Five-star style on a one-star budget!

Do you enjoy the finer things in life but don't have a bottomless bank account?

It is possible to look good for less, a lot less, says Savvy Chic author Anna Johnson.

"With whatever money you have, you can have the life you really want," says Johnson who is also the author of Three Black Skirts, Handbags and The Yummy Mummy Manifesto.

"I'm all about less and better not more and cheaper."

As a self-employed single mum who splits her time between Sydney and New York Johnson learned to live on very little money.

"I spend exactly what I have in my pocket, often not wisely. And what I cannot reach financially I re-create or fake or imagine or repair or legally steal," the 44-year-old says.

"It's more about discernment than desire."

To dress for less you need to plan ahead and know the difference between a vintage garment that will become a wardrobe staple and one that will end up relegated to the dress-up pile.

You need to be realistic and brutal when it comes to choosing new things and throwing things out.

If something doesn't fit perfectly, is a weird colour or is far more fancy than your real life don't buy it.

Living on less is not only liberating it boosts your creativity.

"I think people should empower themselves through their own creativity. You don't have to be able to cook or draw or sew to a more creative person," writes Johnson.

"I actually think that spending less money is an act of creativity."

While many people constantly aspire to have more they are often happiest when they are learning to make do.

"Most of the people I know who are richer are always nostalgic about the times when they had to be more inventive," Johnson says.

"They will always be harking back to their student days when everybody was cooking together or making a sangria because they couldn't afford good wine.

"It's when you can afford things that you kind of sometimes can't taste them anymore."

While being frugal requires an investment of your time it pays off.

"It is a little bit more time consuming to be frugal and creative but it is very, very empowering and satisfying and I think it's sexy too."

Spending money on experiences is often cheaper and more satisfying than buying objects, she says.

"Would you prefer to watch a waterfall on a flatscreen TV or be naked under one?

"I will take the experience over the material object anytime."

Johnson hopes her book is a style and eco rebellion against consumerism which she describes as "a losing game for the whole world".

"The concept of how we spoil ourselves has to change. Free time, nature, love, contact with the elements, to me are ultimate luxuries," she says.

"I'd rather ride a ferry to a beach with a basket full of fresh local food and a fifteen dollar bottle of red with my love than hang in an expensive bar dressed like a B-list celebrity."

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