How I Afford Luxury (On A Receptionist Wage)

This is a question I get asked very often, by people that know me well and people that hardly know me at all and everybody in between.
Luxury designer fashion is something that has inspired me and I have hungered for since I was a little girl playing dress ups with my sister, I would see all the glamorous mums around Brighton with their strategically selected designer items which I just thought were so chic and beautiful. Owning a special designer bag and shoes of my own became almost a necessity for me, something I desperately needed to attain.

There was a period of time in my life (a good five years actually) where I was earning lets conservatively say four times what I earn now, while the money was fantastic in that role, there were sacrifices and work life balance was definitely one, one which I now value more than I thought I ever would. Alas, while the glitter has mostly settled, my love of designer fashion has not faded, so I have had to learn how to make room for designer items in my new tax bracket, this has been challenging to say the least, but not impossible, so I thought I would share how I save and squirrel away for my pretties sans debt!


1. I Dont Drink

I am not against drinking, and I don’t never drink, but generally speaking I just don’t unless its a special occasion or there is some very special champagne flowing. Alcohol is expensive, a cocktail will set you back anywhere from $15-$28 a pop, depending where you are and how elaborate it is. I don’t need alcohol or drugs (I hate drugs, zero dollars of my money has ever been spent on that filth) to have a good time, being drunk or out of control on any substance is not something I personally enjoy or find appealing so simply for that reason I don’t do it and this is something that saves me money without needing to miss out. I still go out for nice dinners or to bars with my friends I just drink very fabulous mocktails instead which are generally half the price sometimes even less than their alcohol filled equals and the next day as an added bonus, I am fresh as a daisy!

2. I Do My Own Nails

Mid last year, I realised I was spending on average $70 a fortnight on my nails for Shellac Mani/Pedis, thats a whopping $1820 a year – FYI thats a small handbag from Louis Vuitton or Gucci! I was watching one of my fave YouTubers, I Am Chouquette and she mentioned doing her own nails was one way she saved pennies toward her phenomenal Chanel collection, I thought what a brilliant idea and decided I should give it a go, it cost me less than $70 to buy a basic kit of things to give myself an at home mani/pedi so no huge loss if I failed, but I didn’t, I bought a pale color to be safe as it allows for a few more mistakes without being too obvious and OPI drying drops which are a god send of a product! I have been doing my own nails for over six months now and I am very happy with my new skill and saved pennies.

I also believe in using this across the board for as much at home beauty as you can master. I tint my own eyebrows and keep them maintained for most of the year myself, I get them shaped maybe three or four times a year and do it myself the rest of the time. I used to spend $60 every six weeks having them done (another $400 saved).

3. I Don’t Buy Heavily Into Trends

Fashion trends are so fast moving these days and there is a lot of fast fashion everywhere you look and whilst for some things that is great. Filling your wardrobe with things you not only won’t want to wear next season or next year, but won’t be able to sell on for much because they are falling apart or ridiculously untrendy now is just a waste of your money. I suggest Investing into your basics that you will keep year in year out and using fast fashion to buy one or two trend driven items to mix in with your basics, don’t break the bank doing it either as these items won’t hold their value.

4. I Re-Evaluate Items In My Wardrobe Regularly (And On Sell)

If you aren’t wearing them anymore why are you hoarding them? It is a waste of your precious wardrobe realestate, mean to the beautiful clothes that deserve to go to a new home where someone will love them all over again, and foolish for your savings as selling them will give you some money back to put towards new treasures. Last year I made $3715 by selling old clothes and shoes on eBay and doing a Camberwell Market stall. Even if you remove the one designer item I sold (Chloe boots which I got $685 for) I still made enough money to buy a very nice designer handbag or a few pairs of designer shoes.

5. I Shop Luxe Beauty From UK Online Store Cult Beauty

Sometime last year while style stalking Lydia Elise Millen and all her fabulousness I came across Cult Beauty UK. They are an online beauty retailer not dissimilar to Mecca or Sephora, while they don’t have every brand or product that I use, they have a great range of By Terry, Verso, Sunday Riley, Dr Dennis Gross, Omorovicza (I could go on). Their prices on products compared to Australia are slightly cheaper, and then to my delight I discovered that once you sign up and enter in an Australian shipping address, the tax gets removed and they become even cheaper, they have free shipping on orders over GBP50 (not hard to achieve) and they often have promo codes of like 10% off your whole order or 15% off all By Terry etc etc. Long story short, I save on average 30% on the price of products compared to buying here – worth checking out!

6. I Research Stalk Items I’m Lusting After

I generally do not impulse buy designer items, partly because big purchases should be thought out and I usually can’t afford to just buy on the spot, but mostly because nine out of ten times you can find it cheaper by spending five minutes on Google or Polyvore. I always make use of the major annual sales to pick up a few sneaky classic items. Generally online every year there will be huge sales for Easter Long Weekend, End Of Financial Year, Black Friday/Cyber Monday and Boxing Day, these are all pretty much a given so if there is a classic item you have been lusting after and you are close to any of those dates, perhaps its worth holding out? I picked up Stuart Weitzman Hiline Boots in black for $730, almost half the price they retail for in Australia in the Black Friday sales last year, I can’t say I saved $740, because I would not have bought them full price, but stalking the sales made them attainable for me.

7. I Work An Extra Shift Once A Month

This is a new addition to helping me save, and was something I decided to do in the lead up to my trip to Paris in March this year to give me a few extra spending dollars. But upon reflection, whats one Saturday a month? I have decided to carry on the extra shifts after my trip as Saturday pay is a little higher than a weekday rate and the extra pennies will be set aside toward a very special Birthday present for myself later this year. I know not every job will have the flexibility for you to do this but its always worth asking you manager if you can. For me its an extra $2200 for the year – again that right there is a designer bag or a handle of a Chanel bag hehe.

8. I Have Accepted That I Can’t Have It All.

This was the hardest adjustment post glitter life, but also the most helpful. I used to have beautiful (if I do say so myself) creamy blonde locks, hair extensions (permanent and clip in), weekly massages, and VIP shopping status at a few local designer clothing stores. Being Blonde was costing me well over $3500 per year, it was something I negotiated with myself to let go because simply put my new salary didn’t allow space for that and shopping so I am now enjoying my natural hair color which gets a few strategically placed balayage highlights to lift it twice a year, I also no longer have extensions as I found that not coloring my hair every three and a half weeks allowed my hair to thicken up and grow a lot on its own. Every so often I clip in an old set for a bit of extra something on a Saturday night out, but mostly I have embraced my natural hair. The shopping has been a painful trade off but overall now, I don’t miss it too much, I would rather have a few really really special pieces than hoards of seasonal stuff.


I hope my tricks for affording designer items on a very conservative salary help you or maybe motivate you to make a few adjustments to how you spend your money. Have a conversation with yourself, what can’t you live without and what are you prepared to sacrifice to make room for it?


Sweater: Zimmermann 2013

Top: H&M

Singlet: Kookai basics

Jeans: Paige Margot High Rise

Boots: Stuart Weitzman Hiline – compare prices on Polyvore

Earrings: Chanel 2017

Bag: Chanel 2010 (they have done patent again this season with Gold hardware)

Lipstick: Nars – Heatwave

The Hat: Maison Michel Virginie Hat


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