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Today I’m going to be sharing 5 simple ideas for how you can treat yourself on a budget without losing sight of your mission to live a simple, frugal life.
5 Simple Ways to Treat Yourself on a Budget
If I’ve learned one thing over the years about how to keep up a frugal lifestyle without getting burned out or frustrated, it would be that once in a while, you have to let your hair down and treat yourself. If you don’t you will end up feeling deprived and more likely to spend money that you don’t have.
When you work really hard at a task like studying for a test, after you’ve taken the test you wouldn’t feel guilty about treating yourself for a job well done would you? The same applies here. You are working really hard to give your family the best life that you can on the budget that you have. It’s OK to reward yourself without going overboard.
Take the Evening Off
Give yourself the night off from housework or any other chores that need to be done and enjoy a warm bubble bath. Don’t just draw a bath and call it good! Create a completely relaxing environment. Light a few candles. These Homemade Soy candles are very inexpensive to make, or you could make Beeswax Candles if you want something with a delightfully sweet scent naturally. Try Spiced Candles during the fall or winter. And if you don’t have any candle making supplies on hand, you can always make Olive Oil Candles!
–Relax with this Soothing Lavender Eye Pillow after a nice long bath.
You can also enjoy a good book during your soak. Pick up one for free from the local library or treat yourself by buying one that you’ve really been wanting. I get most of my books from Thriftbooks for less than $4 a book.
Buy Something Small
When you feel the need to treat yourself, don’t think that you don’t have to spend any money at all. There are plenty of things that you can think of that are small, but would bring you great satisfaction and joy from their purchase.
For me, it would be something like a nice set of Writing Pens or maybe a bar of chocolate that wouldn’t fit into my normal grocery budget. Perhaps something for my kitchen that isn’t an absolute must but would be something that I would really enjoy and get a lot of use of, like a new Rada Knife.
If this works for you, try and make a little bit of room in your budget for “splurge money”. Maybe this would just be $10 per month for you, but even on that amount, you could treat yourself to a fancy chocolate bar every week of the month!
–Don’t have a budget? Check out this Budgeting for Beginners post to get started making one!
Have a Chill Day
When you are confined to a strict budget, it can bring a lot of stress with it. Stress from trying to stick to the budget and maybe even the circumstances surrounding the tight budget. A great way to treat the whole family would be to have one relaxing “chill day”.
This day will look different for everyone depending on what you do on a normal basis but I would recommend taking the day off from all unnecessary cleaning or chores. A day when you don’t have to go to work and the kids don’t have school. Basically, a day when you have nothing else going on. Of course, I’m sure you can find something to do but don’t think about that on this day!
Then during your Chill Day, relax with your family! Play board games that you already have (or swap a few with friends to try something new). Watch a good family movie (I recommend Sweet Land or Ring the Bell, or if you are in need of a laugh Tim Hawkins is awesome!), pop popcorn or make Homemade Kettle Corn. Mix up some kind of yummy snack together and make and eat appetizers all day instead of a regular meal. Overall, just have fun laughing, relaxing, and de-stressing together.
Find a DIY Project You’ve Been Wanting to Try
Do you have something on your Pinterest boards or an idea that’s been penned up in the back of your mind that you’ve been wanting to make? Maybe you’ve needed a special kind of paint or tool to create the project and you’ve been putting it off because it’s just not necessary?
Now’s the time to treat yourself to a DIY project! Allow yourself the money to go to the store and buy the few items that you need to create the project and then take an afternoon to work on it. It will feel great to finally create something that you’ve been wanting to make for a long time and I’m guessing that you won’t be stressing out about your finances while you are having fun.
–If you need some starter inspiration, we have a HUGE DIY Page here.
Paint or Draw
This might not be the best fit for everyone but taking an afternoon off to paint or draw or utilize another art form can be very relaxing and feel like a wonderful treat. Pick up a canvas or some nice paper when it’s half price at one of the art supply stores, set up a makeshift easel or desk outside and paint or draw your heart away.
This is another great activity that can be done alone, or you can let the whole family jump in. It’s a real joy to watch children of all ages working their hardest at a painting and then comparing all of the paintings at the end of the “session” to see how someone else sees the world.
All of these ideas for treating yourself cost very minimal amounts of money (or can potentially be done for free depending on your resources!) but they will help you unwind and de-stress all while feeling like you are treating yourself to something really special. Because in reality, you are!
These small ways to treat yourself might not be as grand as someone else’s ideas but who needs to compare their life to someone else’s life? Enjoy what you have, what you’ve been given, and remind yourself that it’s ok to give yourself a reward once in a while.
This post on How to Treat Yourself on a Budget originally appeared on Little House Living in September 2017. It has been updated as of September 2019