Treating Yourself Without Breaking the Bank

by Salary.com Staff - Original publish date: January 18, 2012

With economic uncertainty around us, now more than ever, we need to find little ways to escape from the stress and reward ourselves for hanging in there. We all need balance in our lives and deserve to treat ourselves every once in a while. Here we suggest some affordable ways to pamper ourselves at a time when many of us do not have extra cash to spend.

A little chocolate never hurt anyone

Who doesn’t love chocolate? And there is no harm in treating yourself to a little chocolate every once in a while. Better yet, treat yourself to a box of your favorite higher end chocolate and savor it over the course of a few days. Sharing is encouraged!

Prices of some popular brands include:

  • Hershey's Pot of Gold (12 oz) - $8.99
  • Whitman’s, (16 oz) = $11.99
  • Lindt (14.40 oz) = $24
  • Godiva (15.25 oz) = $45

Everybody loves fresh flowers

Most of us enjoy flowers, but never think to buy them for ourselves. Why not treat yourself to some fresh flowers and put them in a spot where you can see them?


Although prices will vary depending on the type of flower you buy and the time of year you purchase them, most bunches of fresh cut flowers will only set you back about $10 to $15.

Get in the game

There are many free or inexpensive local attractions to entertain you such as a museum or the library. Check your local papers and websites to find events in your area.

Other cost effective activities to enjoy with friends and family are bowling, a game of pool or a trip to an arcade, all of which can provide hours of fun without breaking the bank.

Prices can vary depending on where you go, but a single game of bowling or pool usually costs under $10.

Turn up the volume

Clip on your iPod and go for a walk, or crank up your favorite CD while you tend to some household tasks. Pick the music to suit your particular mood and go – it’s FREE!


Spruce up your scenery by heading to the beach or local park (again, it’s usually free unless you have to pay for parking).

Pamper Yourself

There are hundreds of ways to pamper yourself inexpensively. Ideas that we like include:

  • Think manicures and pedicures are only for women – not so! And with many salons offering reasonable prices for these services, it’s well worth letting someone else pamper you. Price: Varies, but you can probably find a place that charges between $10 -$15 for each.
  • Soak your tired feet in Epsom salts or splurge on an essential oil to add to the soak. Price: A few dollars for Epsom salts or under $10 for an essential oil.
  • Take a relaxing bath by filling the tub with hot water and adding your favorite bath salts or oils. Price: Cost of filling the tub.

Watch the world go by

Whether you go it alone, or bring a friend, it’s always pleasant to treat yourself to a latte or cappuccino. If you’re not a coffee drinker, splurge on an ice cream or frozen treat instead. Weather permitting, sit outside and chat while you watch the world go by. If you’re on your own, bring a good book and savor the solitude.

The price range for a cup of coffee can be huge depending on where you go. You could spend $5 for a cup at a gourmet shop or pocket change if you make it at home.

Take In a Movie

You could spend $10 for a ticket to attend a movie in the theater (before any refreshments). Or...

Rent a movie you missed in the theater, or rent that classic film you always meant to see, but never got around to. The cost to rent a movie these days usually starts for under $5. Or...

Take a few minutes to scan the TV listings to see what is coming up. Cost is $0, just a little bit of your time.

Throw in some popcorn and a soda, and turn the lights out to give it that theater feel.

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