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You’ve been working hard. You’ve accomplished goals. Now it is time to treat yourself. You deserve to give yourself a treat. Right? Yes, yes you do!
That said, if you are on a budget, saving up for something special or paying down credit card bills, then you might need to find ways to reward yourself without spending money.
Why You Should Invest in Cheap Rewards
Treating yourself is essential. Little rewards can help boost your spirit and keep you motivated. When you give yourself permission to create rewards for goals, you stay more focused. Rewarding yourself can also be good for your mental health.
However, when you are on a budget, have finance goals and are working toward becoming Positively Frugal, treating yourself can get a little tricky. You do not want to undo all the hard work you put into achieving your money goals by spending unnecessary money on gifts to treat yourself.
Rather than longing after costly rewards, change your mindset to seek out free and cheap ways to treat yourself.
Costly vs Cheap Rewards
In our materialistic society, we have been taught that the best ways to treat ourselves is with gifts that cost money. This is a complete falsehood; a gimmick designed to get you to spend money and buy Treat Yourself gifts.
Let me assure you, it is 100% possible to treat yourself with things that don’t cost a dime. In fact, I think that free and cheap rewards are better than many of the gifts that money can buy.
How To Reward Yourself on a Budget
Buying little treats can add up to big dollars. In order to keep your budget and goals in check, you will need to get a little creative with how to treat yourself so that you don’t spend any money at all.
There are endless ways to reward yourself that cost little or no money. In fact, I have heaps of Reward Yourself ideas. Below I share ideas in a list of completely free self rewards and feature a second list of tips for inexpensive small rewards for yourself.
Keep in mind, however, that the absolute best self reward ideas are the ones that truly excite you and make you feel honored.
How To Treat Yourself for Free
While cheap rewards are great, free is even better. To help inspire you to find economical ways to treat yourself, I’m sharing my 15 favorite Treat Yourself ideas that are completely free.
#1 Stretch Your Legs on a Long Walk
One of the best ways to treat yourself for free is to simply lace up your shoes and go for a walk or hike. There are a myriad of health benefits to walking, but I think two of the best reasons to walk is that it can improve your mood and boost your creativity.
Walking is one of the best free daily rewards for yourself because you can do it almost anywhere at any time. So, go on, treat yourself!
#2 Treat Yourself to a Good Book
Budgeting your time to allow for a curl up with a good book is a fabulous Treat Yourself gift! I like to actually hold a paper book in my hands, but reading an e-book or listening to an audiobook can be equally rewarding. Plus, borrowing the book from the library makes reading one of the things to do to treat yourself for free!
#3 Get Creative in the Kitchen
When you want to give yourself a treat, why not bake a sweet treat for yourself? Challenge yourself to find a recipe using items you already have in your pantry and see what you can make.
#4 Pack a Picnic for the Park
One of the fun cheap ways to treat yourself is to pack up a meal and dine al fresco. You could just go outside to your patio but make it a real treat by packing up an entire picnic and heading for the park.
The simple change in venue – even though it’s the same grocery store food you would eat at home at your dining table – is a great way to reward yourself.
#5 Give Yourself an At-Home Spa Day
When you are in need of an entire Treat Yourself Day, plan a spa day at home. Go on, treat yourself like a queen! At-home spa days are one of the fun and unique ways to pamper yourself without spending money.
Give yourself a facial, pedicure and manicure while hanging out all day in your robe. Use items you already have at home for your facial, incorporate essential oils (if you already have them) and fetch some nail polish from your cabinet.
#6 Veg Out on the Couch – Guilt-Free!
One of the best things to treat yourself to is a few hours of guilt-free time in front of the TV. Put your PJs on, kick your feet up, grab the remote and settle into your favorite shows. As you burrow into the couch, take satisfaction in the fact that you are saving money by staying at home.
#7 Catch Up with an Old Friend
If you really want to reward yourself from accomplishing tasks on the grueling grind, treat yourself to good company! Call an old friend or meet up for a chat.. Honestly, time with friends is one of the best Treat Yourself gifts.
#8 Listen to an Old Favorite Album
Looking for more ways to treat yourself at home? Dig out a favorite old album and allow yourself the pleasure of just listening to good tunes for a couple of hours.
#9 Take on Your Town as a Tourist
Traveling costs money…so while you save up for a frugal vacation, why not treat yourself for free by exploring your hometown as a tourist? Check to see if the tourist office has any materials on free points of interest – or create your own walking tour.
#10 Take a Bath
Don’t have time for an entire Treat Yourself Spa Day? It’s alright; you can still treat yourself to something nice…like a nice hot bath. Slip into the tub and savor a half-hour of relaxation with a bubble bath – it is one of the easy ways to pamper yourself at home.
#11 Find an Epic Spot to Watch the Sunset
Watching the sunset is one of my favorite ideas to treat yourself for free! There is nothing more rewarding than watching a beautiful sunset after a long day of hard work.
#12 Take a Scenic Drive
One of the best ways to treat yourself on a budget is to get behind the wheel and go for a scenic drive. You can take a short drive into a pretty neighborhood or – if you are looking for longer Treat Yourself Day ideas – go for a scenic drive into the countryside or nearby nature.
#13 Dance in Your Living Room
When you really want to celebrate, why not treat yourself to the best dance party…right in your living room?! Kick off your shoes, turn of the tunes and spend time dancing like no one is watching.
#14 Visit a Free Museum
Rather than finding things to buy yourself as a treat, why not find free things to do? There are an amazing number of free museums (or free museum days!) that are the perfect way to treat yourself for free!
#15 Embrace Fjaka
Fjaka is a Croatian word that loosely translates to ‘The Art of Doing Nothing.’ More than ‘doing nothing,’ fjaka is a state of mind; a simple, self-care, Treat Yourself reward that requires no money and, yet is completely satisfying to the soul.
More Cheap Ways to Treat Yourself
When searching for ways to treat yourself on a budget, the prize doesn’t necessarily have to be cost-free. The trick is to learn how to treat yourself with money…without sacrificing your budget or goals.
Your personal finances will dictate how much you can afford spend on cheap things to treat yourself to – and my cheap reward ideas for adults can help get you started. This list includes things to spoil yourself with that are low-cost, yet incredibly satisfying.
Go Out for Ice Cream
If you love ice cream, allow yourself to indulge in the inexpensive sweet treat on occasion. A simple single scope ice cream cone can be dirt cheap!
Get a Fancy Coffee at the Coffee Shop
For many people who are trying to slim down their expenses, coffee shop coffee is the first thing that gets cut. If you are in a Treat Myself mood, however, an occasional fancy coffee can be a luxurious reward.
Meet a Friend for Happy Hour
Happy Hour can be a fantastic Treating Myself reward. With the discounted menu, it’s a great way to enjoy eating out for less money. If your money is really tight, just be sure to track your expenses and have a good money saving budget strategy to cook frugal meals at home.
Buy Something New at your Favorite Store
While I am not a big proponent for making purchases to make myself feel rewarded, there are times when buying something new is the right reward for myself. Just be sure that the cost of the purchase makes sense for your budget.
Big Goal Rewards
While cheap and free ways to treat yourself are great for day to day and month to month accomplishments, a big reward is sometimes in order when you reach a big goal.
If you are looking into expensive ways to treat yourself, just make sure you budget for it ahead of time with a Sinking Fund.
How To Treat Yourself on a Budget
Hopefully, you now have a few ideas on how to treat yourself like a queen or king while still being frugal. Rather than waiting for a payday Treat Yourself reward, you can use my ideas on how to treat yourself without spending money any day of the week or make room in your budget for a bigger reward.
When trying to limit expenses and save money, the best way to go about it is with an organized budget. Finding free ways to treat yourself is a fantastic start, but creating a budget will help you focus on exactly where you are spending too much and where you can save. (Tip: You can probably save a lot by learning to be frugal with food!)
Create a Budget for FREE
Organize Your Finances
To help you stay organized with your finances, I also offer bundled budget printables at affordable prices on my Shop Page. The templates will help you set goals, create a detailed budget, track spending and savings, and keep you organized in the kitchen.
Interested in more of my Life and Entertainment Tips? I round them all up on the Frugal Lifestyle blog page!
We Want To Know: How do you treat yourself while sticking to a budget? Is there anything that you regularly treat yourself to that is extremely frugal or free? Tell us your frugal living tips in the comments!