I think we can all admit to being tempted by a champagne lifestyle that’s a bit outside our budget. We see influencers on Instagram splurging on expensive items or a Facebook friend going on a luxurious vacation, and we want those things for ourselves.
But unless you’re extremely well off — which most of us aren’t — you’ve got to find a way to achieve that champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget. In this article, you’ll learn the downsides to chasing that champagne lifestyle and how you can achieve it on a budget.
What is a champagne lifestyle?
You’ve probably heard the term ‘champagne lifestyle’ before, but what does it actually mean? In general, the term refers to a lifestyle filled with luxurious and expensive things. Often people with the taste for a champagne lifestyle don’t have the budget to live that way, and so they end up living above their means.
The problem with a champagne lifestyle
What’s so wrong with living a champagne lifestyle over a minimalist one, anyways? After all, we live in a society that’s constantly telling us to treat ourselves. But there are a few problems with this type of lifestyle.
It creates a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle
More than half of Americans report living paycheck to paycheck. Many people live paycheck to paycheck simply because their income isn’t high enough to get ahead. But that’s not always the case.
Research shows that even high-income households are living paycheck to paycheck. 8% of households earning $200,000 or more struggle to cover basic expenses. The percentage goes up to 16% for households earning between $100,000 and $200,000, and 23% for households earning $75,000 to $100,000.
How is it that households with such high incomes can struggle to make ends meet? In many cases, it’s because of spending. When you spend everything you make, you’re stuck in the paycheck to paycheck struggle. And a high income makes it easier than ever to enjoy a champagne lifestyle, thinking you can afford it.
It can lead to consumer debt
It’s no secret that debt is a huge problem in the United States. According to a recent report, the average American household has about $90,460 in debt, which includes credit cards, personal loans, auto loans, mortgages, and student debt.
Anyone who has ever struggled with their spending can relate to the impact it can have on your debt. Americans rack up thousands of dollars of credit card debt. In some cases, it’s to pay for financial emergencies. But often, it’s to fund a lifestyle they can’t afford.
It doesn’t leave room for saving
If you’re using most of your income to fund a champagne lifestyle, you’ll have a little left over for saving for other financial goals. In other words, you’re sacrificing your long-term wants for your short-term wants.
It encourages impulse spending
Living a champagne lifestyle can create poor financial habits that will come back to haunt you in the future. When you have a ‘treat yourself’ attitude, you get into the habit of buying whatever you want, whenever you want it. In other words, you do a lot of impulse spending.
When you try to change your financial situation and save for other goals, that impulse spending habit may hold you back. By building good habits from the start, you avoid a situation where you have to unlearn bad ones.
13 Ways to live a champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget
Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can enjoy that champagne lifestyle you crave but do so on a lemonade budget.
1. Decide what your most worth-it champagne lifestyle expenses are
It’s okay to splurge on yourself once in a while, but you can’t splurge on everything. To reduce your spending while still treating yourself, decide what splurges are most important to you. Which ones feel the most worth it?
Some people love treating themselves to salon visits and spa treatments. For those people, it’s probably worth budgeting extra money for those items. But others might prefer to DIY those services so they can splurge on things that are more worth it to them.
Deciding what’s really worth it for you is a totally personal decision. What’s worth it for someone else might not be for you, and vice versa.
2. Put yourself on a budget
If you haven’t created a budget for yourself, it’s time to get started. It can be easy to overspend when you aren’t setting spending goals or tracking your spending. You can simply ignore the problem.
One of the best ways to enjoy a champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget is to actually put yourself on a budget. Decide how much you’re willing to spend on each category in your budget, and then track your spending to make sure you stick to it.
3. Avoid payment plans
These days, it’s easier than ever to splurge on something without actually seeing the money leave your bank account. Services like Afterpay allow you to purchase something online and break the amount up into monthly installments. You can even use these services for low-priced items.
Afterpay and similar buy now pay later services are tempting because you pay a very small amount each month. The problem comes when you get into the habit of monthly payments and suddenly find that you’re paying off a dozen purchases at a time.
4. Look for discounts
Before buying anything, look around for discounts. Some companies offer discounts if you’re a member of certain organizations or customers of certain companies. For example, AAA memberships are well-known for getting you discounts on other products and services.
Another simple way to get discounts is to simply shop when things are on sale. Instead of hitting up your favorite stores regularly, commit to only shopping there when there’s a sale going on.
5. Use coupon sites
Another way to save on purchases is to use coupon sites and apps. These days there are so many coupon sites to choose from, including Honey, Swagbucks, Groupon, RetailMeNot, and more.
An easy way to use coupons is that anytime you’re about to make an online purchase, stop and go search for coupons first. Browser extensions like Honey can automatically search the web for coupons on your behalf. Other sites share coupon codes that you can enter into your shopping cart. More often than not, you’ll be able to find a way to save.
6. Find the best dupes for your champagne lifestyle
We’ve probably all been swayed by Instagram influencers all promoting the next popular item, which happens to be expensive. But for every high-priced item out there, there are several companies making a similar, but far more affordable, version of it.
Lately, it seems that more influencers are realizing that their followers are on a budget. As a result, more and more are promoting affordable dupes to popular products. And based on this you don’t have to look that far to find the best dupes.
Keep in mind that there's is a difference between a dupe and a fake.
7. Shop secondhand
If you love luxury items, you can still find them on a budget. There are plenty of secondhand stores, websites, and apps that allow you to shop, sometimes directly from someone else’s closet. Some sites carry secondhand items at all price points, while others, like TheRealReal, specialize in reselling luxury goods.
8. Focus on quality over quantity
Sometimes we get stuck in the mentality that more is better. But I think anyone with a closet full of unworn clothing can attest that this simply isn’t true. Instead, those same people tend to wear just a handful of high-quality items in their closets.
Rather than splurging by buying more of something, splurge by buying high-quality items. You’ll enjoy them more, and they’ll last longer, meaning you won’t have to pay to replace them in just a few months.
9. Recreate your favorite champagne lifestyle experiences at home
For some people, a champagne budget means luxurious experiences. And luckily, you can create some of your favorite experiences at home for a fraction of the price.
If you love spa visits, purchase the supplies you need to have your own luxurious spa day. And once you’ve bought them, you’ll already have them on hand to recreate your spa day again and again.
Similarly, if you love fancy restaurants and nights out, plan one at home. You can whip up some of your favorite restaurant meals for your friends. Or invite everyone to get dressed up and bring the fixings for their favorite cocktail.
10. Use cashback apps
Cashback apps are one of the best ways to earn a bit of extra money for things you’re already buying. With sites and apps like Rakuten, Ibotta, and Fetch, you get points when you purchase certain items in-store and online. Then, you can trade those points in for cash or gift cards to your favorite stores.
11. Do DIY upgrades for your champagne lifestyle
Chances are that some of your favorite high-end items can be recreated for less at home. This is especially true for people who love to splurge on home decor. By scrolling Pinterest, you can find plenty of DIY projects that look far more expensive than they are.
Another way to make a champagne lifestyle a bit more affordable is to negotiate. For example, let’s say you’re planning a weekend getaway and want to stay in a high-end Airbnb. Reach out to the owner and ask if they’re willing to negotiate on the price.
You might be surprised by just how many things you can negotiate. And while it doesn’t always work, it’s worth a shot.
13. Increase your income
At the end of the day, you can only cut costs so much. And if a champagne lifestyle is important to you, then one of the best ways to achieve it is to increase your income. You can do this in many ways, including asking for raises and promotions at work, applying for different jobs that pay more, or by starting your own business or side hustle.
As you increase your income, it’s important to be thoughtful about what you do with the extra money. By deciding ahead of time how you’ll allocate it, you make it more likely that you don’t simply spend it all.
You could decide, for example, that for each raise you get, you’ll devote 50% of it to increasing your savings and investment, while the other 50% will go toward increasing your spending and lifestyle. Whatever percentage you decide on, have a plan ahead of time.
You can live a champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget
In a perfect world, we could all live a champagne lifestyle without worrying about the cost. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for most of us. But rather than giving up your dreams of a champagne lifestyle altogether, use the tips above to help you achieve that champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget!