Can you combine luxury and frugality?

This can sounds like a weird question. Aren’t Luxury and Frugality the exact opposites? At first sight they are indeed. Frugality often implies you don’t spend money on superficial things and live on a simple lifestyle. Luxury, on the other hand, is often found in non essentials and is often very expensive too. So it can seem paradoxical to associate the two.

On the other hand, don’t we all want the most luxurious life for the cheapest price? Except maybe a few billionairs, everyone tries to make the most of his budget, small or large. Traditionnaly, housewives were the first managers of the household budget. They had to keep the house clean, sew the most beautiful clothes, create tasteful flowers arrangements, throw the best parties, all of it within the best budget. I remember my grand-mother telling me that she made once a skirt with the fabric of an old coat or knitted a pullover with the wool of an old one she didn’t like anymore.  It was one the “missions” of every wife and mother and it was certainly a good way to be creative and resourceful. Today it’s not a question of gender anymore. but the question is still very accurate: can we live luxuriously on a budget? Here are a few simple ideas to help you to do so!

 1. Enjoy free luxuries

Goury France seaside

There are free luxuries and I’m going to mention the 3 of them that seem the most important to me: time, space and nature.

They seem so obvious to us that we sometimes even don’t notice them. But every billionnair would tell you that they are the true luxuries in life! Take a walk in the forest, smell the fresh air, savour the sunlight on your face or cherish a beautiful view… easy and free pleasures that everyone can afford.

2. Cultivate small luxuries

pastries

Even on a tight budget, there are some little luxuries that you can afford from time to time. These are the affordable ultimate luxuries that you can savor for a few dollars. The first of them are clearly gastronomic! A delicate pastry, a macaron, a refined cocktail, a glass of champagne… for a few dollars you can experiment an ultimate and delicious luxury that can transform a simple moment into a luxurious experience!

Decorating luxuries can also add a dramatic effect for an affordable price. A beautiful flower arrangement and a scented candle can transform your bathroom into a spa and your dining room into the most refined restaurant.

Music is clearly one of the cheapest way to create a luxurious athmosphere in your home. Following your tastes and mood of the moment, invite Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday or Mozart into your living room! Or maybe do you want to feel like at the terrace of a French café or on the beach in Ibiza? Just change the playlist!

3. Budget for luxuries

Putting some money aside every month is the best way to be able to afford some extra luxuries without getting into debt. It could be a luxurious trip, a fancy restaurant, an expensive bag… With time and perseverance it can be yours! You can put aside each month the amount of money you decide is right for you on a “luxury saving account”, or use a piggy bank in which you put your coins everyday and see at the end of the year how much you saved. It’s all yours and you can spoil yourself with the luxury of your choice without any guilt!

4. Be intentional with your money

Budgeting for luxuries is one step but how do you spend your money if you look at the whole picture? Maybe are you sometimes spending on mindless things you don’t really appreciate? The less you’ll spend on one hand is money available for more funny things on the other. So, be clever with your recurrent bills, utilities and other recurrent spending. And limit the “bad shopping” to keep your money for things that really matter to you, that brings you authentic joy and pleasure.

5. Choose quality over quantity

There is one point where luxury and frugality meet each other and it is by choosing quality over quantity. Usually quality will be more expensive at first but you’ll enjoy it longer. So chase away from your life all the poor quality items. Your food budget, for example, can be way cheaper if you buy high quality basic ingredients and less poor quality ingredients like soda, cookies or fast food. The same applies for your clothes: one good quality outfit will last longer and stay in a better condition, so you might prefer purchasing only one piece instead of 10 cheaper… and enjoy it more and for a longer time.

6. Purchase with a long-term mindset

It can be either wise or crazy to spend the exact same amount of money on two different purchases. And what makes the difference? The long-term perspective. For example: you want to buy a new bed. It’s quite an expensive investment and you want to think about it a little bit before you make your choice. Is it a classic that you’ll cherish for a lifetime, or a trendy model you might get bored with within a few months?

Color is another great example. When picking the colors of a room or of a big piece of furniture, it could be wiser to choose some neutral colors you’ll be able to accessorize as you wish if the trend or you tastes evolve over the years.

So keep this long-term perspective in mind when making an important purchase.

7. Cultivate an Old Money mindset, and don’t let the pricetag fool you

expensive-real-price-tag-12-mil-price-tag

One of my neighbour is an incredibly elegant woman. Let’s call her Mrs C. We quickly became good friends when my husband and I moved into our new home, especially because we are both garden lovers. Her house is full of antiques but you won’t find any fancy coffee machine or the last trendy phone. She drives a very very old car. Her television is probably 20 years old. She always wear very simple but high quality outfits and has a simple haircut. But she’s one of the most elegant women I know.

Luxury is not defined by the pricetag. What makes a handbag luxurious is not a famous logo or an expensive pricetag. It’s the quality of the leather, of the cut, the creativity of the model. It’s a common confusion in our area of consumption to believe that expensive means luxury. Sometimes it does indeed, but it doesn’t have to. So don’t be fooled by the seductive message a lot of famous brands want you to believe.

And don’t get frustrated if you can afford a luxurious bag, car or watch. You are not what you drive. You are not what you wear. Elegance is in the mind, not in the pricetag!

8. Cultivate gratitude

Last, but certainly not least: cultivating gratitude is probably one of the best way to savour all these luxuries that are already in our life and that we sometimes consider as “normal”. Having running water at home was the ultimate luxury in Roman times… and still is for millions of people on Earth today. Living in safety, having a beloved family and great friends around us, savouring a delicious meal every night, enjoying a beautiful house, garden, neighbourhood… are all very concrete and tangible luxuries for which we can feel extremely grateful.

And I’ll finish this post by telling you that I’m very grateful to have you as a reader today and to thank you for passing by! 🙂

10 Comments

    1. I love this, Claire. Such a great reminder and wonderful way to enjoy the luxuries in life. The image with the macaroons has me dreaming of one with my morning coffee! Happy weekend!

      1. Thank you so much for passing by and for your nice comment Kristy! Macaroons are definitely the most luxurious cookies on Earth! Weren’t they the favourites of Queen Marie-Antoinette? 🙂
        I wish you a wonderful week!

        Claire

      1. Thank you for your nice comment Shirley! Just like Diana Vreeland said: “The only real elegance is in the mind; if you’ve got that, the rest really comes from it.”!
        I wish you a very nice day,
        Claire

      1. Thank you for passing by! These little luxuries are the sugar of our everyday life, aren’t they? That’s what make each day sweet and special, just like macarons 🙂
        Xo
        Claire

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