Luxury means different things to different people. It can be as simple as a cup of coffee with a good book, a personal trainer, or a luxury apartment.
Some of these come with the hefty luxury price tag, but some you can get at a lower price with a few clever hacks.
Who says you can’t have it all?
In reality, these are the things we want to spend our money on as they fill us with more joy than an electricity bill would. But because they are a luxury, we tend to deny ourselves of these pleasures so that we can keep the hamster wheel spinning.
I’d rather forego, or reduce, some of the necessities so that I can have more luxury. I don’t own a house or a car and have minimal possessions so that I can continue living a life of endless travel and joy.
It’s important that you define your luxury so that it aligns with your values.
What’s the luxury you don’t want to live without and aren’t willing to sacrifice?
Let’s revisit what those foundational money principles are for helping you spend less and gain more.
Two Foundational money hacks
1. Know your values
When you tune into your values, that is, what’s important to you and what you want to create, you’ll rarely go wrong when spending your money.
Knowing your values will reduce your expenses on things you don’t care much about, and stop you spending money on things just to impress others.
2. Change your money attitude
Love money and learn how to manage it and respect it.
Remove feelings of fear, shame, and guilt around money – these will cost you a lot and will trap you into cycles of self-sabotage and unconscious (and unhealthy) spending.
Be grateful for money – no matter your position in life. It helps provide you with needs and wants to live an amazing life. There’s nothing that can help you more to save and grow money than having a good relationship with it.
If you follow those two principles, you can’t go wrong, and your spending won’t encourage greed, nor your feelings centred on lack.
We want you to travel more AND enjoy living your everyday life in the meantime.
So, in partnership with American Express, we’re sharing with you an Ultimate Hacks Guide – easy ways you can save money on everyday expenses (+ those treats), as well as how you can earn extra perks to travel more and create better memories.
We’ll be sharing:
- Hacks on General Living Expenses
- Hacks for luxury living
- Travel hacks (including hacks for luxury travel)
Within these hacks, we’ll also show you clever ways the American Express Membership Rewards program can help you achieve that little bit extra through clever points’ management no matter your disposable income.
3. Choose the right time
- Catch up over breakfast instead of dinner. It’s cheaper, you’re more energized, and you’ll save a lot of money in skipping the temptation to buy a bottle of vino.
- Lunch will be cheaper than dinner again, and you can enjoy those views. Better yet, grab takeaway and sit on the beach in front of the expensive restaurant with the same view.
- If you do want to eat out for dinner, look for special early bird deals, especially when you have kids.
- Some places will often have kids each free early on in the week. It means planning a catch up outside of the weekend, but doesn’t that feel like an extra bit of luxury on top? Going out on school night – how naughty!
4. How to get coffee for more
Is skipping your daily coffee as difficult for you as it is for us?
Nespresso just doesn’t cut it, and despite completing a barista course, I still can’t quite nail making espresso at home.
We’ve mentioned before that it’s better to focus on saving money on big ticket items, like a smaller house and one less car, rather than skipping your daily coffee. It’s a small price for a little luxury.
- Check the sizes of your coffee and how many shots in each size. A lot of the time you’ll be paying extra for your larger size when all you’re getting is extra milk.
- Look for coupons and loyalty cards – it’s an easy way to get a free coffee every couple of weeks. Our local cafes even hold the loyalty cards for their customers popping in after their morning walk or exercise. Isn’t that fantastic service?
- You can always move to a country where the coffee is terrible.
5. BYO restaurants
BYO restaurants don’t seem to be as popular as when I was in my twenties. I recently went out with my best girlfriends to Thai with reasonable food and BYO, so we saved a lot of money.
Most places in Australia charge $9+ for a glass of wine. Share a bottle with your mates and it will set you back only a few dollars each.
6. Picnic instead
While many people are crowding the bars on a Sunday to listen to live music and pay a hefty price tag for drinks, many more flock to our local Burleigh Headland for Sunday Session with their mates. They bring their own food, drinks, and music while enjoying a pretty sunset (and maybe a few cute surfers too!).
You’re reducing what could easily be a $100+ day down to $20. The outcome is still the same – good times with friends to wind down the week.
Plan your picnic near a park or beach, so the kids are happy, and you never have to deal with those words “I’m bored” while munching on a cracker and slice of camembert.
7. Use your credit card to pay and earn reward points
Use your Membership Rewards Card to pay for your luxury items. Set up a direct debit from your bank to pay off the balance each month. We recommend paying it off in full!
We have a Platinum Edge American Express Card which earns us:
- 3 points per $1 spent at major supermarkets in Australia
- 2 points per $1 spent at major petrol stations in Australia
- 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else
- 0.5 points per $1 spent on utilities, insurance (except insurances offered by American Express), telecommunications providers and government bodies in Australia
It’s the fastest way to gather points you can then use those points to live life well. We put those points towards travel, but you can put them towards other luxury items as outlined in this post.
8. TV & Movies
- Switch Cable for Netflix – I don’t know about you, but I spend an hour surfing on cable and then turn it off bored. There’s plenty of awful reality TV on the free channels. You can buy online streaming for $9 a month and get hooked on shows like Nashville and Bloodlines instead.
- Visit the movies on the cheap days – often Tuesdays. Sometimes tickets are half price and will save you considerably.
- Forget 3D movies. I don’t feel it is worth the extra price. I much prefer watching movies in 2D – my girls do too.
- Look for discount movie tickets with any service providers you have. We get discounted movie tickets through Telstra Thanks. You book online and do have to pay a booking fee, but it still works out almost half the price you’d pay at the cinemas. It’s an incredible deal, and it means I get to take my girls to the movies quite frequently. It’s a luxury date we love.
- Bring your own drinks and snacks. Many cinemas will allow you to bring food with you, within reason – just don’t try to sneak in a curry or any other hot food.
- Telstra Thanks also gives two free movies online each Thursday you can watch.
- Check your local area for outdoor cinemas. Many will feature old movies outdoor – often for free. Bring your picnic blankets and food and enjoy a luxurious night under the stars.
- Do Gold Class at home – Kalyra keeps begging me to take her to Gold Class. It’s a good opportunity for me to talk to her about values and spending to align with that. She doesn’t quite understand why I feel Gold Class is a waste of money. Hopefully soon.
9. Entertainment booklets
We loved the Gold Coast Entertainment Booklet we purchased through Kalyra’s school. There are many discounts on travel, dining out, local experiences and activities. It will save you money and allow for a little more luxury in your life.
10. Concerts & Events
- I love live music and sometimes save money by getting my fix at local markets or choosing a dinner/bar venue that has live music. They may not be a well-known artist, but their groove is enough to help me feel at ease and in joy.
- Tickets are often the most expensive when they first go on sale. If you’re purchasing tickets for a major artist, wait until the event is closer and watch the secondary markets. Tickets often drop in price.
- If it’s a small venue, like the Hard Rock Café, tickets will rise in price so purchase early.
- If the artist is performing multiple times in the same location, the tickets for the first performance are likely to be the most expensive.
- Use a search engine. SeatGeek, Seathound, and Vivid Seats each have aggregators that allow you to search multiple sites to find the best deals.
- Volunteer or work at concerts and events. I worked at the Sydney Olympic Games and the Sydney Swans Chairman Club. I got to watch plenty of sporting matches for free with a paycheck to match. We had this terrible rule of no service while the game was playing!!!
- Midweek shows are often cheaper, as are previews. Some shows offer standing tickets, the Australian Opera among them.
- Restricted view tickets are not always as bad as they sound – sometimes it just means you are side on to the stage.
- There are also discount ticket outlets including HalfTix and LastTix, which offer heavily discounted tickets to shows, particularly musicals and concerts.
- Search the American Express entertainment page for access invites lounges at venues like Qudos Bank Arena, Brisbane Entertainment Centre and Perth Arena which means you can avoid the crowds. Join a venue’s insider program, or subscribe to email lists, so you can get special perks that may include member prices, discounts, zero booking fees and priority booking access.
- You can save money by purchasing early bird and pre-sale tickets.
- Buy etickets. There’s no need for the added expense of postage or insurance fees
Use your credit card membership perks – If you are enrolled in the American Express Membership Rewards program, you can now use some, or all of your points to purchase tickets to concerts, theatre, sports and attractions across the country. 12,000 Membership Rewards points = 100 dollars’ worth of entertainment. You will also have access to reserved seats and access to presales!
Health and fitness
I used to be a gym junkie. I would do an aerobics class at least once a day, so I understand why people like to pay for gym memberships.
There are plenty of ways to drop that expense and still get your exercise.
- Mother Nature offers a lot! Go for a run, surf, bike ride, kayak or stand up paddleboard. Not only do you have fun and get exercise, but you’ll feel like you’re travelling a little.
- Last week, I spoke about choosing your abode and location well. Perhaps you can move into an apartment that includes gym facilities.
- I now have a cheaper membership with com. It costs $25 a month for unlimited yoga classes I can easily fit into my daily routine. But, I’m going to cancel now that as I’ve discovered YouTube has a wide variety of free classes I can do.
I’m pretty disciplined enough to follow through without a personal trainer. For some of you, that may be a luxury expense worth it.
12. Oils instead of lotions
My beauty and skin care regime is organic, simple and cheap. I’m all about oils – 95% of the time. They are great for your skin, they last a long time, and cheap compared to those high-end skin care brands. My oils cost me around $100 a year.
I use jojoba for cleansing and rosehip for serum and moisturizing which I’ve just started blending with Frankincense.
You can also make your own scrubs and masks at home – coffee scrub is one of my favourites for my face. Savannah made me a coconut oil and sugar scrub as a Mother’s Day present at her school. It’s so luxurious!
13. Shop local
Small boutique stores and village markets can often have great deals on clothing and luxury homewares. I pick up a few things from my local markets that are cheap but add style to the house and look more expensive.
American Express rewards customers who shop locally with their annual Shop Small Campaign (in Nov) and their Local Champion Game. Local Champions allows users of the American Express app to earn an additional bonus point per $ spent at retailers where they shop the most.
If you become the local champion by shopping there more than other app users, you can earn extra reward points.
I love how American Express encourages and supports local businesses.
14. Spend on quality
My KEEN hiking sandals were a significant investment, but I’ve had them for three years, travelled around the country in them, taken many hikes and wades through rivers wearing them. They still look brand new and are so comfortable.
Similarly, my UGG boots are almost four years old, travelled the country with me, still feel brand new and are my most beloved clothing item ever!
Instead of going for those cheap items that you have to replace all the time, consider some items of clothing where quality is a priority. For me, that comes down to shoes, jackets, and some handbags.
15. Consider your quality choices
Where are you in current life stage? Consider this when buying certain luxury items. I will never spend a lot of money on sunglasses, jewellery, and makeup. I have two adorable children who like to play with things and break them, and I go through these items far too quickly.
I’m wary of spending a lot on regular clothes items. I recently bought an expensive pair of shorts from Seed, which fell apart after a few months and minimal wear. A pair of shorts from Target
16. Shop online
You can save a lot of money by shopping online. Be sure to search around and look for online shopping sites that don’t charge for shipping, or minimal. Unless you are in a rush – and for most luxury items you won’t be – go with standard shipping, so you don’t pay extra for express.
17. Shop with points
Use your American Express Membership Rewards points to shop online at David Jones for your fashion, beauty, and homewares. You can choose to pay for your items in full with points or use a combination of Points +Pay.
I’ve used them to shop online at David Jones before. It was easy and effortless. I liked how it clearly shows you how many points are required for each purchase so you can be diligent and not overspend.
With American Express Reward Cards you can even use your points to purchase gift cards for your loved ones at various outlets like Domayne, Harvey Norman, Westfield, iTunes, and Hoyts.
18. Ask for special deals
If you don’t ask the answer is always no. Brick and mortar businesses have a lot of competition now due to online shopping. You can get pretty amazing deals. I often buy electronic gear at JB-Hifi, and they always offer me a special price when I do.
Talk the shop assistants on the ground to help you find what you’re looking for, rather than get it yourself. They’ll give your advice plus often say, “Let me see what best price I can get for you.”
19. American Express Offers
When we first moved into our apartment, there were a few items we had to buy a doona and a few kitchen items. We used American Express Offers for David Jones and Harvey Norman online which saved us quite a few hundred dollars. Not online did we find great sales by shopping online, the offers gave us cash back onto our card if we spent a certain amount. PLUS we earned reward points for each $ spent.
It was luxury items we were going to buy anyway, so why not find how to make some money back when you do. Always be looking for ways to make your money go further.