Made It to the C-Suite? How to Look the Part for Less

a person wearing a red dress

If you’ve just gotten a promotion and are now a CEO, CFO, or CTO, you might be thrilled at what your future looks like. CEOs get to make a lot of important decisions and can really be a key factor in the health and longevity of a business. Just look at General Electric’s chief executive, Jack Welch, who has often been referred to as the “manager of the century” and you’ll see just how vital your impact on a company can be.

All of this being said, if you’re used to making less money or leading a more frugal lifestyle, you may want to find some ways to keep up appearances without breaking the bank. Here are just a few ways to look like you belong in the c-suite without maxing out your credit card.

Dress for success, but for less.

A big aspect of being in a high-level position within your company comes down to looking the part. As an important member of the team in a leadership role, how you dress and present yourself doesn’t just communicate how seriously you take your job; it also sets the bar for what’s acceptable work attire and what should be left at home.

Think of your company’s dress code like a sliding scale. On one end of the spectrum is completely casual clothing, while on the other end of the spectrum is more professional clothing. If you’ve set your workplace’s dress code as business casual, it can be hard to appropriately gauge where employees should fall on the scale without an accurate example. As a CEO or CFO, you can set the standard with business casual dresses that look great but don’t cost an arm and a leg. Just picking a few pieces that can be mixed and matched is a great way to make more outfits out of fewer clothing options. This stretches your dollars while also offering you a more consistent look in the office.

Save on a sweet ride.

As a CEO, you may be tempted to splurge on a brand new car. After all, success in business is often associated with pricy consumer goods like mansions, vacation homes, and sports cars. There’s certainly nothing wrong with purchasing a higher-end vehicle, but it doesn’t always make sense to pay full price for these kinds of things.

Cars and other vehicles frequently depreciate in value after the first year you own them, which is why buying used or certified pre-owned is a great option if you want to splurge on a nicer car without wasting your money. If you want to save even more money, looking at an automotive auction might be worth your while. A simple Google search for automotive “auctions near me” can reveal a wide range of inventory nearby for you to consider. If you want a ride that screams “CEO” but you aren’t inclined to take out a large automotive loan, car auctions are a great way to get the most bang for your buck.

Go family-style on meals.

If you’re taking your staff out for a meal, there’s no reason that you need to buy an individual dish for each and every one of them. Going family-style and purchasing a few different appetizers, entrees, and desserts can save you money while still making your employees feel like you’re treating them to something special. Best of all, family-style dining can build camaraderie between employees, ultimately creating a more productive workforce.

If you really want to splurge, head somewhere with a deal on bottled wines or pitchers of margaritas or beer. Even buying alcohol to celebrate a job well done doesn’t have to be an expensive part of being a CEO, and your staff won’t even know the difference.