London is an expensive city to live in. If you’re one of the millions of people who call London home, it’s easy to fall into the trap of spending so much of your time just trying to make ends meet, that you don’t get to enjoy life. Whether you dream of affording cocktails with your friends more often, or you covet a new couch for your lounge, living a luxurious lifestyle is more a mindset than a reality. Start being mindful about your spending and cultivating gratitude for what you already have, and you’ll be feeling rich in no time! These tips will help you get started.
Stop Postponing Your Life
When you dream big and set goals, it’s easy to slip into the mindset that you should put your real life on hold until you have the money to fund the lifestyle you want. It’s tempting to fantasise about a home you’ll have one day, or furniture you’ll collect for it, or the places you’ll visit, or the clothing you’ll wear on those incredible vacations, and never experience the excitement and pleasure of the life you have now. Living in this fantasy, you might allow your actual day-to-day existence to become dreary and dull, forgoing pleasures and little luxuries that are available to you right now.
Take Stock of Your Financial Situation
It’s normal to want to do that ostrich trick and bury your head deep in the sand when your finances are starting to get a little scary. Rather than taking stock of your bank account, many of us avoid even catching sight of that bank balance. If you want to work out how much money you have to spend on improving your lifestyle, you need to know what proportion of your income is already committed to other things, like rent, debt, bills, medical expenses and other essential outgoings. Take a look at your bank statements and work out what you spend your money on. Once you know this, you can start to apportion your budget. Tracking your spending is key to seeing where you have a little with which to play.
Prioritize Your Spending
When it comes to deciding on what to spend your money, a simple (though not necessarily easy) question to ask yourself is: what makes you feel good? Try to imagine your ideal life and isolate what it is about that life that makes you happy. If you’re a home-body, and you like to feel cosy, invest your spare cash in things that will make your space more beautiful and reassuring. Spending a little extra on curtains for your bedroom might go a little further happiness-wise than shelling out for a holiday to Spain. However, if you crave adventure, then you’re going to want to save your money for travel. For you, backpacking around India might be far more rewarding than those new curtains for your bedroom. Perhaps eating out is your thing, and you’d be happiest knowing that a few times a month, you can get glammed up for a delicious dinner with your partner. You get the idea: when you want to live a luxury life on a budget, the key is deciding what’s going to give you the most bang for your buck.
Work Out What You Can Sacrifice
Living a champagne lifestyle on a modest salary is about making sacrifices where possible so you can splash out where it counts. What things do you spend money on that you can realistically live without? Is reducing your living space a possibility? Could finding a flatmate help you save some cash? Do you need that espresso every morning before work, when you could buy fresh roasted coffee online and make your own café-standard brew at home? How about your book buying habit? Could you trade books with people at work? Do you need Netflix? While these small reductions in spending might seem insignificant moment by moment, you’ll be amazed at how they add up weekly and monthly. Soon you’ll be comfortably affording the luxuries you’ve decided you would like to add to your life, simply by cutting a few things you don’t really need. A spending tracker can help you keep tabs on your accumulating savings, so you’ll know when it’s safe to splurge on those little luxuries you’ve set your heart on.
Stop Feeling Broke
If you can feel flush, that’s half the battle won! You won’t ever have the sense that you’re well off if your inner dialogue, or comments you make to your friends, constantly underlines the fact that you can’t afford the lifestyle you want. If everything you buy makes you feel guilty about not saving money, you’re always going to feel hard done by, rather than inhabiting the luxurious mindset you want. Rather, cultivate the sense that you already have more than enough to feel okay. Appreciate the things you do have. Draw up a list of the things in your life that you have in abundance. Practicing mindfulness in your spending habits, rather than feeling that your emotions are controlled by the purchases you make, will help you feel that the life you’re living is the life you want.
Distance Yourself From Social Media
These days, it seems that everyone is waiting for their real life to start, once they’ve earned enough money to fund the lifestyle they feel they deserve. Social media is part of the problem: we spend so much time looking at other people’s glamorous photos that our own lives start to seem uninteresting in comparison. This compounds our suspicions that the present moment is not worth enjoying or experiencing until we have the trappings of luxury around us. Not so! Distancing yourself from social media doesn’t have to mean deleting your Instagram account. Sometimes just creating a little objectivity, or emotional distance is enough to preserve your own inner sense of worth.
It’s important to remember that within your limited budget, you can create a luxurious life. That doesn’t have to mean caviar for dinner five nights a week, or first-class tickets to New York for the weekend. Simple things, chosen intentionally, and fully appreciated, can give you the feeling of specialness and luxury you’ve been waiting for. Even if you don’t earn much, if you put your mind to it you will be able to carve out a little luxury for yourself. These tips will help you create a luxury lifestyle on a humble budget.
This is a contributed post on Sunny in London.