‘Living your best life’. Don’t we all want a bit of that? But while some of us are content with simply doing us, being individual and free, many define superlative living rather differently. And that’s fine, too. So, if you’re in need of a five-star lifestyle, but your bank balance is feeling decidedly three, there’s no need to worry. Just read these; our 5 IDEAL ways to live the luxe life for less.

GET THE BEST TRAVEL DISCOUNTS & UPGRADES

While you might have a friend who always blags into business class with their wit, poise and gumption, the majority of people who try this simply don’t succeed. For a more reliable route, and one that means you’ll know in advance whether or not you’re flying first-class, the easiest thing to do is use a service like Jack’s Flight Club.

Though not specifically aimed at scoring upgrades, what deal-hunting services like this one do is send you regular emails that contain the latest and greatest flight discounts. Ranging from the last-minute to the long-term planning, you can get business class flights for the cost of economy if you keep an eye on your inbox and book with haste. The best part? You don’t really need the paid version – Jack’s Flight Club, Scott’s Cheap Flights and other similar companies all offer a free version that notifies you of plenty of deals each day.

If you’re happy to wait until the last minute to decide on your trip, you can also score five-star accommodation for less by using sale sites like Holiday Hypermarket or Last Minute to score 70% off of flight and hotel packages. Reductions tend to get juicy six to eight weeks before departure date, but if you can hold on until the very last minute, operators who are keen to fill empty seats and bedrooms can offer you luxury getaways for the price of a typical camping trip.

FAKE IT ‘TILL YOU MAKE IT, WINE WISE

Popping bottles of champagne on the regular might not seem in tune with a smaller budget lifestyle, but there are still shortcuts to stocking your cupboards with boutique wines that your friends won’t find on the supermarket shelves. And will, accordingly, be rather jealous of.

If you’d like to give guests the impression that you’re a wine aficionado, and pick up some tasting notes in the process, online wine retailers like Virgin Wines might be just the ticket. As well as offering serious discounts on high-end wines, beers and spirits, you can get tasting notes and information free of charge from your very own wine advisor. 

While buying in bulk isn’t always straight forward when you’re counting your change, it does typically get you money off the cost of every bit of booze you buy. Look for bulk deals and offers, and prepare to impress as you swap supermarket bargain bin bottles for something a little more upmarket.

CUT-PRICE DESIGNER CLOTHING

Thrift shopping in affluent locations is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finding designer clothing at a reduced price. As well as looking for pre-loved clothes and accessories on charity shop shelves, save yourself a bit of rummaging by browsing online with retailers like TheOutnet and Deuxieme. TheOutnet offer up to 75% off new designer clothing, while Deuxieme slashes prices on gently worn goods from high fashion brands.

If those are still feeling a bit too pricey – because let’s face it, designer brands don’t ever come dirt cheap – research your nearest factory shops and outlet stores. Stores that sell sample clothing and shop seconds will take anything up to 70% off of the original price, and while you might be buying things that are from a past season, you’ll still be able to rep big name brands without eating into your holiday funds.

DINNER DEALS

If you aren’t already using VoucherCloud or another similar app, you could be missing the chance to get two-for-one meals and regular offers ranging from 20% to 60% off the price of dining out. That’s a good start to saving money on nice meals out with friends, but if you’d rather go Michelin Star than high street, there is a way.

For the ultimate fine dining experiences at perfectly ordinary prices, keep an eye on BookATable’s Michelin Star Deals. This page frequently lists offers for booking three or four course meals, with drinks, for less than £50 per person at some of the most prestigious restaurants around. Whether you’re in the mood for French, Italian, Indian or Chinese – or something else entirely – a little extra luxury won’t break the bank.

AIRPORT LOUNGE ACCESS

If you haven’t managed to find a great business class flight deal but you still want to have a comfortable trip, why not make a small additional payment to gain access an airport lounge? Formerly the domain of VIPs only, most major airports now give you the opportunity to pay between £15 and £50 to access an airport lounge ahead of your flight.

What you get for your money ranges from a full ‘free’ meal, spa access and selection of drinks, to a simple offering of comfy seats and newspapers, away from the crowds. But regardless, it’s a small price to pay for the feeling that you’re getting a far more luxurious experience than everybody else fighting for a hard seat or queueing for their overpriced airport beer. Let’s be honest; buying a meal and a drink at many UK airports will set you back around £20 as it is. For a few pounds extra, you could enjoy those things and more from the privacy of a VIP lounge.

 

Tabby Farrar also writes about travel and sustainability, over at the vegan lifestyle blog JustCantSettle.com

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Rachel is the beauty and fashion director at IDEAL. She loves trying new products and is an avid fan of London's fashion, from the high end to the high street.