Self-care is important, even if you don’t have extra cash to spend on it.
Try to put self-care in your budget, and the amount that you can spend on that looks different for everyone. Luckily, there are options for every price range.
Don’t tell yourself that it's not important or you don’t deserve it. Everyone deserves and needs self-care for their own mental well-being.
I’ve been there plenty of times. My husband and I have bounced for two incomes to one income and everything in between, and that’s made it difficult to find it in our budget to take time for self-care.
When you have to coupon and stretch pennies, taking time and money for yourself makes you feel guilty. I had to learn that I was worth it, even when I didn’t feel like it.
Ways to Find Time for Yourself on a Budget
Go Get Some Coffee
One of the most obvious ways to take care of yourself is just to go get some coffee or a chai tea latte by yourself or with friends.
At most, coffee and a donut might swing you $5. Another option is to invite some friends over for coffee or tea at your house.
When I’m feeling extra and have some more money, I indulge in some overpriced coffee or a fancy, cold drink. Anything with salted caramel has my heart.
Take Lunch Outside
When it’s nice outside, I take my lunch outside, with or without my kids. I set them up at our patio table, and sit down on my porch swing.
Then, I enjoy lunch with a glass of iced tea and watch the birds fly around. The kids can run around while I have a few moments to myself.
Grab a Milkshake
Headed to the store alone? Swing by your nearest ice cream shop and get yourself a milkshake.
It’s like having your own little secret, and you don’t have to share with anyone. No kids crying for a drink is a dream.
Give Yourself a Mani/Pedi
Going to a salon for a manicure and pedicure can cost you between $80 to $100 for both. That probably blows your budget out of the water, but grabbing the supplies won’t be as expensive.
Get new nail polish and some supplies to scrub your feet. Take your time; it feels so nice to invest the time into your care.
Best of all, these supplies can be saved and used again in the future, so make it a regular thing.
Visit the Library for a New Book
I’m an avid book reader, and I’ve switched to primarily listening to audiobooks because I can get in more books that way.
If you don’t want to sink the cost into a new book, go to the library and borrow one or two.
Take a Walk
Fresh air is great for your body and mind. I take walks with my kids, but I try to take a walk alone or with my dogs a few times a week as well.
The silence gives me time to listen to an audiobook, a podcast, or just be in nature. Plus, walking is a great form of exercising.
Scientists have proved that walking increases oxygen intake, increases circulation leading to a healthier heart, and burns calories.
At the same time, walking decreases stress and encourages calming energy, so it’s one of the best practices for self-care.
Grab a Nap
It’s not always possible, but if your toddler goes down for a nap, you should as well. I love snuggling with my little toddlers during naptime. Not only am I getting some much-needed rest, but I also get to cuddle my kids.
Bonus points if you can take a nap alone! Naps are good for you, and research shows that naps cause you to almost feel better immediately.
If you can get a daily nap of 20 to 90 minutes before 4:00 pm, you actually increase your mental performance and reduce your risk of gaining weight.
Indulge in a Day Off
Do you ever feel like you have to rush all day every day? On your days off, you might schedule in a lot of cleaning or try to find fun stuff for your family to do each weekend.
Instead, take an entire day off. Don’t fold a basket of laundry. Watch movies. Don’t work or worry about picking up toys unless you really need to pick up some.
That happens sometimes because you do need to be able to walk through the rooms.
If you can’t find the time to take an entire day off, try to take an hour or even 10 minutes to do absolutely nothing.
It’s actually more difficult than you think. Just sit and do nothing; be content with nothing. It’s wild and harder than you might imagine. Put your phone down too!
Bake a Dessert
When you’re having that awesome day off, bake yourself a dessert. It’s cheaper than going to grab a dessert.
Make a tray of brownies and get a tub of vanilla ice cream. Warm brownies with ice cream are so good. Make cookies that you can enjoy with a cup of hot tea.
Watch a Movie
Going to the movies costs an arm and a leg. Years ago, it used to be cheaper, but now it’s far from the cheap date or cheap family time unless you have a drive-in nearby.
Pick a night after your kids go to bed to watch a movie that you want to see. You can rent it on Amazon Prime or Red Box, both of which are cheap choices.
Make a bowl of popcorn and grab a glass of wine, and you can ask your partner if they want to join the movie night. Wrap yourself up in a nice, warm blanket and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Eat a Healthy Snack
When you feel hungry, you tend to make unhealthy choices. Reaching for a bag of chips or frozen pizza is much easier, or so it feels. Then, you end up eating too fast and too much.
When I’m focusing on myself self-care, I take care to pick a healthy snack and meals. Planning ahead is the key because you want to have those healthy items on hand to grab.
Try fresh fruit, a salad, veggies with a dip, hummus with crackers, or grass-fed beef jerky.
Start a Journal
Do you feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders? I feel you, sister. I’ve been there before, and you only want to vent to your friends and partners so much.
Journaling is the answer. Writing about your day and any thoughts that flow naturally through your mind is beneficial.
One of the keys to self-care is self-discovery, understanding your thoughts, ideas, and who you are as an individual outside of your children.
Journaling opens a window for you and lets you forget everyone else aside from yourself.
Try Yoga at Home
Yoga is one of the best self-relievers, and you don’t have to pay for classes to enjoy them.
I love to go to yoga classes when I can afford them, but there are plenty of YouTube videos that can help you understand the poses and take you through a circuit of yoga poses.
Yoga helps to combat stress, which does have a physical effect on your body. Stress causes people to be in fight or flight mode, leading to depression, anxiety, or other issues.
Finding Time for You
Sometimes, we imagine that finding time for ourselves means hours at a time, but it can just be a few minutes each day.
It can be standing in front of the window, watching a bird fly around as you drink coffee. Time for yourself can be yoga in your living room while your kids destroy a bowl of cereal.
Don’t get stuck into a rut and lack creativity when it comes to finding time for yourself. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to self-care. Everyone’s budget, schedule, and desires are different.
If you think you don’t have time for yourself, start with finding five minutes and picking one of the quick ideas off this list. Later, you can extend your time and, perhaps, your budget.
You don’t have to be rich to make time for yourself.