Even Versace belts need tightening this year.
So for those of you who have your American Express Black Card frozen in a glass of ice and stuffed wayyyy in the back of a Sub Zero fridge, there are plenty of luxe gifts you can buy this holiday season and still be able to afford the payments on your 14th house.
“It’s really hard right now for the people who are downsizing from $10 million apartments to $4 million apartments," Jeremy Abelson of Pocketchangenyc.com, a Web site devoted to all things fabulous, tells FOXNews.com. "They are used to a certain level of quality and want to buy things that give the impression of ‘I’m still OK.’”
We feel your pain, super-rich. So, as a public service for those who have never clipped a coupon, traveled coach or pumped their own gas, welcome to our Budget Luxe Gift Tips!
Budget Luxe Gift Tip #1: Buy Combo Presents
If you can’t afford to buy your sweetie both a new Rolex and a new Range Rover, consider the $150,000 MV Agusta F4RR 312 1078 gold-leafed motorcycle, which should satisfy the need for both speed and sparkle. This blinged-out bike is featured as one of the Robb Report’s “ultimate gifts,” and could even be a smart investment, considering the price of gold has been on the rise.
Budget Luxe Gift Tip #2: Choose Fine-ish Art
If artwork is on your one-and-only's wishlist, and a multimillion-dollar Picasso just isn’t happening in 2008, $9,800 can buy a custom portrait by famed Lego master Nathan Sawaya. Made entirely of Lego blocks, this one-of-a-kind conversation piece can even be pulled apart, if times get really tough, and re-gifted to the kids in 2009.
Budget Luxe Gift Tip #3: Quality Branding Equals Quality Purchase
If you can't afford the real thing, try disguising your purchase in some luxury brand packaging. “Women can be quite materialistic, and have a hard time scaling back,” says Abelson. “If you can’t afford to buy a $100,000 opera necklace, go to her favorite store, and buy her something kitschy that's still wrapped in their [signature wrapping]. It has to be branded.”
In that vein, high-end perfumer Bond No9 has a limited-edition Andy Warhol Lexington Avenue Shoe Extravaganza set, which includes three of the company’s signature Warhol perfume bottles, as well as a collector's shoe branded with Warhol prints. Dubbed as the perfect gift for “Warhol collectors and aficionados” as well as women with “shoe fetishes,” at $1,300, this set provides an air of exclusivity, without demanding a re-mortgage of the mansion.
Budget Luxe Gift Tip #4: Trendy Trumps Timeless
Signature pieces from up-and-coming designers cost a fraction of the price of more established labels, and still carry the unmistakable whiff of exclusivity.
Celebrity favorite and "Project Runway" alum Kara Janx is the ideal designer to buy for the fashion-forward giftee. With prices ranging from $150 - $450, Janx has people flocking to her designs this season, especially her famous kimono dress ($210), which has been worn by the likes of Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman and Debra Messing.
“The dress has really come to the forefront because people don’t want to spend on separates," Janx says."It’s economizing because it is an 'already done' look and can be worn for multiple occasions.”
And to save a few extra bucks, use the code “holiday” on her Web site to get free shipping. Or have your butler do it. That works, too.
Budget Luxe Gift Tip #5: Driving Is Cheaper Than Flying
Staying grounded is key during tough times, so instead of buying a custom jet for $25 million, consider buying a $150,000 custom van instead. The ground-based cruiser still allows you to shuttle friends and clients without having to resort to pesky public transportation. And if it takes a few hours longer, who cares? These vans have it all.
“People are asking for more amenities and more luxury,” says John Bingle, owner of Land Jet in California, a company that customizes Mercedes Sprinter vans. “The [vans] have an executive conference area with a conference table featuring retractable computers. We do granite, bathrooms — it’s an alternative way to travel in style.”
Budget Luxe Gift Tip #6: Try Cooking
Nieman Marcus’ $299 Digital Recipe Reader is ideal for those who can no longer dine out at five-star restaurants every night. This useful gadget has a touch screen and preprogrammed recipes so one can cook like his or her favorite gourmet chef. Of course, a set of handmade Le Creuset pots (12 for $999 at William-Sonoma) can help, too, if your kitchen is seriously 100 percent empty.
And if you just can't bring yourself to cook dessert, too, Tootie Pie Company is being inundated with orders for their six-pound apple pie, which retails for $34. At less than $6 a pound, those bargain-priced calories could feed you all the way to the economic recovery!