The La Dolce Vita lifestyle is luxurious but that doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. There are many ways to add little luxuries to your life for little or no money. Here are some tips for living the sweet life on a budget.

Eat in Color

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about the La Dolce Vita lifestyle is Mediterranean eating. My interpretation of the Italian Mediterranean diet is to eat plenty of vegetables. Meat is a side dish and not a daily occurrence for me. Vegetables are much less expensive than meat.

Go to the farmer’s market and select some beautiful, colorful vegetables. Take time to chop and prepare them. Make a beautiful meal and share it with someone you love. That’s the sweet life.

Eat foods that turn into beauty and health.

Fill Your Home With Music

Put your iPod on shuffle or turn on the radio. The air waves are free. Or go to a free streaming service and type in whatever represents your current mood, i.e. Italian Romance, French Cafe, Greek Wedding, Sinatra and Friends, Twenties Jazz. You’re sure to find something that strikes your fancy.

Add music to your home activities. I love music while I am cooking. I enjoy classical music while I am reading. And when I go to bed, I listen to relaxation music. Music makes for a happy home. It’s one of my personal luxuries.

Add Movement to Your Daily Routine

We spend so much time sitting. Put on some music and sashay around the house. Do a cha-cha while you mash the potatoes. Put all your groceries on the top shelf so you have to stretch to reach them. Take a pre-breakfast stroll or an after dinner walk. Stop to chat with your neighbors. Italians call it la passeggiata.

Find little ways to add movement to your day. Freedom of movement is a luxury we want to last well into our years.

Fabrics of Your Life

Italians love to dress their bodies and their homes in luxurious fabrics. You don’t need a closetful of Armani to be living the sweet life. Buy clothes that make you feel good, that suit your lifestyle. Wear colors that make you happy. They need not be expensive silks and satins. Buy a cozy soft sweater or fuzzy slippers. Wrap up in a couch throw in a pretty color. Get some colorful pillows to change the mood of a room.

Be mindful of what you put next to your skin.


Treating yourself well and caring for yourself is not selfish. Find luxury in a bubble bath or the perfect cup of tea. Froth some warm milk for your coffee. Buy yourself a pretty cup that makes you happy every time your use it. Buy yourself flowers. Grow flowers. Polish your toenails. Spend a few minutes massaging a beautiful silky cream into your hands.

It’s easy to add little luxuries to your day. Think about what makes you happy and gift it to yourself.

Collect Experiences, Not Things

Spending quality time with loved ones, having adventures together, that’s La Dolce Vita.

Do you remember the gifts you received for your seventh birthday? What about your 27th birthday? Probably not. I’m sure they were lovely, but they were things. If you went on a trip for your birthday or a hike or a picnic or to Europe or dancing, you’d certainly remember.

Time is our greatest luxury. Spend it well.

Click here to read the entire La Dolce Vita Series.