When I think of luxury, I think Gossip Girl. And, alas, for most of us, Blair Waldorf’s lifestyle is not exactly an option. But we can perhaps feel like her, because luxury is about what we’re used to in contrast with what feels like a treat. Luxury is relative. Because Blair is used to nothing less than designer, such is the norm for her, and her idea of luxury goes even beyond that, whereas for most of us, just one of the shopping bags in the above image would do as a treat.
Is it possible to live more luxuriously without spending any money? Yes! Luxury is a state of mind that you decide for yourself. Here are a few ways to redefine the luxurious:
- Stand still. Our impulse is to fiddle with phones, or get something done if we have a moment to spare, but I challenge you instead to stand still and drink in your surroundings. We get used to the beauty of the everyday, of fresh air and architectural details. Take the luxury of time, even if it’s just a minute or two, to appreciate what’s around you.
- Rephrase. A simple jumbling of vocabulary can work wonders: like “inexpensive” instead of “cheap”, “complimentary” or “included” instead of “free”. My friend Emma and I would “treat” each other to dinner or the movies as a way of paying each other back for things. The same amount of money would have exchanged hands anyway, but this mindset felt more like a gift, and allowed us to focus on the experiences themselves.
- Refrain. Make yourself earn it. Sure, you could gob on chocolate all day, but if you save it until you can deserve it as a reward, it’s all the more special.
- Go camping. Stripping down to the basics of survival can make you appreciate things we take for granted every day, like mattresses and warm showers.
- Think about the value of your experiences beyond money value. I noticed that the average takeaway lunch in Edinburgh is about £5, and a restaurant also had a £5 1-course lunch deal. The latter includes the experience of sitting down to eat instead of just the rush of the on-the-go takeaway. Again, the same amount of money stretched out to a maximised experience value.
- Take advantage of free resources. Whether it’s a lovely little park or a library full of books, remember that luxury does not always have a price tag.
- Take a designer shopping bag shopping. This is a funny one. But sometimes when I’m in a fashionable city, I yearn to carry around a fabulous shopping bag like Blair’s above, a mark of the purchase rather than the purchase itself! Am I crazy? Probably. But one time, I took returns to the mall in a big pink Betsey Johnson bag, and just carrying that around satisfied my urge to purchase. Weird!
How can you redefine luxury? Think of one example and share with the class!