Fitting Self-Care into Your Budget

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shutterstock_116344105The concept of self-care is gaining momentum. Commonly referred to as a set of “actions and attitudes which contribute to the maintenance of well-being and personal health and promote human development,” self-care is a critical component to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. From massage and yoga to nutritious foods and acupuncture, there’s a wide range of ways to take care of yourself using a whole-body approach.

Unfortunately, with all of the other financial demands we face daily, fitting self-care expenses into the budget can be extremely difficult. But when you consider the alternatives (stress, poor health, negative coping skills), it makes sense to figure out a way to fit the cost of self-care into whatever line item(s) have wiggle room in your budget.

If you find yourself run down and/or stressed out, consider the following tips and tricks for ensuring there’s always a place for self-care in your budget:

Harness the Power of the Groupon

One of the easiest, cheapest ways that I incorporate self-care expenses into my budget is to take advantage of Groupon, Living Social, and other crowd-sourced discount sites. A truly frugal person at heart, I aim to reduce the cost of each class I attend to a few dollars at a time. This approach has afforded me the opportunity to indulge in many forms of yoga, meditation and fitness classes.

If you want to get the best deals, hold out until you see something that is 60% off or more. The beauty of these sites is that there are literally thousands of deals happening at the same time, so don’t rush into buying something because there’s always something else that will pop up on the screen. Most of my classes end up costing $2-5/each which is a huge difference than the typical $15-45+ fee they’d charge anyone who doesn’t take advantage of discount sites.

Take the DIY Approach

Another component of self-care is nutrition. While it would be fabulous to have a private chef creating gourmet dishes for me each day, I realize that will most likely never be a reality in my life. Therefore, I find creative and inexpensive recipes to cook myself that use the healthy ingredients I’d like to eat. An added bonus is structuring cooking/meal time with socializing by having friends come over to cook/eat together!

The DIY approach also works well for beauty treatments and massage if you have a willing significant other. By making your own scrubs and masks and putting your partner to work for you (and vice versa), you’ll save hundreds of dollars while still being able to enjoy the relaxation found through refreshed skin and muscles.

Utilize Employer Discounts

Fortunately, there are still employers who are able to extend excellent benefits to their employees. If you’re one of the lucky few to work in such a place, don’t miss out on employer-sponsored self-care such as free gyms, fitness reimbursements, free personal/professional development courses, etc.

If you’re not sure what is available to the employees at your company in terms of these kinds of benefits, schedule a meeting with your HR representative ASAP and stop spending money on things you could have for free!

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Jen is the owner of The Happy Homeowner, where she writes about living a healthy, balanced life one cent at a time. Previously, she paid off $14K in credit card debt in less than a year and hasn’t looked back since. Follow along on Twitter with her financial, fitness and travel adventures @bthhomeowner!