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Live Like A Millionaire – For Less

You don’t have to be a millionaire to live like one. Approach your spending differently and you, too, can start to live a rich-lister’s life, says Amy Hamilton Chadwick.

5 October 2021

How would you live if you were wealthy? What would you spend more on? What matters most to you?

Is it giving up work and having the freedom to do what you want?

Or is it living in a mansion? Driving European cars? Eating out at restaurants? Luxury holidays? Having staff?

You might not have the budget now to afford your fantasy lifestyle, but there’s no reason you can’t get a wealthier experience out of your day-to-day living, for less.

Using your money intelligently can help you enjoy some of the experiences that sound like a millionaire’s lifestyle to you.

Claire Matthews, Associate Professor at Massey Business School, says wealth isn’t necessarily being able to afford anything you like.

“It’s more about having control over your money and being able to afford the things that are really important to you,” she says.

“For some people it’s travel, for others it’s relaxing at home, volunteering, spending time with the family or just reading that big pile of books.”

Your priorities

The trick to living like a millionaire on a budget? First, identify your ‘millionaire’ priorities.

Then work out where you can cut back so you can spend more strategically.

Being conscious of your spending, rather than acting on autopilot, is a way to get the most value out of every dollar, says Lisa Dudson, financial adviser and owner of Acumen.

“With more awareness, you can make different decisions, so you’re not living life on a hamster wheel.

“Get creative, pay attention and make conscious spending choices.”

Spend less than you earn

Ideally, the best way to live a wealthier lifestyle is by investing wisely and becoming genuinely wealthy.

But by spending less than you earn and investing the rest, you can create significant wealth in your lifetime.

But don’t forget to spoil yourself a little, says Matthews.

“There’s no point having a frugal lifestyle all through your twenties and into your fifties so you can have an extravagant retirement. The unfortunate reality is that you might not get there.

“It’s no use being in a coffin with a huge fortune.”

Pay someone else to do it

Buying your way out of unpleasant jobs is a highly effective way to improve your happiness, according to a 2017 Harvard Business School study.

Have a fresh, clean house by simply hiring a cleaner for a couple of hours a week. That can take an unpleasant job off your list, cut household arguments and give you more time, all for roughly the cost of a restaurant dinner for two.

Take your annual leave

Many Kiwis take a strange pride in how many days of holiday leave they’ve accrued, but does your dedication to your job mean you’re missing out on life-enhancing experiences?

Use your leave to take more holidays, spend more time with your family, or have a day of utter extravagance that you’ll never forget.

Opulent holidays

If you want to feel as though you’re living a luxury lifestyle, it might be as simple as swapping six nights in an Airbnb for one night in a five-star hotel.

It might be chartering a boat for two nights for you and your partner, rather than giving each other Christmas presents.

Hunt for bargains

Dudson loves to dine out and often uses the First Table website to get 50 per cent off her food bill by booking early-bird tables.

She says you can also buy the Entertainment Book and check GrabOne regularly, while the website 1-day has deals on electronics, toys, clothing, travel and more.

“Just generally look around for special offers – you work hard for every dollar, so make sure you spend it in a way that delivers value.”

Rent that mansion

When you ask about wealth, Kiwis tend to talk about their houses, rather than possessions. That can make it very hard to feel wealthy if you rent.

However, the more you spend on a rental in New Zealand, the more value you’ll tend to get for your money.

Cheap houses often cost 4 per cent to 5 per cent of their value to rent each year, while multimillion-dollar houses will rent for 1 per cent to 2 per cent of their value.

If you want to live like a millionaire, why not rent a beautiful house, if you can afford it?

Future classic cars

Love a specific car brand but can’t afford it? Look for ‘future classics’ from the 1990s and early 2000s to get the premium badge you’re passionate about at a price that works for you.

You’ll need to do your research so you don’t buy a lemon, but some day in the future, provided you can afford the maintenance and you keep the kilometres down, your classic car could be worth more than you paid for it.

Wealth is more than money

“Don’t forget it’s not just about financial wealth – it’s also about the type of life you have, your opportunities, your family and your health,” says Matthews.

“I’d encourage you to think about that as well!”

Wealthy people will be the first to tell you that money isn’t everything. You can’t enjoy your wealth if you’re unwell, lonely, bored, or miserable.

Take care of yourself and the people you love, so you can spend more time together and build happy memories.

Informed Investor's content comes from sources that Informed Investor magazine considers accurate, but we do not guarantee its accuracy. Charts in Informed Investor are visually indicative, not exact. The content of Informed Investor is intended as general information only, and you use it at your own risk.

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