The phrase ‘champagne taste on a beer budget’ refers to someone who lives above her means and likes expensive things she can’t possibly afford.
Example of use: Laura – “I can’t believe Kimberly spent her entire salary on her red Jimmy Choo’s.” Dana– “That doesn’t surprise me at all, she has a champagne taste on a beer budget.”
Towards the end of the 19th century, champagne was associated with prestige, luxury and a symbol of status and class. Since its invention beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage, representing a more affordable and common lifestyle. The phrase 'Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget' combines the two, meaning luxury on limited income. It was first recorded in a news item by Howard Fielding and Frederick R.Barton 'The Victim of his Clothes'. Published in the July edition of The Globe-Republican in 1890: "School mastering I found, did not pay for a man who had acquired champagne taste on a beer budget..."