BY DANIEL LOVE

The lifestyles of the rich and famous aren’t within everyone’s grasp. Rarely is one able to spend frivolously without checking their bank account, and that’s okay. While everyone’s situation is different, it’s still possible to live luxuriously, even on a budget.

Luxury is a relative term after all, and everyone deserves the chance to do something nice for themselves. If you’re tight on money, here are five ways you can still live luxuriously.

(Top photo by John Raddi)

BUDGET PROPERLY

It seems the term “living on a budget” has lost its meaning in recent years, now equating to nothing more than thinking twice before spending. A recent study found that while the numbers are trending upward, less than 50% of Americans currently plan their spending with the help of a budget.

Properly accounting for your expenses can help in more ways than just planning for bills. Budgeting personal expenses such as meals out, non-essential purchases, and optional travel can help direct your spending in a much smarter way.

Knowing how much money you have available to use for yourself can lead to smarter purchases and better spending habits; maybe you don’t need to eat out five times a week, and maybe the money saved from staying home more often could be used on a nice weekend away from home, or a nice vacation down the road.

BECOME A SKILLED SHOPPER

The things you want are never too far out of reach, sometimes all you need is a bit of patience. Whether you’re looking at a flight out of town, trying to get something nice for yourself, or just looking for a good place to eat, your first option is rarely the best.

Competition can create a lot of good deals to help you get you what you want at a better price. Taking the time to check other sites, compare prices around town, or even see what happens if you fly out of a different airport allows you to compare products and prices to make sure you always get the best deal. Those savings add up over time, and doing your due diligence allows your money to go much farther than it otherwise would if you buy everything for the first price you see.

PICK YOUR PASSION

Luxury isn’t always an all-encompassing way of life; sometimes you have to pick and choose where the luxuries in your life will be. If you have to make a choice on when and how you treat yourself, it’s probably best to spend in accordance with your passion.

Are you a sports fan? Putting those extra funds towards your favourite player’s jersey or regular trips to games can let you live lavishly within the context of your favourite past time.

Music lovers may want to save their spare income to afford more shows out of town or upgrading their home equipment to shape their favourite hobby into more of a lifestyle.

MAKE YOUR DOLLAR COUNT

Where you are affects your money more than most people think. Cost of living expenses can quietly drain your funds more than you realize, leaving you with less to spend and less to save. Whether you’re looking to travel or move, knowing those costs ahead of time can help you budget and plan.

For example, the current price of gas in California averages $4.18/gallon, whereas the cost in Florida is a much more manageable $2.42/gallon.

If you’re looking to take an exciting trip to Disney, picking Florida’s Disney World over California’s Disney Land is likely to yield a much more manageable price tag, with lower expenses and affordable airports allowing your dollar to go much farther than it otherwise would. Finding the place where your money has the most value is an unimpeachable way to live your best life on a tight budget.

DON’T JUST SPEND, INVEST

The second your money is spent, it’s gone; but what you spent it on could be around for much longer. When thinking about how you spend, especially on yourself, make sure your money is going toward things that last.

Spending a few hundred dollars to throw a party for your friends may be satisfying for the night, but won’t provide the same long-term value as spending that same money on something more permanent like new clothes or nice furniture for the home.

That’s not to say sacrifice your well-being to buy material goods, but instead make sure you’re not spending frivolously on something that won’t be around long enough to justify their price tag.

For example, a $100 sushi dinner could easily be whittled down to $20 somewhere else, and would still leave you with a satisfying meal. Making sure your big purchases are permanent allows you to get the real bang for your buck, and gradually build a life that’s permanently rooted in the niceties you’ve established for yourself.