A Guide to Broke Fancy: How to Fake it Until You Make It

Sometimes we find ourselves in transitional periods financially where we remember a lifestyle of lavishness but can only afford a few cans of Bud Light and a box of Easy Mac. Still, being broke doesn’t mean you need to feel like a dirty hobo. Pretending like you’re living the good life is a matter of making a few key investments and adjustments. Learn to treat yourself to fancy dinners, wear the flashiest new trends and drink up frou frou cocktails, all on a dishwasher’s budget.


Food: Splurging on a Budget


Cooking at home is a great way to save money, but when your grocery shopping budget is slashed down to chump change, you tend to stock up on crap food like frozen dinners for meal security purposes. For true fancy foodies, this feels like a gunshot to the head. But you don’t have to replace your butter poached lobster with fish sticks if you funnel your supermarket spending into a few fancy ingredients that make a big difference.  

Truffle oil is expensive but pungent and a drop will turn an entire meal into something special. Buy a bag of pasta, some mushrooms and a jar of marinara for next to nothing. Drizzle just a touch of truffle oil on top to turn this boring college food meal into something spectacular. The same goes for a good Parmesan cheese. Putting down some green for a good hunk of richly flavored parm can impart loads of taste into an otherwise budget meal. Don’t get stuck in pasta mode, and you can add a tiny bit of the cheese on salads, omelets and casseroles. You can use that box of Easy Mac as a maraca come Cinco de Mayo.


Clothes: Looking Your Best for Pennies



Living on a budget doesn’t mean you need to scour Wal-Mart for fashion finds.  If you have designer digs hanging in your closet from those days when you had the money to splurge, you can turn them into cash (or into new, fashionable clothes). You can find thrift stores nationwide. These days, you can find a variety of thrift stores, and many of them are not your grandma’s second-hand store, and you won’t find nightgowns or stained old sweatshirts. Many thrift stores focus on new trends, designer brands and only buy gently used, fashionable, clothing. Many of their employees are young and trained to pick out only the best items from the clothes and accessories people bring in daily.  The best part is, these thrift stores sell these items at ridiculously low prices.  

You can make a day of gathering the things you don’t wear and then head over to your local thrift store. You can sell your clothes and whatever they pick from your litter can be turned into cash or credit at the store.  Browse the shop with your earnings for new fashionable clothes. Nobody ever has to know that Prada bag cost you $10.


Drinks: A Happy Hour Fix


Happy hour is a blessing for drinking on a budget and even the fanciest bars, with their gold-rimmed, acai berry-infused, diamond-crusted drinks, will have it.  Scope out your ‘hood for the nicest bars and wait until the clock strikes happy to get your fix of fancy boozing. Also, remember that beer and wine are less expensive than mixed drinks.

There is a difference between being broke and feeling broke. Amidst your financial crap hole, determining the things that make you feel fancy and modifying your spending on those things, instead of giving them up all together, has a big mental impact.




Are you living on a budget? Are there things that you splurge on or can’t live without?




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