A little luxury without the big price tag
5 min | 9 October 2023
The glamorous lifestyles we often see on TV and social media can seem far from reach. Yet there are still plenty of ways to enjoy a touch of affordable luxury – if you know where to look.
Booking a spa session, exotic holiday or Michelin-starred meal can seem impossible without draining your savings or getting into debt. But if you keep an open mind and do some research, you’ll find there are still plenty of high-quality luxuries that hopefully won't bust the budget.
Here are just a few.
Enjoy the hotel experience without the expense
You can soak up the atmosphere at many of the UK’s grandest hotels for the price of a pot of tea and some cakes. Many fine establishments open their doors to non-staying guests for formal afternoon tea, giving you the chance to enjoy the luxurious surroundings and impeccable service without having to pay for a room. Prices start at about £25 per person. And you don’t even have to pack a bag.
A similar treat can be enjoyed at large, well-known department stores – although this can be more expensive.
If tea is simply not enough and you want to indulge in a stay at a hotel, many new establishments often open with discounts of up to 25% to increase their initial footfall. You’ll get the added thrill of staying somewhere that’s brand new. You can find news of forthcoming openings in the travel trade press, adverts in magazines and on travel websites.
Holiday for less
If you’re an animal lover who enjoys travel, you could sign up for a pet-and-house-sitting service – and potential opportunities to stay all over the world. Some places welcome couples. You don’t receive any payment, but the accommodation is free, and your hosts might leave you a food starter kit.
If you go through an official service, you’ll need to pay for your travel, food and an annual subscription fee (usually starting at around £100) to post your profile and get insurance. Another option is to find people through word of mouth.
Whether you're pet-sitting or lying on a beach, remember to make the most of your Chase card, which offers cashback1 on everyday debit card spending and charges no fees from Chase for taking out up to £1,500 cash when travelling abroad in any calendar month. And don’t forget: in most cases you can make savings if you opt to pay for card purchases in the local currency, e.g. choosing euros in Italy and dollars in the US.
Create a designer wardrobe for half the price
Sign up for alerts on designer sample sales. You’ll be among the first to know about offers on designer brands, which can be around 70% off the original price.
Even wedding attire and bridal gowns are offered in sample and end-of-season sales.
Meanwhile, to make the most of your existing wardrobe and accessories, consider taking an online fashion course to learn how to be your own stylist. Courses can cost around £10 per month. You may find yourself looking at older garments in a whole new light. It could turn into a lucrative side hustle or even a career.
How to get discounts on standout meals
Many people may think eating in a Michelin-starred restaurant would be a rare treat. However, there are more than 20 Michelin-starred UK pubs that offer discounted, multi-course meals.
You’ll have a better chance of saving money if you book at lunchtime, before 7 pm or for Sunday lunchtime, according to the Michelin Guide. For example, we found a three-course weekday lunch menu for less than £40.
Find the best-value fizz for special occasions
Consumer groups and wine magazines often report that the highest-scoring bottles of fizz come not from speciality wine shops, but rather large supermarket chains that sell own-label wines and champagnes.
There are also plenty of fine sparkling wines and méthode traditionelle from other parts of the world that come at a lower price because they don’t have the word 'champagne' on the label.
Enjoy a salon day for a fraction of the price
If you’ve had to cut back on going to the nail or hair salon during the cost-of-living crisis, you may want to consider an alternative: hair and beauty colleges.
Schools and colleges often offer haircuts, beauty and spa treatments at rock-bottom prices. A manicure or pedicure costs £8–£14 and a haircut £7–£18 – so if you combine these with a massage you would be looking at a discount of 50% or more compared to an established salon or spa.
Where will you put your savings?
Smart money management could be crucial to the lifestyle you want, especially if it includes little luxuries. Being smarter with your money could mean being open-minded to lower-priced yet high-quality alternatives.
That mindset means you can still afford a bit of the luxury life while keeping enough over to invest for your future.
1 1% cashback on everyday debit card spending. Max £15 cashback per month. Available for up to 12 months for new customers. Cashback exceptions apply. 18+, UK residents.
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Disclaimer: The Hub is intended as a knowledge portal to provide information on a range of topics, including financial products and lifestyle management. These articles are not financial advice. Articles may reference products and services that Chase UK does not currently offer.