How to save money when you have Champagne taste and a box wine budget

In a perfect world, we’d all have a Mariah Carey-sized budget to spend on the finer things in life. Wouldn’t it be nice to go out to our money tree and pluck a wad of cash to spend on food, clothes, beauty products, travel, you name it? But here in the real world we are all too familiar with one word: saving. Look, we love us some avocado toast. But we’ve gotta pay rent, baby.

However, being fiscally responsible doesn’t always have to mean giving up all of your favorite indulgences. Here are some genius ways to save money when you have champagne taste and a box wine budget.

1Make “DIY” your new mantra

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The easiest way to enjoy the food and drinks you love and not blow all of your money on eating out is to learn to make your favorite meals at home. You’ll find that while a fancy restaurant may charge $14+ for a single glass of wine, you can find a high-quality bottle of vino for a similar price (if you do a little searching).

Don’t try to curb your tastebuds and subsist on microwave dinners; find a copycat recipe on Pinterest and cook it up yourself. Yes, it’s more work, but it’s the best way to get the gourmet experience without spending a bunch of money.

2Treat consignment stores like treasure hunts

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Consignment stores are a goldmine for designer clothes and handbags that cost a fraction of the original price. Sure, you may not always find your size or a specific color, but if you approach consignment store shopping like a treasure hunt, then the whole experience will be more enjoyable. And you just might find yourself in possession of a deeply-discounted Chanel bag!

3Break a sweat in the great outdoors

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Instead of an expensive spin class, get back to the great outdoors. A hike or an al fresco run doesn’t cost a thing, and it has been scientifically proven to increase your self-esteem and mood. And if the weather is too cold for outside, then fire up your favorite YouTube workout class and bust out the yoga mat in your apartment.

4Seek out the underrated gems in your area

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You’re probably already aware of the super- swanky spots in your neighborhood. They’re the ones with the new, professionally designed interiors and the slick websites that allow you to book online. However, places with luxe locations and huge marketing budgets almost always cost more than the same services elsewhere. So it’s important to do your research and seek out the underrated gems in your area. Again, this takes more work, but the mom-and-pop shops that may be lacking a lot of Yelp reviews are more likely to give you fantastic service and a lower price.

5Plan your vacations way ahead of time

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Unlike the cost of tangible items, travel is one expenditure where prices can vary dramatically. Sometimes the only difference between a $200 and $500 hotel room is how far in advance the room was booked. So when it comes to traveling on a limited budget, planning way in advance and using apps like Airfarewatchdog, Skiplagged, and Travelzoo is the best way to minimize the costs. You’d be surprised how many posh 5-star resorts offer discounts, especially when you travel during an off-peak season.