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Finance tips for getting a high-end look without breaking the bank


Love the champagne lifestyle but living on a lemonade budget? Don't worry, we've got your back.

You'd be forgiven for thinking it costs a fortune to get a high-end look, either at home or in your wardrobe. Of course, a six-figure salary would make life easier, but at the end of the day we can only work with what we've got. Alas.

Thankfully, there are plenty of budget-friendly ways to elevate your style and countless hacks to save cash on those items you just have to have. Don't believe us? Read on my luxury-loving friends, I promise you'll thank me.

Use a rewards credit card

If you're going to make a purchase, you might as well get rewarded for it, right? Rewards credit cards can let you spread the cost of a purchase over a longer period, while also giving you points that you can redeem in future.

For example, the David Jones American Express card rewards customers with three points for every $1 spent at major supermarkets and petrol stations, two points for every $1 spent at David Jones, and one point for every $1 spent anywhere else^.

You can even redeem them in a way that suits you. Shop with points online at David Jones, redeem reward points for gift cards at major retailers and airlines, or credit your account.

Fees do apply if you're going to get a rewards credit card though, so always look out for the interest rate, annual fees, and any terms and conditions. Before you apply for any financial product, you should also read the TMD, too.

A person pays with a credit card.

Install a browser extension

There are lots of free browser extensions which sit quietly on your desktop but then jump into action whenever they find a deal or discount code for the website you're visiting.

I use one called Honey, but there are plenty of options out there. In short, they scan the Internet for discount codes and then apply them automatically. No more searching for codes and spending ages typing them in just to find out they're expired. You're welcome.

A ginger cat looks at a laptop.

Join a cashback site

If you've never heard of cashback sites, I'm about to change your life. Basically, cashback sites earn a commission whenever a visitor clicks through to a store from their site. Usually, they'll earn a percentage of however much the person ends up spending.

But like the angels they are, cashback sites then share that commission with you. So if you were planning on buying something, why not claim some cash while you're at it?

The amount you get back varies between brands and sites. Occasionally you can get up to 40% of your spend back, but it's usually closer to 10%. Still, it all adds up over time.

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Embrace vintage

The pinnacle of sustainable shopping, vintage and pre-loved clothing is good for the environment and kind on your pocket. Plus, it's a great way to find high-quality and unique pieces for a fraction of the original retail price.

"Instead of opting for fast fashion options that will appear exactly the price you paid for them, check out the latest runway of the top designers to get some inspiration, and then head to thrift stores or your mum's or grandma's wardrobe and take your time to look through the racks," suggested Olivia Vlachou, fashion stylist and co-founder of All The Dresses.

Vlachou also urged shoppers to try lots on, even if they're unsure at first.

"Pieces can look very different on the hangers than on your body," she told Finder. "You're guaranteed to find some gems, and a tailor can make adjustments to the garment to ensure it looks like it was made for you!"

A young woman browses clothing racks in a vintage store.

Hire high-end

If you really can't justify the expense of a new outfit for one big event, clothing hire can be a great alternative which makes designer outfits accessible to the everyday Aussie.

"The benefits of hiring means you're able to get that high end look whilst paying a fraction of the retail price, and you won't be left with a garment in your wardrobe that might not fit perfectly later down the track," said Vlachou.

An older woman smiles broadly, while celebrating in a glamorous gold dress.

Shop small

We get why the biggest brand names are appealing but don't forget to shop small. Independent stores often have high-quality pieces which won't be seen everywhere else - unlike the latest line from that designer you (and everyone else) love.

While independent stores aren't necessarily cheaper, you will be injecting money back into small businesses and local economies - which is very much needed after a tough 2020.

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