Just because you’re not rich doesn’t mean your friends have to know. Here are some tips to fake it until you make it.
Use Airbnb Instead of Hotels
Whether you’re passing through town or traveling on vacation, don’t think of inviting friends up to your place if you’re staying in some Best Western, that is unless your friend is John Wayne. In this humble blogger’s opinion, you have to spend a lot of money on a hotel before its comforts and amenities exceed an Airbnb or even a hostel. For example, in downtown Los Angeles, you can book this room at the Sheraton for $370 a night:
Or you can book this swanky two bedroom, fully furnished corner apartment for the same price. It comes with a full kitchen, a balcony, and on-site parking, gym, pool, and hot tub:
Tough choice? Only if I told you that the Airbnb comes with a man in a luchador mask who watches you while you sleep. Which, and I cannot emphasize this enough, it does not.
Use Uber Instead of Rental Cars
Everyone knows that Uber and its competitors consistently outperform cabs, but not many realize that in some situations an Uber is no more expensive than a rental car and a whole lot classier. Forbes blogger Laura Shin recently decided to forgo a rental car for a ten-day trip to Los Angeles, exclusively using Uber and Lyft instead, and she found that it was no costlier than the cheapest rental car options, dramatically cut down on the stress of driving and parking, and, most relevant to this article, let her cruise around in style. An UberBlack whisking you from place to place will impress your friends a lot more than a Kia Rio, especially if you slip the driver an extra $5 to wear a funny hat and let you call him Reginald.
Rent Nicer Threads
A crop of new websites allow you to rent designer clothes for a fraction of the cost. For example, Rent The Runway offers four or eight-day rental periods and provides a free “second size” to ensure a good fit. To accompany your swanky outfit, Bag Borrow Or Steal lets you rent luxury accessories for a monthly fee, or buy them second-hand. Apparently, a $600 per month Chanel bag is a steal, which is ironic since any reasonable person might consider the true theft to be charging $5,900 for it in the first place. Seriously, does it house a genie?
Read more: 13 smart money moves to make in your 20s
Use Cool Credit Cards
I’ve written before how the Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best cards for generating points and earning free airfare. I didn’t mention, however, that it’s heavier and thicker than most credit cards, with a sleek, unblemished surface (since the credit card number is moved to the back). The American Express Centurion Card is invitation only, with a $5,000 activation fee and a $2,500 annual fee. The Chase Sapphire Preferred, on the other hand, is available to almost anyone with good credit, only costs $95 annually with the first year waived, and looks every bit as cool.
Read more: Comparison shop your credit cards
The Chase Marriott Rewards Card is also apparently quite weighty and metallic, although not as fly. Chase Slate isn’t as heavy, but it’s got the same minimalist design as Chase Sapphire Preferred. Both cards are inexpensive and offer solid perks. Or you can just throw down the Kardashian Kard at your next dinner out, and leave everyone at the table a little confused and uncomfortable.
Fly First Class (Sometimes)
Look, there is no magic ticket (other than, obviously, a first class ticket) to sneak your way into first. But there are some tricks you can do to maximize your chances of flying first. Always volunteer to be bumped to another flight when it’s overbooked. Stick with a preferred airline and try to obtain elite status. Use frequent flier miles or credit card points to upgrade. And be nice. Seriously, you’d be surprised how many stories begin with someone being nice to a gate agent or flight attendant and end with a free upgrade. I’ve heard legends of people buying a box of chocolates for the flight crew, and in turn receiving the star treatment of a $2,000 ticket for the cost of a Russell Stover Sampler. Hand to God, I once tried it out myself, chickened out at the last minute, and spent the flight eating all the chocolate myself in coach while pouting.
Read more: Latest hot deals & savings
Refuse to Discuss Money
But what happens if your friends ask point blank how rich you are? Pssh, this one’s easy. Rich people understand how gauche it is to discuss money. How else to keep the lower classes in their place than by refusing to entertain the topic during conversation? In the same way that all those insufferable Harvard kids like to say they went to “college in Boston,” be sure to answer questions with condescending vagaries such as, “My family does quite well,” or, “I’m living comfortably, thank you.” For bonus points, when it’s time to pay the bill, pick up a single dollar anyone else puts down and say, “Washington’s on the one? Huh, who knew.”