Discount Luxury: Save 50% or More on 5 Fabulous Substitutions


You don’t have to be rich or famous to try to put some luxury in your life. While it may be a stretch to own a private jet or a magnificent vacation home, there are still lots of little things you can do to still feel like a million bucks without spending that much. Here are some frugal ways to mimic some favorite luxuries. (See also: 8 Little Luxuries That Go a Long Way)

1. Trade Champagne for Cava

If you’re not popping bottles of Cristal on your yacht, you are still in luck. While I am not saying a bottle of good sparkling wine is the same as an $800 bottle of fancy champagne, it is certainly much more affordable, still delicious, and just as bubbly.

Try a nice cava, which is a Spanish sparkling wine that is extremely affordable. Cava was once known as "Spanish champagne" and is made using the same methods, but only sparkling wines made in the Champagne region of France can be called "champagne." Cava is an excellent option for parties and weddings if you want some good bubbly without a crazy price tag.

Likewise, you can always try things like wine spritzers or sangria for super affordable alternatives, which always seem to be crowd pleasers. Both of these options can be made with affordable table wines or any economical, good tasting varietal.

2. Use Furniture Store Design Consultants

Who wouldn’t love to have the services of a real interior decorator to make your home worthy of a magazine cover? Unfortunately, such services come with a hefty price tag.

If you don’t have a professional decorator friend, you can still score decorating services for free if you happen to be in the market for new furniture. Many furniture stores, like Ethan Allen and Pottery Barn, offer free in-house design consultants who can do everything from helping you choose the right piece to coordinating and decorating all aspects of your room.

Or go it alone, and find a picture in a magazine or online and try to reproduce the style on a discount. Visit the Crate & Barrel or Raymour & Flanigan design guides online, which can give you some inspiration There are also a plethora of decorating tips, room pictures, and ideas at sites like HGTV and Better Homes and Gardens that can help, too.

3. Buy Used Designer Clothing

Dressing in high-end designer labels doesn’t have to be reserved for the super rich. Online retailers like Tradesy, SNOBSWAP, Poshmark, and others resell gently used high-end designer clothing. This can make getting your hands on those coveted Louboutins a whole lot more affordable.

If you don’t like the thought of someone else once owning your designer duds, then you can always hunt down the most affordable options available at some of the high-end department stores, which now have outlet shops. Barney’s Warehouse and Sak’s Off 5th both offer some amazing deals on designer and boutique labels with huge savings. Gilt Groupe, which is a members only discount site that is easy to join, offers many sought-after designer brands on sale daily for up to 70% off.

4. Don't Get Your Spa Services at a Spa

Booking an afternoon at a spa for a massage and facial can certainly run a pretty penny, but that doesn’t mean it’s out of reach for those on a budget.

Massage schools are great places to get a discount massage. You can search the American Massage Therapy Association to find schools near you that need practice clients and will offer deeply discounted rates. Also try searching for deals on Groupon, which often has local discounts on massages and facials at day spas and salons in your area, which can save you big bucks for quality services without sacrificing on the spa atmosphere.

Another money saving idea is to turn your average manicure into a mini spa experience. Many nail salons offer mini massages for your feet, upper back, and neck for a small fee. You can have a pretty relaxing visit by tacking on these little extras without breaking the bank.

5. DIY Personalized Meal Service

If you are looking to eat gourmet, healthy meals on a daily basis, but don’t have the time or skill to prepare them, you might consider an in-home meal service. These services offer up a fixed number of calories in five or six meals and snacks per day, which magically show up on your doorstep each morning in a little cooler. When I was working non-stop before I was a mom, I indulged in this luxury, which, however wonderful, is not cheap. Not having to cook each day and maintaining my best weight justified the cost in my mind. But like how you can work out without a professional trainer, you don't need a professional meal service if you are willing to put in some effort and planning.

To mimic your own daily healthy eating menu, set aside a few hours on the weekend to cook some low-calorie dishes that you can freeze for lunches and dinners. Stock up on low-cal snacks and breakfast ideas and you can put together your own daily gourmet menu for the week without having to cook each day. Good nutrition sites will have great ideas for which foods work best and their calorie counts. Most meal services aim for 1,200-1,800 calories a day, depending on gender and weight goal. With the help of great free apps like MyFitnessPal, you can easily log and track your intake to take the guesswork out of what you are eating daily. I’m not saying it will be easy, but with some real discipline, it can be done.

What are your favorite frugal knockoffs of luxe products and services? Please share them in comments!

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Guest's picture

Great tips - Cava is a delicious sparkling wine.

Guest's picture

I love MyFitnessPal... It is free and makes you realize how much you can "save" on calories, same way you would approach saving money...