What comes to mind when you think about a luxurious lifestyle? For many people, it’s high-end items like clothing, cars, vacations, or fancy dinners. And when that’s what we picture, it’s easy to get discouraged and feel that luxury simply isn’t available to us. Especially when it seems like so many people are struggling with lifestyle inflation just to have certain luxuries of life.
But in reality, luxury has many possible meanings, and it looks different for everyone. When you think about what a luxury lifestyle really feels like for you, it’s easy to create one on a budget.
What is a luxurious lifestyle?
We all have our own idea of what a luxurious lifestyle really looks like, and you might be surprised that it comes down to a few simple elements. Let's go over what luxury really is!
Luxury is a state of mind
It turns out that luxury has nothing to do with the items you’re surrounded with or the amount of money you’re spending, and everything to do with the way you feel.
Think about something you spent a lot of money on that felt truly luxurious. The item or location wasn’t what gave you that feeling — it was your feelings about it. And you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have those same feelings.
Luxury is subjective
What’s luxurious for you isn’t for someone else. You might love the idea of being pampered at the spa. For someone else, that sounds like a terrible way to spend a weekend.
For someone else, great seats at a sporting event might sound luxurious, while that sounds like the last thing you’d want to spend your money on.
The problem is that we often care too much about other people’s opinions of what a luxury lifestyle really means, and so we spend money on things that we don’t actually value all that much. The key is figuring out what luxury means to you.
A luxurious lifestyle is about comfort and convenience
Think about some of the most luxurious moments in your life. What did they all have in common? I’m guessing that for many of them, it was about feeling comfortable.
Maybe it was staying in a high-end resort, spending your days lying by the pool. Or perhaps it was splurging on the single most comfortable pair of shoes you’ve ever owned that also happens to cost way more than the rest of your shoes.
At the end of the day, luxury is largely about comfort. And because comfort is also entirely subjective, it looks different for everyone.
How to live a luxurious lifestyle on a budget
Are you ready to start living a more luxurious lifestyle? We’ve rounded up some tips to help you do just that on any budget!
Create more free time in your schedule
There’s just something about free time that feels luxurious, and yet so few of us actually create free time in our own schedules. Between careers, household, childcare, and kids activities, it feels like every moment is accounted for. But we forget that with some notable exceptions, we have control over our own calendars.
If you’re struggling to find free time in your calendar, schedule it just like you would anything else. Put it on the calendar, and treat it as an obligation you can’t break. Then, when the time comes, you can just relax totally guilt-free. Freeing up time in itself is huge when it comes to a luxury lifestyle.
Slow down to enjoy the luxuries of life
In addition to creating more free time in your calendar, it can also feel luxurious to just slow down as you move through your day. Think of those little moments that you rush through but that really bring you joy. Your cup of coffee in the morning. Your evening walk with your dog. Playing your kids. Sitting down to dinner with your spouse.
These everyday moments that we often hurry through can feel more luxurious than anything that costs money. These are the best luxuries of life!
Declutter your home
Think about how luxurious it feels to stay in a nice hotel or rental home. There’s open space, it’s clean, and it’s completely clear of clutter. You don’t have to pay for a hotel to feel this type of luxury. Decluttering your own home can be just as effective. When your environment is clutter-free, you’ll find that you feel more relaxed, less stressed, and better able to focus on the good things happening.
Prioritize quality over quantity
There’s no doubt that high-end items and those that many of us consider “luxury” can be expensive. And while that’s true, they’re often worth it in the long run. When you invest in high-quality items, you’ll find that they last far longer and you don’t find yourself regularly replacing them.
And honestly, quality doesn’t have to mean unaffordable. So often we purchase things on impulse. With a bit of research, you could probably find a higher-quality version of that same item on a budget.
Focus on the little comforts for a luxurious lifestyle
There are plenty of small and relatively affordable items you can purchase that will create the feeling of a luxurious lifestyle on a budget. For many people, luxury looks like a spa day, but by purchasing a few candles, a face mask, and some good bubble bath, you can create a similar feeling and treat yourself at home.
Whatever it is that feels luxurious to you, find small ways to incorporate it into your everyday life. It’ll be more affordable than splurging on a larger version, and you can get a little taste of that luxury every day.
Another way to focus on small comforts is to invest in smart home products. Many don’t cost all that much, but recent studies show that smart home technology is the most essential luxury home item for millennials.
Being on a budget doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t purchase high-end items. These days, it’s easier than ever to find gently used items on Facebook Marketplace and other secondhand sites.
You’d be surprised what you can find. You can often find designer brands used for a fraction of the cost of buying them new. While browsing at a garage sale, I once found a $300 purse priced at just $30 — it had never been used and still had the tags on it!
Shopping for luxury brands pre-owned is becoming more popular than ever. Data shows that the luxury secondhand market is growing four times faster than the primary luxury market, mostly thanks to online marketplaces. As a result, it’s easier than ever to find second-hand luxury items.
Look for discounts and coupons
If there’s a pricier item you’ve been wanting, do a little research and see if you can find any online coupons or discounts, or check to see if the store has an annual sale of any kind.
There are plenty of online discount sites that can help you find coupons and sales. For example, if you want to do a date night with your partner but money is tight, you can check sites like Groupon for restaurant coupons.
Make small but meaningful upgrades to your home
Small upgrades can make a big difference. Think about the areas of your home where you spend the most time, and consider making a few small but meaningful upgrades to make your space feel more luxurious.
Maybe it means changing out the headboard of the duvet in your bedroom. Or maybe it's changing the lighting fixtures in your office to something more appealing. Just these little changes can make you feel more comfortable in parts of your home where you spend a lot of time.
Luxury items don’t have to exist just to look beautiful. In fact, even most luxury consumers are moving away from nonessentials like jewelry and art and focusing more on investing in necessary home items.
Cook restaurant-quality meals at home
For many people, the idea of going to a nice restaurant and enjoying high-end food and wine sounds luxurious. Unfortunately, most of us can’t afford to do that on a regular basis.
The good news is that it’s totally possible to recreate those meals at home. While it might cost a bit more than your typical budget grocery trip, it will be far more affordable than eating the same meal at a restaurant. Plus you can create exactly the ambiance you want for no money at all.
Calculate the "cost per use" for expensive items
It’s easy to talk yourself out of buying expensive items, thinking they aren’t worth the cost. But in some cases, they actually might be depending on the cost per use.
Think of all the cheap items you’ve bought over the years and then barely used. This is especially common when it comes to clothes. Those items may not have cost much, but you also may not have gotten much use out of them.
But when you buy a more expensive item that you really value, you’ll use it more. It might actually come out to a lower cost per use than the far cheaper items you bought.
Make time to experience new things
Think about how luxurious it feels to try new things when you’re traveling, even if it's just taking a walk through an area you’ve never been before. It’s a part of what makes traveling so exciting.
The good news is that you don’t actually have to travel to experience this type of luxury. Chances are that there’s plenty in your own city — or at least in a nearby one — that you haven’t experienced before.
Even if it’s just walking through a new neighborhood or hiking in a new park, it can feel surprisingly exciting and recreate that excitement you get on vacation.
Prioritize what’s most important to your luxurious lifestyle
One of my favorite sayings is that you can buy anything you want, but you can’t buy everything. And honestly, it’s when we try to splurge in every area that we run into problems and make mistakes that impact our goals.
Rather than lusting after everything you consider to be luxurious, narrow down what’s really important to you. If you can identify your priorities, then you can invest more in those items and less everywhere else.
I used to find myself buying nice clothing and high-end makeup that I saw influencers sharing on social media. But when it really came down to it, those items just aren’t important to me. Now that I’ve realized that, I can splurge on luxury in the areas that really are a priority.
Focus on your relationships
When we think about luxury, we often think about things that we can buy. But the most luxurious thing we have is time with the people we love.
Think of the most luxurious moments of your life. Maybe it was a nice dinner with your partner or a spa weekend with your best friend. I’m guessing that what most of those moments had in common is that you enjoyed them with someone important to you.
By focusing on our relationships, we can create those same luxurious moments for a fraction of the cost.
You can live a luxurious lifestyle!
Often we think that “luxury” has this predefined meaning, that things are either luxurious or they aren’t. But that’s simply not true. Luxury is subjective and it means something different to everyone. The key is to decide exactly what a luxurious lifestyle looks like to you and find ways to recreate it for less.