5 Awesome, Cheap Alternatives to Luxury Services

By Ashley Marcin on 20 January 2015 1 comment

Ever wonder about the lifestyles of the rich and famous? I sure do. There are a number of services these people enjoy that the rest of us can only dream about. But if your bank account isn't teeming with funds, don't fret. Instead, employ a little creative thinking, and try these five alternatives to some of the more popular luxury services.

1. Home Chef

Yes, the idea of having someone cook up breakfast, lunch, and dinner certainly sounds appealing. And wouldn't healthier eating (and a clean kitchen) be so much easier if left up to someone else? With just a little forward thinking, you can be your own personal chef and create weeks or even months of meals that require nothing more than reheating.

It all starts with a meal plan. The rest is up to your preferred style of cooking. I highly recommend setting aside one weekend each month to do bulk cooking. You can make as many meals as you have space to store in your freezer. If you don't have a lot of space, I'm a huge fan of Crock-Pot meals. Toss everything in the pot and let the machine do the heavy simmering. (See also: 10 Tricks to Keep Your Kitchen Clean While You Cook)

2. Cleaning Service

While professional house cleanings have become somewhat more attainable over the years, it's still a service I cannot find room to fund in my budget. And when the going gets tough, my sinks and toilets surely show it. Good news, though! Many of us can get on the path to a routinely cleaner house without spending much money or tremendous effort.

For example, you could start following the military's guide for keeping a tidier space that includes cleaning a little each day, creating a schedule that works for you, finding places for everything you own, and — of course — keeping your tools nearby. That plan breaks down the dirt and clutter, making it feel more manageable and, ultimately, quicker to complete. Making simple DIY cleaning supplies will also ensure you rarely run out of the essentials. Then treat yourself to a deep cleaning service maybe once or twice a year.

3. Grocery Delivery

If you don't like grocery shopping, I don't blame you. The stores are crowded, the lines are long, and you usually forget something despite drafting the most detailed list. Though grocery delivery services can be as inexpensive as around $5 per order (prices vary depending on location and order size), that's still an additional $260 a year minimum that you're spending when you could tweak your method for free instead.

Make the trek to the store less intimidating by switching around your shopping hours. I find Saturday mornings or late weeknights best, but you can ask the clerks when they think traffic is slowest. Many stores, like Wegmans, offer grocery apps that help you find foods quicker and even estimate your order total before leaving home. You can even consider automating the delivery of non-perishable items (cereal, dog food, toilet paper) on sites like Amazon, which offer free delivery on many products.

4. Night Nanny

New parents out there might love the idea of a night nanny to take the edge off those sleepless periods. The idea that someone else could bring baby to my bedside for nursing and then shush him or her to sleep sounds like an absolute dream. Too bad this luxury costs upwards of $200 each evening!

Though you can't quite DIY this service yourself, you can configure your setup to ease the most difficult days, weeks, and months of frequent wakeups. Consider stocking a basket in the nursery or at her bedside with snacks, water, reading material, and any other supplies (bottles, diapers, thermometer, etc.) so there's no need to search around. Moving baby to the parents' room is called room-sharing and can help with calming fussiness. After all, it's much faster to reach into a bassinet to calm a crying newborn than it is to walk across the house.

5. Personal Shopper

As someone who could shop for days on end, I definitely could never see myself needing a personal shopper. However, many people hire shoppers, stylists, or image consultants to find whatever they need, exactly when they need it. Most often, these people seek out clothing that is fashionable and fits well for special events or everyday life.

Empower yourself to be your own best shopper. If you find yourself floundering when it comes to assessing fit and form of your clothing, learn your body type and discover the styles that flatter your unique assets. Better yet, stop shopping so much. Many of us think we need different clothes when we have a closet full of workable items. Trying a minimalist or capsule wardrobe can save you money, space, and time shopping — no assistance needed. (See also: 50 Ways to Save Money on Clothing)

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Guest's picture
Kimmy Burgess

Your preferred style of expenses throughout the week/month is dependable on the way one maintains their income. I hate shopping for groceries because it takes too long to bill out with never ending lines. We all must learn to prioritize our expenses for a luxury life.

Guest's picture
Chris

I actually save money by using Peapod grocery delivery. It's so easy to compare prices and make sure I'm only buying what I *need* (no impulse buys) that it more than pays for the service. Also, they often send me specials or coupons based on what I buy, which helps a lot more than the random coupons for basically expensive junk food that I see in the papers. Don't know if other grocery delivery services are similar or not, so YMMV.