Of late, there has been a lot of conversation on Twitter about #thesoftlife. People are documenting their self-love, self-care, splurges and other indulgences to show what an easy and comfortable life looks like.
What I love about the conversation and photos is the variety of what a soft life (or a luxurious lifestyle) means to different people.
It’s easy for us to think that a luxurious lifestyle isn’t for us or that we’ll never achieve it because mainstream media represents it as expensive cars, designer wear, fancy dinners, vacations and such high-end items and experiences.
Such a luxurious life shouldn’t be just for billionaires or ‘materialistic people.’
I’m also a big advocate of avoiding struggle in your life as much as you can because I believe struggling is not the only way to build character.
Adding pleasure and comfort to your daily living should be a deliberate activity. I wrote before in the article 11 ways to feel rich even on a budget that the quality of your life matters, we all deserve a dignified lifestyle. Life is for the living.
Before we dive in on ways to create a luxurious lifestyle, remember that a luxurious lifestyle looks different for everyone. For example, to some people, having good seats at a sporting event is a luxury. To others, that’s the last thing they’d spend their money on.
It’s important to take time to think about what a luxurious lifestyle is to you. This allows you to spend your money intentionally as opposed to trying to keep up with what is displayed on social media or what is sold to you via the numerous ads we have to battle with every second we’re on the internet.
What is a luxury lifestyle?
1. A posh lifestyle is a state of mind
Most of us are always fantasizing about the luxury items we’d love to own. We imagine what we’d feel if we owned a particular type of car, lived in a certain neighbourhood or travelled to a certain destination. And of course, we fantasize about how much respect or admiration we’d get from people if we owned those items.
Turns out, “a luxurious lifestyle is all about the feelings you associate with the experience or item that you bought as opposed its cost.”
This means that you don’t have to break the bank or fall into debt to live a luxurious life.
2. A luxury lifestyle is subjective
Chelsea from The Financial Diet hates manicures, pedicures and massages because she thinks it’s disgusting for another person to be touching her feet and she only prefers to be touched by her husband. To me, being pampered at a spa is luxury 101.
What is a luxury lifestyle to me isn’t necessarily a luxury to you.
The trick is to stop wasting money by caring about what other people think about you and instead focus on coming up with a list of what luxury means to you, then work towards achieving it.
As Morgan Housel stated in his book The Psychology of Money “being swayed by people playing a different game can also throw off how you think you’re supposed to spend your money. So much consumer spending, particularly in developed countries, is socially driven: subtly influenced by people you admire and done because you subtly want people to admire you.”
3. It’s all about comfort and convenience
What’s that one item or experience that you had that qualifies as a luxury?
To me, one is a bed with a good quality mattress and all-white linen beddings. I fantasize about the comfort of my bed for hours during the day and I’m always looking forward to that time of the night when I’ll slide in between my sheets.
I can bet that it’s the same for you. Your version of luxury has an aspect of extreme comfort and convenience.
But also, comfort and convenience mean different things to different people. It’s subjective, which takes us back to our most important lesson; curate what a luxurious lifestyle means to you.
How to budget for a luxurious lifestyle
Instead of waiting until you’re wealthy enough or classifying luxury as something only wealthy people should have, learn how to approach it so that you can also have access to it.
1. Establish if you’re living below or above your means
Truth is, a posh lifestyle comes with a price tag!
You can’t just dive into living your best life because some girl on the internet said the quality of your life matters, sorry!
You have to know the difference between what you earn vs what you spend in order to know how much luxury you can afford.
How to do this? Track income and track your expenses. This will give you the clarity you need to know how much money you have left to splurge after paying your bills, saving and investing.
2. Don’t mix it up with your big-picture goals
What are you saving up for or investing towards? Automate this before you start onboarding luxury items.
It’s easy to get stuck with chasing the luxury life and to forget our investing goals. Don’t mix it up.
You should have separate accounts for the two because you can’t afford to eat or vacation your investment seeds in the name of onboarding luxury in your life.
At the end of the day, wealth is all the forgone purchases.
3. Set up a luxurious lifestyle account
This type of fund is commonly referred to as a sinking fund!
One of my consultancy clients loves travelling (don’t we all?) but she used to feel guilty after every trip because she always thought that she spent too much money on vacations. Instead of coming back home to a feeling of fulfilment and excitement to plan for her next vacation, guilt would take over.
When she started working with me, we set up a vacation sinking fund after setting up her emergency fund. This took away all the guilt as she now had a specific account and a specific amount of money that she was allowed to blow during her travel experiences.
Is this a good time to remind you that I can help you make sense of your money?
I help people who are:
- Struggling with debt.
- Unable to make budgets that work.
- Want to grow their savings.
- Want to improve the quality of their lives.
- Looking to diversify their investment portfolio.
To attain financial freedom by offering personalized financial advisory. Halla: email@example.com
What is a sinking fund?
A sinking fund is an amount of money you set aside each month with the aim of spending it.
- You start by figuring out how much money you need for the specific item such as a vacation, a car, gifts, clothes for a special occasion etc.
Sinking fund name: Vacation
Sinking fund amount: $1,000
- You then decide when you’ll need the item for example a vacation within one year.
Number of months: 12
- Then you divide the total amount by the number of months.
This will give you the amount of money you need to include and set aside in your budget each month.
$1,000/12=$83.33 per month
4. Start a side hustle dedicated to a posh lifestyle
All the money earned from advertising on this blog goes towards my Europe tour sinking fund. The count-down is on! Somebody tell Covid-19 not to piss on my dreams!
There are many side hustles that you can look into such as babysitting, dog walking, tutoring, being a virtual assistant, blogging. In this internet age, the list is endless.
You don’t have to give up all lifestyle luxuries to be good with money or to achieve financial freedom. All you have to do is budget for it and keep yourself constantly in check.
5. Use your credit card points
A lot of people use their credit card points to travel, stay in luxurious hotels and even access VIP lounges at the airport.
But this is a tricky one because credit card companies use such benefits to lure people into taking up as many credit cards as possible, which leads to expensive debt.
Before considering this option, educate yourself on how credit cards work. It’s a zero-sum game to get a credit card for luxury points then end up neck-deep in credit card debt.
How to live a luxurious lifestyle on a budget.
1. Empower yourself financially
A lot of us struggle financially because we were not taught basic personal finance skills both at home and in school.
It, therefore, becomes a luxury when you’re among the few who understand and are intentional about their financial choices.
Money is a finite resource, you should take time to empower yourself financially so that you experience the security that comes with having a financial plan.
How to empower yourself financially
Schedule regular financial check-ins
Create a budget that works for you
Having a spending plan is always going to be the key that makes you feel in control of your finances.
Build an emergency fund
This is your first-class ticket to confidence and a sense of security.
Here is a guide on how to build your emergency fund.
Create a debt repayment plan
Be very clear on how much you owe then come up with a plan to pay off your debt consistently.
Debt payoff planner and debt payment calculator
Click here to download an easy to use debt payoff planner and debt payment calculator.
Talk about money
Hiding from your money problems makes them worse. Talk to your significant other, friends or family about your goals, future plans and struggles. Creating financial support systems ensures that you follow through with your financial plan, both short and long term.
2. Free time
Financial freedom means having control over your time. Waking up at whatever time you want, doing what you want, when you want to.
Imagine a life without productivity guilt, resting easy without feeling like you should be doing something more productive.
Free time is a luxury that many of us don’t enjoy because we’re either too busy hustling and when we get the time to rest, our minds are busy thinking about what we should be working on.
Lying in bed on a Saturday morning with my favourite book is my greatest luxury. On Friday nights, I close my laptop and hide it deep in my closet because I realized that financial anxiety is slowly turning me into a workaholic. By hiding the laptop, I create an environment that allows me to thrive by allowing my body to recharge.
Be deliberate about scheduling free time to rest, to breathe without guilt. Schedule it in your calendar.
In the long run, investing allows you to have more free time.
3. Slow your life down
I manage my time by having a recurring to-do list on Google calendar. But at some point, I noticed that if I finished the day’s tasks, I’d go ahead and look for a few more things to do as opposed to taking time off to rest, call my family & friends, watch my favourite sitcom…
It’s like a disease. This ‘If I could get just one more thing done’ feeling we’re always carrying with us.
Sometimes we can’t get ourselves to enjoy a meal without staring at our phones or multitasking.
Slow down. Experience life’s everyday moments, it truly is a luxury to not rush through life.
4. Declutter your home
Why do we feel relaxed when we stay in a luxurious hotel? Because it’s free of clutter, clean, and there’s loads of open space.
Studies show that clutter heightens our anxiety levels, affects the quality of our sleep and makes it hard to focus on tasks.
You can experience the luxury of a hotel by decluttering your home. Without clutter, you’ll feel more relaxed, less stressed, and better able to focus on the magical moments happening in and around your life.
Go a step further and make your home more relaxing by having indoor plants or fresh flowers, scented candles and making sure that natural lighting is not blocked. Check this article for more ideas on how to make your home more relaxing.
5. Prioritize quality over quantity
“The bitterness of a poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten.” – Benjamin Franklin.
Luxury involves understanding the real utility, value for money and pleasure derived from using good quality products.
Buying good quality products translates to not replacing them regularly, therefore saving time. Remember that having more free time is the greatest luxury? Don’t let the price of a low-quality product haunt you.
Give yourself the luxury of forgetting the price by budgeting for your purchases and researching to find higher quality items.
6. Spend on meaningful home upgrades
There has never been a better time to invest in your home. We spend a lot of time in our homes, which means the cost per use of most home upgrades at this point is super low.
Cost per use is a method used to make smart purchasing decisions by dividing the cost of the item by the number of times you estimate that you’ll use it in a year.
A $300 work desk used every day for a year would have a cost per use of $0.82.
One of the ways you could improve your home is by investing in smart home products that automate most chores, create a more comfortable living environment and frees up time to work and spend time with your loved ones.
7. Cooking restaurant-quality meals at home
Going out or ordering in on a regular basis hurts your financial freedom journey. But since our taste buds still crave restaurant-quality food, the best way to welcome this luxury in your life on a budget is to get the recipe and recreate the meal at home.
It will be cheaper because restaurant mark-ups are at least 200%. You can go a step further and create the ambience by setting the table, getting fresh flowers, candles and all that shabang!
Food is one of the things that have been glamourized by people who are in the business of selling fantasy which makes eating a properly balanced diet seem unattainable. One of the best hacks is to stock up on basic pantry staples such as oils, sauces, herbs & spices, canned soups
Eating a healthy diet saves you money in the long term as you’re less prone to diseases, infections and fatigue.
Be deliberate about buying more fruits and vegetables when you go grocery shopping and store your fruits in a place where you can easily see them to avoid wastage.
8. Try new experiences
The other, my friend told me that she just learnt how to ride a bike, at age 30. She thought I’d be shocked and laugh at her especially since she had fallen and bruised her knee as she was practising.
I told her that I also learnt how to ride a bike in 2019. It had always been something we both wanted to learn as kids, and we shared stories about how we envied kids who had bikes back in the day. To us, owning a bike was a sign of wealth, a luxury we couldn’t afford.
But we’re now adults who can afford to pay for both a class and bikes. Indeed, poverty has no roots.
New experiences feel luxurious and exciting! Even at this age, I still have sleepless nights when I’m due to travel to a new place.
You don’t have to visit a new country, domestic travel is also magical and a luxury in itself.
If well planned, you can buy anything you want, but you can’t buy everything. Narrow down which new experiences are meaningful to you and work towards giving yourself the gift of excitement.
9. Your relationship with friends and family
Genuine love, in whichever form, is a luxury we all want on a daily basis.
Not spending time with the people we love is usually one of the greatest regrets for a lot of people on their deathbeds.
Creating time to create lasting memories with our loved ones can be as cheap or as expensive as you make it; it fits on everyone’s budget.
10. Curate a professional, durable, capsule wardrobe
Having a capsule wardrobe that has foundational, versatile, timeless items such as a white buttoned-down shirt, little black dress, black blazer and an official pair of black shoes can be the difference between feeling stylish, powerful and capable versus feeling uncomfortable, out of place and like you literally poured money down the drain.
When it comes to luxury, clothing is the first thing that people use to judge your lifestyle. We easily get drawn to people who look put together.
Taking into account the cost per use, for example, spending 200 dollars on high heels I’ll wear once to an occasion versus spending 200 on a pair of black jeans that I’ll wear for the next 5 years is my first rule of creating the perfect capsule wardrobe. For other tips, check out this article.
Having a curated, minimalist wardrobe allows you to live stylishly while also focusing on other financial priorities such as investing.
It has many other benefits such as being able to mix & match to create endless looks/outfits without looking like you own just 5 pieces of clothing.
If you struggle, like I do, with finding the right combination of clothes so that you’re always the most stylish one in any crowd, or life’s just too busy to find time to shop for your best-curated outfit, let Amazon Personal Shopper do it for you!
Amazon Prime membership lets you try up to 8 pieces of clothing & accessories (curated just for you!) before you buy! The hustle is over!
Instead of waiting for when you’ll be ‘rich enough’ to take that bucket list vacation, consider taking more frequent lower budget travel. This allows you to experience a luxurious life now as you wait for a time in your life when you’ll be financially free to travel on your schedule.
More frequent, lower budget travel gives you the luxury of having something exciting to look forward to. This acts as a great motivation to keep putting in the hours at work.
Studies show that just 10 hours of vacation translates to 8% better performance at work! Taking a vacation is also good for your mental health.
A study by Ernst & Young showed that frequent vacationers are significantly less likely to leave a job (forward this to your HR!).
Shorter vacations also prevent you from overindulging which could lead to debt.
12. Fun fitness
Yoga, pilates and meditation are presented on social media as fancy, luxury goods. To take part, you have to own the fanciest gym outfits and pay for expensive gym memberships.
There are many free yoga, meditation, and pilates classes, especially on YouTube that you can take part in the comfort and privacy of your home during this COVID-19 pandemic period.
You can show up with your torn yoga pants but still enjoy the physical and mental benefits that come with exercising.
Alternatively, choose the type of exercise you enjoy as this makes it easier to stay consistent for long enough to be stronger and fitter. For example, I use Kukuwa dance exercises as I enjoy learning new moves. This means that I don’t rely on willpower or motivation to show up for exercise.
Life is easier, and definitely more luxurious when exercise doesn’t feel like a daily punishment.
13. Make time for hobbies
This is connected to the tip on being deliberate about creating free time.
Being savvy and intentional with your money will give you permission to explore all your hobbies and life’s desires.
You don’t have to wait until you retire to enjoy your favourite hobby, life is too short!
Be intentional about how you spend your free time. You don’t have to spend it all looking beat up on your couch staring at the TV.
Get active. Join a book club, learn how to play a musical instrument, take an online course, play a sport that you love.
14. Practice gratitude
Peace of mind is hands down, the most premium luxury.
Gratitude leads to a more positive life, stronger relationships, better immune systems and loads of kindness and compassion.
Creating a luxurious everyday life is about making the choice to treat yourself like you’re the highest quality and deserve the absolute best (because you do!)– even if you’re on a budget.
However, it’s important to have a clear-cut difference between luxurious, planned splurges vs impulse buying. It’s easy to find yourself messing up your financial plan by making too many impulse purchases while justifying the purchases as ‘well-deserved luxuries.’ Always take time to think about the opportunity cost of every major purchase.
By the power vested in me by The Wealth Tribe community, I give you permission to mindfully, within your means, in alignment with your priorities, live your best luxurious life!
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