Self Care Ideas

20 Ideas for Self Care on a Budget

We’re living in a real moment for self care, which is an amazing thing. Whether you’re really into mindfulness, or you’re looking for a small thing to cheer you up today, here are some of my favourite affordable ideas for self care on a budget. 

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My favourite ideas for self care on a budget

You don’t have to spend a lot (or anything!) to enjoy a moment of self care. Take inspiration from these budget-friendly self care ideas to make sure you’re adding some self care into your everyday life — whether that’s a random moment or your daily self care routine.

1. Treat yourself to a specialty coffee

If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, it’s something that’s a regular visitor in your daily life. That first coffee in the morning or a cup of tea before bed becomes part of our routine.

To make that coffee moment feel special, treat yourself to a specialty coffee or hot drink every now and again. This might be a flavoured coffee at home, or a seasonal drink at your favourite coffee shop. Take a friend, your kids, or just enjoy a good book for some bonus self care points. And if you stay home, you’re also saving money compared to buying coffee out.

Enjoying your coffee at home or taking it out for a walk? I love these fun 12oz everyday tumblers* by Talking Out Of Turn.

2. Listen to your favourite podcast

I feel like I say this to myself every week, but life is so busy these days. There’s lots to juggle, and there’s always somewhere that needs cleaning or tidying, and it can feel like there’s no time left to read or learn.

A great way to introduce learning, positivity, or skills development back into your life is through podcasts. Play an episode while you’re washing up, while you tidy the kitchen, or while you’re walking to do the school or nursery run. I find that listening to an episode of Letters From A Hopeful Creative while I tidy clothes away motivates me to get it done, and helps to bring joy to my life.

3. Try an at-home beauty or skincare treatment

When was the last time you had a spa day? If you’re like me, that time was about one child ago, and it’s easy for these little pampering treats to fall by the wayside for either practical or financial reasons.

For a mini self care on a budget treat at home, try a relaxing face mask (peel off are my favourites – less mess!), do a DIY manicure, enjoy some essential oils, or give yourself a little more time in the evening for an indulgent skincare routine. Not only do these self care activities give you that relaxing moment then, but it’s an investment in how you look and – more importantly – feel for the days ahead. You don’t have to splurge to feel great.

4. Borrow or buy a new book

Like so many other self care ideas, reading is one of those things that there never seems to be enough time for. There’s always something else (or someone else, literally) calling your name and asking for your attention.

Rekindle your love for reading, or develop one, by borrowing or buying a new book. Head to your local library (maybe combine it with that coffee shop stop from #1) and pick up something new to read, or download an eBook to your phone or eReader. Since I got my Kindle I’ve definitely been reading more, as I’ve been motivated to make the most of my investment.

Woman reading a book in bed

5. Plan a project you’d love to do

Sometimes we put off doing things because they’re a big deal, so planning out a dream project is a great way of taking that big thing and turning it into smaller steps. This self care on a budget idea is also really lifting because it’s something that you’re excited about, a goal that you want to achieve – whether that’s planning a dream holiday, writing a book, or making a career change.

6. Watch your favourites on YouTube

One of my favourite ways to take a break and refresh is to watch a few of my favourites on YouTube. It’s an easy way to escape for a bit, to learn something new, or to find motivation to carry on with a task that you’ve been putting off. I like to watch channels that talk about running a business, self care, interiors, and personal development.

7. Call or message a friend or loved one

If you’re feeling a little lost or overwhelmed, calling a friend or family member can change your mood almost instantly. There’s something lovely about a call to catch up with someone, making plans, having coffee, or even a chat about what’s happening on TV.

If you don’t have anyone you feel you could message for a chat, try joining a Facebook group that’s centred around one of your interests and jump into the conversation. Sometimes it’s hard to get in that self care moment for your mental health or wellness — but this is a bite-sized way to do that.

8. Create and listen to a Spotify playlist

Music has a way of changing how we feel about what we’re doing or even the life we’re living. Listening to Spotify playlists has become one of the my most motivating self care on a budget activities, especially if I’m struggling through a task that I really don’t enjoy.

Have a browse through the existing playlists, or find songs you love and create your own for different moods and moments. I find a throwback playlist can make you smile and help remind you of memories and moments you enjoyed.

9. Declutter your wardrobe

This is one of those self care on a budget tips that has a double positive effect – you’re taking some time to do something for you but also for your space, which has a lasting effect.

Decluttering your wardrobe and sorting through your clothes can be transformative, as getting dressed is something you do every day and this can be a way of making that moment more positive. There’s also that feel-good bonus you get from donating unwanted items or recycling clothing you no longer need.

10. Create a motivational Pinterest board

I’ve been spending a lot of time on Pinterest lately and it’s become an amazing source of inspiration and motivation for me. Although it’s part of what I do as a blogger to stay active and involved, searching for and pinning content on the platform is also one of the most fun self care activities.

Think of a few themes or interests you’d like to get inspired on, and create new boards for them – maybe it’s a kitchen renovation or a board of inspirational quotes. My favourite board at the moment is this one I created for personal development, which is full of motivational quotes, positive stories, and reminders to become the best version of myself.

If you want to go all in on self care, you might like my guide on how to create a self care vision board.

11. Cook your favourite meal

Have you been opting for quick and easy meals recently? If you can, dig out a favourite recipe, stock up on ingredients and cook one of your most-loved meals. Maybe it’s something hearty and filling, or a sweet bake that you’ve been missing.

If you can’t think of a meal you’d love to treat yourself with, maybe use this as an opportunity to search for new and exciting recipes instead. You could also roll this into a productivity win too by creating a meal plan or prepping your meals for the week ahead.

12. Write in a journal (or your blog)

Writing can be such a relaxing and rewarding way to indulge in a little free self care moment. When I’m feeling overwhelmed or burned out I always return to writing for my blog — so that’s als on option if you’re a blogger.

It’s almost therapeutic to sit down and transfer your thoughts to notes, either by hand or digitally. Maybe your writing has a purpose like writing down goals or starting a gratitude list. Or, it could be free writing – where you write down whatever comes to mind with no agenda or plan.

13. Revisit a place you’ve loved visiting

So often we think as self care on a budget activities as things that we do in our homes. Things that spring to mind are taking a bath, lighting a candle – all the clichés! One of the most relaxing ways to top up your self care cup though is to step outdoors and visit a place you love.

Is there a place or destination that always puts a smile on your face? For me it’s being by the beach, river or any stretch of water. It’s so calming – that mix of the sea air, the wind and even a little rain and bluster can help you to feel grounded and more connected to your world.

14. Buy some flowers or a new plant

Hands up if you’ve developed an appreciation for indoor plants! I know it’s a little bit ‘on trend’ but adding plants to your home actually can really transform how the space feels. That greenery can really brighten up a room, add interest and give you something to tend and take care of.

For affordable places to buy new plants, try IKEA. Alternatively, pick up a bunch of fresh flowers from your local market. I also love going for a walk around the garden centre, so if you do too then that’s an extra bit of self care you can throw into your day.

15. Draw, paint, or be creative

There’s a reason why adult colouring had a real moment a while back – self care activities that involve being creative can be so relaxing. Whether you’re mindfully creating a masterpiece from scratch or enjoying colouring in a scene, some time with art materials and no distractions is a great way to calm down.

Person painting a leaf with paintbrush

16. Take a break from all things digital

You might have noticed a bit of a theme with these self care on a budget ideas so far… most of them are digital free. I love the digital world (it’s how I earn a living and connect with you guys!) but I’m all for an intentional break from digital and social media every now and again — before I hit burnout.

Take a little time out away from your digital devices. That might mean just your phone, or it could extend to your PC/laptop or TV too. I find that this ‘digital detox’ helps me feel more present in my home and in my life. If you find it really useful you could think about making it a daily habit – e.g. no technology for a few hours before bedtime or first thing in the morning.

17. Do some light exercise

Research has shown that physical activity can help to positively change your mood and that it can help your general wellbeing too. We know that we’re meant to care about physical health and move our body regularly, but we’re also really good at coming up with reasons not to. I do, anyway.

While exercise might not sound as appealing as sitting down to read a book, it’s one to try and see if it works for you. You don’t even need a gym membership. My favourite exercise self care activities include going for a family walk at a country park, following a simple yoga class with deep breaths in the morning and chasing the kids around the park. Swimming is a good one to try too – it’s great as it’s low impact and not as tiring as other sports and you can enjoy a gentle, mindful swim. I like to go when it’s really quiet, around 7pm.

18. Write a list of things you’re grateful for

I listened to a podcast episode this morning and the guest mentioned how she thanks her body for the opportunities that it provides her with. That got me thinking about how there are often lots of little (and big) things to be grateful for that we don’t always notice in the busyness of life.

Writing a gratitude list is a simple way of appreciating things, moments and people in your life. Whatever you feel grateful for, write it down and think about each thing for a few moments before moving onto the next. I like to keep my gratitude lists together in one book and flicking through it can be another way to centre yourself if you feel overwhelmed in the future. This is a great five minute self care idea that you can do in no time.

19. Do or watch something that makes you laugh

Most of my self care on a budget activities involve feeling calm and relaxed, but there’s another way to take care of your soul – with laughter!

We know that binge-watching shows on Netflix isn’t the best self care activity but why not sit down, get cosy and press play on a comedy movie? If you want to try something more active, load up Spotify and dance around your living room. When I do this with the kids we all end up laughing (probably at my mum dancing) and it’s a real feel-good moment.

20. Rearrange a room

Lastly on my list of affordable self care tips, why not spend the afternoon rearranging a room in your home?

As someone who’s into interiors and making our house a home I love doing this and it’s one of my favourite ways to pass the time. We recently gave our bedroom a makeover to create a more relaxing space, which was not only fun but an investment in our self care and wellbeing too.

Have you found these ideas for self care on a budget useful?

If you’re thinking about trying one of these affordable ideas for self care, I’d love you to come back and leave a comment telling me how you got on. Or, share a tip or two of your own with other readers below.

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