4 Ways To Live The Good Life for Less

People often ask us how we live so well on a moderate income. In fact, the whole premise of PoshPorts is to help others do the same. One of the ways we respond is that we absorb the way others do things and take what we like into our own lives. Because meeting people from different cultures and learning about their lives and interests is one of our greatest pleasures, we often adopt customs and habits that we think elevate our lives beyond the ordinary - and often without additional expense. The fact is, many cultures know how to live well without much financial cost. What it may cost is time, preparation, planning or imagination. We'll share a few of our favorite ideas for living the good life through this approach with you.


1. Take a beverage break away from the desk. One of our favorite customs for many countries that coffee, tea and other beverages are used for refreshment of mind as well as body. Sitting in a cafe in Greece or Italy or France where you are able to enjoy the scenery and people passing by as well as your beverage is a way to gain some perspective and freshen your thoughts. Places like England, China and Japan have elevated the art of tea to a worshipful degree. So, though we certainly understand the desire for a quick jolt of java now and again, try to add an infusion of "break" back into your beverage break routine.


2. See a not so blockbuster film. We know that it takes a lot to go to the cinema these days. With movies on demand, easy streaming online, cable and satellite offerings in the hundreds, it may only be a hot blockbuster from Hollywood that gets us to the movie theater. And the price of tickets, expensive parking and disproportionate concessions make us think twice. But there are more films worthy of your time and money that you my hardly hear about because they are not intended for a mainstream audience. Sometimes referred to as art films, independent films, foreign films and documentaries fit in this category. You may not discover them until you start seeking them out. TV channels like Sundance, the Independent Film Channel, PBS, and A & E are places to start. Check your local theater listings for movie theaters that offer such films, as well as classic films too, which can be wonderful (AMC television also offers many of these). Another great way to see films off the beaten path is at film festivals, whether large international ones or small local ones. Check www.filmfestivals.com to see what's going on in this vibrant and creative arena.


3. Shop local, buy global. We love purchasing products from around the world. That doesn't mean that every time we want some burrata cheese from Puglia, Italy, Batik textiles from India or Chinese herbs that we have to hop on a plane to get the authentic items fresh from their makers. We live in a highly interconnected world and opportunities abound for us to buy the things we love from the places that make them without spending an arm and a leg, if only we know where to look. Some of the most wonderful global items to be had come from small stores that specialize in that area, whether a store that stocks nothing but Chinese herbs, teas and medicines or gourmet foods from around the world. Others have a broader sampling of products but are also available in many locations. Cost Plus World Market, for example has more than 259 stores nationwide, and carries everything from furnishings and housewares to wines and imported food products. Check your neighborhood and see what you discover. 


4. Adopt your favorite global custom. Whenever we return from a trip we find ourselves with what we call a "vacation hangover." We invariably fall in love with some cultural custom of the place we've just immersed ourselves in and can't seem to shake it. So rather than long for the next time we're in Munich for Oktoberfest, England for teatime or France for a basket of wine, cheese and baguette eaten while people-watching, we simply incorporate these into our lives at home. It's like bringing your destination home with you. Sometimes we'll prepare a pot of our favorite tea and serve it with small sandwiches, petit fours and fresh fruit. It's a great break in the late afternoon. Or, we'll break out the sweet & sour cabbage, put some brats on the grill, open up an Augustiner beer and toast "Prost!" to our friends in Germany. Or, we'll set up many small plates of tomato bread, Manchego cheese, Jamon Iberico and a pitcher of Sangria for a wonderful tapas dinner. Or pack up a picnic of crusty bread, tasty cheese and a bottle of wine to take with us to the beach or a park and watch the passersby as we picnic. Take a little bit of your travels home with you the same way.


So, think about the customs you've experienced and enjoyed. Take some time to plan ahead and bring them into your life. If you want to have a relaxing coffee, then sit at a table in a cafe and don't rush off. If you want to enjoy the excitement of discovering a new art form, go to a gallery and explore. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Use it well, and you will be well on your way to living the Posh Life.