Very cheap ways to reward yourself

Following my debts, coffee and other financial struggles piece, I was asked what are my favorite ways, to reward myself. What free activities, or cheap activities, I have in mind, to reward myself, for a well maintained budget?!

Very cheap ways to reward yourself

I can of course give you exemples of what I do. I actually do below, but these are just things I like and you obviously don’t have to like the same things!

More interestingly, or I at least I hope it is more interesting, are the ‘rules’ I follow when I reward myself.

OK, those aren’t really rules. More like untold guidelines I follow, without really realizing it. But now I’m telling you, in case you find those useful.

The free activities I choose to reward myself are:

  • 100% selfish
  • Simple & sometimes stupid
  • Pleasure guaranteed!

Obviously, also mostly free!

Let me explain a bit further…

100% selfish activity

OK this one is rooted in a problem I have: I’m a people pleaser! I know I’m not alone with this problem.

When I want to reward myself for a well maintained budget, I need to do things that are solely for me. Not something that will also please my partner for example.

Even if you’re not a people pleaser, you should still probably consider doing something 100% selfish! Something for your sole benefit. Again, not for your partner, not for your kids, not for your friend…

Self love
no, not like this!

Simple stupid

This second ‘rule’ is a pillar rule of mine. (I really don’t like the word rule though!) I’m becoming more and more aware of how much more enjoyable simple things are. It is so obvious that it sounds stupid. Yet, it took me years to understand & appreciate.

Most of the things I now enjoy do not require lots of preparation or a lot of things. They are just simple activities. I’m afraid to say, these may not be Instagram worthy either!

Pleasure guaranteed!

Beware, the following advise is against all the self-help gurus who wants you out of there, so you can grow!

You’ve been warned…

To bring maximum satisfaction, an activity usually has to be in your comfort zone. Yes!

Nothing new to learn, nothing new to buy, no challenge, no fear to conquer… instead to guarantee pleasure, the activity you chose to reward yourself, should be something you master, something you know you like, something with no surprise. Just my opinion.

To make it hopefully clear, think of ice cream.

You can taste different ice cream flavors and find joy in a new flavor. But you can also end up choosing one that you don’t like at all. If you want to be 100% sure to enjoy your ice cream, you really should pick your favorite flavor. Choosing your favorite flavor leads to a guaranteed pleasure, when choosing a different ice cream leads to uncertain results.

I’m certainly not advising you, to never taste other ice creams! There is a right time for everything!

My point is that, when looking for an activity to reward yourself, look into your comfort zone! Other times, get out of there as much as you want!

Mostly free!

Since I’m talking about ways to reward oneself, for a well maintained budget, I wouldn’t suggest spending all the money saved, on the reward!

Indeed, rewards should be free, or at least very cheap.

I know that seems difficult! But you should know it gets easier with practice, especially when choosing simple activities.

Very cheap ways to reward yourself
not what it seems…

The things I do to reward myself?

So if you really want to know the things I do, I’ll give you a few examples. Do not expect to get your mind blown, by my genius or creativity!

You’ve been warned again!

I take an afternoon off and get away from my never ending to do list

Sometimes, I just watch a movie. It usually is one that I just can’t watch with my partner, because it’s a bit too girly or because I know I’ll be crying 😉 It’s often one that I’ve seen many times before. No, don’t ask which movies!

Sometimes I spend part of MY time to read, part of it to pamper my skin, take a bath and oil my hair. I do all that on a regular basis but when it’s spa at home afternoon, I go the extra mile! I make it special.

And guilt free! It’s just an afternoon. The World isn’t going to stop spinning and my to do list will still be there the next day.

Sometimes I do silly things…

I may sometimes bake a chocolate cake and eat it all! I usually regret such acts really quickly but I’m totally ok with that!

Sometimes, I put on a flowy dress and go for a ride on my bike, hair in the wind! No specific destination, just riding… Considering how much time I have to spend brushing my hair afterward, I do tend to regret such decision as well! As for the flowy dress, if it gets tangled in the chain… that’s more regrets! But it does feel so go when I’m on the bike!

Everyone and then I may dance in my living-room. I dance until I drop with a huge smile on my face, thinking of the unprovable dance moves I pulled off. It’s a victory dance, after all!

Sometimes I just do things that I enjoy doing

Nothing mind blowing here either. Just simple activities I enjoy. Places I like…

Going for a walk alone, on a sunny autumn day, with the secret wish I’ll find mushrooms. Or just a walk to admire nature’s colors & be lost in my thoughts.

I used to love going to the museum when I lived in London. They were free! It isn’t the case where I live now so this is gone.
Instead, I still visit churches and cathedrals when I want the “whoa!” effect which makes me feel grateful.

Every now and then I do spend money and buy a new plant. That’s pretty much the only thing I bought last quarter! Otherwise, I just spend time pampering the ones I have. I do really enjoy doing that and seeing them blossom in the next weeks. Like my happiness is making them happy too!

Yes, sometimes, I just drink a glass of wine! I’m French so…

Reward yourself with time

Nothing mind blowing, nothing incredibly special… You were warned!

The things I don’t do?

I don’t go on a shopping spree. Obviously!

No matter how much I’ve been talking about sewing lately, I don’t sew as a reward. It can be frustrating and things may not go as planned, so the pleasure effect isn’t guaranteed!

Same goes for drawing, actually! If the drawing or painting turns out to be a disappointment, then the whole reward aspect is ruined.

You may notice that in the lists above, there is no ‘meeting with friends’ activities. I just don’t consider these are rewards because of the 100% selfish rule and because I’m an introvert. Getting my energy sucked up by others, isn’t rewarding.

I’m telling you about those things I don’t do as a reward, so you have counter examples and can decide what works for you.

In short

My reward philosophy maybe a bit odd. Don’t know.

It doesn’t include learning new skills, taking a cooking or photography class, going to a concert or getting a manicure. It doesn’t include any costly activities and doesn’t even include camping like so many other lists. Seriously, camping is far from free, if you don’t already own the equipment. And it isn’t a reward to me, it’s just something I enjoy doing.

Most importantly, I don’t need to be a goal achiever, to do the things I enjoy!

As you understood, my rules (OK, I really hate the word rule!) for rewarding myself are about simplicity, self care and things that are guaranteed to make me happy. Rewarding myself is not about taking on new challenges, not about pleasing other people and not about being productive.


Hope this helps!


PS: some reward list out there include adopting a dog. Please, please reconsider. Adopting a dog is great, but it is a life decision which can not be taken lightly.

Pin this if you wish and can!?

Very cheap ways to reward yourself - guidelines & ideas


Here are affiliated links to the books pictured above:

Megan Hess100 Iconic Moments in Fashion

The one below on the picture is New York: Through a Fashion Eye but Paris: Through a Fashion Eye is a must have too, if you like her drawings.

Portugal by Pedrosa is obviously in a very different style but I highly recommend. A return to roots that serves as a spiritual renewal

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values by Robert M. Pirsig isn’t about actual motorcycle maintenance. It is “A penetrating examination of how we live and how to live better“. An old book but a good one!

I do have a thing for stones and my rose quartz heart is one of my favorite!

Sorry, the little sheep I bought in Scotland! As for the singing bowl, best is to go in a shop and try it for yourself. They all sing differently!

So again, the above links are affiliated links. In case you decide to purchase something, I may get a small commission at no extra cost to you.


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