By Shadrack Nyakoe
When times are tough, the first things to get bumped off the spending list are the luxuries – like that takeaway cappuccino on the way to work and extra help around the house if you need it.
But, you can still enjoy a few of life’s luxuries when you’re trying to keep an eye on your expenses. Here’s how:
1. Entertain at home
If you are the kind of person that enjoys a good night out with friends at a fancy spot, it isn’t going to be a priority anymore now that you are cutting back on your spending. However, this shouldn’t stop you from having a good time within the confines of your home. Have your friends come over once a month with their preferred drink. This will increase the versatility of what is available the whole evening. Make it a bit more exciting. “Add flair with homemade ice cubes flavoured with mint and rosemary, and ensure panache with glass decanters and a beautiful drinks trolley,” says Melrick Harrison at the Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront.
Go the extra mile and switch things up a little bit; change the light bulbs or dim them; have a good selection of music, and dress up as you normally would when going out.
2. Self-care routine
Visiting the salon or spa can be a costly affair, and this is a luxury that one can eliminate when watching their pocket. Don’t neglect self-care entirely. Make a trip down to the beauty shop and buy an assortment of products to use at home. It may be a costly initial purchase, but remember that you will use them for a while. Make use of available online resources to learn more about home beauty care tips. If you are not into DIY activities, hire a beautician to come in once a month. Better yet, have your friends over for a group session. It will still be cheaper in the long run because you are using your products in the comfort of your home.
3. Online travel
Don’t miss out on the magic of experiencing foreign cultures as you save up for a holiday abroad. Airbnb’s exciting Online Experiences make it possible to immerse yourself in other destinations from the comfort of your house. Do a virtual wander around the Taj Mahal with a local expert in India, make pasta with a Nonna in Italy, and knock up fancy cocktails with a mezcal/tequila cocktail masterclass in Mexico. It’s affordable and fun, and new experiences are added on all the time.
4. Get help around the house
Having extra help around the house is a luxury that many people are looking at cutting back on. This not only impacts us but also domestic and informal workers who need the income now more than ever before. Instead of cutting down completely, look at booking these services through a platform such as SweepSouth where you can choose how long you need someone, and how often you may need them. This way, you are still able to provide someone with an income when you have room in your budget.
5. Sushi and pizza on tap
Instead of eating out, learn to make a few fancy dishes at home. For instance, sushi is expensive, and if you can master it, you’ll impress your family and dinner guests to no end. Pizzas are another great dining-out option. Buying ready-made bases and filling them with fancy toppings will save you money. The trick here is to invest in a variety of recipes so that each experience is fresh and you don’t become tired of the same cooking routine.
6. Look for affordable luxe experiences
Make the effort to search for discounted nights out in your area. Create alerts to receive updates about restaurants with special offers that you and your loved ones can patronize. Keep an eye out for plays or concerts around Nairobi. The National Museum, for instance, regularly has scheduled talks on various interesting topics such as heritage, culture, plants, etc. Look out for art exhibitions; they are another fun way to feel like you’re part of the high life. Besides, developing an appreciation for art is one of the greatest joys in life.
Join a gardening or painting club where you can exercise and build new skills.
7. Other fun tips
Just because you are cutting costs, you do not necessarily have to confine your activities within the home. There are several parks and picnic sites in and around Nairobi that offer other outdoor activities. Start with a morning jog or walk and wind up with a picnic. Have family and friends join you and, while at it, ask them to bring a meal or snack to share. It may end up being a fun and inexpensive hangout.
And if you lust after pricey fashion items, buy them the smart way. Wait for end-of-season sales or shop pre-loved designer pieces at online events or vintage stores.
Luxury is not defined by what you own as much as the way you feel. Whether it’s a mezze meal enjoyed picnic-style on a fluffy rug in your sitting room, or sourcing brilliantly priced wines to enjoy at dinnertime, many ways don’t require the splashing of cash to make you feel truly luxurious. Incorporate many of these into your everyday life instead of only waiting for when you’re able to spend the cash, and you’ll discover that luxury, indeed, is a state of mind.