10 Ways To Feel Rich (no matter your bank account balance)

Looking for ways to feel rich? Luxury doesn't have to cost a lot and money doesn't buy class. Click through for 10 budget-friendly ways to feel rich without spending a lot of money!
How does “being rich” feel? How does luxury and abundance feel in your skin? How does it look? The good news for all of us is that there are plenty of ways to feel rich, and most of them are available to us for less money than we’d expect. Today, Sarah McColl shares her favorite ways to feel rich.

Valuing a dollar, counting your pennies, stretching the last cent…it’s all fine and good until someone starts to feel punished.

Like being on an overly restrictive diet, unless you treat yourself along the way, you’re eventually going to gorge on spaghetti and meatballs until you need to go take your pants off. I myself have felt that my concern about money has become a little joyless lately.

But feeling rich, like anything, is in part a state of mind. Surrounding yourself with luxury that scratches that itch without sending you to the poor house is exactly the way to strike the balance of feeling like a have when really you don’t have a lot.

10 ways to feel rich no matter what your bank account says

Go to an elegant restaurant…for lunch

I’ll never forget the time a group of friends and I went to a French restaurant I’d been longing to visit that was a little pricey. It was tucked away on a leafy, residential street. Inside, tall windows surrounded a dining room, bare save for the wooden tables with thick, sturdy legs.

We enjoyed the bread basket, drank a carafe of the rough house red, and I ate a croque madame, oozy with egg yolk. We shared dessert, something chocolatey as I recall, and sat for a long while that afternoon finishing the wine in the early spring sunshine. To this day it was one of the best $20 I ever spent.

Step into a high-end boutique

Touch the clothes, appreciate the craftsmanship, try on whatever you like. Then breeze right out, unscathed.

Fill up your virtual shopping cart…and then close your browser

For me personally, this works much better than actually going into a store which will somehow inevitably make me feel bad about myself and angry at the world. I hit up Anthropologie, ShopBop, ModCloth, Nordstrom, or Sephora and load my shopping basket full of everything I want.

Then I look at the total — so glad I won’t be adding all those digits to my credit card — and close the computer. The end feeling is one that I got whatever I wanted and didn’t have to suffer the consequences.

Take yourself out for tea or cappuccino

And I don’t mean the kind you grab on the way to the subway. Go somewhere they will serve you in proper china with an adorable little spoon. Seat yourself at a table. Enjoy the ritual of the experience. Don’t read; just sit back and enjoy the aroma of your beverage, the hot cup in your hands, and the luxury of doing nothing.

Experience abundance

Have you ever gone to a store with just lots and lots of one thing? Plastic boxes deep with buttons that you can sink your hands into, a room ringed with bolts of colorful fabrics, shelves lined with bottles of wine, a flower shop filled with fragrant blooms.

Sometimes just experiencing abundance — even of something as unassuming as a ball of yarn — can give you a sense of abundance, and if you’re lucky, maybe even a bit of wonder.

Pick up perfume samples

I am experiencing a new obsession with perfume, and great perfumes are as complex and subtle as the best cheese and wine. What makes them even more fun, though, is how personal and evocative they are, and how they tap into imagination and fantasy.

Buy wee little samples of exquisite scents here, ask for free samples of your favorite at Sephora, or just read some of the best perfume blogs for a taste of olfactory luxury.

Buy a new lipstick

Isn’t there just something about the makeup counters in department stores? The sales associates are pleasantly fawning and all the glass and reflective surfaces evoke Grace Farrell’s dressing room. Walk away with a new lipstick and you may just feel like a new woman. Is there anything more glamorous than a bare face, a shock of red lipstick, and big sunglasses?

Get culturally rich

There are so many free programs at planetariums, libraries, book stores, and museums. You might be listening to a lecture about something a little (or a lot) esoteric — 15th century Provençal literary traditions or how printmaking has changed through the ages — but you’ll walk out with your knowledge base broadened and your experience of life enriched.

Get pampered on the cheap

There may not be an Aveda Institute near you, but there are certainly other schools for natural healers at which you can receive discounted treatments performed by students. Also, keep your eyes peeled for no-frills bodywork and reflexology places in your area.

Or do what the thriftiest of those in need of pampering do: take some beauty products to your gym (an exfoliating treatment, a thick body butter, a facial mask) and turn the locker room into your own mini-spa.

Count your blessings

You knew this one was coming. The surest way to remember the embarrassment of riches already at your feet, for free.

What else? I’m sure you have lots of tricks up your sleeves for feeling posh, glamorous, and loaded…even when you’re not. Do tell!

P.S. 23 ways to treat yourself without buying or eating anything

Photo by Andrew Pons on Unsplash

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  1. Lloyd

    I like to go for free trials at local gym/health centres to pretend I can afford the membership 🙂

  2. Steph

    Now and then I take myself out for a fancy coffee, but I make sure to dress up, put on a scarf/fancy sunglasses.. etc. (whatever looks fancy and expensive haha) and bring my computer/sketchbook with me. Even if I spend the entire time writing emails or doodling.. it's fun to feel like a fancy important person!

  3. Midnight Cowgirl

    Wonderful ideas! The virtual shopping trick has saved me many times.

  4. Steffi

    great ideas, I especially like the restaurant one. To feel rich, I like to just take a day off and do nothing – take a long bath, watch movies, maybe do a little DIY facial and manicure, just taking time for yourself – that's real luxury that many people in the world can't afford.

  5. Rebecca

    I'm glad you got the final one in there 🙂
    I have to say, I feel slightly depressed at the idea of filling a virtual shopping cart to try and make myself feel better about life, but perhaps that's just me. Lovely writing anyway, as always!

  6. Life with Kaishon

    I love this so much! I am tweeting it! Brilliant and perfect : )

  7. Mackenzie

    oh how i love this so! gonna go touch some silk blouses and try on perfume and pretend i am daisy buchanan.

  8. Tami (Teacher Goes Back to School)

    all my favorite sarahs in one place! this makes me happy.

    cooking with friends always makes me feel rich. the company is good and the food is delicious. we can linger over wine and conversation at home much longer than if we in a restaurant.

    i'm also a fan of lingering in and around swimming pools drinking sparkling lemonade on hot summer days with my girls. something about lolling in a pool that is luxurious.

  9. Nessbow

    I take myself on a date. I get all dolled up in a pretty outfit, throw on some lovely jewelry and then go out on the town. I'll walk about, browsing through shops and treat myself to morning tea and a sweet cafe. Lovely.

  10. Bespoke Biddie

    I love this and your powerfully painted imagery has me on a mission


  11. BeadsAndBarnacles

    Good Ideas, I take myself out for coffee on a regular basis.
    I need to start some of these other things, I dont normally wear perfume as my mum always used to wear too much and it would give me a headache (at least at the beginning) but I am starting to like it more now. Free (or cheap) samples sound like the way to go. 😀

  12. Anonymous

    I love this post, and I always go to the local Aveda institute for a cheap manicure or haircut! One of my favorite ways to make myself feel a little less like the typical broke college student is go to my favorite Mexican restaurant. The waiters know my name, give me a cozy booth in the corner, and always keep my margarita full and the chips and salsa coming. Make an effort to know your waiter and always tip well and be super friendly, and they absolutely will give you special attention when you show up.

  13. Anonymous

    A colorful creative manicure always does it for me:)

  14. o

    Gratitude. How? Lie down and shut your eyes. Start at your toes, feet, legs, be grateful you have them. Continue thru the rest of your body. Be grateful you have a bed. A place to rest your head. Fresh water. Clothes. Shoes. Go through EVERYTHING YOU DO HAVE. And may be healthier to do this than watch t.v. and look at what others have. If you can look at what others have and be grateful they do. Continue this method. However Americans have a negative habit lately of Not counting their blessings. Start acknowledging EVERYTHING with Gratitude & Thanks

  15. Anonymous

    What a wonderful post!

    I love strolling through the perfume and makeup departments and trying a new fragrance or lipstick color.

    Every other Friday I start work late, so I take myself out for breakfast at a cute little bakery near my office. I sit down, have a latte and a croissant and read the newspapers. All in all it costs less than 5 bucks but feels like THE ultimate luxury – going out for breakfast always does that for me. I mean really go out and sit down and not just some coffee-to-go whilst rushing to work.

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      That sounds like a perfect way to start your Friday!

  16. Chidalu

    i do the shopping cart one a lot…really feels good. thanks for sharing.


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