Everyone deserves to treat themselves now and then. It’s a crucial part of self-care, which the World Health Organization describes as a vital practice to maintain and promote optimal health while managing an existing disease.
However, you aren’t alone if budgetary constraints make you hesitate to splurge. Inflation has soared beyond the pale, most people’s incomes haven’t kept pace, and economists warn of looming recessionary fears.
What can you do to treat yourself without parting with much of your hard-earned cash? Here are five thoughtful ways to splurge while sparing your budget.
1. An Indulgent Meal
Who said you had to book a table at the Four Seasons to enjoy an indulgent meal? Nothing can stop you from cooking up a gourmet splurge right at home – EVEN if you’re on a budget. If you have a sous vide machine, you can make nearly any cut of meat taste as if it came from a prime steakhouse. The secret is the cooking method — it breaks down hard collagen fibers while preventing moisture loss. The result is nothing short of divine.
What if you avoid red meat? Seafood is notoriously pricey if you live inland. However, you don’t need much meat to indulge in a succulent lobster grilled cheese sandwich — you can feed four people with one pound-sized tail. Serve it up with homemade fries or chips made with avocado oil. It has a high smoke point, making it ideal for frying, and the buttery taste pairs perfectly with your sandwich.
2. A Day at the Park
Maybe you can’t afford a week-long vacation in the country, even if you skip the hotel. However, what’s to stop you from indulging your wanderlust on a sunny day by spending the entire late morning through afternoon basking in the sun at your favorite nature preserve or park? Doing so could have immunity-boosting benefits, just in time for cold and flu season.
Pack a picnic lunch, a towel or blanket for resting, plenty of hydration, sunscreen and bug spray. You might also want to bring a frisbee or tennis balls for the canine contingent and a few fun toys for the kiddos. Are you going hiking? The right identification app can give you and the littles hours of fun as you explore the flora and fauna of your region.
Be sure to dress in comfortable layers so you can adjust your attire as the temperature shifts. A pair of sturdy shoes, a hat and sunglasses complete your ensemble for outdoor fun.
3. A DIY Spa Day
You don’t have to drop a dime on a pricey day spa to indulge yourself. You and your loved ones can treat yourself to a day of luxurious indulgence right at home. All you need are some of the best homemade beauty recipes and a few hours of free time.
Start your day by putting some gentle yoga and meditation on your playlist the night before, and slowly wake up slowly with an easy stretch. Then, assemble the following products to pamper yourself and those you love:
- Cucumber-mint exfoliating scrub: Mix granulated sugar and extra virgin olive oil into a paste. Blend in fresh chopped cucumber and mint leaves.
- Honey-avocado face mask: Blend avocado, honey, and a half teaspoon of apple cider vinegar into a thick paste.
- Apple cider vinegar hair mask: Mix apple cider vinegar, honey, and olive oil and apply to hair, using more oil for drier strands. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes. No shampoo is necessary.
While your products work, sink into an indulgent tea bath — you can add bags directly to your water or brew it first. Chamomile and lavender are great choices. When you emerge, finish your day with a mani-pedi and perhaps swap massages with your partner.
4. A Discounted Movie Night
A movie night can cost a family of four $50 or more, even if you go light on snacks. That’s quite a chunk out of your take-home pay.
Instead, why not do a makeshift drive-in experience right in your backyard? Many local libraries lend out more than books — you could find a projector for next to free. Hit your local dollar store to stock up on super-sized candy on the cheap. Make a big bucket of popcorn to share and stock your backyard with plenty of pillows and blankets to keep your kids and loved ones warm while you kick back and enjoy the show.
5. An Inexpensive Home Makeover
Does your abode reflect your moth-ridden wallet? You can still spruce up the old homestead on a budget, and you’ll feel better each time you pull into your driveway. Here are four projects you can do for under $100 — some are even free:
- Paint: Maybe you can’t redo your entire facade. However, touching up your front door and shutters can revitalize your look. An accent wall can highlight your family photos while refreshing your living space, and freshly painted cabinetry can brighten your kitchen.
- Replace an ugly faucet or light fixture: Have the 70s called to ask you to return your kitchen sink? Get rid of that outdated faucet with a sleek farmhouse model. Likewise, remove those glaring bathroom bulbs and install more modern, flattering fixtures.
- Upgrade your outlets or kitchen hardware: These take only minutes to swap but can significantly improve your home’s appearance.
- Clear the clutter: This tip is free. However, you might want to invest in some sleek storage containers if the reason for the mess is a lawn scattered with enough toys to open a daycare.
Splurging on a Budget
You’re not alone if you put off spending on extras right now. Despite newscasters’ hopes for the best, the economy is in a rough place.
Why not consider these five thoughtful ways to splurge while sparing your budget? You don’t have to spend much to make yourself feel like a million bucks.