How to live extravagantly on a budget in 2023

live extravagantly on a budget

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Credit Sesame with advice on how to live extravagantly on a budget.

If you have expensive tastes and your last name is not Kardashian or Bezos, your budget and tastes may be mismatched. But it’s okay if you can’t afford the best of everything. You can still enjoy a luxurious life on a sensible budget this year. You just need to be creative. Here are our tips for living life like you’re not on a budget.

What is luxury, anyway?

Luxury is an indulgence – satisfying wants rather than needs. And while we all need food, clothing, shelter, healthcare and transportation, everyone has different wants. You might define luxury as travel or fine dining, while your sister lusts after a fast car, your Mom wants a housekeeper and your uncle obsesses over his clothes. Your first step in living a budget-friendly, luxurious life is defining your top wants. 

Bucket list huck it list

After creating your bucket list of wants for a luxurious life, it’s time to list the things you can toss from your budget. What do you buy currently that you don’t care that much about? You certainly don’t need all the channels. Do you even want them? How about the newest tech? Surely your phone is good for another year at least? Lunch out every day, expensive wheels, costly clothing, perfect nails, whatever your habits, they aren’t really necessary for a luxurious lifestyle — unless they’re on your bucket list, of course. 

Every item on your “huck it” list is an opportunity to save money, which you can use for the special purchases that you REALLY want. 

Next, consider each item and decide if you can junk it or choose a cheaper alternative, and list the potential savings. Finally, look at your existing budget and see if there is extra money after covering necessities. Any surplus you have beyond the basics plus the savings you can wring from less-important purchases is your fun fund.

Luxe for less

Now that you have your fun budget, it’s time to get creative. Work through these questions:

  • How much do my chosen luxuries cost at full price?
  • How often can I indulge? 
  • How can I save on these luxuries?

Ways to save on luxuries may involve these strategies:

  • Go second hand
  • Enroll in loyalty programs
  • Split costs 
  • Find freebies
  • Rent; don’t buy
  • Choose quality over quantity
  • Shop social
  • Think small

The tactics below show how these strategies can work in your life.

Second-hand savings

You can live extravagantly on a budget without purchasing everything new. Many things you buy new lose a huge chunk of their value the second they leave the store, the gallery or the showroom. But quality goods remain useful and impressive for years. Scout these things at consignment shops and charity thrifts or auction sites and marketplace apps. 

Savings depend on the item, condition, and age, but are usually significant.  Designer clothing and bags run about 70% less when you buy them second-hand. A car’s value drops by about 20% in the first year, even though it probably looks brand new and is still under warranty. Even interior designers buy and sell second-hand furniture because it holds up and costs less.

Make loyalty pay

Sign up for loyalty and membership programs for everything you enjoy. You’ll be treated like the valued customer you are and pay less. If you enjoy massages, facials and other personal care services, look for spas and salons offering hefty discounts to members who commit to monthly appointments. Enjoy dining out? Make your reservations through Open Table or other foodie sites and accumulate points for free meals and other perks. 

And don’t forget travel sites and credit cards – pick rewards that mean the most to you and then choose the most generous companies. Just avoid spending beyond your budget or carrying a balance.

Split costs with friends

If your friends enjoy the same kinds of fun you do, get together and save. You could, for instance, book a hotel for that fancy ski weekend and pay through the nose all day for everything, or you could split a rental condo with your buddies and take turns being responsible for cooking meals. You’ll save enough to cover your lift tickets and a splashy dinner out.

Get free stuff

Savvy budgeters have been scoring free services and goods for generations. Sites like TryProducts send samples and even full-sized products every month for free as long as you provide feedback. You don’t have to blog about them or be an influencer. You can even find free or cheap services by making appointments with cosmetology or massage students at their schools. They are expertly supervised and are learning the latest techniques and styles.

Rent high-end things

Having a Ferarri in the garage or a condo in Beliz would be nice. But the per-use cost of those things can be astronomical. You can splurge when it counts and rent one to enjoy the experience. And you’ll probably get more enjoyment for your buck than the rich person who has to cover insurance, maintenance, repairs and other costs on an asset that often goes largely unused.

Buy quality and take care of your things

Budgeting isn’t the only reason to pare down your purchasing. Many wealthy people also buy less to reduce waste, save time and simplify their lives. Having fewer things makes it easier to care for them and lets you focus more on your enjoyment. Too many of anything can be overwhelming, and you can end up with your possessions owning you instead of you owning them. 

Check social media

Before shelling out for your passions (or anything else), search for coupons or promo codes online. Groupon is probably the original source for deals on experiences, services and products, but it’s far from the only one. And if you have favorite vendors (those loyalty programs), be sure to check their social media pages before making a purchase. 

Scale back (a little)

Almost any luxury experience you can think of has a smaller, cheaper cousin. Think shoulder season instead of high season destinations, Michelin-starred lunches instead of dinners, off-the-beaten hotels a stone’s throw from the big-deal accommodations, and pre-season games to see your favorite team in action. Sometimes (often?) the lesser-tier experiences top the more obvious ones because they may be less crowded and have not been done to death. 

The bottom line is that most of us can find the money for a special luxury or two while still covering our necessities. And these delightful things probably mean more to us than they do to people who mindlessly buy them.

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Disclaimer: The article and information provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice.

Gina Freeman
Gina has been writing consumer-centric content in the personal finance, business and investing for nearly 20 years. She loves making challenging or even “boring” topics accessible and helping readers feel educated and confident in their decisions.

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