How to live well for less
by Brad Hines 9-6-16, 1:30 pm
The good life on a budget: (I have no affiliations with any of these brands listed in the article and recommend on my own accord).
What constitutes "the good life" is different for everyone, but here are some common ways to feel like you live like the wealthy even if you are not in fact:
Fine Dining: One of the quickest ways people burn through their savings is going out to eat, so I like to cook food and avoid fast food and mid-level restaurants for the cost and health reasons as well as the typically uninspiring food. Pricier restaurants with incredible cuisine are something I like to do at least a few times a year to indulge and get to "live". What I do then, is go to Groupon and LivingSocial monthly, look for steep discounts (my most recent was exactly half off) at expensive restaurants, and I let the discount dictate which high end establishment I visit. Like low priced travel, I follow the discount rather than the restaurant since any high-end place is a treat to me.
Premium Autos: Regular cars, brand new, cost an average of $25,000-$30,000 not including maintenance, fuel, and insurance, and then sit in your driveway 22-23 hours a day typically. That figure easily is tripled for a high-end auto like an Audi, Mercedes, Porsche etc. I use rental car service Turo, a peer-to-peer rental car company to indulge in the occasional driving of a nice car to get coveting one out of my system so to speak, and cost effectively letting me not care about driving my 15+ year old Jetta the rest of the time. I recently rented a two year old Mercedes E-class for $125 as an example.
Dress Well: Especially if you are self-employed like me, it's tempting to dress like a slob. A few months ago I investigated how to dress well for cheaper (for men), and while a subjective luxury to experience–some people hate dressing up after all–you may find soon after adopting nicer clothes how you are often offered more luxuries in life/treated better by service businesses like airlines and retailers for example. One study found that simply wearing a suit allowed a tester to ask to be able to use the bathroom in more places than did a plain clothes dressed person, the more pedestrian looking individual was otherwise denied.
Free events: I frequently look up my cities' free events, a lot of them are surprisingly posh. One example that comes to mind is the MFA, the art museum in Boston. Free on Wednesday nights, it is also an extremely luxurious space– and frankly priceless– and you can go stroll through with a date while dressed up and feeling wealthy, for nothing.. A quickly Google search can of course help you find events like this, as can Meetup.com.
Travel: Wealthy people travel. Get to do 2-3 more times the travel than you currently do with your budget by using the Kayak.com/explore tool (or SkyScanner has a similar tool), and let the affordable destinations dictate your journey, rather than setting your heart on a place to go se (like letting Groupon and Living Social discounts dictate your fine dining). If you want to go everywhere in the world anyway, this is a particularly easy trick to follow. There are countless other ways to save on travel, Google search "Travel Hacks" and read a few blogs on it like Nomadic Matt.
Know a neat way to live a wealthy lifestyle on the cheap? Leave it in the comments below.