3. Most Name-Brand&nbsp;Foods</strong></p> <p>Most name-brand foods are equal or very similar to generics in terms of quality; they just have a bigger price tag.</p> <p><strong>4. A Microwave</strong></p> <p>I know that the microwave is a hotly contended kitchen item &mdash; if you do certain tasks a lot, like defrosting things from the freezer, a microwave might be worth it. Microwaves do, after all, use less energy than ovens for certain tasks. For the way I cook, though, it's not worth paying for a microwave or having it <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-the-most-of-a-tiny-kitchen">clutter up my countertop</a>.</p> <p><strong>5. Brand-New Storage Containers</strong></p> <p>I do covet those <a href="http://www.crateandbarrel.com/kitchen-and-food/food-containers-storage/oxo-pop-rectangular-1.5qt-container-with-lid/s267786">neat pop-top containers</a>. But if you're looking for countertop and cupboard storage, there are plenty of bargains to be found at thrift stores. Mix-and-match glass jars and containers of various sizes can make for a very chic (and inexpensive) countertop. One time I even found a <a href="http://joannafesto.blogspot.com/2010/08/vintage-tupperware.html">vintage set of flour and sugar containers</a> almost exactly like my mom had when I was growing up.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite kitchen luxuries &mdash; and what can you do without?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-kitchen-luxuries-that-are-worth-it-and-5-that-arent">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-electric-woks">The 5 Best Electric Woks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-easy-ways-to-stretch-your-grocery-dollars">20 Easy Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Dollars</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-measuring-cups">The 5 Best Measuring Cups</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-measuring-spoons">The 5 Best Measuring Spoons</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Home Shopping cheap kitchens Cooking generic brands luxury Thu, 23 Feb 2012 11:36:32 +0000 Meg Favreau 903365 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Little Luxuries That Go a Long Way http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/donuts_2.jpg" alt="Girls with donuts" title="Girls with donuts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&rsquo;s not always easy being thrifty. For me, it means not indulging my purse obsession as much as I&rsquo;d like, forgoing the pricey bottles of wine, and decorating my house with thrift-store finds. I usually don&rsquo;t mind, but sometimes, a little encouragement is in order. Here are a few of my favorite luxuries that are worth a modest splurge &mdash; they help me to persevere, encouraging me to take a long view of the frugal life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/on-choosing-and-defending-your-luxuries">On Choosing and Defending Your Luxuries</a>)</p> <h2>1. A Good Showerhead</h2> <p>Sure, you could shower every day with your apartment&rsquo;s original showerhead that sprays as much air as water and takes twenty minutes to wash shampoo out of your hair, but why suffer? A new showerhead will set you back $20 and is completely worth the investment for better water pressure, even spray, and perhaps even different spray settings. When I lived in China, I had to make do with some less-than-optimal apartments, but the one non-negotiable was that there had to be a clean, spacious shower with a good showerhead. It went a long way towards keeping me sane.</p> <p>Along the same lines, many old apartments don&rsquo;t have an aerator on the kitchen faucet, which means that the water splashes up whenever you turn it on. Invest the $2 in an aerator attachment from Walmart. The difference is amazing.</p> <h2>2. Quality Bed Sheets</h2> <p>Life is too short to spend it lying on pill-y, bad-quality bed sheets. You spend up to a third of your life in bed, so why not make your bed sheets good ones? They&rsquo;ll last longer anyway, so in the long run, they might save you money. Look for combed Egyptian or Pima cotton sheets with a thread-count of at least 300 (higher thread-count isn&rsquo;t always better &mdash; I always get a little skeptical when it comes to 1,000 thread-count or higher). Look for a well-known brand with good reviews. I&rsquo;ve heard good things about Costco&rsquo;s Kirkland Signature Pima Cotton sheets, which are top-quality but not too pricey.</p> <h2>3. Soft Toilet Paper</h2> <p>I used to buy whatever toilet paper was on sale at Walmart, and I ended up with coarse, crumbly toilet paper that chafed. Not fun. Now I&rsquo;ve found a brand I love, and I buy it in bulk when it&rsquo;s on sale or when there&rsquo;s a coupon, even though it&rsquo;s marginally more expensive than the cheaper brands.</p> <h2>4. Certain Food Products</h2> <p>For my family, buying milk from cows that haven&rsquo;t been treated with growth hormones, Omega-3 eggs, decent extra-virgin olive oil, and a few other food items is a priority, even though these food products may cost a little more. I believe that the investment in our health is definitely worth it in the long run. I make up for the extra cost by buying seasonal fresh produce on sale at our local market, eating meat less often, and cooking from scratch instead of using more expensive jarred and packaged goods.&nbsp;</p> <h2>5. A Sharp Knife</h2> <p>I have one sharp santoku knife that I use for most cutting and chopping purposes. I have a few other slicing and paring knives, but the one I splurged on was the large santoku, which I use as a chef&rsquo;s knife. A sharp knife with a good weight is safer and makes cooking a breeze. It doesn&rsquo;t have to be super-expensive. Victorinox makes good-quality chef knives that won&rsquo;t break the bank. Trust me, buying ONE good sharp chef&rsquo;s knife is better than buying a whole block of cheap knives. Keep a sharpener on hand to hone the edge.</p> <h2>6. A Good Can Opener</h2> <p>For a year, I struggled with a dull can opener that gave my hands a workout every time I tried to use it. I refused to get a new one because my can opener WAS new. It just sucked. Finally, I caved and bought one at Marshalls for $5. It makes me happy every time I use it now. The smoothness of the mechanism and the sharpness of the cutter just make my heart soar.</p> <h2>7. Scented Hand Soap</h2> <p>Hand soap from Bath and Body Works is another item that I brought overseas with me when I lived in China. When on sale, these bottles of soap cost $3-4 each and went a long way towards making my apartment feel like home. Especially when you have guests over, a nice bottle of hand soap makes your bathroom feel more luxurious and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/spa-bathrooms-on-the-cheap">spa-like</a>.</p> <h2>8. Date Night</h2> <p>Sure, you can&rsquo;t afford to eat caviar and truffles every week, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean you can&rsquo;t have an evening to enjoy yourself, away from everyday responsibilities. Schedule a babysitter and plan a date night for you and your significant other, even if it&rsquo;s just a few hours at Starbucks or a leisurely meal at Burger King. It&rsquo;s the time away and the extra focus you have for each other that count. Try to make it a regular ritual that has special significance. It&rsquo;s a treat that you can look forward to every week or two.</p> <p>Little purchases can add up over time, so it&rsquo;s important to keep track of what you&rsquo;re spending for these small luxuries. You might find it helpful to give yourself an &ldquo;allowance&rdquo; to keep your spending in check. This means that you can spend your allowance money guilt-free, but you&rsquo;re not allowed to go over budget!</p> <p><em>What little luxuries do you think are worth the splurge? How do you keep them to a limit?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-add-luxury-to-your-life-without-paying-luxury-prices">10 Ways to Add Luxury to Your Life Without Paying Luxury Prices</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-fun-things-to-buy-for-under-5">15 Fun Things to Buy for Under $5</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/replace-these-8-luxury-buys-with-their-cheaper-better-alternatives">Replace These 8 Luxury Buys With Their Cheaper, Better Alternatives</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle Shopping cheap treats luxury small splurges Thu, 25 Aug 2011 10:36:20 +0000 Camilla Cheung 678230 at http://www.wisebread.com Choosing a Luxury Eccentricity http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-a-luxury-eccentricity <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/choosing-a-luxury-eccentricity" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fountain-pens-with-notebooks-and-ganesh-sculpture.jpg" alt="Fountain pens with notebooks and Ganesh Sculpture" title="Fountain Pens with Notebooks and Ganesh Sculpture" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One piece of the &quot;keeping up with the Joneses&quot; problem is external. It's not just that you're inclined to want what others have; it's that your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, business contacts, and mentors tell you that you need to have certain things &mdash; otherwise you're a bad spouse or unprofessional or a blight on the neighborhood. I have a trick for dealing with that.</p> <p>This is separate from dealing with your own internal wants. Those can also be tough to deal with, but at least there the path is clear: prioritize. When I was making the shift to spending less and saving more, I was able to deal with my own wants because I'd decided that what I really wanted was to arrange my life so that I could be a full-time writer. However much I wanted a faster car or a bigger house or a newer gizmo, I wanted to be a writer more.</p> <p>But in the real world there are a lot of other pressures on you to spend money. Maybe your neighbors want you to have a weed-free lawn. Maybe your boss wants you to carry a nicer briefcase when you meet clients. Maybe your kids want you to own a cooler car. Maybe your girlfriend wants you to upgrade your wardrobe.</p> <p>A luxury eccentricity helps you stand firm against those pressures while deflecting the ill feelings that can otherwise result.</p> <h2>The Luxury Eccentricity Trick</h2> <p>A luxury eccentricity is just some small area of your life where you pay up for top quality. Having one helps make <em>other people</em> more comfortable with <em>your </em>choices. It does this two ways:</p> <ol> <li>It makes it clear that you're not stingy, depressive, a miser, or a guy who has no life.</li> <li>It justifies your frugality in other areas.</li> </ol> <p>When other people see you take joy in some little thing that obviously matters deeply to you, they're less likely to worry about you, and they're more likely to accept it with good grace when you don't act on their suggestions about other stuff you ought to buy.</p> <h2>What to Choose</h2> <p>To be effective, a luxury eccentricity needs to meet several criteria. It should be:</p> <h3>Something that you can sincerely appreciate</h3> <p>Otherwise, you're wasting money. Don't make fine wine your luxury eccentricity if you prefer beer.</p> <h3>Something that's comfortably within your budget</h3> <p>The whole point is to save money. If your luxury eccentricity is owning a private jet or a European castle, it's not going to help.</p> <h3>Something that other people can relate to at some level</h3> <p>The point is to make other people say, &quot;What a charming eccentricity!&quot; Collecting paintings is fine. Taking up painting as a hobby is even better &mdash; cheaper and more eccentric. Collecting string is a poor choice. Collecting stray cats is even worse.</p> <h3>Something where style counts</h3> <p>When there can be sincere differences of opinion, there's a rich middle ground of moderately priced options. When pretty much everyone agrees what's best, that choice tends to be expensive &mdash; and everything else is viewed as inferior. Ideally, your luxury eccentricity should be one where people agree that &quot;the best&quot; is a matter of personal taste.</p> <h3>Something where knowledge of the field matters</h3> <p>Knowing a lot about your eccentricity &mdash; and sharing that knowledge &mdash; is a big part of signaling that it <em>is</em> your luxury eccentricity and not just a whim. You don't want to annoy or bore people, but you do want other people to sense that you <em>could </em>bore them if you weren't so well mannered. This is how you make sure that people don't try to argue you into buying whatever <em>they</em> want you to buy instead of spending the money on your luxury eccentricity. They need to sense that any such attempt threatens to produce a long boring lecture on just how much more fun / cool / sophisticated / exciting / educational your choice is than theirs. Most people won't do that twice.</p> <p>Keeping your budget aligned with your own needs and wants is tough enough. When there's external pressure &mdash; especially pressure from people who only mean to help &mdash; it's tougher yet. Choosing a luxury eccentricity is a useful tactic for deflecting those pressures.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-a-luxury-eccentricity">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lifestyle-upgrades-beware-the-diderot-effect">Lifestyle Upgrades: Beware the Diderot Effect</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/replace-these-8-luxury-buys-with-their-cheaper-better-alternatives">Replace These 8 Luxury Buys With Their Cheaper, Better Alternatives</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-making-hobby-panning-for-gold">Money making hobby: panning for gold</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way">8 Little Luxuries That Go a Long Way</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-hobby-pay-its-way">Make Your Hobby Pay Its Way</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle eccentricity hobby luxury Wed, 26 Jan 2011 15:00:49 +0000 Philip Brewer 481297 at http://www.wisebread.com On Choosing and Defending Your Luxuries http://www.wisebread.com/on-choosing-and-defending-your-luxuries <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/on-choosing-and-defending-your-luxuries" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4398133798_1d208b8a51_z.jpg" alt="luxury orange juice" title="luxury orange juice" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Spend any time reading personal finance blogs and you'll come across a particular kind of equal-and-opposite post: lists of luxuries. Half the posts will advocate giving up a few specific luxuries to live more cheaply. The other half have titles like &quot;Three things I won't give up&quot; or &quot;Five luxuries that are worth the money.&quot; Both kinds of articles miss the point of luxuries &mdash; they're indefensible (and I mean that in a good way).</p> <p>This came up when I was being interviewed by a reporter from the local paper who was doing a feature on me and my writing for Wise Bread. She asked &quot;What do you do without,&quot; in order to live cheaply? I was quickly able to tell her a couple of things &mdash; we only have one car, we live in a small apartment instead of a house &mdash; but then I got stuck. I really don't think of myself as doing without. Rather, I've given a lot of thought to exactly what I want and have arranged my life so that <strong>I get all of it</strong>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-a-luxury-eccentricity">Choosing a Luxury Eccentricity</a>)</p> <p>It was kind of embarrassing. I'm sure she thought it was an easy question, but I was simply at a loss. After a minute, though, I thought of another way to approach the question. I could tell her all about the luxuries that we <strong>don't</strong> go without. People could then assume that we had all the necessities plus our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way">short list of luxuries</a> &mdash; and know that we &quot;went without&quot; whatever it was that wasn't on the list.</p> <p>The first things I came up with &mdash; NetFlix subscription and fitness center membership &mdash; I immediately spotted as classics from lists other people had made of the &quot;things you can do without,&quot; and at the same time also classics from the lists of &quot;luxuries I think are worth the money.&quot; (Other classics of both kinds of list: cable subscriptions and fancy coffee drinks.)</p> <p>It goes without saying that you don't need any particular luxury &mdash; it's kind of the defining characteristic of a luxury. You could go so far as to go through your budget and line out every non-necessity. It's worth noting, though (and it kind of goes to my point here), that it's a lot easier to do that to <strong>someone else's budget</strong> than to do it to your own.</p> <p>That's why you see articles of this sort. It's <strong>easy</strong> to tell other people to go without stuff. (Especially stuff that you've decided to go without!) And, at the same time, people feel a certain impulse to defend their own luxuries.</p> <p>I don't want to dis articles of this kind too strongly, because they do provide a useful service, as long as you don't pay much attention to the specifics: They model the correct way to think about the issue.</p> <p>It's a worthwhile exercise to go through your budget as if it were the budget of someone else &mdash; someone who's short on money and whom you don't really like very much. What would you mark out if <strong>that guy</strong> had to cut his spending by 20% (or 50%)?</p> <p>What would that guy say when you suggested that he could get by with orange juice from concentrate and store-brand coffee, that his kids didn't really need Tai Kwon Do lessons, that he could get by with one less car, move to a cheaper apartment, and cancel his vacation?</p> <p>Well, what could he say? He'd say that he really liked the premium orange juice and all that other stuff. Does that cut any ice with you? You knew that to begin with &mdash; <strong>that's what a luxury is</strong>.</p> <p>So, then, how do you defend your luxuries? Easy: You defend them to yourself, not to some other guy. You defend them by figuring out how much you can afford and only buying that much. You defend them by making tradeoffs between having things now and having more and better things later. Most important, you defend them by thinking deeply about what you really want and figuring out that you can happily leave all that other stuff out of your budget.</p> <p>If you do it right, you may find yourself in my situation: Someone will ask you what you give up to live so cheaply, and nothing will come to mind.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/on-choosing-and-defending-your-luxuries">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-one-vacation-day-and-save-thousands">How to Take One Vacation Day and Save Thousands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/it-takes-a-frugal-spouse-to-make-a-frugal-home">It takes a frugal spouse to make a frugal home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simplify-budgeting-with-personal-money">Simplify budgeting with personal money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living budget budgeting living luxuriously on less money luxuries luxury Thu, 14 May 2009 19:58:22 +0000 Philip Brewer 3164 at http://www.wisebread.com