What if there was a way to enjoy a little luxury that actually cost less than the more basic alternative? Well, I’ve been searching for cheaper but better options – here’s what I found.
Fruit and veg delivered to your door
Why lug home sacks of potatoes when you could have them delivered weekly to your door? Fresh, local, organic produce delivered regularly, with recipes and meal suggestions – a real luxury compared to a slog to the supermarket.
And it really is cheaper than buying organic produce elsewhere – the Soil Association worked out that having a box delivered is 26% cheaper than buying the equivalent at the supermarket. That’s luxury for a lot less.
Of course, it’s worth mentioning that thus is only cheaper if you already buy organic fruit and veg. If you’re buying economy options from the supermarket or saving even more money by shopping at your local market, this is unlikely to be cheaper.
ALL your shopping delivered to your door!
In fact, forget just the fruit and veg, why not have all your groceries delivered? Yes you’ll pay a delivery fee, but that is more than offset by the savings you’ll make not making impulse purchases on the way round – and pay not petrol or travel costs either.
After all, it doesn’t matter how savvy a shopper you are, the supermarkets know what they are doing and can make it hard not to buy. By shopping online, you don’t have to trail down aisles filled with tempting items you don’t need.
You can also use a free service like Mysupermarket.com to find out which supermarket is cheapest for you – that saves me around a tenner a time and so more than pays for my delivery.
So online shopping with a delivery service definitely makes the list of luxuries that cost less.
Fine dining is a real luxury, but it usually comes with a price tag to match. But this year the prestigious Michelin guide has embraced austerity and awarded 27 eateries a ‘Bib Gourmand’ for offering tremendous but affordable food.
For example, Lima is a London-based Peruvian restaurant that’s just been awarded a Michelin star – if you eat from its set lunch or pre-theatre menu, you can get two courses for £20 each or three courses for £23 a head.
There are plenty of London pubs where you’d pay that for a burger, so it’s worth investigating some of the Michelin guide’s cheaper options. You can take a look to see what’s near you (and see price guides) here
A brand new car
If things are really tight then a new car of any description is probably out of reach. But if you need a new motor, you may well assume that a brand new car is an unnecessary luxury.
Yet it’s possible that it’s a luxury that would cost you less than a five-year-old vehicle, once you’ve factored in repairs and MOT costs.
Analysis from Moneysupermarket.com shows that brand new cars are up to 73% cheaper to run, which can easily outweigh the extra cost - including depreciation - in the long run.
It depends on the model, and on your luck, but the price comparison site found that a new Peugeot 208 is £748 a year cheaper on average than its five-year-old equivalent.
So don’t assume a brand new car is a luxury you can’t afford, it might be more affordable than the alternative!
Big airline versus budget airline
It’s very easy to assume that a budget airline like Ryanair will beat the big brand alternatives on price.
After all, budget flights are so stripped back that you’d assume they will always be cheaper – unless you decide to pay for additional services.
Yet this is not always the case. In fact, budget airlines can sometimes cost far more. Take BA, for example. That airline’s fares are all-inclusive, meaning they have no hidden costs.
Meanwhile some budget airlines charge for paying with card, bringing luggage and any on-board food. But unless you’re a backpacking student or lone traveller, those can be essentials!
Yet on a BA flight you’ll receive complimentary refreshments, you have a luggage allowance and you can choose to sit with the rest of your party – all without paying extra.
This can mean that a BA flight works out cheaper than the budget alternative, but you get a much more luxurious experience. Best of all, no one tries to sell you lottery tickets at 20,000 feet!
Have you found any luxuries that cost less than the more meagre alternative? Share your tips with other readers using the comments below…