Picking Your Luxuries: A Guide To Living Lavishly With Less

Can you live luxuriously while living on a budget? Yes! Sort of. Click through for find out how >> yesandyes.org
This guest post comes via the fantastic Megan over at (the now-sadly-defunct) Charade. Pop over and read through her archives about  style, career and living a fabulous life on a student budget.

When you’re surviving (however stylishly) on a budget, you’re never going to ‘have it all.’Five star penthouse? Chauffeured limousine? Overflowing Chanel wardrobe?

Hmm… not so much, but that doesn’t mean you should get into a habit of scarcity and lacking, because to become too accustomed to the scrimping and saving lifestyle is to beat any chance at abundant living. Trying to have it all might fail you, but picking your luxuries might not.

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Define your Ultimate Luxuries

Our ideas of what constitutes a luxury are all different, for some of us, travelling the globe is the meaning of life; for some, the latest fashion and style rule. Some think good food is next to godliness, whilst some prefer getting sozzled on great wine. A personal trainer might make your day, or a shiny new laptop; perhaps a stonking CD collection is your idea of heaven, or regular Swedish massages.
My point is, there are tonnes of ways to lap up the luxury in your life, and not one of them can be called a luxury with any more validity than the next; it’s all relative.

So, what’s it going to be for you? For Sex and the City’s Carrie, it was shoes; for Paddington Bear, Marmalade Sandwiches; for my sister, Cath Kidston; for me, five star hotels (the Bellagio for my 21st birthday? Yes please.) What feels most luxurious in your life? What has you starry-eyed at a mere mention? Choose it. That’s your ultimate luxury, your one, unashamed, frivolous necessity, for which you openly celebrate with not a scrap of guilt.

Don’t let other people’s opinions of how you should spend your time or where your money should go affect your choice. It’s your life, after all, and whatever it is that gives you the dizzying warm and fuzzies is absolutely worth the investment. You deserve it.

If your ultimate luxury is a small one (Lush products every bath time, a complete Audrey Hepburn DVD collection) then choose two, choose several, choose as many as you can to fit within your budget.

Assume a Luxurious Mindset

Now that you’ve chosen your ultimate luxury, let the feeling of opulence reach its loving arms around your life and squeeze all the goodness out that it can. If you can afford only one ultimate luxury, that’s no reason to allow the rest of your existence to pale into mediocrity alongside it.
Try to look at your whole life as a series of little luxuries, from your first cup of tea in the morning, to a few drops of lavender on your pillow at night. Appreciation is the sole source of worth within any luxury, why not up your appreciation of the day-to-day? Let your whole life be a luxury.

But! A Word of Warning on Luxury

The luxurious mindset is not living above your means; I’ll never recommend getting into credit card debt to feed your fetish. A luxury stops being luxurious if you’re ruining the rest of your life to support it, and a gift that’s worked hard for is a gift that means a million times more.
Remember, too, that there are such things as long-term luxuries and the longer you have to wait for them the sweeter and more special they become. Having a savings account might seem like the most yawn-worthy activity you can imagine, but when looked at as a gleaming pot of gold to fund your dream French chateau, it starts to sound a little more interesting.
Moreover, a luxury is not an addiction, neither must it be simply hedonistic or materialist – it can be time spent with your family, or improving your knowledge on a certain topic, playing an instrument well etc. In other words, a luxury is what you make of it, hence why we can call anything a luxury, if we have the correct mindset.
What are you favorite luxuries? I love expensive cheese, Aveda shampoo, nice perfume, and really good pillows!
photo by ananda escuerdo gomes // cc

26 Comments

Georgina

Yes! This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately, as I'm attempting to actually stick to a budget this year!

As much as I would like to think Lush products are an essential, they really aren't, so a trip to Lush is one of my treats! I also like buying fresh flowers for my desk, expensive cheese, and some good chocolate every now and then.

It's still important to treat yourself when you're on a budget!

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SnapandPrint

My luxuries?

Shoes (of all sorts, I shop the sales), books (I love books and reading), costume jewelry, make-up, Opi nailpolish (about $8 to $ 9 a pop but go on so well), and DVDs of movies I love. All I can get for not a lot of money if you shop sales and all make me feel more luxurious.

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Ellie Di

2011 has been feeling more and more like a year of awesome, and this idea is totally in line with that. Pampering is a great way to get back in touch with ourselves and making us ready for all the great things we're after!

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V. Furnas

Expensive perfume, Flowerbomb is my favorite.

Beautiful purse, does not have to be name brand but beauty is more important.

And having new books to read…sound simple but feel luxurious.

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Kelsi

My favorite luxuries:

– Bubble baths
– quality cheese for sure!
– Grey Goose Vodka
– Diorshow Macsara ($24 a tube!)
– mood lighting
– TRAVEL (I don't even need fancy accommodations as long as I get to explore with my camera)
– the white Gibson Explorer guitar I'm currently saving up for!

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Rachael

My luxuries include occasional dinners out with my husband and friends; good yarn (usually wool) and wooden or bamboo knitting needles; and all the fruits I want.

Megan, I love your attitude towards living a good life!

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FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com

1. Rich delicious foods like foie gras and cheese
2. Green tea lattes at Starbucks
3. Massages for my back and shoulders
4. Necklaces. Millions of then 🙂
5. Wearing beautiful but not uber expensive things, but not too commercial either.

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Karen

Great to see you guest post here Megan!
My luxuries are great shampoo (René Furterer is amazing), singing lessons with a great vocal coach and a musical theatre songbook collection.

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Anonymous

Wow. I guess I'm the lone duck here, but I only have one luxury, one thing that I really let myself indulge in – and that is a monthly pedicure. As for makeup, magazines, and movies? No, thanks!

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Luinae

Good food. I want to eat fondue and good thick bread and prosciutto and aged gouda and organic fruit. I can leave fancy houses, magazines, movies, and going out to eat, but I need a fridge/cupboard stocked with deliciousness.

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Brittany

I think my luxuries are massages and facials every once in awhile. Being able to go out and have a beer with my boyfriend during happy hour is a nice little special thing, too.

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Anonymous

My luxury is hockey shirts and jerseys. Not something you'd usually consider "luxurious" but I love supporting my team, and they can be kinda expensive, so when I buy one, it's like a little treat!

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danielle

My luxuries are good mascara (Diorshow Backstage in black: expensive but so worth it!), waxing, and good, organic food. All things that make me feel good, inside and out!

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skinitly clad

i'm all late to the commenting party but my favorite luxuries are starbucks chai lattes, cheese, wine, scented candles, pretty undies, the result of brazilian waxes (because the process is not so luxurious), and fresh new bottles of my favorite perfumes.

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Sara Rose

-Teas and breves
-Lots of books, LOTS OF BOOKS
-Nails- I do save a bit of money for a manicure, weekly, and a once a month pedi, because darnit I'm worth it!
-Good skin/hair care and good make up products (I have cheapies too, but honestly? A nice tinted moisturizer makes the whole day go better.)
-Good wine and scotch. A bubble bath with a nice little tipple is always a good way to go to bed.

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Kamina

Mmmmm…midweek massages, good cologne, straightening my hair with the fancy straighteners at my gym, reading in bed in the middle of the afternoon, drinking a cocktail in the bath, writing on my laptop in a cafe, lavender hot chocolate.

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