There’s a reason we follow the rich and famous on Instagram: playing voyeur to their luxe lives is addictive. The cars, the jewelry, the clothes, the vacations, the homes (plural!), the champagne, the cash — it’s food for our not-so-extravagantly-rich souls.
The problem comes when we start comparing ourselves to these celebs. Suddenly, that sedan we worked so hard to pay for seems ultra lame. If you have dreams of luxuriating in bathtubs full of Benjamins but your budget is a little more focused on Washingtons, don’t fret: we’ve got ten ways to make your lifestyle a little more celeb-worthy without emptying your wallet.
10 WARDROBE: Invest in staples and go cheap on trends
Let’s face it: a cheap suit looks cheap. But you don’t need 10 expensive suits. You only need one. Invest in one phenomenal dark suit with classic lines, and get it tailored. You’ll look like a million bucks even if you wear it with an inexpensive shirt and tie.
For the ladies, the same goes for your wardrobe staples: shell out for a high quality little black dress that fits you perfectly. Pick one that is modest enough for work (especially when paired with a sweater or jacket) but can be jazzed up for a night out. And, yes, get it tailored.
Both men and women should own a couple pairs of high quality, flattering jeans and go-to, versatile tops in neutral shades and timeless cuts.
As for the trends? Go cheap. You don’t want to be stuck with a $300 peplum dress when nobody’s wearing peplum any more. Same goes for costume jewelry and any other “statement” pieces that you can only get away with wearing a few times since they’re so memorable.
By purchasing trendy items on the cheap, you can keep up with the Joneses (er, the Kardashians) and ditch those items as soon as they’ve had their moment, all while saving up bucks for the next trend.
9 FITNESS: Follow the latest fitness crazes at home
It feels like celebs are always ‘gramming their private sessions with a personal trainer. High-profile trainers like Gunnar Peterson charge astronomical sums for their services (think $15,000 for a six-week program). That’s one way to feel the burn more in your wallet than in your quads.
Fortunately, getting taut and toned like a star doesn’t have to bring the pain to your bank account. You don’t even need to join a fancy, expensive gym. Consider trying out the latest fitness trends at home. There are a couple of ways you can do this:
-Pay for an online program. Gunnar Peterson, the same guy who charges $15,000 for a six-week, in-person program, has an online fitness program that costs $79 for eight weeks. Another option is The Daily Burn, a workout site that delivers daily exercise videos for around $10 per month.
-YouTube it. If $79 is still out of your budget, browse YouTube for workout videos. Lots of up-and-coming trainers post free, full-length workouts in order to increase their own fan base. You can find barre, plyometric workouts, Crossfit, yoga, Pilates, and more.
8 FOOD: Dine at the fancy spots - for lunch
So maybe you don’t live around the corner from a hot spot like Nobu that’s swarming with paparazzi, but chances are, there’s an amazing restaurant in your town with a “who’s who” of patrons from your local scene. Even if you could get a reservation, you’d barely be able to afford an appetizer.
Solution: Go for lunch. Many high-end restaurants have dedicated lunch menus with smaller portions and prices that are easier to swallow. It also tends to be much easier to get a reservation over lunch. Just make sure to take plenty of Instagram-worthy pictures to document your visit. (Bonus: you’ll be able to use natural light since it’s during the day!)
You can follow this same lunch rule if you’re visiting a celeb-worthy destination like New York or L.A., where prices are high and reservation demands are even higher.
7 TRAVEL: Visit the hot spots off-season
The celebrity life is nothing without vacation time. After all, those poor celebrities need a break from their busy lives of… taking Instagram photos, right? (Ahem)
Jet-setting is simply part of the lifestyle, so if your idea of travel is a road trip to the next town over, it’s time to up your game. Fortunately, you can do so for less money than you might think.
Many warm weather destinations slash prices during summer months. By visiting during the off-season, you can save money on your stay. Plus, with fewer crowds, you’re more likely to enjoy VIP service—and maybe even have the infinity pool to yourself.
More ideas to save money on travel:
- Follow travel companies on Twitter and Facebook to be the first to know about deals and sales.
-Check out a sites which use “hidden city” destinations to make flights cheaper.
6 GROOMING: Get your hair, make-up, nails, and massages done at a cosmetology school
Looks aren’t everything. But if you’re going to live the celebrity lifestyle, you need to look the part. Unfortunately, all that upkeep can add up, big time. Instead of shelling out hundreds of dollars at the hip salon in town, consider visiting a cosmetology school.
Many schools need clients so their students can practice their crafts. Services may include hair cutting, coloring, and styling; make-up application; manicures and pedicures; massages; and facials and other skin treatments.
Worried about quality? Most students work under the direct supervision of an instructor. You can always ask when you book if a supervisor will be overseeing the treatment. And you can bet that the student will be going all-out to make you happy—after all, they have a grade riding on it!
5 SHARING: Trade hot items with friends
Maybe you don’t have a closet full of haute couture, but you splurged on one fabulous bag, scarf, shirt, or pair of shoes. In a perfect world, your friends have done the same thing. Compile your best items and swap with people you (really, really) trust.
It’s a risk, of course, so only share items that won’t ruin your friendship if they get, well, ruined. But borrowing items serves two purposes:
-You instantly expand your stash of available high-end “belongings” without spending a dime, and
-You don’t have to worry about being seen too many times with the same designer item, because you’ll probably only use each borrowed item once.
4 CONSIGNING AND RENTING: Can’t borrow from friends? Turn to the pros
If you’re still sticking up your nose at consigned (a.k.a. used) items, it’s time to get over it. Consignment is a totally respectable way to score name-brand clothing, accessories, and even home furnishings at a fraction of original retail prices.
Do a little due diligence to find a consignment shop in your area that had good online reviews that mention high-end items. Then get ready to, in the words of Macklemore, pop some tags.
Don’t feel like leaving your couch? Try an online consignment shop known for name-brand items.
If you only need a hot item for one big event, consider renting to save even more money. Some sites and stores provide pricey items for a limited amount of time. For example, a Robert Rodriguez dress that retails for $600 rents for $35. Score!
3 SAMPLING: Try a subscription box for little “tastes” of high-end goodies
Subscription boxes are the new black. They’re popping up everywhere, for everything from cosmetics to clothes to pet food. At the low end, you can nab a subscription box for as little as $10 per month. Ipsy is a popular option in this price range, and is known for providing high-end make-up (sometimes full-size products!).
It’s like receiving a present in the mail each month, and you’ll typically save substantially over the retail cost of the individual items, so you can flash those products on Instagram and no one will be the wiser.
2 CRUISING: You don’t need a new car
Aside from getting in an accident, the biggest drop in value your new car will experience is when you drive it off the lot. It’s ridiculous what happens to car values when they go from “brand new” to “two miles on the odometer.”
What to do? Buy used. And that doesn’t mean settling for a lemon. No one around town (or on social media) will be able to tell if you’re riding in a brand new vehicle or one with a few miles on it. (Apparently the $450,000 Ferrari Tyga “bought” for Kylie Jenner was used—possibly by his ex-girlfriend. Awkward.) Buy used. Even better, buy used and bring a mechanic buddy with you to check under the hood before you make a purchase.
All new cars become used cars as soon as you drive them. Your parking lot selfie will look just as good in last year’s model. (Don’t selfie and drive, please!)
1 CHILL: Pick your lane
To live the celebrity lifestyle, you don’t have to have the hot car and the mansion and the wardrobe and the jewels and the passport stamps—at least not all at once. Pick your lane. Decide what’s important to you, personally. After all, you’re doing this for your benefit and happiness, not anyone else’s. (Right?)
If you want to be the guy with the killer wheels or the girl with the amazing bling, let that be your focus.
The other thing to keep in mind is that a lot of what you see on Instagram and in the tabloids is for show. These celebs work hard at crafting an image, because being someone to aspire to is their entire business.
And remember that even celebrities have been known to take “maintaining the image” too far—MC Hammer said “U Can’t Touch This”…but then he filed for bankruptcy. Oops. Luckily, you’ll be smarter.