Just because I’ve made a career out of penny-pinching, doesn’t mean that I don’t occasionally get swept up in the fantasy of a luxury lifestyle. If you’ve ever made the rookie error of signing up for one of those supposedly “secret” hotel websites, you probably know what I mean. It’s easy to be lured in by their daily e-mails and spend hour upon hour scrolling through photographs of exclusive beach resorts. I sometimes imagine what it must be like to indulge in a frosty cocktail while enjoying the ocean view from a private pool. I’ve even been tempted by the advertised prices to click through to read the details of the “deal.” Sigh! But you know me. I haven’t fallen off the thrifty wagon yet.
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Fantasy shop ‘til you drop
In a similar vein to my imaginary holidays, I like to do something I call “fantasy shopping.” That’s when I meet a girlfriend in one of the more shi shi areas of town and, after a congenial lunch or coffee and cake, we take in the window displays of some of our favourite boutiques. Sometimes we even allow ourselves to meander inside and coo over high thread count Egyptian cotton sheets that we can’t really afford. Once or twice I’ve even splurged on some unnecessary (but, to me, affordable) indulgence, like $8 rose-scented pillow spray. Other times we might feign interest in some really expensive designer makeup until an obliging saleslady offers us a collection of small samples.
Spare the budget, spoil yourself
If you’re a loyal Savings Room reader, you might recognise (and even practise) this “how to be rich” fantasy technique. While a huge amount of fun (especially with the aforementioned girlfriend or girlfriends), in all seriousness, there is very much a method to this madness. And it is this: saving can’t – and shouldn’t be – 100% about self-denial. You’ve got to keep living, and above all, enjoy yourself. While I’ll never be on the Forbes rich list, I’ve learned that by letting myself have little luxuries, I really don’t feel like I’m doing without. If anything, those minor splurges keep me playing the long game.
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Buy vintage for both style and price
You can even give yourself occasional permission to fulfil an actual big ticket item fantasy. There are always ways to buy luxury brands for less if you are willing to put in some extra time to look for deals. The savings can be particularly good if you don’t mind an older model. People who buy luxury brands tend to take good care of them. If, for example, you’re into Tissot watches, go vintage but don’t pay the hefty price tag. You’re still getting a quality product that has years of life left in it. Not only that, but your find is sure to spark interest. The same principle applies to fashion. You simply need to find a consignment shop in the right neighbourhood and your dreams of a Gucci or Prada purse can be a reality without the thousand dollar price tag.
Of course, if the price you find is still too dear, turn on your imagination! Fantasy vintage shopping, anyone?
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