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Free and Inexpensive Ways to Treat Yourself

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By marybabysteps · November 5, 2011 · 0 Comments ·

The other day I wrote about how my new hairstyle has improved my outlook. I also mentioned that I'm fortunate enough to blog for a wonderful local hair salon, and I'm able to trade my writing services for hair and beauty treatments. It's an awesome exchange! Even if you're not lucky enough to have your hair stylist on retainer, there are still tons of ways to treat and pamper yourself, as well as your family, without spending a ton of money. These are tough economic times. Throughout my working life, I've had various period of ups and downs with my finances. The times I was the least happy were the ones in which I constantly denied myself. Living in a mindset of lack or want is not healthy. It's no good for you, and it's no good for your loved ones. So I'm going to get you started with a list of things you can do to add some fun and pampering to your life without spending the big bucks that so mahy of us just don't have right now.

Health and Beauty

Going to the salon and buying beauty products can really take a chunk out of your budget. Consider these ways of pampering yourself on the cheap.

  • Ask a hairdresser friend or family member if you can barter services. Or check out your local beauty school to see if you can't get a great new color from one of the school's students at a significant discount.
  • Score some freebies at the beauty counter. I know that some cosmetics brands at high end department stores offer samples for customers to try. Stores like Sephora or Crabtree & Evelyn are also generous with the free samples. Sometimes these samples can last up to a week or more.
  • Check out online beauty sample sites. There are websites that allow you to sign up to receive small boxes of samples sent to your door for a relatively small fee. Some of the ones I'm familiar with are birchbox.com, newbeauty.com and herbeautysamples.com.
  • Get a makeup lesson at the beauty counter. Many department store makeup counters will provide complimentary makeup application lessons in the hopes of making a sale. It's a great way to learn new techniques and get a little pampering for free. If you can't afford to make a purchase, you're likely to find an item you'll add to your wish list for later.
  • Give yourself a mani/pedi or trade services with a girlfriend. I always feel so much better with a coat of polish on, and a nice scented lotion just adds a touch of pampering. It's almost as good as going to the salon. It is!


Dining and Leisure

We all can start to feel a little deprived after being stuck in the house for weeks on end. Don't get stuck in a rut. There are plenty of things you can do to get yourself and your family out and about.

  • Head to the internet for deals. There are so many discount sites right now like Groupon, Living Social and PopSugar Shop.They may not all be to your liking, but surely you'll find some bargains that work for you and your family. My husband and I got to have dinner at a fabulous local restaurant we normally couldn't afford for half off because of a Groupon deal.
  • Go for ice cream. One thing I always said was that I could take my kids out for ice cream no matter how poor we may be. It doesn't have to be to Dairy Queen, which can be a bit pricey. Head to McDonald's for a sundae off the dollar menu or pick up supplies at the store for a make your own sundae bar at home. It's a fun tradition.
  • Have a movie night. Going to the theatre can cost an arm and a leg. It's a luxury we can't often afford. But another tradition my kids love is movie night where we choose a Netflix movie to watch together. We eat popcorn or a sweet snack and stay up late. The kids get to sleep out on the living room floor. It really feels special.
  • Check out your local radio station for auctions or half price deals. Most stations these days have some kind of discount partnership with local establishments.


There are so many more things you can do to treat yourself and your family for little or no money. I will continue this post in the coming days with ways to find time for yourself and ideas for enriching your life spirutually or academically.

Leave a comment sharing how you treat yourself without spending a lot of money.


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