Thrifty Pleasures: 10 Affordable Items That Can Bring Joy to Your Life

When you live on a tight budget, there are many things that you cannot buy and that might make you sad but there are some inexpensive items that you can buy that spark joy and make your life much better.

Out of Reach

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It is natural to question how many things that make us happy we can buy when living on a budget. An online community talks about this perceived dilemma. The biggest reason is that we assume that the things that will bring us the most joy are expensive.

Frequently, many things indeed feel out of reach financially. But we can still purchase items that will spark some joy and not break the bank. Here are inexpensive items people in a popular online forum suggest bring joy.

Fresh Flowers and House Plants

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Fresh flowers and house plants are the most prevalent choices by far. They can bring beauty and color into the home. And what is so great is that they do not have to cost a fortune. Several individuals claim they enjoy buying flowers weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly “at the farmers market or the grocery store.” They can cost as low as four dollars a bunch.

A few users even have tips to help them last longer, such as “cutting the stems back after a few days” and “changing the water every day or two.” Something beautiful and affordable that last longer than you may think cannot help but radiate simple happiness.

Related: How To Pamper Yourself (Without Spending a Lot of Money)


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Nothing is quite as fantastic as chocolate. While some chocolates are pricy, many options are affordable without sacrificing taste. Several users say they enjoy the tasty treat because it is not extravagant. One says they like to frequent a local chocolatier which may have a slightly higher price than drugstore brand chocolate, but they enjoy supporting a small business every month.

Another says they love a Russell Stover box of chocolate, calling it their little “everyday joy.” Chocolate is something I treat myself to because it won’t hurt my bank account. A Snicker’s candy bar, a bag of Dove chocolates, a Reece’s Peanut Cup, or, on a rare occasion, a box of See’s Candies are simple but instant sources of pleasure.

Related: Save Money, Live Better: 17 Top Tips on How To Start Today 

Frozen Pizza

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One person shares their love for frozen pizza. Specifically, they enjoy it on their “meal prep day.” While figuring out the week’s meals, a frozen pizza is an easy, cheap, and tasty treat.

As a frequently frozen pizza connoisseur, I can attest to the simple but affordable joy of the frozen version of this Italian pie. I enjoy California Pizza Kitchen and Red Baron pizzas. They are inexpensive, and I often like them better than restaurants like Domino’s or Little Caesar’s. And they are always less money.

Bird Seed

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One of the sweetest suggestions is bird seed. Buying birdseed can help you feel connected to nature, similar to bringing fresh flowers into the home. That is a source of happiness for many people.

One such person says they like to “put [birdseed] outside my window so I can watch the birds and other animals come to the window.” I have never done this, but hearing birds singing is one of my favorite things on earth. I would buy birdseed in a heartbeat to listen to their songs more often and not spend too much money.


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It’s no secret that coffee is an everyday pleasure for millions. You can indulge inexpensively depending on how often you consume coffee and where you buy said cup of joe. McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts are common choices because they don’t cost much and are generally well-liked.

Starbucks is more of a guilty pleasure because it costs more. But in the grand scheme of things getting the occasional latte or Frappuccino from Starbucks is a nice treat that won’t break the bank.

Tea Lights

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Tea light candles are lovely little touches for your home that are incredibly affordable. You can even buy them in bulk, spending very little. One person notes that tea lights help them relax, and they love to “turn off all the lights and sit in candlelight listening to music.” A few or many tea lights throughout the home in small candle holders or jars can spark literal and figurative joy.

Nail Polish

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Multiple users share how much they love nail polish. One individual says they like to buy them at Dollar Tree because they can get two for one dollar. Fifty cents a piece for a small source of happiness is incredible.

Even if you don’t pick up nail polish that cheaply, you can still find brands like Essie and OPI at places like Target and Amazon at affordable prices. I like picking up a few bottles of Essie nail polish every few months.

Used Books

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Another frequent suggestion people make is to pick up used books. One claims that they get them “rarely [for] more than $2 each” and that the new-to-you “book becomes a friend.”

I cannot agree more about how books are special magic. As a favorite television show of mine, Once Upon a Time, says, “sometimes the best book has the dustiest jacket.”

Related: Why Is Reading Important? 20 Powerful Benefits of Reading Books 

Stationary and Stickers

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Paper goods are easily one of the nicest ways to spark some happiness at a low cost. One states they love “Pretty postage stamps, postcards, [and] stickers.” Another person notes that they like to buy stickers from artists because they understand, as an artist, how much that sale can mean to them.

And they are generally only three to four dollars. Letter writing is a lost art that I love to partake in, and stickers are something I’ve loved since childhood. It is a well-loved pleasure for stationary-loving, budget-conscious folks.

New Pens

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Breaking out a new pen can give you a burst of serotonin as it glides across the paper with ease. One user says they particularly enjoy “pretty colorful pens.” These can make writing more fun and give someone’s day one of the simplest smile-inducing activities.

This thread inspired this post.

This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.

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