Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Luxurious Living on a Budget

Luxurious living is not just for the rich.  You can pamper yourself on a budget.  It takes a little time and a little imagination but just because you're watching your pennies, doesn't mean you can't have a moment to enjoy life, to relax, to be in the moment.  In fact as someone who emphasizes the importance of living stress free, I think it's important to pay attention to yourself, indulge a bit, even if it just means taking a relaxing bubble bath once a week.  Do what you can to live without worry, stop and smell the roses and appreciate being alive, whatever that may mean to you.

Here are some ideas for leading a luxurious, stress-free life without stressing about money.


1.  Candles and Bubble Bath
Discount stores sell decent candles and bubble bath.  Yes they may be generic, but all you have to do is peel off the labels, even transfer the bubble bath into a nice glass jar, arrange them by your tub and start running your bath water.  Dime the lights, spark the candles and soak for a bit.  In this day and age, a moment spent with yourself, soaking in a tub by candlelight is truly a luxury.  And one that you can afford.

2.  Flowers
Fresh flowers in the home are certainly a luxury, but well worth it.  They cheer up any space and are such a lovely romantic touch.  I'm big on designing my living space to be relaxing and calm.  When I come home, I want to feel like I'm somewhere peaceful, beautiful and welcoming.  Flowers can be a costly expense at florists and supermarkets so work to find someone who sells them at discount.  Trader Joe's usually has a nice bundle of flowers for $3.99 that can last for almost two weeks.  Also if you have a flower market in your town this is your best bet.  In my city, there's a flower guy who sells flowers on the side of the road at a great price. He knows everything about the flowers and is extremely personable so I enjoy making my weekly trips to him.

In these harsh economic times, most people have to cut costs on necessities, and flowers are certainly not a necessity.  However, I believe the point of life is to live and enjoy living.  Life is all about the details and the attention we put into it.  So find ways to make it special.  Whether it's sweet smelling fresh flowers or some other luxury, there are ways to enjoy life's little luxuries while watching your pocketbook.

3.  Happy Hour
A good way to go out on the town and not spend an arm and leg is to find a good happy hour.  Depending on your work hours this may be tough to swing but many restaurants have weekend happy hours and late night happy hours as well.  I live in a small beach city so I just love to enjoy happy hour at a place with a gorgeous view of the ocean, makes me feel like I'm on vacation.  Find a place near you that you like and find out what deals they offer.  Every good establishment has some kind of great deal.  It's up to you to take advantage.

4.  Mystery Shopping
Mystery shopping is a good way to get paid while enjoying a little luxury.  I'm registered with one company and have done a few shops myself so I know for sure that they are a fun and legit way to enjoy a dinner, retail shopping, and hotel stays.  As a mystery shopper you get assignments to patronize various establishments and are responsible for compiling detail feedback reports.  It's work but it's interesting and many people really enjoy it.  Most companies have strict rules you must adhere to and it's a commitment but it might be for you.  I have a friend planning a trip to New York City next week and she signed up for some hotel shops so will have a few nights at a hotel completely free of charge and will even be paid for completing the assignment!

Here's the site I'm a member of: jancyn .  If interested, do a little research to make sure you go with a reputable company.

5.  Thai Massage
Massage is the ultimate luxury.  Just because fancy spas are expensive doesn't mean you can't get regular massages.  That massages are fantastic!  They run $40 an hour (excellent price) and are so unique in style and technique.  I prefer them to most western styles of massage and what's great is that they're half the price.  As long as the place is clean and the masseuses are skilled, I'm happy.

6. Beach Stroll
I live walking distance to the beach and just living in this city makes me feel like I'm on vacation.  Not everyone lives near the beach but maybe it's the mountains, or the country, the lake, the woods.  Whatever it is, get out in nature.  Take a stroll, a jog.  Sit on a park bench.  Just chill.  Chilling is a luxury these days, a luxury that doesn't cost a dime and a luxury that you deserve.  Get out and just be.

7. DIY
There are so many interesting web sites that have incredible suggestions on projects you can do yourself.  From making your own jewelry and clothes to making your own furniture.  If you can figure out how to make something you want yourself, you can cut costs tremendously.  Make it a family project, host a DIY party, just believe and trust yourself and make it happen.  So many people aren't motivated and just want convenience but the joys of life are not in convenience and material possessions.  Appreciate the moment, spend time with others, take care of yourself and most of all -- don't stress!!

Here's a DIY project I found on Pinterest from designformenmag --  can't wait to try it myself.

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