... photo by CC user 9731367@N02 on Flickr

We all want to live the life of our dreams, but what most of us don’t realize is that footing the bill for such a lifestyle doesn’t have to be a nightmare. By working a little harder to cut corners and make your own luck, you can afford upmarket tastes at cheapskate prices. Here are some great ideas for upgrading your life without downgrading your purse-strings.


  • Get high class décor at low prices

You don’t have to go to Ikea and get flummoxed by flat-pack assembly to buy affordable furniture. Look out for listings of local auctions or estate sales, where quality furnishings can often be had for a snip. Unwanted inheritance items make for great bargain buys; one man’s dead Granny reminder is another man’s treasure.

  • Upgrade from poster to painting

Nothing screams juvenile like postered walls. Upgrade to original artwork on a budget by visiting local galleries and exhibitions of fledgling artists, or using the wonder that is Etsy —or take home a souvenir from your next trip abroad. Often artwork abroad can be purchased at dramatically reduced prices due to a weaker economy (keep reading for tips on how to afford such exotic forays).

  • Get fancy-pants in the kitchen

Part and parcel of the luxury life is food snobbery. Enjoy a pretentious quinoa salad made at home, or a snooty coffee at half the price by learning how to whip one up (we find these contraptions make it scarily easy) in your newly-decorated Zen palace…


  • Hang out in hotel lobbies

Not like a lurker… like a very busy executive who just happens to never go to their room. Particularly when you need some free WiFi, or a sneaky bar snack, upgrade to swanky hotel lobbies who won’t mind you decorating their plush sofas and stealing the internet from them.

  • Tailor-made all the way

Looking for some new threads for the latest night on the tiles? A little known secret to achieving the illusion of expense is simply having clothes that fit you well… buy bargain brands and then have your tinker-tailor stitch them a little tighter to your curves for that ooh-la-la effect.

  • Pre-drink!

So you want to visit the priciest clubs without paying the priciest prices? Simple! Just host a private cocktail party for you and your cronies at home before hitting the dance floor. Pooling your collective pennies will allow you to afford more upmarket brands… and of course, as acting host, all leftovers will go directly to your private drinks cabinet.


  • Stock up on air miles.

Do you want to trot the globe without splashing the cash? Many credit cards offer great air miles policies on purchases, with some participating restaurants, hotels, bars and car rentals allowing you to double up on your rewards. Study the small print to make air miles work for you.

  • Ask for an upgrade.

Nothing says “Upgrade me now!” like a sharply-dressed man (ZZ Top knew what they were talking about). Arrive early, look official and act confident and you might just be able to wangle yourself some extra leg room and a complimentary glass of bubbly. Or three.

  • Crash with friends or share an apartment.

When choosing the destination for your next exotic getaway, trawl through your social media contacts for friends in far-flung places. Crashing in a spare bed can save you shedloads on accommodation, freeing up your cash for less salubrious expenses. Alternatively, if you’re travelling in a group, a private rental can get you a great apartment at an absolute steal, if you divvy up the expenses between you.

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