Personal Growth

Self-care on a Budget – 15 Free or Cheap Self-care Ideas

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Are you broke but desperately in need of some self-care time? Looking for self-care that doesn’t cost money? Wondering how do you take care of yourself on a budget? I bet you didn’t know that some of the best things for self-care are free or cheap. If you’re looking for self-care on a budget, you’re in the right place.

Related: 5 Simple Changes That Will Simplify Your Life

Finding time for yourself is hard enough when you have a family to tend to. People that rely heavily on you every single day.

But when you’re nearly broke, you feel like there is no way to escape the stress and anxiety.

You might feel like you’re drowning in overwhelm and you just can’t get your head above water.

The thing is, you have got to take care of yourself before you can be there for those you love. You’ve got to take care of yourself physically and emotionally to keep yourself feeling human.

If you just keep going and going without adding any fuel back to the fire, you will eventually burn out.

But how do you take care of yourself when you have no money?

For many, the image of self-care in their head looks like a day at the beach, a spa day or a stay in a luxury resort.

But for those who deal with mental health pressures, like anxiety or depression, you know that it’s the little things that matter most.

Those little things that are sometimes neglected due to being busy and focused on all the things around us.

How Much Should You Spend on Self-care?

How much you spend on self-care should be based on your budget. And this is going to be different for everyone.

You definitely shouldn’t put yourself in debt trying to “pamper” yourself with the most luxurious self-care items or weekend spa getaway.

Unless you have the funds, of course. Then by all means enjoy it when you got it.

But self-care can be so simple. Don’t over-complicate it.

Being a mom of three working full-time and trying to build a business in my spare time is exhausting.

The best self-care to me is asking my mom or the kids’ dad to watch them for the day or night, so I can have a little me time.

You know, taking a long bath without having anyone banging on the door yelling, “Mama!”

Or going for a nice long walk alone with my thoughts.

And even, vegging out in pajamas, eating chocolate and candies and binge watching Downton Abbey on Amazon Prime.

You can get a 30-day Free Trial of Amazon Prime here by the way.

This is how I take care of myself on a budget. Let’s look at a few more cheap self-care ideas that you can fit into your budget.

relaxed woman meditating practicing self-care

How to Practice Self-care on a Budget

Self-care Budgeting 101 – You don’t really need to have a budget, you just need to be resourceful.

These ideas for self-care are simple and you might think, “I could have thought of them myself.”

But you’re here, so I’m guessing you couldn’t come up with anything that was really appealing.

I hope you find a few things that get you excited or relaxed. Whatever your preference is when you’re having a self-care day.

15 FREE OR CHEAP SELF-CARE IDEAS FOR YOUR SMALL BUDGET

JOURNAL WRITING

You might be thinking, “Oh, I’m not a writer.” But you really don’t have to be. To write your feelings or express your emotions on paper doesn’t require you to be a master of English.

Just getting it all out on paper can help to release so much negative energy. Or it can fill you with joy and gratitude if that’s what you’d rather focus on.

I actually created a daily journal for myself and I’ve made it shareable. You can print it as many times as you want.

You can get a copy of the journal here.

HAVE A NIGHT ALONE

As I mentioned earlier, if you have a family and many responsibilities, it’s imperative that you also spend some time focused on yourself and what you want to do. Having an evening or day alone can help you reflect and truly relax.

PICK UP COLORING AS A HOBBY

Sound childish? Maybe. But who cares? I mean, it’s just an expression of art.

Maybe you’ve noticed the popularity of the mandala coloring books recently. Did you know that a mandala is considered a spiritual or ritual symbol in some countries? Maybe that’s why they’re so calming to color?

READ A BOOK

When it comes to books, there are so many different genres to choose from. My favorite is self-improvement books. If you find the right one, it can uplift you, empower you and ignite a fire within your soul that you’ve been missing.

Whatever your preference is in books, I’m sure you will find calm and enjoyment in reading.

Here are a few of my favorite self-improvement books:

TAKE THE DAY OFF

I’m definitely not telling you to play hooky from work. I’m simply suggesting you take a mental health day.

Things to do on a mental health day:

  • Go window shopping
  • Hang out with a close friend
  • Lounge around in pajamas
  • Do something spontaneous
  • Go for a long drive with beautiful scenery

MEDITATE

Don’t let meditation scare you. It can be really helpful, and it’s super easy.

Recently I read a post about ways to manifest while you sleep. Rebecca suggests to “visualize right before you fall asleep.”

It’s intriguing to think that if we consciously think about where we want to be and play those scenes over in our minds, we will subconsciously work towards getting to where we want to be.

Similarly, meditation is simply focusing the mind and preventing it when it tries to wander. Mindfulness.

HAVE LUNCH WITH A FRIEND

If you’re missing being out in the world, call up a friend and go out for lunch. It doesn’t have to be a fancy restaurant either. Pack a picnic lunch and head for the park if it’s nice weather.

GET SOME FRESH AIR

Sometimes just getting out of the house or out of the office can do wonders for your mind. When you’re working, take your breaks and go for a walk. And when you’re at home, try not to spend all your time cooped up.

TED TALKS FOR INSPIRATION

If you’re feeling bogged down and overwhelmed, try listening to a couple TED talks. There are so many to choose from on any given topic. You can find your match here at TED.com.

HAVE A NIGHT IN WITH FRIENDS

A night in with good friends could be just what you need if you have been bottling up all your feelings. Only invite those you trust and that you know you’ll enjoy their company.

HAVE A DANCE PARTY IN YOUR P.J.’S

Who doesn’t like a dance party? One of my favorite things to do is to plug my earbuds in and crank up the tunes to drown out all the thoughts running loose in my head.

Find some upbeat music that will get you moving and dance the night away.

GET SOME EXERCISE

Exercise is a necessity. So, including it in this list seems a bit redundant. But so many people neglect their bodies and put off exercise with excuses like, I don’t have time, or I’m too tired.

And exercise doesn’t have to be boring or laborsome. What’s something you enjoy doing? Riding a bike, going for a scenic walk, and playing kickball with the kids are all great ways to exercise without feeling like it’s work.

COOK YOUR FAVORITE FUN MEAL OR DESSERT

Cooking is a great hobby to have. Even if you’re not great at it. Finding time to do something you enjoy is satisfying. But my favorite part is sharing something I’ve made with someone else.

AROMATHERAPY TO HELP YOU RELAX

Essential oil diffusers are a must-have if you struggle with tension, stress or anxiety. They are a great way to release tension and help you relax. This self-care idea could take a little investment to get started, but the oils are fairly cheap. And in my book, worth it.

Here are some super affordable examples to get you started:

GET SOME QUALITY SLEEP

There are some seasons of life that require more out of us physically. And that sometimes means we get less sleep. However, sleep is essential and lack of sleep can be detrimental to your health and well being.

With adequate sleep you will be prepared to take on the day with energy, focus and optimism. So take the time to get a little extra sleep.

Why is Pampering Yourself Important?

Pampering yourself is essentially DIY self-care. And taking care of yourself is important to your health and overall well-being.

Related: 3 Big Reasons You Need to Make You a Priority

Some might practice self-care ideas for anxiety. Others might practice self-care for depression. But everyone, even those without mental health struggles, need to take care of their mind, body and soul.

If you want to live a happy, productive life, you will need to learn to put yourself first sometimes. Take the time necessary to make sure you’re being the best you possible.

I hope you’ve found some self-care ideas for your budget!

Tell us how do you practice self-care on a budget? Do you have any unusual self-care ideas?

relaxed woman enjoying Free self-care

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    • Jillian
    • Jillian

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