7 ways to live the good life for less

Do you have champagne tastes on a beer budget? You're not the only one. But the good life doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg--it's all about spending your money on what makes you feel like a million bucks. If you want to eat well, be surrounded by beauty, and smell like a dream, then we've got some ideas on how you can start living the good life for less right this very second.

Have you noticed how your price point at the grocery store is lower than everywhere else? $4.95!, we think, that's outrageous! Even though we will spend that at the coffee shop for an afternoon pick-me-up without blinking. Give yourself more wiggle room at the market. Even the most beautiful fillet of fish or wondrously stinky wedge of cheese will set you back less than its counterpart in a restaurant. Treat yourself to beautiful berries and the finest chocolate.

You don't have to be a collector of velvet paintings and sad clown portraits to start hanging affordable art on your walls. Visit 20x200 to purchase prints under $20 by fantastic artists (the line-up changes every week) or browse Etsy for prints, paintings and photography. Also, get creative about what you consider art. Frame whatever delights you, like a beautiful textile, sheet of wrapping paper, old sewing pattern envelopes, drawings by children, or illustrations from old books.

Instead of going out for every special occasion, plan momentous dinners at home. Whether it's someone's birthday or a romantic night, there will be no waiters to interrupt, and you can linger longer. And don't just eat at home, dine. Use the nice dishes and cloth napkins. Light candles. Turn on music. Make your home as atmospheric as your favorite restaurant, and leave the dishes till tomorrow.

Most wine stores will offer a discount of 10-15% when you buy twelve bottles, and many will let you buy a mixed case. Frequent a store with a punch card and you could be downing bubbly for bubkes.

Sometimes nothing but a massage will do, but there are ways to get a good one on the cheap. Visit a massage school for discounted rates by massage therapists in training, or head to your local Chinatown for inexpensive bodywork. If it's a facial you're after, see if there's an Aveda Institute near you. You won't get fresh orchids and the same sense of luxury at most of these places, but you'll walk out feeling like a million bucks.


A luxury of the most blatant kind, fresh flowers have a way of cheering up the dreariest spaces and brightening the darkest days. If you can't snip buds from your own garden, try buying several bouquets of the cheapest blooms available, like daisies or spider mums. Visit the farmer's market late in the day and see if the flower stall will offer you a deal.

Come to think of it, maybe the luxury of the most blatant kind is perfume. In even the most blah outfit, dabbing yourself with fragrance can transform your sense of style--suddenly, you are Grace Farrell, whirling around your dressing room of silk and mirrors, the pinnacle of self-assured femininity. Or, you know, something like that. Indulge your sense of fantasy by trying small vials of some of the poshest fragrances in the world at The Perfumed Court.

What else do you do to feel like you're living in the lap of luxury without having to take out a second mortgage?

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