NBC’s hit show Parks & Recreation has taught me many important life lessons about life, love and being a woman in the workplace (thanks, Leslie Knope!). But one of the show’s funniest running jokes has actually provided an excellent lesson as well: Treat Yo’ Self. Tom and Donna’s annual “Treat Yourself Day” certainly inspires ideas of luxury, but what do you do if your budget is tight? Not to worry. You can still treat yourself if you’re on a budget!
The key is to remove the idea that spending a lot of money is equal to treating yourself. There are many other things we don’t get to experience on a daily basis that are still very much treats. Things like leisure time, “me time” and gluttony! Here are my top six ways to treat yourself on a budget.
1) At-Home Spa Day
In my book, the fastest way to feel pampered is to relax and enjoy spa treatments that soothe achy feet and dry cuticles. But who can afford a spa day!? Seriously, some spas — especially in metropolitan areas — can run you upwards of $400 for only a few hours of pampering. To get the experience of pampering yourself while keeping your budget in mind, treat yourself to an at-home spa day.
Put on some of your favorite, relaxing music, turn off your cell phone (or okay, at least put it on vibrate or silent), light some candles and run a hot bath! After you’re soaked, scrubbed and dried, go forth with a manicure, pedicure, deep conditioning hair treatment, face mask, etc. Your options are endless, and this me-time is priceless.
2) Seek Out a New Experience
If you see treating yourself more as an experience outside the house, scour some of the internet’s best deals sites for something that appeals to you. This could be something active like rock-climbing or horseback riding, something learning-based like a cooking class or something luxurious like an afternoon of wine-tasting. If you want to go an even cheaper route, take a day trip out to an awesome hiking trail nearby. Pack some snacks and treat yourself by enjoying nature!
3) Breakfast in Bed
One of my absolute favorite things is leisure time! And although it would be awesome for a deluxe breakfast spread to appear at your bedside one weekend morning, making it for yourself is just as much a treat! The act of eating breakfast in bed (or on the couch) and enjoying some music or entertainment at the same time is a treat that is not enjoyed often enough!
Check food blogs or Pinterest for awesome and creative breakfast recipes. Enjoy being a host and want to make it more social? Invite a few friends over and make it a brunch party! Making breakfast at home saves a ton of money compared to going out for an overpriced meal, but don’t forget to save even more by shopping BLINQ’s kitchen section.
4) A Fancy but Frugal Meal
For the foodies of the world, nothing says luxury like a nice meal out, but when your bill comes at the end of the night, the guilt can set in quick. To prevent this icky feeling, make your favorite restaurant-caliber meal at home! Even a nice steak cooked at home will save you 50% or more over the cost of a steakhouse dinner. Snag a reasonably priced bottle of wine while you’re at the store and you’re in business while staying on-budget!
5) Wine Down with Friends
I think we can all agree that spending time with your friends and loved ones is certainly a luxury as busy lives do not always allow for frequent visits and get-togethers! One way to treat yourself to the company of others is to “wine down” with them — host a “cocktail hour” at your place and ask everyone to bring their favorite bottle of wine and a snack, appetizer or easy-to-serve dessert!
Put on your favorite playlist, light candles, maybe even grab some fresh flowers, and you will feel all the fun of going out to happy hour with friends, minus the hefty bill at the end of the night!
6) Shopping Spree
To a fashionista, there’s no greater way to treat yourself than to go on a shopping spree! If you’re on a budget, the trick is to shop at places you know you can afford. That way you don’t set yourself up to feel deprived when you fall in love with a piece you can’t afford. And before hitting up the low-cost and low-quality stores at the mall, try local consignment shops or off-price retailers like BLINQ, where you can find your favorite clothing brands at prices way below retail. Just remember, you can look great without spending a fortune — if know where to look!
So, which treat will you choose? With these low-budget ideas, maybe you can even indulge in 2 or 3 in one day! What are your favorite ways to treat yourself on a budget?