16 Ways To Treat Yourself Without Going Broke

Because life can sometimes be tiring, you may need to find ways to treat yourself. You may have had a hard week at work, never ending chores, all while working to maintain great relationships with friends and family, and so on. Everyone deserves to treat and reward themselves from time to time because life can…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: December 28, 2023

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Life can be so busy no matter who you are. Here are 16 small and big ways to treat yourself without going broke. Trust me, you deserve it!Because life can sometimes be tiring, you may need to find ways to treat yourself. You may have had a hard week at work, never ending chores, all while working to maintain great relationships with friends and family, and so on.

Everyone deserves to treat and reward themselves from time to time because life can be so hectic.

However, it can be easy to forget about slowing down and doing this.

Many people think that treating yourself has to break the bank.

Well, it doesn’t!

There are many ways to treat yourself without going over budget or taking on debt to do so.

Here are 16 big and small ways to treat yourself without going broke.


1. Go on a staycation

A staycation is when you take a vacation by exploring where you live. This can help you save money on airfare or other means of transportation, and you can even do it from the comfort of your own home.

The idea is to explore your area as a tourist would – I’m sure there are tons of things to do and places to visit that you have never had the chance to do before!

This can be a great way to treat yourself as you’ll pretty much be on a vacation, but you’ll get to save more money than if you were to go on a “normal” vacation.

Related: How To Live On One Income


2. Make your favorite dessert

If you like to bake, then you may want to bake your favorite dessert. Take your time learning how to make the dessert and enjoy the whole process from start to finish.

Then, of course, eat it! This is one of my favorite ways to treat myself 🙂


3. Take a glorious nap

Most people don’t get enough sleep, and sometimes taking a random nap in the middle of the day is exactly what you need. Naps are free, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the heck out of it.

Give yourself a free reward by taking a refreshing nap!


4. Try something new

When was the last time you tried something new? Trying something new can add some spice to your life, and may even help you stay motivated with the rest of your day to day life. Plus, there are tons of things in life that are free that you’ve probably never tried.

You may even learn something about yourself!


5. Read your favorite book

What’s your favorite book? When was the last time you read it?

Treat yourself by reading your favorite book again. After all, it’s your favorite book for a reason!

Related: How To Better Yourself – 23 Challenges That Will Change Your Life


6. Call or Skype your favorite person

If you’ve been busier than normal, then you may not have had time to really talk to someone that you enjoy hanging out with. Setting aside a few minutes to catch up with someone you are close to is a great way to treat yourself. Plus, your friend or family member will love to hear from you!


7. Go for a hike

I go for a nice long hike with my dog every single day. I don’t bring my phone or any electronics. I use this time to think, brainstorm business ideas, and so on. I have my best ideas when I do this, but the hard part is trying to remember them for the hike back so that I can write them down!

Hiking is a great way to stay refreshed, see new sights, and get a good workout in.


8. Go outside

There are many other things you can do besides hiking.

You could:

  • Go for a bike ride.
  • Go rock climbing.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Go for a run with your dogs.
  • Go for a swim.
  • Go fishing.
  • Go camping.
  • Have a picnic.
  • Have a bonfire.
  • Gaze at the stars.

Related: Interested in RVing full-time and being outside all the time?


9. Find free attractions in your city.

One thing I loved about living in St. Louis is that pretty much everything is free. There are free concerts with famous bands every summer, there are free museums, the zoo is free, there are countless free festivals, and more.

I’m sure St. Louis isn’t the only city which offers so many free options either. I recommend checking out your town’s calendar and website to see what free attractions are offered.

If you live in a town that is near a national park, you may also want to find out when their free entry days are. They usually have a few each year, and these days can be a great way to save money and enjoy amazing views. November 11 is the last free entry day for 2016, which you should check out if you can.

Related: 30+ Ways To Save Money Each Month


10. Take a vacation day from work

Back when I had my day job, I would save days off and take them as half days all the time, and this allowed me to just work a few hours and then spend the rest of the day doing whatever else I wanted. It was a nice little break from work, and I still got paid.

If you have enough paid vacation days, then you may just want to take a random day off and treat yourself. Perhaps, make it a three day weekend for yourself by taking a Friday off.


11. Visit the library

Your local library can be a great way to treat yourself without spending any money.

You can check out the latest bestseller, a classic you’ve been wanting to read, or borrow a movie- which you can then bring home and have a fun night in with friends and/or family members.


12. Take a relaxing bath

When was the last time you took a nice, hot, relaxing bath? This is one thing that RV life has made me miss- there are no baths.

To treat yourself, turn off your cell phone and take a relaxing bath with some essential oils, a bath bomb, or whatever you want to add to the water. Light some candles, maybe play some music, and read a book.


13. Mystery shop for frugal fun

Mystery shopping won’t make you rich, but it can be an easy way to earn free meals at restaurants, free outings, free hotel stays, and more.

You’ll have to use your own money to pay for everything upfront and you will be required to fill out surveys afterward, but it’s a way to spoil yourself while still having frugal fun.

Related article: My Guide To Mystery Shopping


14. Have a Netflix night

If you already have Netflix, then you may want to treat yourself by sitting at home, snuggling under some comfy blankets, and just watching Netflix all night.

This can be a great way to relax!


15. Purchase an adult coloring book

Adult coloring books are very popular right now. They are usually under $5 and are a great way to bring out your creative side.

Here’s a page on Amazon that has a ton of fun adult coloring books.


16. Get an affordable massage

You need to be careful if you decide to take part in this treat, but you may be able to find an affordable massage or spa day by browsing Groupon. Like I said, make sure you stay on task so that you don’t spend more money than you would have!

Or, trade massages with a partner if you have one. Then, you won’t even have to spend a penny.

In what ways do you treat yourself? Do you think that treating yourself always has to be expensive?


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Gaurav

    Thanks for the list, Michelle. I personally prefer to get a haircut or shave and cook my favorite dish to take my mind off things. One can also read blogs or short stories online and relax indoors.

  2. Sophie

    Great suggestions! I’ve had a problem for a while where I’ve become unhealthy due to only ever treating myself with chocolate because it was so affordable compared with options like movies, dinners out or shopping spree’s. But you’ve given me some awesome options that are dirt cheap but healthy 🙂

    1. Thanks Sophie! Yes, there are so many other options 🙂

  3. Great suggestions to treat ourself without going broke, 😛

  4. Kate @ Cashville Skyline

    Great ideas, Michelle! I love free shows in Nashville. There’s so much inexpensive entertainment here. I know I could treat myself with something amazing nearly every night of the week. I also love long walks or bike rides in my neighborhood, especially now that it’s fall. Weekend nights always smell like campfire outside and it’s pretty much the best thing ever.

    1. I bet there’s tons of great affordable entertainment there!

  5. Amanda-LivingFullyandFree

    I love frugal fun ideas! Reading is probably my favorite thing on this list, but I love that you put naps in there. I wouldn’t have thought taking a nap is treating myself, but it definitely is!

    Thanks Michelle!

    1. A nap is definitely a treat 🙂 Haha!

  6. Great list and ideas to keep in mind. A lot of times these activities can be enjoyed with a friend or a loved one. Why go out for an expensive dinner for your anniversary when there are some other great ways to celebrate. Thanks!

  7. Norman

    I think it is definitely important to treat ourselves since it brings balance into our lives! I don’t think it has to be expensive, it just has to feel meaningful. For me, I like cooking myself a nice steak and enjoying it with a glass of wine. That whole process helps me forget about everything else.

  8. Michael

    I enjoy reading books. A good book and cup of coffee will keep me entertained and happy. It doesn’t need to be expensive at all.

  9. Amanda

    All great ways to treat yourself! Just allowing yourself to take a few hours to relax and do what you like to do is great. I did this over the weekend – I didn’t do anything exciting, just chilled, but it was glorious!

  10. Callie

    I love these tips Michelle! I’ve been dabbling in the Adult Coloring books too, just be careful not to over spend on pricey colored pencils, which is tempting. 🙂
    We live in the North Georgia Mountains, so there is no shortage of wonderful outdoor activities to take part it.

  11. Natasha

    Indeed! I try to do some of these things to maintain positive mental health. Thank you!

  12. Joanne

    Hi Michelle,
    The lists of ideas are awesome, I took a walk along with my iPad (take pictures with it) and took pictures , the leaves are changing colors especially where I live, in Maine. I love fall, my favorite time of year. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Reading a book is a major luxury for me not only in the use of time but also the ability to switch off from the world. With Kindle books being cheap or often free its a really cost free treat anyone can enjoy! At my age the nap is not a luxury but more like a necessity!! Regards. Steve

    1. Haha, yes, naps are a necessity!

  14. Mrs. Picky Pincher

    I also have a lot of fun just window shopping at fancy stores! It’s stuff I would never buy, but it’s still a lot of fun. 🙂 I also like going for drives with Mr. Picky Pincher in the country; he drives and I stick my hands out the window like a five-year-old.

    1. Haha, yes, drives are always fun!

  15. So many of these sound amazing. A nap – especially when today’s weather in Montana is looking a little gloomy. And a relaxing bath. Yep, sounds like the perfect Monday. 🙂 Have a terrific week.

  16. David @ Thinking Thrifty

    I recently picked up an adult colouring book – OMG how therapeutic! I can totally relate to the whole no electricals thing too. I’ve just got back from vacation and I forgot my phone charger so I took the opportunity to see how I’d cope instead of buying one. I can’t believe, after initially going insane, just how much I enjoyed the peace and quiet. I’ve committed to having 2 non phone days a week now. I’ve never known my battery to last so long!

    1. I need to buy an adult coloring book – it sounds amazing. haha.

  17. What a great list of ideas, some I would have never thought of. Yes, a nap, what a treat!

    It is funny how nowadays reading a book or taking a nap are something so rewarding. We are busy people who find these little things as treats in our lives I love it!

  18. Love the list and goes to show you don’t need to spend tons of money to relax!

    I find I’m starting to use Netflix more often than normal TV, and have just finished Narcos :). I need to improve by doing more staycations though, there’s so many places close to me that are waiting to be discovered.

  19. Heidi E

    We go one step farther than taking a bath and have ”spa day” at home, we give ourselves facials , do our nails, do a hair mask, with soothing spa type music, eat lots of fruit and veg and drink water with cucumber. We filled brand new tube socks with rice and sewed them closed, then heat them in the microwave or crock pot, to make a heating pad for your neck. lots of white sheets, white towels, some of those color changing led candles from dollar tree or soy candles. I think this could fall under your bath, nap, and staycation catagories all at once. 🙂

  20. Nice list…sometimes you just gotta treat yourself! But it’s great when there are so many ways to do it and not spend much. Visiting things in my city is always great…I do live in NYC…so there is always something to do. And as for the Nap…now that we have 2 little ones, taking a nap is definitely something I will enjoy!

  21. Lindsey

    One way I treat myself is by taking a nice hot bath and reading a book. It’s free and gives me the chance to relax when things get crazy and catch up on my reading.

  22. Suzie

    These are all great ideas. Expanding on the massage suggestion: check for any massage therapy schools in your area or if your local community college has a massage therapy program. Most (not necessarily all) should have a clinic to allow their students to get actual hands-on experience. They usually offer a discounted price. If it is a good, accredited program you shouldn’t have to worry as the students are supervised (not during your session obviously!). Sometimes you come across a student who is a natural and experience a great massage for the price.

  23. David Chen

    Cool list! I have to agree with going on a hike. It really is one of the most rewarding things to do to clear your mind, especially since it doesn’t cost a thing.

  24. Hi Michelle,

    Fabulous suggestions and it did help me realize that there are many other things we can do without spending hundreds of dollars to make the day special.

    There are plenty of stuff we can do like starting with the hobbies, and my hobby is to learn painting, blogging about useful things and read my old books.

    I think, after a hectic day at the work, it is relaxing to take a walk for ten to twenty minutes every day.

    Thank you for sharing suggestions that can turn our mood on without spending money on expensive traveling, food, and buying things.