My Rules: How to Live Like a Princess... On a Pauper's Budget


It’s no secret that I’ve always had champagne taste on a beer budget. (And we aren't talking high-end, craft beer folks... think Keystone. Well, maybe Coors Light. Lol.) Even as a wee one… I just always liked what I couldn’t have. Or couldn’t afford, rather. I used to drive by wealthy, beautiful, historic neighborhoods, with their picturesque mansions and gorgeous estates, in pure awe. I’d think - I wonder what it would feel like to live in a home like that?

{I still drive by those homes and wonder the same thing.}

Well – though my income bracket hasn’t changed much since then, if anything, it’s actually gone down (true story, lol), I HAVE learned a few things since then. I may have not gotten any richer, but I sure got smarter! And, I’ve decided to share my secrets with you.

Fancy that.

I can’t tell you how many times people will ask – “How do you do it Sara?” They know I married a pastor, and they know we aren’t rolling in it, by ANY stretch of the imagination. Yet they see how I decorate, the way we dress, the activities we do, and wonder…. How in the WORLD does she DO it?!?

I do have some cool tricks up my sleeve. I learned a long time ago how to make the best of our finances (or lack there of) by thinking outside the box. Getting creative. Delaying gratification. Hunting for bargains. Being resourceful. Doing my research.

And I have decided to let the cat outta the bag. Now you can live like a Princess on a Pauper’s Budget (POPB) too. Woohoo.

Here’s my rules:

Rule 1: NEVER PAY FULL PRICE

While we make occasional exceptions, this rule applies to generally everything: restaurants, décor and clothing. But, especially when shopping for clothes – I do adore my discount spots. TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack, Marshalls, Ross, DSW, eBay and Amazon are some of my faves. I am also not above the Dollar Tree or thrift stores... Sometimes you can hit the jack pot there.

Rule 2: ALWAYS CHECK THE SALE RACK… EVEN IF YOU AREN’T LOOKING FOR SOMETHING

You never know what kind of hidden gem you’ll find. Or when you'll find it. I have found many a fashion-must-have down the clearance isle. What’s better than a discount price? Even more of a discount price!

Rule 3: SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE… WAIT FOR ANNUAL or BIANNUAL SALE EVENTS! THEN STRIKE

My faves are Nordstrom Rack's, "Clear the Rack,” and Bath and Body Works, "Semi-Annual Sale." I have found some of the most amazing clothes and shoes at Clear the Rack for pennies. And after stocking up at Bath and Body’s Semi-Annual Sale, I have deliciously yummy hand soap for the next six months that cost me the price of cheapo Softsoap. Win win.

Rule 4: IF YOU MUST PAY FULL PRICE, PICK A SPOT WITH AN IMPECCABLE RETURN POLICY

I shop at Nordstrom for three reasons: I love the way I get treated, I love the products they sell, and I love their return policy. Nuff said.

Rule 5: UTILIZE LOCAL RECOURCES TO DO ACTIVITIES… FOR FREE

We have utilized our local library’s “culture pass,” free days, “first Friday’s,” and Mile High on the Cheap, to attend museums, go on fun adventures and stroll through cool exhibits for free, for years. We turn them into mommy-daughter excursions, family fun days, and even date night. If you can get something for free, why pay?

Rule 6: DINING FOR LESS = DO YOUR RESEARCH

I love to eat. And I am a bit of an atmosphere junkie. AND I like to eat quality food. But when money IS an object, you have to get creative. Or you end up eating at McDonalds.

Sad day.

{Though I must admit, I am quite fond of their cup o' joe... don't judge.}

I used to think happy hour meant wings and beer in a crowded bar. Not my thing. But guess what? Happy hour has evolved!! In fact, happy hours are a Duffey family regular. My all-time favorite, uber cheap (and yummy) one in Denver is at Karma Asian Fusion, on South Broadway. Amaze. But there are plenty of others in your hood!! Just do your research!

Too late for Happy Hour? Don’t fret! You can still eat great food, in a lovely atmosphere, at a good price. Promise! Our other two favorite lower-cost, yummy eateries, with friendly faces and a decently un-ghetto atmosphere are Pizzeria Locale and Red Ginger. (Also located on South Broadway, right next to one another… ironically.)

Rule 7: IT'S ALL ABOUT PERSPECTIVE… YOU CAN MAKE ANYTHING AN ADVENTURE

We have turned drives through historic Denver neighborhoods, trips to Whole Foods, picnics at Wash Park, card games at Duffey Rolls, and “international dining” (that means trying all the samples, FYI) at Sam’s club, into epic adventures, for years. You can too. It’s all about perspective.

Isn't everything though?

There you have it. Those are my rules. (My secrets.) Now you too can live like a Princess… on a Pauper’s budget.

Xoxo... Sara

#fashiononabudget #freedays #cheapeats #frugalfashion #bargainshopper #fashionistamommy #cheapdates #happyhour #cheapactivities #budgetglam #saraduffey #lifestyleblogger #denver #denverblogger #southbroadway #budgetshopping #firstfridays #milehighonthecheap #duffeyrolls #karmaasianfusion #pizzerialocale #culturepass #nordstromrack