How to bluff luxury

By Gela Isidro

Some people believe that only rich people can afford to enjoy the richness of life. After all, most good things come with a hefty price tag, from fine cuisine to grand vacation trips to some remote island in the Caribbean. There are actually a number of ways to enjoy the high life without leaving you and your budget in the dumps. All it takes is a bit of ingenuity.

Vintage style Attention fashionistas! The next best thing to owning a brand-new and unquestionably expensive designer item is snagging an original in mint condition from an ukay-ukay, which has been sprouting up all over the metropolis in response to the people’s clamor for cheap, quality goods. These second-hand shops have been regarded as a true-blue shopping mecca, carrying everything from clothes and shoes to bags and accessories and, yes, even appliances. So buff up those skinny arms and be prepared to dig your way to piles and piles of second-hand clothes. Who knows? You might just snap up that authentic Prada bag you’ve been drooling over for a quarter of the original cost.

The mailing list
Sign up for the mailing list of your favorite brand. Most manufacturing companies show their appreciation to their loyal clients through free product samples, discount vouchers, and limited special offers. Some may even get in touch with you to give their latest releases a test drive.

The almighty coupon Dining out can be a very expensive experience, especially if you lean towards more exotic tastes. However, some restaurants actually offer discount coupons as a marketing strategy to have a steady flow of customers. Instead of crumpling these sheets of paper, arrange them in an organizer so that you can avail of the discount when the urge to eat something different hits you.

Stock it up Unless it’s something perishable, stock up on your favorite items when they go on sale. While you may find no use for that expensive bottle of perfume or bottled olives at the moment, it still beats going out and buying it on full price.

The perfect plan Try to keep track of the best time to go shopping. Check the dailies as to when malls usually go on sale. One of the best times to go out and shop is after the holidays, as most stores have a clearance sale on items they overstocked during the holidays. A number of shopping centers also have promos linked to an upcoming. Never buy during the holidays because prices usually skyrocket during this period.

Go for charity If you are an art lover on a budget, try to scour for valuable pieces at seemingly weird art stores and junk shops. Most of these establishments get their wares from people who either have no more room in their houses for the pieces or are moving someplace else. You can never tell what you can get for a steal. If you’re on the lookout for something new and edgy (a.k.a. nouveau art), try visiting shows of up and coming artists. Their style may just address your artistic taste.

Mix and match Who says that only the rich can have smashing homes? You can too, with just a little creativity. Instead of splurging on a pricey Victorian-period chaise lounge, allocate your budget on throws, slips and quilt covers that exude a similar vibe and drape it over your well-worn couch. You can also color to jazz up a dreary room.

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