I sure hope you don't think I paid retail for the lavish life I lead.
Far from it, friends. I love a bargain just as much as the next girl. I have lots of tips and tricks to living a luxurious lifestyle without paying the high price.
First of all, target your weakness and feed it, in moderation. My weakness is and has always been, as many of you have probably already guessed, designer dresses. I simply live for a fabulous frock. I open my closet and finger through every single item at least once a week so I know just what I have, as I shop often. This week, I took note of two brand new dresses- one Phillip Lim and one Tracy Reese. Both are brand new with tags and just waiting to be worn. (And both were on sale. Contrary to what seems to be popular belief, it is not often that I'm in a position to buy a designer item at full price.) No more dresses for this gal until I wear each at least once.
While we're on the subject of clothing, may I remind you to be a patient shopper. Let us remember that nearly EVERYTHING at J. Crew goes on sale soon after it's put out. Their turnover rate is high and you probably don't need that dress rightthissecond. Wait a week or so. Lord knows I'm an intense shopper - I can go for hours on end plowing through racks, digging through piles, and climbing through fixtures - and I realize that not everyone has this mentality. But I have found some of the best deals of my life this way. I'm talking a brand new, with tags Philosophy de Alberta Ferretti top that retailed for $330. I paid four dollars.
Make the most of every experience. Talk to the sales associates. Become their friends. This will only work to your advantage. One year when I lived in Central Florida, I was invited to a very exclusive event at Neiman Marcus with a full buffet and bar, all gratis. I guarantee you it had nothing to do with the amount of money I spent there.
Before you go out for drinks, freeze and ask yourself if it's worth it. Honestly, I've been doing this a lot lately and been coming up with the answer 'no'. When you're out sipping cocktails, you're not really paying for the alcohol; you're paying for the experience. Is it really worth it? I've been saving a lot of my money lately by laying low.
Join the Starbucks reward program. It's free now! I always hear people say that I could save over a thousand dollars a year if I cut out my daily Starbucks run. You know what? That is a thousand or so dollars that I'm more than happy to part with. That vanilla latte is a part of me, damnit, and right, wrong, or ridiculous, it makes me happy. At the end of the day, it's just money and you can't take it with you. BUT, if you're like me and simply can't stay away, you may as well belong to the club! I've already gotten a free beverage and a free oatmeal.
If you frequent dining establishments that offer something free for a certain amount of money spent or items bought, grab that punch card! I recently got a free brownie at the Treats Truck! I also have a free salad at Chop't and a free meal at Cosi lined up.
Three words. RESTAURANT DOT COM. I learned about this from one of my favorite bloggers and dear friends, Landlocked Mermaid. They sell discounted gift certificates for a number of restaurants. They often have sales and will alert you of them once you sign up. I recently bought $100 worth of certificates to some great bars and eateries here in NYC. My grand total? Eleven dollars.
PIGGY BANK IT!
Network, network, network. Talk to everyone. Make friends in every industry. Scratch someone else's back, and if they forget, ask them politely to scratch yours.
Sign up for Rue La La, Blackboard Eats, and Groupon. Also, do research. Have a few free minutes at work? Power surf the internet for steals and deals at your favorite places.
Now, clearly non of this is rocket science, and you've undoubtedly heard all these suggestions before. I just thought you might like to hear about how I pinch my pretty pennies. After all, one saved really IS one earned.