You are probably reading this blog because you want to live an amazing, interesting, luxury filled life, but at a fraction of the cost. Stepping up and living your best life should mean that you are enjoying life. You also have to ensure that you don’t go broke trying to “fake it”. I personally would not want to get to the top but not have any fun getting there in the first place. It’s all about making smart choices, reading the fine print and keeping an eye out for opportunities.
When I first moved from the US to London I only had my savings and needed to find ways to enjoy life while also ensuring that I saved for my future. I am a luxury hound (go figure) but had zero cash to enjoy the life I wanted. So, I figured out how to get there while still enjoying the good things in life. I thought I would share some of the tips and tricks I used to enjoy life while not compromising on my big goals and dreams.
Freebies all the time
1 – Well read: OK books (not counting antiques) might not be luxury items but they can help make you a better, more interesting person. I really like the site Planet Book, because they have over 80 classic books that you can download for free. I’ve downloaded a couple of them for my iPad already. It’s nice to be able to mix and match between different themes. Save money by ordering a few of the latest novels while also reading (or rereading) something old school for free.
Another great option if you’re in the USA is Paperback Swap. You get credits by sending other users books that you want to get rid of. Then you can use those credits to request books from other users.
2 – Fit as a fiddle: When I first moved to the UK, I wanted to make new friends and stay fit. After looking around for a bit, I found a group called ParkRun. It takes place in hundreds of locations globally and is great when you want to work out with others while avoiding really expensive gym fees.
Gym? No thanks…maybe if I need a swimming pool. Even then it’s probably better to join your community swimming pool. There are also tons of free workout videos on Youtube.
If you do want to join a pricey gym start by using the free sessions. You can see what the gym is like before making a commitment. Its also worth seeing if they have discount memberships e.g. classes only or if you can attend at less busy times.
3 – Beauty/Perfume: I like to spray on some perfume at the end of the work day, if I happen to be heading out in the evening. Unfortunately, a whole bottle takes up a lot of space in my handbag. Finding free online samples is a great way to get a smaller size to carry with you.
Try sites like Magic Freebies UK or Woman Freebies in the USA. It’s also a good idea to link up to the social media pages for luxury brands that you like, so that you know when they’ll have giveaways. I recently picked up the cute set below from l’Occitane this way. You can also head to the beauty counters to ask for samples. It’s a great way to get luxury scents and products. You can save your hard earned cash for when you want to buy a full bottle (or request a bottle for your birthday or a holiday).
4 – Events: Whether you live in a big city or a small one, there are generally lots of free events taking place. Yes, sometimes it can be tough to spot the good ones but, as they say “nothing ventured, nothing gained”. Check out sites like Timeout, Meetup and your local newspaper to find out what is going on.
For more upscale events, visit the websites of posh magazines and companies and sign up to their mailing lists. I’ve been able to get free access to a number of events, meals, temporary access to private members clubs, etc.
You can also attend cheap luxury events by turning up last minute and requesting discounted seats or looking online for rush tickets. For example, you can attend the MET opera in New York for as little at $25 by going online. The Royal Opera House in London has tickets for as little as £4! Another option is to offer to volunteer at the event. It’s not as comfy as attending as a guest but you’ll be helping a good cause and you’ll have been there to see the show.
5 -Artwork: Art can be very pricey, but it doesn’t have to be. If you are looking for a complete freebie, check your national art gallery. Many of them will allow you to make copies of items. Just don’t use it for commercial purposes (e.g. don’t put it on t-shirts that you plan to sell).
Another favourite option of mine is the art fair. Check out the Affordable Art Fair, which takes place at many locations around the globe. If you’re in London, check out the Art Car Boot sale held every year off of Brick Lane. I bought a signed Peter Blake print (yes, that Peter Blake) for around £25. Later, I saw one of the other 250 copies being auctioned on ebay a few days later for £1200!