12 Ways to Practice Self-Care on a Budget

Learning how to practice self-care is critical to a life well-lived. Unfortunately, too many of us don’t take the time to take care of ourselves the way we should. In addition to our busy schedules and many responsibilities, we tend to think that self-care has to cost a lot of money.

However, it’s entirely possible to practice self-care on a budget. Do yourself a favor and use the following tips to live a better life without breaking the bank.

Table of Contents
  1. 1. Embrace Your Dreams
  2. 2. Create a Routine
  3. 3. Make Time for Exercise
  4. 4. Enjoy Nature
  5. 5. Relax
  6. 6. Clear Your Plate
  7. 7. Practice Kindness
  8. 8. Improve Your Finances
  9. 9. Reassess Your Career
  10. 10. Start Journaling
  11. 11. Clean Your House
  12. 12. Eat Like Royalty
  13. Final Thoughts

1. Embrace Your Dreams

Dreams. Goals. Whatever you want to call them. Do you remember when you had them? Have they fallen to the wayside as you focus on simply making it through busy days?

What are your dreams? Would you love to visit Europe someday? Pay off your debt to retire early or work at your dream job? Lose a few pounds and get in shape? Take up a new hobby? Start a business?

Make your list, then set aside some time to make a plan for achieving them. Take some time one quiet morning or evening.

Be sure to have monthly check-ins with yourself and an accountability partner who can keep you on track as you work to achieve your goals. 

2. Create a Routine

If you’re anything like me, your days involve bouncing from one responsibility to another, like a pinball in a pinball machine. 

However, you can bring more peace to your life by creating a routine for yourself and/or your family. 

The routine you can create can be as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be. Maybe it’s as simple as taking Sunday afternoons to prepare and freeze meals for the week so the family isn’t scrambling to find something to eat. 

Conversely, your routine could be an elaborate schedule that ensures everyone knows their time and place for every part of each day of the week. 

Whether your routine encompasses just one area of your life or your entire schedule, start creating routines and watch your stress level decrease.

3. Make Time for Exercise

It’s easy to think of exercise as a burden, and your inability to get to the gym can even be a source of stress.

However, the benefits of regular exercise are too difficult to ignore. According to Healthline Magazine, some of the benefits of regular exercise include:

  • Improved serotonin and endorphin levels
  • Stronger muscles and bones
  • Helps you maintain a healthy weight
  • Reduction in the risk of chronic disease
  • Lower stress levels

Even if working out at a gym doesn’t interest you, you still take good care of your body by walking or doing a strength training program at home.

4. Enjoy Nature

There’s something about getting outdoors that makes you feel better. The fresh air, the birds chirping, and the peace and quiet do a body good. 

Take advantage of spending time in nature, whether you have access to it close to home or if it involves a bit of a drive. 

Go for a walk or a light hike, plan a picnic, or go camping for a few days. Take in the fresh air and get back to the basics, enjoying the world at its roots. 

5. Relax

It’s tempting to grab your phone and veg out on the couch when you’re feeling stressed, attempting to scroll the stress away. 

However, true relaxation comes from clearing your mind of distractions, not piling more stuff into your brain. 

When you feel your stress level on the rise, or when you get home from a stressful day at work, try implementing some real relaxation techniques to help you relax. 

Lay on the couch or your bed with your eyes closed and breathe deeply. Take a hot bath. Light a candle. Listen to some calming music or spend some time having coffee with a friend. Just. Relax.

We recently discovered these candles from Bee Inspired and have been obsessed with them. They smell amazing and burn nicely, I also love that they’re located just around the corner in Owings Mills, MD.

The founding story is great too – Kara started keeping bees and shared the honey with her friends and family. She decided to turn it into a business and expanded the product lines to include a lot of other products she produces on our farm.

6. Clear Your Plate

One beautiful way to practice self-care is to clear your plate. We live in a society that has embraced the “do everything” mindset. We’re taught to take full advantage of all that is offered and do everything asked of us. 

Attend every social invitation. Work on every extra project the boss asks us to work on. Ensure our kids play every sport or extracurricular activity available. Help with everything we’re asked to help with. 

My friend, it’s okay to say “no”. Limit your kids to one sport per season or one sport per year. Say “no” to overtime hours or extra work projects. 

Tell your friend that you can’t make the time for every volunteer need. Whittle your schedule down to the things that are most important to you and your family.

7. Practice Kindness

Participating in acts of kindness is incredibly good for the heart and soul, no matter how small those acts might seem to be. 

Need some ideas? Leave your partner or child a note telling them how much you value and love them. Play with your dog. 

Grab your boss or coworker a coffee when you stop to get yours on the way to work. Pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru. Hold the door open for the person behind you. 

Random acts of kindness help you to feel more joyful and make the world a better place at the same time. 

8. Improve Your Finances

If you search for statistics on money and stress, you’ll find hundreds of studies on how people feel about their money situation. 

And studies show that anywhere between 60% and 90% of the people in those surveys are feeling stressed about money.

Does “stressful” describe your current financial situation? Help eliminate some of that stress by following a simple, four-step plan:

  • Spend less on items you don’t absolutely need
  • Save some of every paycheck
  • Pay down your debt as quickly as possible
  • Give some money away regularly

Need some further guidance? Figure out how much of your paycheck you should be saving. Start using a debt snowball worksheet to blast away debt.  And try some of the many ways to save money

9. Reassess Your Career

Does your career help you practice self-care, or is it one of the reasons you need more? If you’re unhappy in your job, maybe it’s time to make a change. 

Are you working in the field you dreamed of working in when you were young? Or did you just “fall” into your current job? Take some time to think about what you really want to do in life where your job is concerned. 

Is there a way to make that happen? Or to at least begin the process? For instance, maybe you’ve always wanted to go into nursing. A nursing degree will take a few years to accomplish. 

However, maybe you can work in another hospital or physician’s office position as you work toward your nursing degree. 

Start searching around on some of the popular job search sites and do some professional networking to begin the process of changing jobs or careers so that you’re doing something you like doing. 

Check out our Ultimate Interview Guide to help you land that dream job. 

10. Start Journaling

Journaling can be an amazing way to help you process events, clear your mind, and heal your heart. 

You can journal about how your day went, your fears, your victories, your not-so-great days, your dreams, or anything else you want to write about. 

Your journey to journaling doesn’t have to be this big “thing.” Just start by spending five minutes a day writing about how your day went. 

Then, expand from there and see how your journey transforms. One of the most important parts of journaling is to do it regularly. 

Note: You can just journal on a plain spiral-bound notebook. But consider making it fun and get a journal that matches your style. 

11. Clean Your House

A messy house is known to cause stress. If your busy schedule has forced you to slip behind on housekeeping, consider taking a day to get things in order, especially in your bedroom. 

A clean house can help you to sleep better and simply make life more organized. Make a plan to clean your home and implement organization habits that help you to keep it clean. 

Not sure where to start? Grab a friend or family member with the gift of cleaning and organizing, and treat them to dinner when your day of organization is done. 

If that’s not an option, check out a great organizing blog such as Organized Home.

12. Eat Like Royalty

When I say “eat like royalty,” you may think of grand feasts with rich meals and decadent desserts. 

However, I encourage you to re-think your idea of what it means to eat like royalty. Instead, practice eating in a way that shows you really care about your health and well-being. 

Focus on eating healthy, well-balanced meals that encourage health and healing. Load up on antioxidant-rich foods such as deeply-colored veggies and brightly-colored fruits.

Trade in those fast food burgers for lean meats. Make healthier eating the rule rather than the exception. As the inside of your body cleans up, you’ll feel better and help make taking care of yourself a habit.   

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to practice self-care on a budget. Most of the ideas I’ve mentioned here have little impact on your bank account.  

If the list seems overwhelming, choose one or two that sound the most appealing and work on adding more from there. You deserve to be taken care of – by you!

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About Laurie Blank

Laurie Blank is a blogger, freelance writer, and mother of four. She’s psyched about teaching others how to manage their money in a way that aligns with their values and has been quoted in Bankrate.

She's a licensed Realtor with Edina Realty in Minneapolis, Minnesota (also licensed in Wisconsin too) and has been freelance writing for over six years.

She shares powerful insights on her blog, Great Passive Income Ideas, that will show you how you can create passive income sources of your own.

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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