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How to Look Rich Even if You're Not

Updated on October 17, 2013

Don't Dispair

So you're bank account could use a few more zeroes. Just because you don't fall into the 1% top tax bracket, doesn't mean you can't fool everyone into thinking you are better off than you really are. Nobody said you have to disclose your personal finances to everyone. Follow my tips and look like you're rich even if you're not.

The Free Ways to Appear Rich

Number one on my list is to be neat and clean. Nothing says wealth like organization and cleanliness. When I speak of cleanliness, I am speaking not only of your home and car, but also your appearance and dress. Be freshly washed, groomed, and smelling good at all times. Make sure your clothing is pressed and crisp with no holes or stains. My car can quickly become a dumping ground for all sorts of useless paper, trash, and forgotten stuff. Remember, wealthy people typically have squeaky clean cars because they take their "babies" to the detailer often. Learn how to detail yourself. And in a pinch, if you wipe down the glass, you'll be able to stretch the time in between washings.

In your home, keep clutter at bay and surfaces sparkling. If you do a little here and there, you'll save yourself from having to tackle a really big job all at once. And if you're feeling overwhelmed like I often do, it's OK. In my life, I have several mess-makers to clean up after. Most wealthy individuals can afford to pay someone to keep them neat and clean and you'll have to do it yourself. No worries though. However it gets done, it still makes you feel great in the end!

Using good language skills, both written and verbal is another free way to appear rich. In a recent blog I wrote, I uncovered that good grammar is on the top five list of things single men look for in potential dates! In my experience, many people are unaware that they have poor language skills, either because everyone around them talks the same way or they were never taught otherwise. Watch out for double negatives and slang (ex I ain't got no...), they're a sure giveaway to your educational level.

My dream car is a Tesla. It's hot, fast and all electric. One day...
My dream car is a Tesla. It's hot, fast and all electric. One day...

Your Car

Don't stress that you can't afford a brand new car. There's ways around this aspect of appearing rich. The first is, consider leasing. If you don't drive more than 12,000 miles a year, then leasing might be a good choice for you. Catch a manufacturer who is offering $0 down and a low monthly payment and you'll be golden. Always read the fine print as well as penalties before signing.

My second car suggestion is, buy used but be picky. Unfortunately, some cars are at the end of their lives by 100,000 miles and other's paint begins to fade somewhere near year 10. Consumer Reports April edition is one of my favorte places to research reliable used cars. For example, they warned me that the minivan I was looking for had a year to steer clear of because it has transmission problems. Transmissions run $2,000-$3,000! I love older luxury cars that have all the bells and whistles and look great even after 15 years. If you purchase one of these well-built cars around year 8, you'll save a ton of money and still have another 10 years to enjoy it! And as I said earlier in this blog, keep it clean.

Beauty and Fashion

Along with good grooming, this is the most important area of wealth appearance because most people only have this aspect from which to judge us. I'm going to break this section down a bit more than the others because there are so many facets to cover.

Hair: Keep the grays out. Use over-the-counter products but only if they don't make it look like you dye your hair. It has to look natural. Also consider going to beauty schools for an inexpensive cut and dye job. Ask around. Find out who your friends go to. All I'm saying is don't neglect this area. Make sure that no matter if you go to SuperCuts or a high-priced salon, make sure that the cut and color look updated and natural. Stay away from weird colors and harsh streaks. It can appear redneck and low class.

Nails: The sacred cow for many women these days, don't neglect either your fingers or the toes. If you can't afford regular mani/pedis, go once a quarter just to freshen things up. And always keep fresh polish on your toes! When the callus start to rear their ugly head, I like to use the Ped Egg. The Body Shop also has some great anit-callus products.

Skin: Take care of your skin! I use coupons and drugstore deals to purchase the higher priced items. Research magazines and online sources for what other people have found success using. Some high priced items are worth the added expense while others are not. Exfoliate, moisturize, protect (SPF) and you'll have skin that will look great for a long time.

Makeup: Just like facial products, my makeup arsenal is made up of drugstore and higher end products. Mascara is one product that to me, is simply not worth more than $9. We've tried the higher priced ones and they were about the same as the ones bought at CVS. But foundation, I highly recommed you get someone to color match you! This is difficult to do if you can't try the color on before you buy. Eyeshadows are area I am split. There are very few drugstore eyeshadows that are comparable quality of their higher-priced competitors. Sorry. However, there are some lower priced ones that have surprised me like Ulta brand as well as Elf. Don't lose heart, hold out for a deal in the store or purchase some offline from Amazon or Ebay.

Take advantage of bonus days. I like to buy foundation from Lancome or Clinque during these bonus days and get lots of fabulous gifts like anti-wrinkle cream and eyeshadow.

Purses: This is the one area NOT to skimp. Today's women judge each other based on their purse. Don't buy a one from Target or Walmart. These bags not as inexpensive as you think and they simply don't last. Buy a name brand designer purse. There are lots of places to get a bargain: online (Ebay), outlet stores, off-priced stores (TJ Maxx). The flip side to purchasing a designer bag is that often times, you can resell the item. Speaking of reselling, go to local consignment shops. I've seen all kinds of cute designer purses for a fraction of their retail cost.

Here's my top purse picks:

  • Louis Vuitton (incredible resale value!)
  • Coach
  • Kate Spade
  • Burberry
  • Vera Bradley (especially for younger girls)
  • Michael Kors

Clothing and shoes: One of the retail chains that is thriving right now is Goodwill Enterprises. Today, it's not only the indigent who are shopping there, it's teenagers and stay-at-home moms, business professionals, and others from all walks of life who have discovered the thrill of finding nice clothes are really low prices! I recently found a White House Black Market little black dress for $8. It was for a wedding so that meant I'd probably never have an opportunity to wear it again. I looked fabulous and no one ever knew where I got it. When you shop at thrift stores though, examine everything carefully before you purchase. Most sales are final. Try several Goodwill stores. Certain ones get better items than other locations.

Shoes can be a bit more challenging to find used so I typically purchase new. Know your prices and compare them to the quality. I was shocked this past winter to find shoddy, pleather boots going for around $80! After some shopping around, I found similar quality boots at Payless, yes Payless. They have increased the style and quality of a lot of their shoes.

Another favorite shoe destination for me is the end of season sale at Belk (a local department store). In August, they drastically discounted their summer shoes. This year, I got four pairs of designer shoes (including Hush Puppies and Born) for less than $80!

Silence is Golden

When it comes right down to it, less conversation is more. Don't feel you have to divulge all of your financial woes to everyone. Many of my friends are quite wealthy. When they talk about the purchases them make and trips they take, I just nod my head and smile. It's hard to hear it all some times, but I know that wealth is measured more than the zeroes in my bank account, and so is yours!

Things that are worth more than money:

  • good health
  • family
  • friends
  • home
  • car that works
  • job
  • spouse/significant other
  • life

Smell Good

MONTBLANC Legend Eau de Toilette 3.3 fl.oz.
MONTBLANC Legend Eau de Toilette 3.3 fl.oz.

My husband gets more compliments on this cologne.



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    • my_girl_sara profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Lyerly 

      4 years ago from Georgia

      It's amazing how women judge each other on the name brand of their purse. At least there are ways to purchase some of them inexpensively. Thanks for the comment!

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 

      4 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      An interesting hub. I especially liked the opening picture! Couldn't agree more with making sure your purse isn't a cheapie.


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