How I Afford Luxury: (23 Ways I Save Money at Age 23)

Happy Sunday, everyone! <3

This week I wanted to share with you a post on how I afford luxury items. Since we're all different, these tips and tricks may not work for you or be what you deem to be worth it/not worth it, but they are what I personally implement in my own budgeting routine to ensure that I have money to spend on luxury items. So without further adieu, here are 23 ways that I save money at age 23 :)

1) Set goals: For me personally, I enjoy luxury shoes and handbags. Therefore, purchasing a specific bag that I have been lusting over might be a goal of mine. If shoes and handbags aren't big priorities for you, that is absolutely okay. Just substitute in whatever "big-ticket" items you are looking to purchase (A new pair of skis, a trip to Europe, etc.) and keep this goal at the forefront of all of your financial considerations. This leads me to my next tool that I use to save money...

2) Hold yourself accountable: If you are planning to purchase a new $1,500 handbag, then have this be the end-goal of your spending habits. Work out a mental budget in your head and strategize how you will accomplish this goal (Example: Save $200 from every paycheck and do this for 8 pay periods (4 months)). If you do this and stick to it, by the end of those 4 months you will have the $1,500 to purchase the handbag, and all you did was set that specific money aside and didn't touch it.

3) Run cost-benefit analyses with your purchases: This is the antithesis of impulse purchasing. If there is something that you're looking to buy (Example: a new car), think of how much you would have to "sacrifice" from other things in order to purchase the vehicle. Is it worth it to you to cut out weekend trips throughout the year in order to save money for an increased car payment? If the answer to this is "yes," then you deem the car to be a priority over the weekend trips. If you say, "no" then you derive more enjoyment from weekend get-aways. It's all about what you feel will bring you more overall joy and fulfillment. The idea is to feel good about the things your hard-earned money is going towards and to maximize this fulfillment through smart, well thought-out purchases.

4) Make a budget: I'm not kidding about this. Actually sit down and make a budget. You can either use Excel like I do, or you can use budgeting software from one of the online websites. Figure out what your overall after-tax income is each month (Your "revenue"), then take out all of your recurring monthly expenses (Rent, car payment, wifi, electricity, groceries, etc.), then see what you have left over for saving. Feel free to create pie charts like I did in order to visually see where your money is going each month.

5) Meal prep: This goes hand in hand with budgeting. Plan out what your meals are going to be for the week, then create a grocery list for these items (Do not deviate away from this list while you're at the grocery store). This will give you a good idea of what your grocery bill is on a weekly basis and you can then work out a monthly grocery budget.

6) Cut out subscription services: Subscriptions are sneaky ways to lose money each month without realizing it. If you're not a student anymore, make sure you end your subscription once you graduate. If you haven't read Seventeen Magazine since junior high, you should probably make sure that you're not getting billed $10+ a month for this subscription...

7) Find creative ways to workout: I am a very active individual but I have never owned a gym membership. When I lived in Utah I would get my workout in by hiking in the foothills with my dogs. Now that I live in Dallas (I miss the mountains...a lot), I go on walks downtown with my dogs, walk to the park with my dogs, walk to work in the mornings on days when I work from the office, or I will use the gym that is in my apartment complex. As alluded to earlier, if going to the gym, having a personal trainer, taking specialized fitness classes, etc. is "your thing," then absolutely keep this in your budget. If it's one of your "big ticket" luxuries then keep it in your budget and trim out other areas in your life that don't bring you that much joy.

8) Cook from home: With the advent of UberEats, Postmates, GrubHub, etc. it is easy to get lazy with cooking and to order in your meals. However, this can quickly add up (Eating out in general is pricey, and then when you add in all the extra services and delivery fees, it really adds up fast). Make sure you always have healthy, affordable, easy items on-hand that you can quickly make dinner if you're in a rush (Brown rice, beans, frozen chicken, etc.).

9) Cut out Starbucks and other fast-food coffee: It pains me to think about how much money I spent on coffee while I was in college. With each coffee priced at around $4-5, it is easy for one's daily Starbucks coffee to quickly add up to over $100 a month ($1,200 a year!). Instead, try brewing your daily cup of coffee from home, and then if you do get Starbucks, make sure to make it an event like meeting friends for Saturday coffee and chatting. Additionally, if you're like me and work at an office, there is always coffee provided there or at the client site (And it is usually pretty good too!).

10) Take care of your clothing: If you take care of your clothing (Wash it, iron it, organize it, mend it, etc.) then it will last longer and you won't have to spend money constantly replacing it. 

11) Don't buy trendy items: I especially advise this when it comes to purchasing luxury items. I recommend buying the classic, timeless pieces that don't go out of style (Example: The Louis Vuitton Speedy 25 handbag was a classic when Audrey Hepburn first wore it in the 1960s, and it's still a classic today--nearly 60 years later).

12) Don't go to the mall (or Target!) unless you absolutely need a specific item: Shop your own wardrobe first. I know so many people who feel the need to buy a new outfit for each event. Then once the outfit is worn once, it is quickly forgotten (This goes along with my previous recommendation to buy timeless pieces). Put together items in your closet and create go-to looks that you know in advance you can wear to a party, wedding, date night, etc. You'll not only utilize your own items and reduce the "cost per wear" of your current goods, but you'll save money and have a newfound appreciation for what you already own.

13) No manicures or pedicures: I personally do not experience $40 of joy from one single manicure of $50 for one single pedicure. As soon as a realized this, I cut these little luxuries out of my budget. 

14) No spray tans: Again, I do not experience $25 worth of joy from a spray tan. Instead, I would rather invest in a good self-tanner (The St. Tropez bronzing mousse that I get is $42) that lasts over 6 months.

15) No eyelash extensions: Either invest in a good mascara or purchase false lashes from the drug store. They do the same trick, are easier to maintain, and cost a fraction of the price.

16) No hair treatments: I on purpose have a very simple, inexpensive, hair regime. I don't dye my hair and I get it trimmed every few months at Great Clips (I do a very simple style and just pay $15 to get my ends freshened up). 

17) Invest in quality products: On a weekly basis I wash my hair 2-3 times a week with Purology products. These products are pricey, but if you order the large bottles off of Amazon they can last a long time, plus the overall improvement and maintainability you will instantly see in your hair is definitely well-worth the price.

18) Don't drink alcohol when you're out: It is easy to spend $12-14 per a single glass of wine when you're out at a restaurant. If you make it a personal policy to stick to water when you're out, you will quickly save money. Similar to my Starbucks tip, it is okay to occasionally drink wine if you're at a special dinner or event, but don't feel the need to always order a glass (or two!) if it's a casual Saturday lunch with your friends. I enjoy drinking a glass of wine each night while I am home. I recently discovered Trader Joe's wine selection (Utah doesn't allow for alcohol to be sold in grocers, so that is why this is a novelty to me now that I live in Texas). Below is one of my favorites <3

19) If you don't drink when you're out, then you won't have to Uber when you're out: Uber can quickly add up, so it's cheaper to drive if you're not drinking. Additionally, your friends might give you money and pitch in to help you pay for gas, parking, or valet if you're their designated driver.

20) Don't get into debt: As someone who has been in a bit of debt before, I speak from experience. Do not get into debt. Do not spend more on your credit card than what you can pay off in full at the end of each month. Your credit card is meant to give you a bit of financial flexibility. It is not free money, so anything you charge you will eventually have to pay back (and then some in interest charges...)

21) Make sure you actually pay attention to the expense reimbursements at work: I know plenty of co-workers who don't pay much attention to company expense reimbursements. This is "free money" that the company will pay you for certain things. As an example, anytime I drive to one of my client's offices in Frisco, that is a round trip commute of nearly 50 miles. The company reimburses us employees $0.58 per mile. So anytime I go to that client I get reimbursed $29. If I go there five days in one week, I get reimbursed $145. This money covers my gas and helps cover my other vehicle maintenance expenses. Believe it or not, I know a lot of individuals who pass up these reimbursements. Don't be one of them :)

22) Walk to places: If you live close to your office, then I advise you to walk to work. You will get exercise, save money, and get to know your neighborhood a bit better.

23) Buy pre-loved luxury: The pre-loved luxury market is growing rapidly and there's a reason why. Buying slightly pre-owned goods is the key to getting to enjoy the luxuries in life without having to pay the premium. The first owner of a new car, a new handbag, new shoes, etc. is the one to pay the "new item" premium. However, if the item is just a year or two old when you purchase it secondhand, then you get to still enjoy the "almost new" item but at a far lower cost. It's the best of both worlds. For cars I would recommend buying certified pre-owned vehicles, and for shoes and handbags I would recommend purchasing items off of sites like TheRealReal Inc.

 I hope that y'all got some inspiration from this post. Of course each of us is different and has different financial priorities, but these are currently the tips and tricks I have incorporated into my own life and my own personal budget :) Thanks for stopping by!

Best wishes,
Paxton <3


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