Thrifty Luxury Items That Make Me Feel Like a Million Dollars

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you’ll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

By the author of the FREE online course Growing Self-Sufficiency: The Whole Picture

With all of the economic forecasts not exactly looking rosy and the state of the world being somewhat of a concern, I believe that being a dedicated Frugalite is more important than ever. I evaluate my monthly financial plan at least twice a month and will be doing my share of belt-tightening in the new year. 

However, I do believe that it is possible to be incredibly thrifty and, at the same time, literally feel like a millionaire. I believe I am a great example of this. How do I accomplish this? I do two things: I cultivate my feelings of gratitude for what I do have each and every day.  I also keep an eye out to purchase thrifty luxury items that offer me comfort, pleasure, and the feeling of great wealth. And all of this costs me literally next to nothing!

This article will focus on this second habit: the thrifty luxury items that pamper me and lift my spirits.

Car Seat Warmer

Our Canadian winters can get pretty cold here; it’s not unusual to have some cold snaps below minus 20 Fahrenheit that last a week or more.  When my new (used) car didn’t have a seat warmer, I knew this little luxury would make driving to work on the back country roads so much more comfortable. 

However, I wasn’t prepared to pay the regular price of around $75, including tax. So, I did what I usually do: I bided my time and watched the local flyers for a sale. It took a little while: it was a few weeks this fall before my wonderful seat warmer turned up on the front page of the sales flyer: for 70% off! The fact that it was a store brand rather than a famous national brand also helped the price. That was definitely worth the drive into town!

My wonderful seat warmer plugs into the 12V plug on my front console. The very fact that it is padded means that it insulates from the cold of my pleather seat covers, so it is already warmer when I first get in. It has a low and high setting. (I generally prefer high!) The auto shut-off also prevents overheating. Truly, my drives are much cozier due to my purchase of this small item, which only cost me around $20, due to my thrifty patience. Here’s one online for about $40 if you aren’t able to find a better price locally.

Handmade Pottery Coffee Mug

Given that I live on a tight budget, you might be surprised to hear that I own a handmade coffee mug that retails for almost $45. “What!?!” you might say, “That’s not very frugal of you, Colette!” 

First of all, let me tell you about this mug! It is hand-turned clay with a stunning multicolor glaze that shifts from beige with dark spots on the bottom to a beautiful medium blue at the top. It is a generous size, with a comfortable handle with a glaze that mirrors the mug body. The mug came with a matching lid stamped with a dragonfly detail on the inside top. I use this several times a day to cover the mug as I brew my usual collection of herbal and medicinal teas.  

This mug was produced by a local pottery artist. Given that I normally buy items such as this at thrift shops, it is quite unusual for me to own a new one. Did I buy it with cash? Heck no! I bartered for it!

When the newly-opened cafe in my area looked like they could use some shelving that would suit their vaulted ceilings, I mentioned that I just happened to have not one, but TWO handmade red oak corner shelving units that I was willing to barter for. I had already assessed their market value. My research included speaking with a local antique dealer who confided that the difficult financial times had severely impacted the retail value of pieces like these.

The cafe owner was interested. The negotiating began. I was interested in a mug. No, no, I didn’t need any cash….How about a tab in the cafe to round out the deal? We agreed on a reasonable amount that equaled what I would have asked for these in cash. We were both delighted. I got to eat treats at their fabulous cafe for months that I would otherwise not have bought. They got two red oak shelving units that were blocking my view of the trees. Interested in learning more about creative bartering? Check out this article

Top of the Line Custom Coffee Blend

No matter how tight money gets, I always allow myself one of my greatest pleasures: a high-quality cup of coffee each morning. Yes, I do drink it from my beautiful bartered mug! Buying expensive coffee by the pound is not within my budget, so I need to put my Frugalite thinking hat on and solve this problem. Over the years, I have come up with several ideas that stretch my coffee dollars.  

One of my most effective solutions is to create a custom blend of high-end coffee with a more frugal bulk coffee. The current ratio I use for my cup is two scoops high-end coffee mixed with four scoops of bulk beans to make a generous morning cup of coffee. Want to learn more about stretching your gourmet coffee dollars? Check out this entire article on the topic here. 

Thrifty Luxury that Warms My Heart

I believe that small luxuries can be thrifty AND lift our spirits. Could you see yourself trying any of the thrifty luxuries offered here? Do you have one of your own treasured Frugalite luxuries you can share with us? What do you think about the mental boost from these little joys? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments section.

About Colette

Colette is passionate about sharing her knowledge of thrifty living and self-sufficiency. She has developed her skills in self-reliance living in the suburbs, the city, and more recently, on her own Half-Acre Homestead. Colette lived five years completely off-grid and without running water in an eight by 24 foot tiny home while designing and building her own 18 by 24-foot eco-cabin. Her website, Half Acre Homestead is attracting followers from around the world who want to become more self-sufficient.  Colette invites you to stop by the Homestead and check out all of the great resources including the practical How To Guides, A Tiny Home Resource Center and her organic gardening stories on her blog. She shares her wholistic model (body/mind/spirit) for achieving self-sufficiency in her Free Course, “Growing Self-Sufficiency: The Whole Picture.” Stop by the Homestead today to register free of charge!

Thrifty Luxury Items That Make Me Feel Like a Million Dollars
Colette

Colette

Colette is passionate about sharing her knowledge of thrifty living and self-sufficiency. She has developed her skills in self-reliance living in the suburbs, the city, and more recently, on her own Half-Acre Homestead. Colette lived five years completely off-grid and without running water in an eight by 24 foot tiny home while designing and building her own 18 by 24-foot eco-cabin. Her website, Half Acre Homestead is attracting followers from around the world who want to become more self-sufficient.  Colette invites you to stop by the Homestead and check out all of the great resources including the practical How To Guides, A Tiny Home Resource Center and her organic gardening stories on her blog. She shares her wholistic model (body/mind/spirit) for achieving self-sufficiency in her Free Course, "Growing Self-Sufficiency: The Whole Picture." Stop by the Homestead today to register free of charge!

21 thoughts on “Thrifty Luxury Items That Make Me Feel Like a Million Dollars”

  1. It gets cold here in the Midwest.
    I love my electric throw and my top of the line Chai Vanilla tea that costs me over $13 at a specialty store. Nothing better on these cold winter nights!
    I treated myself to two movies last month. One was Elvis. I think the soundtrack in our local theater was better than any TV sound.
    Once a week or so I take my car to the hills and just drive, loving the beauty of the landscape.

    That’s about it.

    1. Hi Marie, Oh, that sounds so cozy! Enjoying a tea under your warm throw! Like you, I’m a film fan. Living so far from the city, I don’t get many opportunities to enjoy a good movie at the theatre….I think I’m overdue now. Wishing you a wonderful and luxurious year.

  2. I’ve never heard of a car seat warmer that wasn’t a feature on a car. Then again, we get maybe a week of very cold weather.

    As for spending $45 on a coffee mug. Never. Not even $45 Canadian.

    We buy decent beans from Costco and grind them.

    1. Hi Bill, Having had a couple of cars before that had built in seat warmers, I guess I got used to the luxury. When I realized how nice it was, any investment seemed worth it.

      Yes, regarding the mug, well, if I hadn’t bartered for it, I would not be likely to spend that much on a mug. All I can say is that I sure do get a lot of enjoyment out of it. Wishing you a frugal and enjoyable year!

  3. Recent news stories about people trying to survive while being trapped in their cars during prolonged snow storms have tweaked my understanding of preparing one’s vehicle (whether car, truck, van, SUV, or whatever). Some of those stories mentioned people who kept their engines running to keep interior heat on … and died from the engine-generated carbon monoxide that heavy snowfall kept from escaping.

    In the spirit of the old expression about “keeping the person warm rather than the room” I can imagine much value (with severe freezing weather in the forecast) in keeping subzero rated sleeping bags in one’s vehicle along with thick wool blankets, wool beanies, long handle underwear, gloves, socks, and wool fleece lined boots. During recent storms where several feet of snow fell, I can visualize where an onboard supply of water, toilet paper, food that doesn’t need cooking, and portable porta-potty gear could all help prevent the kinds of deadly disasters I have read about.

    In such situations … having both a working cell phone to send help messages and a bright orange T-shirt (to make a help flag with) would be a lot more useful than items chosen just to impress strangers.

    –Lewis

    1. Hi Lewis, It’s always a pleasure to see your insightful comments here.

      I hope folks are taking notes on your suggestions. I also keep a full size snow shovel, a bucket of sand, a bucket of salt, and a plastic shaker jug with a handle that contains a mixture of salt and sand. I literally can’t count how many times I’ve helped dig folks out and used my sand to help them get on their way.

      Wishing you a thrifty and happy year!

  4. My little luxury…

    I really used to like going to get my nails done. That was, of course, one of the first things I cut back on when reducing expenses. I got some cheap polish and tried doing my nails at home but it chipped almost immediately and I gave up. I broke down and bought a more expensive polish and top coat and it lasts FAR longer. So now, I buy nail polish from ILNP. It’s $10 a bottle, but a bottle lasts a looonggg time. I’m not really into variety, so just a couple of bottles will see me through well-manicured nails for months, if not a year.

    1. Hi Daisy, What an honour to see you here! That is such a great tip on how the quality polish maintains a home manicure. I’m sure you get a lot of enjoyment from your beautiful nails. A wonderful Frugalite new year to you!!!

  5. I place thrift store down coats and down comforters flat in the trunk of my car so I’ll be prepared if I find myself stranded in the cold. The above items cost about $15 each. I have extra so I can share with others in an emergency. I also make cashmere beanies and gloves out of thrift store sweaters. I like Lewis’ extensive list of preps so you’re ready for anything. The above items make me feel quite special and at a special price!

    1. Hi Kathleen, Your suggestion to thrift shop some down coats and comforters is fantastic, and could save some folks’ lives. I hope people are taking notes on the cool car winter survival thread that is developing here!

      Your handmade cashmere beanies and gloves sound like sheer heaven. I haven’t had many opportunities to actually feel cashmere, but I do remember: it is SOOOO soft! Good for you…crafty and thrifty! Wishing you a cashmere year!

    1. Hi Barb, Mmmmm. I’m gonna have to find me some of this. Thanks for sharing your favourite luxury! Wishing you a deliciously caffeinated year of heaven in a mug!

  6. Proof reading note – article has Daisy Luther but appears to be Collette.
    While not necessarily thrifty yet frugal, my library card. If I had kids in school, state law would provide one card for the family at no cost but that ship has sailed. Too many people in this area that really can’t afford to stay in their homes won’t pay less than $10/year to fix the roads, much less participate in the library district. It would cost me gas to shop thrift stores for books and DVDs/BluRays as there aren’t any closer than the library. It would cost me money to purchase from a discount seller (which I occasionally do IF I can’t find it via inter-library). I am *not* into reading books on a device but even if I was, I’d have to buy the device.
    Given the cost of paperbacks, much less hardcovers, the card cost is a bargain.

    1. Hi Selena, Yes, this is a great opportunity to point out how much luxury is available for the cost of a library card. In our region, these are free. I am consistently amazed at what they have available. I go to one library every week. They have free craft kits for the children, even streaming and online magazine subscriptions free to users and so much more! Thanks for reminding us all how much is available. In our region, the cards are even free!

  7. I bought a full length mink coat in pristine condition for $80 and a shorter mink coat in pristine condition for $150, both have suede lined pockets. Not exactly super cheap thrift store finds, but compared to buying them from somewhere else, I feel I made out pretty well and definitely got a better deal than buying them new.
    I also run across antiques at thrift stores occasionally and my favorite piece is a dry sink with the original lid and hardware that was $65. It makes a great tv stand with hidden storage.
    Going “junking” is one of my secret pleasures because it’s the thrill of the hunt and you just never know what you might find.

    1. Hi Carolyn, Wow. To me suede-lined pockets really shows the quality of those items. Like you, I truly enjoy thrift shopping and consider it a fun and social hobby. Why social? I am always finding myself in conversations with other folks in the aisles, swapping stories about our great finds, or what we’re looking for. This week, I came across a scale replica toy size, of a 1931 John Deere tractor. I’m enjoying it on my bookshelf now, but it will surely be a treasured gift to one of my local farming friends this year. Happy “Junking” to you and a merry frugalite year!

  8. Buying local artisan items cost more–but how can we have any local manufactures after SHTF if we do not support these people now?

    My favorite luxury that makes me feel like a billionaire is the old laptop I am typing this on. It is worth at LEAST a billion 1960’s dollars in terms of computing power as valued in that decade.

    1. Hi Ester, Yes, you make a very good point. I’m 100% around building a local bartering economy right now, so that it’s in place for SHTF. Who knows, some year in the future, that artisan making mugs may be the only local source of dishes, crockery, etc. etc?

      You had me chuckling with your story about your laptop. Isn’t it wonderful how our attitude is truly what allows us to appreciate what we have and feel wealthy? Thanks for this fantastic reminder. Wishing you and your luxury laptop a healthy and wealthy year!

  9. My two favorite thrifty luxuries are my Cobalt Betty teapot (just like the Brown Betty only glazed with a gorgeous deep blue), and tea from Teabox in India. It makes the best tea and keeps it hot for a long time. When there’s a sale, I buy packets of the best Assam loose tea and brew it in my Cobalt Betty for breakfast. An additional perk is that I can follow the box of tea in its journey from India all the way to me as it progresses through Dubai, Paris, etc.

    1. Hi Ellen, I have never heard of a Cobalt Betty, but it sure sounds beautiful. I think I would enjoy one, too. How interesting you can follow your tea’s journey. That sounds like fun. Thanks so much for sharing your thrifty luxuries with everyone. I wish you a wonderful year with many delicious and luxurious tea breaks!

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