Everyone’s probably seen those “Treat Yo Self” memes and gifs from the show Parks and Recreation.
The characters escape from bureaucratic lives annually with a “Treat Yo Self” Day every year, where they go out shopping and regardless of price, give themselves everything they want.
Unfortunately the characters buy these treats with credit cards and debt and they cannot at all afford the things that they go purchasing. So it’s really not a good thing to mirror.
So I don’t recommend you ever do that. BUT I absolutely think you can and should treat yourself occasionally and have some ways to do it very cheaply.
Honestly I’m not amazing at self care. I don’t get spa treatments or my nails done, but there are a few areas, where I do like to treat myself within my budget.
The first thing I do to treat myself is I take time to read… a lot.
I’m reading at least a hundred books this year and that requires a serious time commitment. I want to read because it expands my mind, it makes me more imaginative, I get to learn things from people who have come before me who are super knowledgeable that I never get to meet in person and also I just love it. But if I don’t take the time for it and actually dedicate the time for it, I won’t do it.
So what I do is I actually schedule myself time to read. Every single night before bed, I take my e-reader and I read it while I’m falling asleep. I also download audiobooks to my phone, which I listen to while I am getting ready for work, on my commute, on my lunch break, and when I’m running errands. I also am able to do this very frugally by not paying for about 98% of the books that I read.
If you’d like to learn how to read for pretty much anything you want for completely free and all the best tips and hacks on how to get like multiple library cards and get on holds list and do all the stuff so that you always have something wonderful to read available to you, check out my “I’m Reading a Hundred Books” video because I’ve got all the hacks.
Quality Coffee and Tea
I like to invest in good coffee and tea, I love it and I save money by making it exactly the way I like it, at home.
I go to the coffee aisle in the grocery store or purchase it from World Market or slightly more specialty shops. I love a good pecan coffee or seasonally flavored brew.
I make it in my espresso maker that I got for $5 at the thrift store with all the add-ins. I add pump foam creamer and regular creamer, and sometimes a little bit of whipped cream on top.
I’ve also recently gotten into tea.
So, I actually went to a specialty shop recently and spent $30 on three different kinds of tea. Pricy, I know, but I’ve really really been enjoying brewing those — especially at night. I add some honey and milk and it’s a really nice way to wind down at night.
I buy all the plants that I can afford. It’s actually probably too many plants at this point, but I love them. I’m a total millennial — no kids, no house, but I have a lot of plants and I really enjoy them.
I love the ritual of going around to every single one every weekend and watering them, dusting them and generally being an insane person. This is a huge place where I treat myself because often these plants are not the cheapest in the world.
I do have not a plant budget, but I have a personal budget and this is one of the things that brings me the most joy to spend on.
I recently got a really cool bubble wand from Lush because I just can’t abide paying $8 for a bath bomb. I just won’t do it and I’ve been too lazy to make my own. They can be used for about eight to ten baths and they give this really nice foam. I’m a big fan of a scalding hot bath and reading.
Sometimes I will do a face mask or a hair mask while I’m in the bath and it really makes me feel pampered and also obviously majorly budget-friendly.
I got a bidet – this is just a frugal life upgrade, that also treats my booty better and has the fun extra of making my periods more pleasant.
Mine was $35, and was supposed to be very easy to install. It also potentially allows you to save money on toilet paper.
My boyfriend Jacob ended up taking apart the entire toilet to install this thing, but eventually it got put it back together and works. We did have to take a trip to the hardware store for some like better wrenches.
It’s very nice and you end up feeling a lot cleaner. To clarify for those of you who don’t know kind of how a bidet works; you do still use some toilet paper to like kind of dry yourself off but it’s not as much because you’ve been kind of cleaned. Some people use a towel, I just use toilet paper.
My favorite part about it though is that when you’re on your period, it kind of clean things – cleans things out down there for you and it’s very refreshing and I actually tend to get a little like… this is TMI but things tend to get a little like agitated down there for me you know and for a lot of women I know it does when you’re taking in and out tampons and menstrual cups or whatever you use, things just get a little agitated and when you’re also like wiping down there during that time, it’s not fun, it gets a little rough, bidet helps with that, you don’t have to use as much toilet paper, much more clean feeling, you don’t feel like you’re walking around bloody all the time.
You can get this one on Amazon.
Once I turned 30 I decided I really needed to get serious about moisturizing, but I was a little overwhelmed with the sheer number and prices of most lotions.
So, I tried a bunch of stuff and these are the things that are kind of working for me. I tried out. I currently use:
I very rarely wear makeup and I feel like this generally helps me with keeping nice looking skin without it. I believe that we should moisturize especially as we’re getting older and it’s a way that I treat myself. I do scoff a little at the prices of most moisturizers and I know that I probably should be investing more in skincare but in the meantime, this’ll do.
The final way I treat myself is actually by purchasing bird food.
This is not something I would have done when I was in my debt free journey, but now that I am debt free, and am stereotypically in my 30s, I like bird-watching.
I hung a bird feeder I got for $1 at a yard sale and picked up a 20 pound bag of feed for $6 at Lowes. We now have blue jays, cardinals, finches, sparrows — so many adorable little birds and they’re getting fat, which brings me joy. I really really love sitting on the chaise on my couch and looking out onto my porch that has all of my beautiful plants on it and watching these adorable fat birds come out and just be on my porch.
It might not be a fancy, bougie life but I’m really enjoying it, and more importantly, I don’t feel guilty about any of these purchases. They are worth the money spent (for me) and aren’t causing me to sacrifice any future wealth for them.
I would love to know what frugal ways you treat yourself and make yourself feel special.
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