How to treat yourself and stay on a budget

Imamah Nasir

Content Contributor, Ceridian

May 19, 2023

Treating yourself when you’re on a budget can seem impossible. Here are five easy ways to treat yourself that don’t cost a fortune.

Who doesn’t want to splurge on a $10 cup of coffee or a fun night out? After all, you’ve worked hard for your money, and you deserve to spend it.

But setting aside extra cash for splurges can be difficult, especially in an inflated economy. With costs higher than ever, nearly 64% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. And spending outside of your budget can not only increase your debt but may create financial stress.

While budgeting improves your financial well-being, treating yourself is also a vital part of emotional and physical well-being. With a little creativity, you can still have fun while also feeling financially secure.

For example, you might have to redefine what “treat yourself" looks like. If you can re-create the experience in a budget-friendly way, you can absolutely still reward yourself without incurring more debt. Here are ways to treat yourself without breaking the bank.

Five ways to treat yourself and stay on budget

Go secondhand shopping
If you love shopping, take a trip to your local thrift store. Thrift stores have a variety of clothes, shoes, and accessories at discounted prices, so you can still enjoy retail therapy without the retail price. Not only is thrift shopping good for your wallet, but it’s also good for the environment. Also, most consignment and secondhand stores – both online and in-person – will buy items from you, so if you have belongings laying around the house, you might be able to sell them for some extra cash.
Have a DIY self-care day
Being on a budget can be exhausting. So, when you need a break, treat yourself to a DIY self-care day. You don’t need expensive products or a trip to the spa to relax. For example, you could make a DIY face and eye mask. Many celebrities and influencers swear by at-home skincare that can be made from ingredients you already have in your kitchen like yogurt and eggs.

More home spa options: Give yourself a manicure with a fresh coat of nail polish in your favorite color. Run a warm bath with calming music and dim lighting to feel like you’re on a retreat. Or have a candlelit dinner and watch your favorite movie. If you can recreate it at home, save the difference and add the savings back into your wallet.
Take advantage of your company’s wellness offerings
Don’t miss out on the wellness benefits provided by your employer. Research what perks your workplace offers and take advantage of them. For example, many organizations offer discounted gym memberships. Plus, gyms often have built-in amenities like saunas or workout classes for you to enjoy. And don’t forget to investigate whether your employer’s discount program offers savings to some of your favorite stores.

Also, see how you can benefit from your workplace’s financial wellness offerings. Your workplace might already offer insurance and retirement plans but non-health benefits like financial literacy tools or on-demand pay may be just as useful. With on-demand pay1, you can access your pay as soon as it's earned, helping you meet day-to-day financial needs. This can be especially useful in providing you with the flexibility to buy things you need without adding to your credit card debt. 
Explore your city
Traveling can be expensive but that doesn’t mean you can't explore. Adventure is everywhere, even in the confines of your own city or town. Find a list of events happening around you from your local city/town websites like farmer’s markets, night markets, fairs, etc. Many of these events are free of charge and a fun way to get out.

If you live near a museum or art gallery, be on the lookout for discounted ticket prices or free admission during certain days of the month. While you save up for your next trip, exploring your city or town can be a fun budget-friendly alternative.
Save for yourself
Remember, budgeting is meant to improve your wellness, not the opposite. So don't forget to budget for yourself too.

With your newfound savings, you might consider creating a "treat yourself fund" dedicated to guilt-free indulgence that’s just for you. When you buy something on sale, thrift a new piece, or cook a meal at home, put the money that you would’ve spent otherwise into your fund.

Not only does a dedicated spending account make it easier to hold yourself accountable and stick to your budget, but you can also feel less stressed knowing that you aren’t putting a dent in your wallet. Financial flexibility starts with being financially responsible, and a great budget can make saving and spending easier. 

Read more on how to make saving on a budget easy.

With these money-saving tips, you may be on your way to having greater financial flexibility.
So go ahead, treat yourself!

1 Not all employers choose to offer on-demand pay with Dayforce Wallet. Check with your employer to see if this is available to you. Some blackout dates and limitations may apply based on your employer's pay cycle and configurations. Central Bank of Kansas City does not administer nor is liable for on-demand pay.
The materials on this blog are provided for informational purposes only and do not reflect the opinions of Central Bank of Kansas City, Member FDIC. Blog posts may contain links to content on third-party websites which are provided for your convenience; please note that linked sites may have a privacy and security policy different from our own, and we cannot attest to the accuracy of information. Central Bank of Kansas City does not guarantee nor expressly endorse any particular business, product, service, or third-party content.


Imamah Nasir

Imamah Nasir is a Content Contributor for Ceridian.


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