Sometimes we can get so caught up in the day-to-day demands of life that we end up tired, distracted and just not feeling cared-for. With so many bills and expenses, stashing money aside to spend on yourself may not feel like the most rational decision. However, the more self-love and self-care that you budget wisely, the less stressed and unhappy you'll be. You can look forward to less sick time; prevented injuries caused by lack of focus; and feeling more present, connected and ready to charge the day.
Yoga is a popular and wonderful way to connect to your breath, slow down and quiet your mind. See whether your local community center or Y offers a free weekend class. Or look for a studio to practice at, and ask about a free or discounted trial week. YogaWorks, a membership yoga studio with locations around the country, offers seven days of unlimited yoga for newbies, for example. Many studios offer new-student discounts on class packages as well, which not only lets you get a true feel for what studio you'd like to join long-term -- as you try out different teachers and class styles -- but also allows you to curb your spending while you figure out if you want to continue to invest in yoga. If you don't? No sweat. You can shop around instead.
ClassPass is an all-access membership to 14,000 fitness studios around the world. This fitness app lets you pay a monthly rate to attend classes at discounted prices. After a two-week free trial, pay $45 for 25 credits (two to four classes), $75 for 45 credits (five to eight classes) or $125 for 75 credits (eight to 13 classes). This is a great way to sample lots of different workouts while saving money and not having to commit to a full class package at one studio. Take kickboxing one day and then martial arts the next. The freedom to mix things up can inspire you to stay in the routine.
Looking to move your body, save cash and be one with nature all at the same time? One super budget saver is hiking. Invest in some hiking boots and outdoor gear and you'll have a cost-free workout available whenever you want. Peruse your local hiking trail, or simply Google top hiking trails near you for a new adventure. This can be an especially advantageous choice for those who are indoors at their desk all day.
Body healing services like massages, chiropractic work and acupuncture become more reasonable when found through e-commerce marketplace Groupon. The site offers massively discounted rates for certain services that range on average 20 to 50 percent off full price, and sometimes even more if there's a special promotion. This is a great tool for finding discounted hair and nail appointments and other beauty offerings as well. You may need to drive a few towns over, but you will feel great about making a little extra effort for a brand-new you without breaking the bank.
Graduate schools and trade schools need patients for their students to get hands-on practice. You could get an acupuncture session, teeth cleaning or hair cut at a massively discounted rate with an experienced practitioner looking on. The results may not be perfect, but know you're saving cash while also supporting student learning.
Add a fresh flare to your style by hosting a clothing swap with friends. As they say, one person's trash is another person's treasure. Not only do you get to nab some new swag but you can also pass along those rarely worn items taking up space in your closet. Go one step further by doing a potluck or cocktail hour -- anything to create a fun, social atmosphere you and your friends can share.
If you prefer to treat yo'self with experiences like travel, consider a credit card that offers free airline miles when you sign up, like the Chase Sapphire and Bank of America Travel Rewards. If you're charging expenses to the card every month anyway, you might as well earn a free flight. Each card has fine print and different offerings, so research thoroughly to discover which card is the best fit for you.
Sometimes the best way to treat ourselves is to simply make time to be alone doing something we love. Whether that's reading a book, having a glass of wine outside or meditating in the living room, the intention and commitment to putting oneself first goes a long way to re-center you and decompress from the day.
Everyone deserves a luxury splurge once in a while, but often the small activities that are sustainable for your budget can make a meaningful difference in your daily life.