Living Luxe for Less: 7 Smart Money-Saving Strategies
Let’s face it, we all want a comfortable life for ourselves and our loved ones. But with a mountain of bills to pay and other financial obligations to meet, there always seems to be an endless string of things weighing you down from realising that dream. This is especially true for people residing in high-cost-of-living cities - London, New York, Sydney, to name a few.
While living a luxurious life may seem like a far-off fairy tale, there are some strategies you can adopt to make luxury living an honest-to-goodness possibility, despite an average median income. Here are seven useful strategies to look and feel luxurious without having to spend a fortune.
1. Be a Meticulous Budgeter
Whether you want to afford your next rental payment or your next meal, you’ll definitely need to closely guard your finances.
Many people who live luxurious lifestyles don’t always flaunt it, but budgeting is very much an integral part of their financial routine. And if you want to closely resemble their lifestyle, then you’ll similarly have to be tight with how you spend your money.
Everyone’s financial situation is different. As a general rule, for every pay check you receive, appropriately allocate funds in these categories: bill payments, living expenses and savings.
Always prioritise paying your obligations first.
Don’t try to apply for loans to pay bills, as that can lead to worse financial outcomes down the line.
Be smart about your future by putting a portion of your income in a savings and investments pool—at least 30% of your income would suffice. The rest of the funds can be used for your wants.
2. Spend Less
If you find it difficult to accumulate enough money to fund your long-term wants, evaluate your spending. Are you buying too much coffee? Do you have subscriptions that you do not really use (like digital TV channels, magazines, or beauty boxes)? Are you spending too much on takeaway?
If so, make the appropriate adjustments and try to minimise that behaviour. While it’s fine to splurge every now and then, if it gets in the way of your long-term financial goals, then it’s best to put your grown-up foot down and exercise some monetary discipline.
By spending less, you can find yourself getting more savings, which ultimately puts you closer to financial freedom and a more immediate luxury lifestyle.
3. Get Perks Using Credit Card Rewards
If you’re sure that you can stay on top of your debt obligations, then having a credit card is one of the most convenient financial assets you can have.
Not only do they provide you with a quick, cashless payment option, but with the right provider, they can also grant holders special credit card rewards, like here.
These rewards come in various forms, typically in cashback rewards, points, or miles.
Cashbacks refer to a small amount of money that’s returned after paying off the monthly payment statement. Points are redeemable and can be used to get merchandise. Miles are like points but they’re specifically for travel perks, like flight tickets or upgraded seats.
Most major financial institutions offer credit card deals, and many of them can look similar at a glance. But if you want to live luxuriously, it’s important to vet your options wisely and look for a card that best suits your lifestyle.
For instance, if you want to travel more, get a card that has frequent promotional bonuses for flights. If you want to get appliances, get a card that offers these things in their points catalogue.
By doing these things, you can benefit from luxurious items while paying only a fraction of the cost. That said, it’s imperative that you also pay your statement dues in time to remain eligible for these perks.
4. Scour For Online Deals
Before grabbing that item on the shelf or clicking on that social media advertisement, stop and take a moment to think: is there an alternative to this product I can get for cheaper? Even if there is not, what are the views for this product/brand?
More often than not, you can find cheaper versions of the product in online retailers or original stores. And some times, you might even avoid a scam by looking up reviews for products sold on social media!
If the timing is right, you can even come across promo codes on coupon sites or by opting in newsletters at the right time. These options typically offer discounted prices that can cut down the original price with barely any effort on your part.
Top tip: by registering online with a brand you want to buy from, you're likely to receive a 'welcome' discount code. Take advantage of it!
5. Buy Secondhand Luxury Products
Clutching a Prada or Chanel as your everyday bag is a luxury that not many can afford—but there’s one way you can grab ahold of high-end items like these for a more affordable price. And that’s by buying secondhand!
A large influx of pre-loved luxury items is constantly being listed in secondhand marketplaces like eBay and Facebook Marketplace. A sizeable fraction of these items are marked at a discounted price, despite looking relatively new.
If you’re ready to sift through junk to find treasure (which is a big part of the fun!), then going this route can be a tremendous way to score a desirable deal.
That said, many fake items and scammers circulate and prowl these websites, so do proceed with caution before initiating any transaction. However, if you do match with a genuine seller, then you can save big bucks with your newly acquired luxury item.
Top tip: fashion apps like Vestiaire Collective offer an authenticity check for a small fee. You can also make offers to sellers and not just accept the initial price.
6. Increase Your Income Stream
If you’re constantly under pressure to pay the bills and dues with a fixed income setup, then there’s no better way to alleviate your situation than by increasing how much money you earn. Of course, this is easier said than done, especially if you’re already flooded with a heavy workload. That said, there are strategies you can apply to increase your income sustainably.
One of them is by moving a portion of your money in your savings account to more high-yield interest accounts or time deposits. This way, you can gain more passive income and improve your net worth bit by bit.
Another way is to make smart investments, but your capital could be at risk.
The last piece of advice is an obvious one: change your job situation. You may get a part-time job if you have spare time. Alternatively, you can switch out of your current job to something better-paying.
If you have a bigger income stream, you can save more money periodically. This, in turn, allows you to spend more on things you do want, like luxurious goods.
7. Reevaluate What “Luxe” Means to You
If you’ve made it this far, you’re definitely one of the few folks who are serious about their finances. Major props!
That said, here’s a word of advice. Most people associate luxury goods with expensive new bags, flashy cars, and lavish dinners at expensive restaurants. However, you don’t have to take the desires of other people and adopt them as your own without extra forethought.
Truly stop and evaluate what living a happy life means to you. Maybe it’s by making simple upgrades to your home. Maybe it’s finding enough time to spend with your friends and family. Perhaps it’s simply sitting out in nature every other week or so.
Whatever the case, trying to play “catch-up” with others is a cyclical game that you’re bound to lose. There’ll always be someone who’s richer and cooler—and that’s okay.
Focus on yourself, your family, and your own finances; you’ll be more at peace that way.
Jenny Kakoudakis likes to blog about interiors. She launched the award-winning Seasons in Colour in 2014. When she is not chasing criminals out of the financial system (her day job), she gets creative by redecorating her own home.
Download her free bathroom renovation guide here.