Aug 18

How I get luxury for less


I’m a big believer in having some of the finer things in life…in an affordable way.

Why shouldn’t you have nice things and luxury experiences here and there? There’s lots to be had and sometimes you can get them for free.

I’m going to be talking about it in a Periscope at 18:00 BST today (Tuesday) so join Periscope (for free), follow me (@Jasmine) and take part!

Here are a few of the things I do to get a bit of luxury for less.



Hanging out in hotels

I love posh hotels and I particularly love posh hotel lounges with their lovely big, comfortable sofas and chairs and pretty crockery.

I love afternoon tea in hotels (although I can’t usually manage it all) and occasionally will do a tea with friends as a party.

But that costs quite a lot so I don’t do it often. But what I can, and regularly do, do is to pop into a hotel to sit and read, work or just think with a pot of tea or hot chocolate.

In posh London hotels it usually costs between £4-6 for a pot of tea, coffee or chocolate, which is still quite a lot for a pot but in my opinion it’s cheap for the opportunity to sit in lovely surroundings, possibly being serenaded by a pianist or harpist, sitting in a very comfortable chair with lots of spmoneymagpie_afternoon_tea_scones_hotel_save_moneyace around me and, probably, very good tea or chocolate.

You would be surprised how accessible these posh hotels are, particularly on a quiet Monday or Tuesday night, when you can have a whole corner of the lounge to yourself and no one bothers you.

I do something similar with cafes and restaurants. Eating out is expensive but often it’s just the action of going out that is the fun part of it. The food is an add-on.

So quite often I will have dinner at home and then go out for pudding or a cake with tea. I might meet friends in that way so we go out, we meet and we have a laugh but we don’t overspend on what we eat.

It’s a compromise but your bank balance will certainly be happier for it!


Free dinners

If you’re a regular on Moneymagpie you’ll know that we LOVE mystery shopping. It’s a brilliant way of getting free dinners, free hotel stays, free drinks in bars, free spa sessions…free you name it…just for reviewing it.

I’ve done it in the past and have had free sandwiches delivered, free lunches in gastro pubs and free dinners in pizza restaurants. It was a great way to get a bit of luxury for nothing, particularly when I was trying not to spend anything while paying off debts.



Reviewing stuff

I know someone who loves gardening books so she set up a blog reviewing…gardening books. She has shelves and shelves of them now and is getting some cash from the advertising on her blog too. Cool.

moneymagpie_disneyland_mickey_mouse_save_money_make_moneyI also know some mummy bloggers who are constantly going on press trips to places like Disneyland or Marbella, going on cruises or taking flights to New York in order to review the holidays. They’re having a whale of a time because they’re in such demand.

There are also beauty bloggers, music bloggers, theatre bloggers and more who are trying out a lot of good stuff for free. You can do it too by setting up your own blog on something that you love. The tricky part is getting the traffic but it can be done – see what we say about setting up a blog here.

You can also get some great free goodies to test out for Toluna. They have loads of products they need to have tested so if you sign up for the testing side can get new things every month. They have everything from posh eyeshadow to hand cream and pots of caviar…yes seriously! So you can see the kind of things you could get to try for nothing.  Click here to join up now and get all these great freebies.

Mixing posh with cheap

If I could buy designer all the time…I probably still wouldn’t!

I love good design and would certainly love to have more designer bits than I have, but there’s a LOT of cheap stuff that looks really good…particularly when it comes to jewellery.

If you mix the two you can get great looks, often for very little outlay.

Here are a few things I do:

  • Hunt around charity shops – in fact, they often have stuff that is more interesting than the current styles…particularly when fashion is in one of its boring phases where it’s all black, white and taupe. You need to be determined with charity shops and, ideally, go to ones in posh armoneymagpie_jasmine_birtles_temporary_tattoo_saving_money_luxury_for_lesseas as they have better stuff
  • Cheap websites – it’s amazing how cheap things can be online now. I’ve been using for bits an pieces recently – that’s really cheap but the sizes are small because it’s based in China. Also, of course, Amazon is brilliant for most things. See my ‘flash’ tattoos above (I’m sitting with my neighbour Nastya as we’ve just had our ‘tattoos’ put on) which are on sale on Amazon for £1.50-£4.50. Elsewhere they’re £20. Then of course eBay is a great help. I tend to have stuff up on the site for sale most months then I use the money I make on them, in my Paypal account, to buy other stuff online – often on eBay itself!
  • Go to outlets – I’ll admit I don’t do this much as mostly I can’t be bothered shopping for that long, but every now and then, particularly if I’m on holiday, I’ll do some serious digging in an outlet village like Bicester, or I’ll spend a bit of time in a TKMax. You need a similar attitude to the charity shops – go and rummage with an open mind!

How do you get luxury for less? Let me know!

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One thought on “How I get luxury for less

  1. Great article Jasmine with some terrific ideas, especially taking tea and coffee in posh hotel lobbies. We’ll definitely be doing that!

    Our favourite way of getting ‘luxury for less’ is house and pet sitting for a holiday in the UK or overseas. We started doing this in March this year and have been to some great UK locations, staying in some fabulous properties for little or no expense. It helps if you are a dog or cat lover as many owners dislike the idea of putting their beloved pets into kennels or catteries and worry about leaving their home unoccupied while they go away. Generally, they are more than happy to have someone responsible look after their home and care for their pet while they are away.

    In March, we were asked to look after a Pointer puppy in a beautiful mill conversion in Cornwall located just a short walk along a public footpath from a beautiful beach. The Mill was set in 4 acres of gardens, had 3 mill ponds, was surrounded by open countryside, had its own orchard, its own kitchen garden and was utterly idyllic. We also looked after the chickens who provided 4 or 5 fresh free-range eggs a day. We love walking and especially walking with dogs, so that is no hardship for us, particularly being next to the coastal path.

    I dread to think what that property would cost to rent as a holiday home but it would certainly be in the high hundreds per week, if not more. We ended up having a wonderful, free, luxurious, self catering holiday in an extremely desirable home and have been invited back for all of September when the owners plan to go away again.

    Anyone looking to do this can register with the main house sitting websites which generally cost less than £60 a year and create a profile. We did this and also went down the route of creating our own house sitting and pet sitting website: to provide homeowners with additional information and reassurance.

    I wish we’d discovered this years ago.


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