Cheap thrills: little luxuries that won’t blow your budget

By Melina Byrne, the Money Maven (formerly the Recessionista)

Image from Emporio Armani’s A/W show

If you’re an ‘uptown girl’ on a downtown budget, the Money Maven has discovered some excellent feel good splurges that’ll make you feel indulgent without breaking the piggy bank…

1. Happiness for hire?

Think like Carrie’s assistant Louise (Jennifer Hudson) in the Sex And The City movie and rent a luxury handbag for special occasions.

At Bag An Image, you can rent not only a Chanel quilted clutch, but also a Chanel necklace and matching earrings for just $20.40 per day. 

2. Anti-depressant chocolate 

Research has found that eating chocolate can make depressive people less anxious and irritable – a great excuse to indulge.

Top tip: To save money and stop weight gain, eat dark chocolate.

I used to hate dark chocolate, but now I love it after introducing it to my diet slowly, and moving from the 50 percent variety to the 70 percent. Now, instead of gobbling down a whole block of milk chocolate, I’m satisfied with 2 pieces of dark chocolate (it’s too rich to eat more).

3. Laughter is the best medicine

Watch a funny movie and laugh your blues away. I recommend Death At A Funeral or The Hangover for laugh-til-it-hurts humour.

4. Cheerful colours 

Colour therapy really works. Experiment by surrounding yourself with uplifting colours, or painting your nails a bright colour.

Top tip: The OPI counter at David Jones offers an affordable Express Manicure. Try their new Alice In Wonderland-themed glittery lacquer; Mad As A Hatter. Glitter-based nail polishes are great-value as they tend to last longer. 

5. Feel good fragrances

Lighting a fragrant candle can immediately improve your mood.

Here at RESCU, we’re addicted to candles from MOR Cosmetics as they have the most luxurious, almost-too-nice-to-open packaging. Click here for our road-test of their Marshmallow Teacup Candle. 

6. Find tranquillity in tea 

Destress by sipping herbal tea in a stylish tea pot from specialist tea retailer T2.

Herbal tea, especially chamomile, peppermint, licorice, lavender or ginseng, are very calming, according to RESCU’s nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin’s recent article on stress management

7. Find sunshine in flowers 

Studies have shown that being around flowers can be extremely therapeutic. Bright, sunny flowers, like gerberas, are bound to remind you of summer.

Artificial flowers, like these ones, look quite realistic and are more cost effective than buying fresh flowers every week. 

8. Luxe lipgloss 

Lipgloss or lipstick is a cheap way to pamper yourself. I find Endota Spa’s Organic Cinnamon And Honey Lip Balm (RRP $17.95) very enlivening due to its aromatic cinnamon-infused scent.

9. Sleep soundly on a silk pillow case 

We spend a large portion of our lives sleeping, so a silk pillow case is a sound investment. They feel soft, luxurious … and let’s not forget they can help prevent facial wrinkles.

You can order the silk Princess Pillowcase online for only $39.95. 

10. Sophisticated stockings 

The feel of a silken stocking against your body can be an immediate pick-me-up. We love Leona Edmiston’s range of stockings, which are available from David Jones.

11. Say thank you in style 

Altruism (i.e helping others) makes you feel better as smiling is usually contagious. What better than to say thank you than with these gorgeous thank-you notes from Corban & Blair?

The Money Maven will be back next Tuesday with more money-saving tips @

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