10 Ways to Live Frugally Without Looking Cheap

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DO YOU HATE THE IDEA OF brown-bagging it as everyone else in the office goes out for lunch? Do you dread parking your old-school Camry in a lot full of BMWs? Do you hope no one sees you with your coupons in the grocery store?

If keeping up appearances is important to you, there are plenty of ways to do it without resorting to falling into debt. Here are 10 ways to look like you’re living large without overspending.

Buy used items. From designer clothes to luxury cars, you can buy high-quality goods at a reduced rate simply by opting for secondhand items. “I have a couple ladies who work for me who always look great,” says Dawn-Marie Joseph, president of the financial firm Estate Planning & Preservation in Williamston, Michigan. “The majority of them buy their stuff from nice consignment shops.”

If you’re looking to buy a car, keep in mind new cars depreciate significantly in the first year, meaning there are deals to be found if you’re willing to buy something previously owned. That’s the strategy Joseph has used to buy Range Rovers ever since she discovered they are perfect for her dirt road. While the 2018 base price for a Range Rover is $88,860, Joseph says she has never paid more than $21,000 because she always looks for used vehicles with low miles. To make sure you’re getting the best deal on a used vehicle, consider looking for certified pre-owned vehicles or having an independent mechanic inspect it prior to purchase.

Barely used, brand-name electronics, jewelry and furniture can be found at pawn shops and Facebook sales groups as well. However, if you’re buying an item from a private seller, be wary of counterfeit goods and conduct transactions in a public place.

Rent, don’t own. Sometimes you only need to use an item briefly to make a good impression. In that case, consider renting rather than buying. You can rent designer clothes through Rent the Runway, or try Mine for Nine to get fashionable maternity wear. There are also rental companies for baby gear, jewelry and handbags. These websites will let you borrow specific items for a certain number of days at a set price. Or you can sign up for a subscription plan that will let you rotate clothing items. For example, Rent the Runway will send you four items at a time for $89 a month with its RTR Update plan.

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