We hear all the time about the need for self-care. But in certain cases, self-care comes at a cost. Some of us may overspend to treat ourselves, while others skip treats altogether to avoid spending too much.
In reality, self-care doesn’t always mean expensive spa packages or lavish vacations. Fortunately, you can take care of yourself with extras that are inexpensive or even free. Here are nine ways to save money on self-care.
1. Read a Book from the Library
With a quick trip to your local library, you can find a title that will provide hours of pleasurable escape — all for free. If you have kids, a busy job, or both, it may be difficult to find time to read uninterrupted.
Wait until the kids are in bed, turn off your cell phone, and curl up in your most comfortable armchair. Reading is a relaxing activity that relieves stress by immersing you in another world, while relaxation is good for your physical and mental health.
2. Get Regular Exercise
Working out is essential to your physical and mental well-being, and daily exercise can help save on healthcare costs. A recent survey found approximately 77% of cars required repairs or maintenance, but your automobile isn’t the only thing that needs regular upkeep. Your mind and body also need maintenance to prevent a breakdown that could bury you in medical bills.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on gyms or at-home exercise equipment, either. All you need in order to walk or run daily is a sturdy pair of sneakers, comfortable clothes, and a stretch of sidewalk or a trail in a nearby park. On rainy days, you can invest in a few low-cost aerobics DVDs and exercise in your living room.
3. Increase Your Vitamin D Intake
Globally, low levels of vitamin D are seen in approximately 1 billion people. In the winter months, with less sunshine and colder temperatures, you’re probably not spending enough time outside to get the vitamin D your body requires.
A deficiency can lead to physical illness, tiredness, and depression. A lack of sunlight in and of itself can contribute to depressed mood. Try getting out in the winter through fun activities like ice skating or snowshoeing. You can also get vitamin D by eating foods such as tuna, orange juice, and mushrooms, or by taking supplements.
4. Spend Wisely On Hair Care Items
Sometimes, using cheap products can result in damaged hair. Find products that work for you. Although they may cost more than bargain brands, remember that they’ll end up saving you money over time. The right shampoo might allow you to wash your hair less often and spend less time and money on styling with additional products.
Two-thirds of men in the United States will see some amount of hair loss by the time they turn 35, but women are often even more impacted by the health of their hair. Many people consider hair an important aspect of identity, but that doesn’t mean you should overspend to care for your hair. Try to find a routine that will prevent damage and protect your color.
5. Clean and Declutter Your Home
If you have piles of dirty laundry or dishes and too many unused items cluttering your living space, you’re likely to feel stressed out. That will negatively affect your mental health. You may feel that cleaning and getting rid of clutter are unpleasant tasks.
But if you view these tasks as part of your self-care routine, you may find yourself enjoying them. And the result will be a welcoming space where you can relax. You’ll only have to spend money on a good all-purpose cleaner, while decluttering costs only time and effort.
You may end up saving money when you realize you have enough possessions and don’t need to shop for more stuff.
6. Give an Animal a Hug
Contact with animals can be healing. Cuddling with a dog, a cat, or even a turtle or lizard is free. Even better, it benefits your mental health through the release of endorphins — a feel-good hormone. If you don’t have a pet, even a cuddling session with a stuffed animal can be beneficial.
You can also ask friends if you can hug their pets or you can volunteer at an animal shelter, where the creatures need your touch as much as you need theirs. You might even save on the high cost of therapy if connecting with animals decreases your need for sessions.
7. Care For Your Teeth Daily
You can help decrease the costs of dental care by observing oral hygiene guidelines. Use toothpaste with fluoride to brush twice daily and floss at least once a day. Cut back on your sugar consumption and make sure you’re getting enough water. If needed, invisible braces are a great way to straighten teeth without the full-time application of braces, some are worn only overnight limiting their effect on your daily life and appearance. It can be much more cost effective than braces as well.
Kids should start seeing the dentist regularly at age one, so it’s likely you know how costly a dental visit can be. Dental care for adults can get extremely pricey, but if you make oral hygiene part of your self-care routine, you’ll need fewer expensive procedures like cavity fillings and implants.
8. Get Adequate Rest
Rest is crucial to self-care. You should not only try to get sufficient sleep at night, but you should also take personal or mental health days when you’re feeling fatigued. Your mind and body need opportunities to recharge, and if you take those free opportunities, it can actually help you make more money.
If you get enough sleep and take time away from work when you need to, you’ll end up being more effective at your job, which could lead to a raise. You might even have enough energy to get a second job and further boost your income.
9. Practice Meditation
For the low price of a guided-meditation DVD or a CD with music designed for meditation, you can help stave off stress-related health conditions that could wind up costing thousands in medical bills. You can also find meditation music and videos for free online. Choose a 20-minute period in the day when you won’t be interrupted, grab a comfortable cushion, and try to let go of thoughts as you sit.
Treating yourself to care doesn’t have to be costly. Self-care can be low-cost — and it can often save you money in the long run. Your wellness is worth a small investment of funds and time. And if you haven’t set aside much in your budget for pampering, don’t worry. Self-care can often be totally free of charge. In the end, it’s not about what you spend but how it makes you feel.