You will inevitably get to a point where you feel the need to treat yourself. However, it's important that whenever you decide to, you are doing it within budget, so you don't impact your financial goals.
If you're a fan of the show Parks and Recreation, you know all about Treat Yo' Self Day. If you don't, it's pretty simple. Characters, played by actors Retta and Aziz Ansari, created their own holiday, Treat Yo' Self, to celebrate themselves every year on October 13th.
They tote themselves as relaxation professionals and allow themselves to buy whatever they want on their day. Baked goods, cashmere socks, and new fragrances are all fair game on their magical day.
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Now it's your turn! Here are our top ways to treat yourself on a budget!
52 Ways to treat yo'self!
1. Buy a latte
A lot of personal finance experts advise against buying fancy coffee but over here, we don't. We know sometimes there is nothing better than that first sip of a latte brewed just for you. And it's all about building the things you enjoy into your budget!
2. Try a new restaurant during happy hour
Have a restaurant you've wanted to try but don't want to blow your eating out budget? Check out the happy hour menu! Happy hours offer a variety of appetizers and signature cocktails for a fraction of the cost. It's an easy way to celebrate the end of the workday by trying something new.
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3. Grab flowers
Fresh flowers are an easy way to perk up your living space. Grocery stores have different seasonal bouquets on sale so grab one the next time you're out. The best thing about buying flowers at the grocery store? You don't get the high-end floral prices and they are just as beautiful. Plus flowers can have a long-term positive effect on your mood.
4. Check out a farmer's market
Neighborhood farmer markets are a great way to find new goodies to snack on, gifts, and handmade household products. You can check out the website nextdoor.com for information on farmer markets and other community gathers that are either in or close to your neighborhood. Some of my favorite lotion, bread, and artwork are from farmers' markets.
5. Go for a drive
Since gas is relatively cheap these days, load the car up, and explore somewhere new. Atlas Obscura has a ton of day trip ideas for every state, so adventure is in your future.
6. Have a picnic in the park
Speaking of nice weather, pack up a cooler, and head to a park. Many parks, both local and state, have picnic area seating. My go-to picnic is picking up some sandwiches at a local grocery store, then driving to a local mountain preserve.
7. Make some hot cocoa and have a movie marathon
Sure, watching movies is fun, but have you ever tried to watch movies while enjoying a homemade hot cocoa bar? You can grab fun items to spice up your drinks at the dollar store and even come up with themes to go along with your films. For example, you can't watch Ghostbusters without adding extra marshmallows for the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man!
8. Use your library to score free cultural passes
Libraries aren't just for books. Museums and attractions partner with libraries by providing free admission passes. You can sign up at your local library to see what cultural passes they offer, as well as different dates and times.
9. Go to the library and borrow whatever you want
As mentioned above, libraries aren't just for books. You can find movies, magazines, music, newspapers, or even attend free classes and meetups. Last year, I've even been lucky enough to attend a free workshop by one of my favorite writers growing up, R.L Stine!
10. Check out museums on free days
A lot of museums have days where they are open for free to the public. You can check out any new or existing exhibitions. These can be great dates or family outings!
11. Attend a book reading
Bookstores are a cultural hub people forget. From private movie showings to book signings, you can catch your favorite local and national authors for the price of a book. A lot of times, these events are free!
12. Go to IKEA
One of my favorite things to do when taking on a new home project is brainstorming at IKEA. IKEA consists of two different areas, the top floor being a staged showroom and the bottom floor is a warehouse. I love to go to the showroom and see how they have designed the rooms. I always get a new idea I hadn't thought of before that I could utilize in my apartment. Of course, the treat is the Swedish meatballs they sell in the cafeteria.
13. Try a trial period on an app or stream service
App and streaming service subscriptions can add up fast, which is why free versions are so popular. Treat yourself to a trial period to get the full experience or even binge watch a popular show!
14. Treat yourself to some new pajamas
One of my best friends buys herself new pajamas every Valentine's Day. I hadn't ever considered this a treat until I bought myself some this summer after a breakup. I can tell you looking cute for myself is a pick me up after a long day!
15. Have a spa day
Nothing relaxes you like a spa day. Search Groupon for a pedicure coupon and go to a massage school for a fraction of the price. Get some takeout and eat by candlelight. Finding a favorite take out spot is such a treat. Why not go the extra mile and eat by candlelight? If you're super extra like me, you can tell yourself what lovely eyes you have.
16. Buy a new candle
Candles are one of the easiest ways to add ambiance to any space. Grab a new candle from a store you love or check out new ones on a platform like Etsy.
17. Start a herb garden for your kitchen
Adding fresh herbs into an at-home recipe is a fun culinary treat. You can purchase beginner herb plants at the grocery store and plant them on your windowsill.
18. Buy a new plant for your patio
Plants are calming, and with so many different ones, you no longer need to have a green thumb to keep it alive. Check out plants that are low maintenance to add some greenery to your space.
19. Buy a video game on sale
One of my guilty pleasures is turning my laptop on and playing The Sims. I purchased it and a few others on sale earlier this year, and it's been a fun hobby to get back into after "being too old" for video games.
20. Sign up for a subscription box
There is a subscription box for everyone, every interest or item imaginable. Subscription boxes are a fun way to test out products, make crafts, or supplement items you wouldn't usually purchase for a fraction of the price.
21. Take a bubble bath
A nice hot bubble bath can fix just about anything. Add some candles, bath oils, and a glass of wine for a decadent treat.
22. Have a potluck night with friends
Friends make everything better, so invite them over for a potluck night. You can have a theme that goes along with an activity or catch up while sharing your favorite dish. No noisy restaurant is needed.
23. Check out a starter kit for a new hobby you'd like to try
Always wanted to try to knit a hat? You can go to a craft store like Michaels and find a kit already prepared for you with instructions. Starter kits are a great way to test out something without financial commitment or clutter.
24. Host a paint and sip night
You can pick up blank canvases and paint for as little as a buck. Why not create the same fun experience at home for a fraction of the price? Invite friends, pour a cocktail of your choice, and pull up some instructional paint videos on Youtube.
25. Have a wine tasting
Wine doesn't have to be expensive. Invite friends to bring their favorite bottle to share and keep notes on a new wine you'd like to try.
26. Buy a new journal
People recommend journaling for a reason. It helps you think more clearly about certain situations, but you can also let stuff go more quickly once it's on paper. Splurge and buy yourself a new one. Go ahead and buy some nice pens too.
27. Check out an online class with Clever Girl Finance
Here at Clever Girl Finance, there are over 30+ courses and 40+ worksheets that you can access completely free! Yup, who says personal development has to break the bank?!
28. Cook a new recipe
Make cooking a treat. Buy fresh spices, ingredients, and take time to savor the process. There are tons of fun step by step channel on YouTube where you can along!
29. Do yoga on Youtube
Yoga has so many benefits but can be costly to attend classes with an instructor. Youtube has free videos for all different types of fitness levels.
30. Find a new tv show and then allow yourself to binge for a night
If you're like me and don't watch a lot of TV, finding a new to you show and then letting yourself binge-watch is a fun no-cost treat.
31. Buy your furry friend a new toy
Our pets bring us joy daily, so return the favor. Grab a new toy and watch them have a few hours of fun.
32. Use up some old craft supplies
Grab the scrapbook paper and make something. It could be seasonal decor, a fun project with your friends or kids, or some plain old stress relief.
33. Buy a coloring book and nice colored pencils
Some psychologists consider coloring to be the closest thing to meditation. Invest in an adult coloring book and nice colored pencils off Amazon, and then let yourself get lost in a new colorful world.
34. Finish a home improvement project
Do you ever buy stuff to make a gallery wall and then never hang it up? Yeah, me either. Spending an afternoon finishing a home improvement project will leave you with a sense of accomplishment.
35. Challenge yourself to decorate a room for a fixed amount
Is your place needed a bit of an update but don't have the money to buy the entire Joanna Gaines collection? Give yourself a budget and see how far you can make it stretch with Goodwill, DIYs, and Amazon
36. Make your beauty products
Look up recipes for masks, bath salts, and body butters on Pinterest to create your spa day. If you make something amazing, it could be a side hustle idea too!
37. Make your cleaning products
If you're looking for a more environmentally friendly way of cleaning, try making your products. Not only will you be fully aware of what you are using, you'll be rest assured there are no harmful chemicals.
38. Send snail mail
I don't care who you are. A card in the mail will always perk you up. Send some cards to someone you love and watch them smile. Dress it up with a fun themed stamp.
39. Buy lovely hand soap and towels
Nice hand soap and towels are a fun everyday way to treat yourself. And the great thing about hand soaps is that they are pretty inexpensive.
40. Go for a walk or hike
Nature calls, and it wants you to get your steps in. Look up trails close to you and take your camera to snap some pics.
41. Take yourself to a matinee
Do you like movies that other people don't, or you don't want them talking to you? Go to an afternoon matinee. You can enjoy all the popcorn in peace. Plus, it's a lot cheaper than going at primetime.
42. Go thrifting
Do you have an eye for style but not a matching bank account? Go to Goodwill and see what you can find, for a fraction of the cost.
43. Spend time volunteering
Sharing your talents and time with others is a way to appreciate life through a new lens. You can volunteer at your local animal rescue, women's shelter, library and more.
44. Buy new pillows
You can get new designer pillows at places like TJ Maxx and Marshalls for cheap. Feel free to dream of sugar plum fairies.
45. Say no
Do you not want to do something? Give yourself permission to say no and enjoy that time doing something else.
46. Sleep in
Turn the alarm off on the weekend and catch up on rest.
47. Make a nice yourself a lovely brunch
Take time to make pancakes while blaring your favorite music and eat to your heart's content. Don't forget to dress up your space with some flowers and nice syrup.
48. Bake a new treat
Brownies don't stand a chance when you're making fresh cupcakes. Once you perfect your recipe, please feel free to share it with me.
49. Have a staycation
Grab a reservation at a local resort to treat yourself to a staycation. Order room service, enjoy the pool, and waltz around in a fancy robe.
50. Splurge on a cleaning service
The feeling of coming home to a clean house you didn't have to do yourself? Priceless. It doesn't have to be a recurring budget expense. It can be a nice occasional treat, especially if you have a busy family you are always cleaning up after.
51. Go to a concert on your own
You don't need anyone else to enjoy your favorite band. Plus sometimes, you can get really great seats as a party of one! Dress up and grab a meal beforehand to celebrate.
52. Buy some art
Grab a print off Etsy and match it with a new frame. Find the perfect wall to hang it on and ta-dah, you're a gallery owner now!
How to build treating yourself into your budget
We know you’re wondering how you can afford all of this but we’ve got you covered with some suggestions for that too:
Open a designated splurge account
Open a separate checking or savings account to keep a treat yourself fund away from your other funds. Make splurging a line item in your budget and then set up automatic transfers. A separate splurge account allows you to save for bigger ticket items. It also lets you see how much you can spend at any given time on some cashmere socks.
Find ways to allocate extra money to your splurge account
Look over your current budget to see if there is any additional funding available for your splurge account. Try spending less on variable expenses such as groceries but don't forget to look at your fixed costs. If you negotiate a lower rate on an occurring bill, you can use that newly found money to your advantage.
Try a savings challenge
If you are on a mission to treat yourself NOW, participate in a savings challenge. We have many ideas that can jumpstart your newly designated splurge account to get you treating yourself sooner than later. We have some amazing savings challenges here at Clever Girl Finance.
Shop the sales
There are so many ways never to pay full price for anything. Check out deals, sign up for mailing lists to get coupons and rewards, stalk Groupon, go to the dollar store, etc. Okay, you might have to pay full price at fancy cheese shops, but you said cheese, so I'll let it pass. Just don't pay full price for your cheese plate.
Treating yourself can be every day with the tips up above. Make a top 10 list of how you plan to treat yourself next! While you are at it, feel free to treat yourself to our 30+ completely free courses too 🙂