Living on a budget is a wise thing to do because it helps you achieve financial stability and reach financial goals. Sticking to a budget doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of nice things, though. There are a lot of ways to treat yourself at little or no cost to you.
Here are 50 great ways to treat yourself on a budget!
1. Have a Spa Day at Home
You don’t have to pay top dollar at a salon for a spa day. Treat yourself to one at home with a DIY approach, or do it with a friend.
Go for a Nature Walk
This doesn’t have to be a big production. Just head out the door and walk a trail through neighborhood green spaces.
3. Enjoy a Movie Night With Homemade Popcorn
Get out the popper and season your popcorn just the way you like it. Then get cozy on a couch or recliner and watch a new movie or an old favorite.
4. Read a Book in a Cozy Corner
Curling up with a good book is a great way to treat yourself to some alone time. You’ll probably learn new vocabulary and facts as well.
5. Try a New Recipe or Bake Something Special
For some people, cooking is a favorite escape and an act of love. Try out that recipe you’ve been meaning to get to, or make something yummy in the oven.
6. Take a Relaxing Bubble Bath
Dim the lights, get some scented candles, and take a nice soak in the tub. It’s also a great way to soothe sore muscles and other aches.
7. Explore a Local Park or Museum
Treat yourself to some stress relief by taking a walk in Mother Nature. If it’s rainy, check out a nearby museum to build your cultural and historical knowledge.
8. Have a Picnic in Your Backyard
Pack a bag or basket with some favorite foods and walk out the back door. You’ll get all the fun of a picnic without having to drive to get there.
9. Listen to Your Favorite Music
Music relaxes us and speaks to our passions. Play some favorite tunes while you’re doing chores or making dinner.
10. Do a DIY Craft Project
A craft project helps pass the time in a constructive way. While you’re doing it, you’ll refine your skills and also enjoy some relaxation.
11. Write in a Journal
Writing your thoughts down can get you in touch with the things that matter most. Track your thinking on issues you care about or note your daily observations and experiences.
12. Have a Picnic in a Nearby Park
Get some fresh air and enjoy lunch with family or friends. Local parks are usually free to visit, so they’re an economical way to relax and recreate.
13. Practice Meditation or Deep Breathing
Reset yourself by taking a break from your busy life. Meditating or just slowing down and practicing deep breathing will calm you and help restore your perspective.
14. Watch a Sunset or Sunrise
The beginning and end of the day are beautiful times. Low light creates intense colors, and the world seems more vibrant and alive than at any other time of day.
15. Visit a Free Community Event
Communities frequently host events that you can visit for free. Attend a concert featuring local talent, visit a crafts fair, or help with a park or roadside cleanup.
16. Create a Scrapbook of Memories
Keep the past alive with pictures, notes, and other mementos. A scrapbook is a convenient and fun way to collect and organize them.
17. Visit a Thrift Store for a Small Treat
Go out and treat yourself to something fun and inexpensive. Thrift stores are perfect for this, and you don’t have to worry about overpaying for things you don’t really need.
18. Organize and Declutter a Space
We have a tendency to let things pile up and create clutter. Dedicating yourself to organizing and decluttering a counter or corner will focus you and leave you with a result that will make you smile.
19. Try a New Hobby or Learn a New Skill
There’s no such thing as knowing too many things. Exploring something new can unlock a passion you never knew you had and can help you forge new friendships.
20. Have a Game Night With Friends or Family
Many of us don’t get enough quality time with family and friends due to hectic schedules. Game night is something everyone can mark off on a calendar and then enjoy.
21. Enjoy a Hot Cup of Tea or Coffee
Our lives are so busy that we often forget the value of stopping for a little break. A cup of tea or coffee gives you an excuse to sit down and relax for a bit.
22. Attend a Free Local Class or Workshop
Learning new things doesn’t mean you have to sign up for expensive courses. Local experts are often eager to share knowledge and build community for free.
23. Explore Free Online Courses
With an internet connection, there’s unlimited access to knowledge at your fingertips. Broadening your world is just a quick search away.
24. Exercise or Go for a Run
Get your blood flowing and get into better shape by setting aside some workout time. Going outside for it also gives you some fresh air and a change of scenery.
25. Watch a Favorite TV Show or Movie
Decompress by watching a favorite show or movie. It’ll refocus your attention from work and worries to something you really enjoy.
26. Have a Cozy Night in With a Good Book
A lot of people spend their evenings watching shows or spending time on devices. Snuggle up with a good book for simpler, quieter entertainment that will also help you get to sleep.
27. Do a Puzzle or Brain Teaser
If you like solving challenges, a puzzle or brain teaser checks the boxes. It will focus your concentration and give your brain some welcome exercise.
28. Visit a Free Art Gallery or Exhibit
Every community has talented artists eager to share their work with the public. Galleries and exhibits are free ways to explore their creations and provide an opportunity to support them.
29. Enjoy a Scenic Drive or Bike Ride
Take in the countryside with a relaxing drive. If there are bike paths or lanes, a bike ride is a cost-free alternative that gets you outside and provides some exercise.
30. Join a Book Club
Making new friends and experiencing new ideas and perspectives are important and healthy. Book clubs are great ways to do both.
31. Practice Yoga
Exercise and stress relief are critical for a healthy lifestyle. Yoga is an excellent way to get both.
32. Write Positive Affirmations
Positive thinking is essential for happiness and success. Writing down positive thoughts and affirmations reinforces them and helps you practice them.
33. Have a Themed Costume or Dress-up Day
Create some fun and build spirit with family, friends, or colleagues. Set up a themed day for dress or costumes or even a whole week with individually themed days.
34. Host a Potluck Dinner With Friends
Having friends over for dinner is fun, but then there’s the cleanup. A potluck dinner drastically reduces the cleanup. Plus, everyone is guaranteed to have something they like.
35. Plan a Budget-Friendly Day Trip
A day trip can be a mini-vacation. Plan a trip to a nearby location that won’t cost much but will still deliver high value in recreation or relaxation.
36. Take a Nap or Rest
You don’t always have to be actively doing something to use time wisely. A nap or just a few minutes lying on a couch can recharge you and take you away from the hustle and bustle.
37. Create a Budget-Friendly Self-Care Routine
You owe it to yourself to take care of yourself. Doing that doesn’t require expensive classes or hiring a personal trainer. Setting a routine helps you stick to your goals.
38. Attend a Free or Low-Cost Fitness Class
If it’s hard to set your own routine and stick with it, don’t despair. There are a lot of free and low-cost fitness classes available. Many are on the internet.
39. Do a Random Act of Kindness
Help someone out and make the world a better place, even if by just a little bit. Random acts of kindness can change lives and even save them in ways you’ll never know.
40. Explore a New Park or Trail
It’s a big world out there, and there’s a lot to see. Even if it means some extra driving, check out a park or trail you haven’t been to before to see new things.
41. Have a Picnic in a Local Botanical Garden
Botanical gardens are great places to see beautiful and exotic plants and flowers. Having a picnic in one lets you extend your time there and feel more like a part of it.
42. Try a Free Online Workout Video
You don’t need to pay for a gym membership to work out and get/stay in shape. There are countless free workout videos online.
43. Visit a Free Library or Bookstore
Public libraries are still ways to check out books or surf the internet for free. There are also book exchanges where you can walk out with a “new” used book for free if you leave one or more of your own.
44. Explore a New Neighborhood or Town
Every town or neighborhood has its own culture and vibe. Go see a new one for your daily walk or bike ride.
45. Volunteer for a Cause You’re Passionate About
If you’re passionate about a cause, you can volunteer your time and energy to an activity or organization that supports it. Play a part in changing the world for the better.
46. Watch the Stars on a Clear Night
The night sky is amazing. On a clear night, head out to a dark place free of light pollution to gaze at stars, planets, constellations, the Milky Way, and, if you’re lucky, some shooting stars.
47. Have a Homemade Spa Night With DIY Masks
DIY masks can transform any night at home into a spa night. If you have a large tub or a real hot tub, it’s even better.
48. Attend a Free Local Music Performance
During the summer and other warm months, city and county parks are often hosts to free concerts. In cities, street performers play instruments or sing songs for free, though they appreciate tips, which still cost way less than a ticket.
49. Enjoy a Quiet Day of Reflection
Instead of feeling you have to spend a free day by keeping yourself busy, spend some time on reflection about where you are and what you’ve done. Do it at home or find a secluded, peaceful place outdoors.
50. Write a Letter to Your Future Self
What has made you the person you are? Where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years? Write these or other thoughts in a letter to yourself. Seal it and stow it away for a date in the future when you’ll open it and connect the past and the present.
You can treat yourself to nice things and fun experiences without putting a dent in your budget. The 50 ideas here are just a start. Build your own personal list using any of these, and add to it with ideas of your own!