I recognize my financial privilege when I indulge in my favorite self-care. I love hot baths, fancy candles, and sheet masks! But not everyone has a big garden tub or the extra money for luxurious skincare products. No matter your financial situation, self-care is absolutely vital. For that reason, today I’m sharing different ways to practice self-care on a budget!
If you’re looking for other self-care ideas, check out my previous posts. Many of my other self-care suggestions are also free!
- Self-Care in Marriage: 15 Easy Ways to Relax Together
- Self-Care at Home: 10 Ideas to Relax and Recharge
I’ve done my best not to repeat self-care ideas between all of these posts, so I highly recommend reading both of those blog posts for more inspiration for self-care on a budget.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I might earn a commission at no cost to you. See my full Disclosure policy for details.
5 Free Ideas for Self-Care on a Budget
Self-care doesn’t have to be fancy or time-consuming. Ultimately, self-care is about making small choices every single day to take care of your body, your mind, and your spirit. Your overall well-being depends on consistent acts of self-care! Add a few of these ideas to your daily routine, and you’ll find yourself consistently doing self-care on a budget.
Note: some of these free self-care ideas do assume you have access to the Internet at home.
Spend 30 Minutes Reading
I LOVE to read. Books, blogs, magazines, newspapers–put words in front of me, and I will devour them. When was the last time you sat down and just read for half an hour without any interruptions? I try to read a little bit first thing in the morning and right before bed, but I confess, I’m not consistent with those routines! Even if you find just half an hour a week to sit down and read, that can help you relax. And it’s 100% fine if you choose to read a magazine or a blog! I abandoned my bookish snobbery many years ago. Whatever reading medium helps you relax is the right choice!
To keep this self-care activity free, work through the books you already own. Borrow books from friends. Get a library card and enjoy their vast collection! Most libraries also have magazines you can read, and you can often find back issues if you ask a librarian for assistance.
Related: My 2019 in Books: What I Read and Loved
Multiple studies indicate that spending time in nature has positive effects on your health!
I am fortunate to live in a rural area, just minutes away from a nature preserve on a mountain. My husband and I go there at least once a week, and almost daily when the weather is nice. We also enjoy just walking around our neighborhood. Lately, we’ve also been walking around our yard daily to see the progress in our garden. There’s just something about the newness of spring!
If you’re in the United States, you can look to see if there’s a state park or a national park near you.
Even urban areas often have large green spaces where you can enjoy nature.
Practicing yoga can lead to multiple health benefits! To be honest, I just enjoy it because it feels good.
You don’t need cute workout clothes or a yoga mat to enjoy yoga. If you have a towel and access to the Internet, you’re set! And even the towel is optional–you can do yoga on the carpet, just be careful about rug burn.
YouTube has tons of videos with yoga for beginners. I chose this one to share because it’s short, aimed at beginners, and designed for stress relief.
If you don’t have access to the Internet at home, there are other options. Some gyms or personal trainers will do a weekly or monthly yoga class for free. Local parks and recreation facilities also occasionally offer free yoga classes. You can also see if your local library has any books or videos on yoga. Even if you just learn a few basic poses to do at home, short yoga routines on your home can help you feel better!
Keep a Journal
You have a lot of options with a journal. Spend just 5-10 minutes a day jotting down your thoughts. Here are a few different journal ideas:
- Prayer journal. I often struggle to remain focused during prayer. Writing down my prayers helps!
- Brain dump. Just write down everything you’re thinking and feeling. Add every “to-do” that comes to mind. I do this when I’m feeling anxious. It reminds me that not everything is as urgent or as important as I think!
- Bullet journal. I tried this, but it didn’t work for me. However, I know a lot of people love it! Try this guide to get started!
- Gratitude journal. What are you grateful for? Write it down daily!
- Use journaling prompts. If you want to write more in general, but you’re not sure how to start, try journaling prompts!
As a blogger who spends a lot of time typing, I prefer to use paper journals. It’s a way to keep my journaling separate from my “professional” writing. However, you can use a blog as your journal, or you can use a free document program like Open Office or Google Drive. Journaling is very much a personal thing, so figure out what works best for you!
Listen to Music
Listening to music is another incredibly personal act of self-care. Do you want to listen to calm, relaxing music for a bit before falling asleep? Do you want to listen to an energetic playlist first thing in the morning? Maybe you just want to put on your favorite song once per hour to give yourself a little dance break. As long as you have some sort of device that plays sound, this self-care activity is free.
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You can listen to music over-the-air on a radio (less choice, but still fun), you can pull up songs on YouTube, or you can enjoy your own collection of music accumulated over the years. I can’t be the only person who still enjoys her Backstreet Boys CDs from middle school… right? The library is again a great resource for borrowing music!
Weekly Self-Care Tracker
5 Cheap Ideas for Self-Care on a Budget
When I was looking for inspiration for self-care on a budget, I realized that other bloggers define free self-care ideas differently than I do! While I did make a few assumptions about what you have at home for my ideas above, I tried to keep those self-care ideas as truly free as possible. These self-care ideas might still be free for you, depending on the materials you have at home. However, there are small costs involved if you don’t already have certain items. Nothing on this list requires more than a $10 initial purchase.
Wash Your Face
Wash your face, and apply a moisturizer. Drugstores offer good products at reasonable prices. I’m actually working through a bottle of a store brand version of Cetaphil to wash my face! As much as I love using multiple skincare products and trying new things, just washing and moisturizing your face can make a big difference.
Do Your Nails
Give yourself an at-home manicure or pedicure! Spend a little more on a good base coat and top coat, like options from Sally Hansen and Revlon. OPI and Essie are also great brands, but they’ll cost more. Then you can enjoy budget-friendly colors from brands like Sinful Colors, Pure Ice, and NYC Colors. Look for the latter two at Wal-mart.
YouTube again has tons of great tutorials for manicures and pedicures if you’re new to doing your own nails! I chose the video below because it features products from The Dollar Tree. I do think you should spend a little more on your base coat and top coat, but this tutorial is helpful for choosing other nail supplies if you don’t already have them at home.
Bake Your Favorite Treat
Is there anything better than the scent of yummy treats baking in the kitchen? Baking is an opportunity to do a hands-on activity that invigorates the senses. Bread, cookies, cake, pie–whatever you enjoy making and eating, take the time to treat yourself with treats! The only cost is the ingredients and baking supplies.
If you don’t have a mixing bowl, measuring cups, etc., see if you can borrow them from a friend, or check your local thrift store. You can also find some kitchen supplies at discount stores like The Dollar Tree.
Enjoy a Picnic
Ideally you have an old sheet, blanket, or towel to use as a picnic blanket. If not, wear clothes that can get a little dirty! The main cost of a picnic is the cost of food and drinks, which is really up to you. A budget-friendly picnic could be tap water in reusable water bottles, homemade sandwiches, a bag of chips, baby carrots, grapes, and cookies.
A picnic is a great way to enjoy the nice weather. It’s also an easy and affordable way to spend time with loved ones.
Send Happy Mail to Loved Ones
For the the cost of some paper and a stamp, you can brighten someone else’s day while also practicing self-care. Handwritten letters aren’t as popular as they once were, but most people still love getting a happy surprise in the mail. Use up paper products you have at home like old stationery or even construction paper. You can also find affordable note cards on Amazon or at your local store.
Final Thoughts on Self-Care on a Budget
If the cost of self-care is stressing you out, that defeats the whole purpose. Instead of thinking that self-care has to include a visit to the spa or expensive items like fancy candles and good wine, shift your mindset to doing whatever helps you relax. Clear your mind. Connect with other people. Tap into your creativity.
Ultimately, self-care is about prioritizing yourself and taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional health. You do not need to spend a lot of money, or any money at all, to make yourself a priority. I hope these affordable self-care ideas inspire you!
If you’re looking to keep track of your self-care efforts, download this FREE self-care weekly tracker!
More self-care posts are coming soon, and other topics will cover additional free and low-cost self-care ideas!