Keep up with the Joneses on a budget
Are you surrounded by people who have all the latest gadgets, go on fabulous vacations and wear all the latest trends? If you strive for that lifestyle too, don't think you can't obtain it because you might be wrong. Just a few modifications on your strict budget will help you to keep up with the Joneses.
Spruce Up Your Wardrobe
Are you tired of wearing the same clothes from last season, but can't afford to buy a brand new collection? Instead of paying full price for fancy designer duds, find a resale shop in a trendy area or seek out outlet stores. Prepare yourself to dig through a few racks, but think of it as a styling adventure. You're sure to find some good bargains on gently-used clothing that cost the original buyer a lot more than what you will pay.
If used clothing isn't appealing, then set some money aside each month dedicated to buying an inexpensive key piece that you could rework into your wardrobe. Try to think creatively on how to piece together fashionable outfits. Spend an afternoon in a bookstore to browse through fashion magazines to see what pieces to adopt, whether it's jewelry, a pair of shoes or a belt.
You might not be able to afford a first class trip to Fiji, but taking a less expensive trip, somewhere more off the beaten path might be just as exciting. Look for deals on lesser-known areas and research them to find out if it's somewhere worth checking out. Once you decide on a cheaper locale, find free attractions and events to experience, eat at off times (when it might be less expensive), or buy food from the local grocery store and make your own meals.
You also might want to look into staying at hotels instead of condos and flying out of an airport from a city other than where you live because the airfare might be less expensive. Even though you might have to get a little more creative and skip the most popular vacation spots, you can still regale your friends and neighbors with tales of your exotic travels.
Drive in Style
You've always wanted to drive around in a fancy car, but you can't afford a brand new BMW, Mercedes or Lexus. How about this: Instead of buying new, why not go the pre-owned route? You don't have to pay top dollar to make it look like you did.
Sure you want all the latest gadgets and toys that come out, but most likely you desires can wait awhile. So why not hold out for a couple of months and buy them when the price drops a bit? Think along the lines of the iPhone that was priced at $600 when it first came out, it then dropped to $300 just months later. You can save a lot of money by waiting for all the hype to die down on the latest technological advancements.
Give Your House a Face Lift
Your neighbor just got new landscaping, gutted their kitchen and got new furniture. You would love to do the same, but are a little strapped. Instead of taking out a second mortgage, make a few minor renovations that will make a big impression. Instead of overhauling your entire home, you can repaint, refurbish your furniture, refinish your cabinets, replace lighting fixtures and plant a couple of new bushes in your yard.
Of course you might not be able to do this all at one time, but these changes are a lot less expensive than tearing everything out and starting from scratch -- and just about as effective.
Set a Goal
Of course the best way to get all the things you want is simply to save up for them. Decide what it is that you want, and then skip your daily lattes, pass on a new seasonal wardrobe and start eating in more. Put that money aside until you can afford what's on your wish list and you just might find yourself becoming a Jones yourself!