5 Ways to Live Like a Celebrity on a Budget

Photo: Chris_J

Everyone has been tightening their belts during our most recent economic slowdown. Some people have been forced to cut all luxuries out of their lives completely. It is possible, however, to live like a celebrity and retain a bit of luxury even when you're cutting corners and trying to save money. Here are tips to look, live, eat and drive like a celebrity without spending huge amounts of money. (See also: Choosing a Luxury Eccentricity)

1. Be a smart shopper

It's possible to look like you spent a lot on your clothing when you actually didn't. Brick and mortar stores like as Marshall's and TJ Maxx often carry designer clothing at drastic discounts. Usually, these stores receive closeouts or overstock items from major designers, which allows them to sell these designer frocks for much less than full price.

Other options abound on the Internet. Sites such as Amazon, Smartbargains, and Overstock often offer great deals on designer names that are out of season. Amazon, for example, is a great place to buy designer name accessories for half price. They sell Gucci designer sunglasses, which regularly retail for over $300, for just $124.75. You can pair those sunglasses with a summer dress from BCBG Max Azria on Bluefly.com, which normally retails for $147 but sells there for just $79. Ebay.com is another option, but beware of fake designer labels. Unless you know how to spot a counterfeit, you might be sold a $5 knockoff Gucci watch for $105.

This doesn't just apply to shopping for women's clothing, either. You can find great designer bargains for men's clothing and accessories online. For example, check out the suits by Joseph Abboud at JCPenney that sell for $120, a fraction of the cost of a $3000 Armani suit. Shop4brand.com carries discounted Dior sunglasses and other brands. A pair of Dior aviator like Clive Owen wears in "Duplicity" regularly retails for $230 but can be had for just $119.

2. Get a celebrity hairdo for less

Even though your budget probably won't allow for a Sally Hershberger cut or a Canale hair coloring session, it is possible to get fabulous hair for less. (And no, you don't have to go to the bargain basement chop shops. Remember, if you shell out just $10 for a haircut that's what you'll get — a $10 haircut)

If you happen to live near a major celebrity salon, you can sign up to be a model for their students. For example, Bumble and Bumble has its own university, where it trains stylists. Often, students will work on your hair for free or for half of their regular charge. Thus, a $300 hair coloring session would cost you just $150. The trick here is to have enough confidence in the student's ability not to make you look like a freak. There's little chance of that happening, as all work is constantly supervised. Call one of the high-end salons near you and ask about their training nights or student sessions.

Another option is to go to a nearby beauty school and sign up to be a model. Here, work on your hair is usually free, and as with the high-end celebrity salons, it is closely supervised to prevent hair accidents. Search on the Internet for the beauty school nearest you and contact them to inquire about becoming a model.

3. Buy, or rent, a celebrity's home at a discount

With the real estate market still favoring buyers over sellers, it is possible to purchase a celebrity's home for much less than you would have spent on it even five years ago. If you have the money, you can buy Kourtney Kardashian's home in Calabas, California for $795,000 — $34,000 less than what Kardashian paid when she bought it in 2006. The home has three bedrooms and three bathrooms, hardwood floors, granite countertops, vaulted ceilings…you get the picture. It's a real steal and a great way to live like a celebrity for much less.

If you're not in the market for such pricey real estate, or you're just not ready to commit to living like a celebrity full time, you can rent a celebrity's apartment for your next vacation. HomeAway.com lists vacation apartments for rent, many of which are in the same buildings as the apartments of famous celebrities. For example, you can rent a three bedroom, three bathroom, 3000 sq. ft. apartment in the Murray Hill section of New York City for $875 per night or $4200 per week. Even better, CyberRentals.com lists many smaller (usually one bedroom, one bathroom) Murray Hill apartments that rent for just $1200 per week.

4. Dine like a celebrity without waiting in long lines

So, you want to get into that trendy new restaurant, but there's a two to four hour wait just to get a table. Suddenly, you see George Clooney or Sarah Jessica Parker breeze right in and get a table!

This is the time when greasing palms works. Simply slip a $20 to the maitre d' and you'll get the best table available without the long wait. It has been proven that offering "bribes" to those in authority in trendy restaurants and night clubs will get you much faster service. Just don't do it in plain sight. Pass the money to the maitre d' nonchalantly while asking him or her if there's anything they can do to help you get seated more quickly. You might have to pay more than $20 depending on the restaurant, but it's usually no more than $50. If done correctly, you'll be sitting at the table and dining with the stars in no time.  

5. Drive like a celebrity for less

When you think of celebrity vehicles, what often comes to mind are high-end cars like Lamborghinis, Bentleys, and Maseratis. However, many celebrities are turning to more economical and eco-friendly cars. For example, the ranks of celebrities driving the Toyota Prius is ever-increasing, and has included Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Leonardo diCaprio, Ryan Gosling, America Ferrera, and Kirsten Dunst. While the Prius isn't the cheapest hybrid car in the world (at a starting price of $22,800) it isn't nearly as expensive as most celebrity vehicles.

If you really just have to have one of those expensive celebrity rides, another option is to buy one used. There are some automotive search sites that will help you locate a pre-owned luxury car that's right for you. LocateMyLuxuryCar.com carries all of the pre-owned major luxury brands (Audi, Porsche, Jaguar, Lamborghini and more) for sale across the United States.

You can sometimes find good deals on used luxury cars on Craigslist.com and in your local classified ads as well, but be careful when dealing with a private owner. Unless you know a lot about luxury cars and are confident that you won't get taken for a ride, it's best to avoid purchasing something of this magnitude from a private owner who can claim his or her car has less miles than it really does or runs "great" when it actually runs like crap.

This is a guest post by Christian Rudolf. See more like it at letitflow.com – your one-click stop for all the latest news on celebrities, fashion, high-tech gadgets, luxury cars, exotic travel destinations, and much more!

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Guest's picture

6. Get creepy people to stalk you & take photos of your every move.

Sorry, couldn't help myself :D

Not bad tips, if that's your thing, but I'm definitely happy to NOT be a celebrity. I don't even want to keep up with the Joneses. If they don't like my car and haircut then that's their problem. And I'm not so cool with bribing people, either.

Guest's picture

Who wants to live like a celebrity???

I sure don't. I'd like to have their money, though.

You can keep all the fame and all the problems that come with it...

Guest's picture

In the UK, you can pick up an older luxury car like a Lexus, a BMW or a Mercedes for a lot less money than one just a few years old. The DVLA licencing system allows you to buy a private number plate that won't show the year identifier so your car looks great for longer and no one need know just how old it is.

Guest's picture

How are these tips for people wanting to live on a budget? I don't think I've ever heard the words "budget" and "celebrity" in the same paragraph! Who would want to pay almost $900 a night to stay in a hotel room in New York? Aren't there websites designed to get you great deals on nice hotels without paying NEARLY as much. I don't think any of these tips are appropriate for people looking to budget. This is a recipe for creating more snooty, snobby people and I pray to God that teenage girls don't read this. I'm not buying Gucci sunglasses for $125. I'll go to Old Navy or something and find a pair for like ten dollars. That's budgeting.

Guest's picture

i don't understand how #4 is related to the title of this supposed how-do article... it doesn't talk about how to save money.... it just talks about how to eat with celebrities.... i don't want to know about how to be like a celebrity... i want to know how to save money!!