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How to Fake Expensive Taste on an Intern Budget

There’s nothing more disappointing than going over your monthly expenditures only to discover that the wine and cheese affair you were planning for the Holidays just isn’t financially feasible.

Interns aren’t known for bringing home large paychecks.  Even I, who indirectly works for someone who indirectly works for Ruth Bater-Ginsburg, find my pocket book woefully empty from time to time.  What to do when you’re like me: a sophisticated sort who enjoys the finer things in life?

My mother used to tell me that presentation was everything.  No one has to know how much something costs as long as it looks expensive, correct? (And if they ask, I see no reason not to inflate the price tag slightly.  Lying is rude, but asking how much something costs is ruder.)

How to Fake Expensive Taste on an Intern Budget:

1.)    Sparking Wine, Either From the Bottle or DIY

champagne-partyYellowtail Sparkling White Wine and Barefoot Bubbly are two inexpensive brands that have been highly rated by various wine and spirits publications.  Serve in crystal champagne flutes you find at thrift stores.  You’d be amazed by how much perfectly good dishware people donate thanks to moving/unwanted Christmas presents.

If even the cheapest brands of Prosecco make your wallet’s leather get goosebumps, consider this.  A SodaStream machine can turn ANY cheap brand of white wine into sparkling white wine.  That’s right!  A DIY solution if you want your $3 Trader Joe’s wine to taste a little fancier.

2.)    Cheese and Bread That Won’t Break the Bankbread-and-cheese

A thin baguette won’t run you more than a couple of dollars.  Pair it with three kinds of cheese (not more than an ounce or two per person at your party) and thin apple slices (the sweet and savory will make for great flavor). Don’t be shy to talk to your local cheesemonger (if you buy your cheese from a dedicated storefront) about good budget options. Jeron has recommended  Bowers Fancy Dairy Products, Cowgirl Creamery and Righteous Cheese to me.

fancy-thrift-store3.)    Great Style that Doesn’t Need a Limitless Credit Card

If you haven’t been to Frugalista, Meep’s or Second Time Around, you have yet to have a high-end DC thrifting experience. There are other stores that sell more…ahem…”trendy” items (Hilary often visits Buffalo Exchange and Junction for her strange and unflattering garments from the 80s), but classic items from brands such as Banana Republic, J Crew, and more can be found at any of these stores for a fraction of the cost.  I’m not embarrassed to brag that my best Diane Von Furstenberg is a Frugalista find, and yes, I do receive many compliments whenever I go out in it.

frank-sinatra4.)    All the Sinatra a Girl Could Want

While I love the warm, vintage sound of a record player, and I would never identify as one those “computer” people,  I will say that subscription based music services such as Spotify and Pandora have saved me such a headache when it comes to music for parties.  $15 a month earns you unlimited music without commercial interruption.  Far more affordable than a collection of CDs, and the variety is endless. (Although you do run the irritating risk of having your Billy Holiday interrupted by a slightly inebriated friend insisting “this party needs more Beyonce”.)

Those are just a few ways you can live expensively without paying expensively.  If you’re a classy sort of intern, live like it!

See you at my next soiree.




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