Frugal ways to treat yourself? - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-19-2006, 08:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Another thread got me thinking that this would be a good question to ask.

How do *you* help yourself feel pampered enough, treated well, and not deprived while sticking to a frugal budget?

It would be great to have a list of ideas to look at when I'm feeling stuck.

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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Old 06-19-2006, 10:16 AM
 
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I go to Barnes and Noble and read magazines. Sometimes I get a latte there, sometimes not. I can easily spend 1-2 hours (well, really, however long I have) just reading all the magazines that I'm too cheap to buy.

We have a pool membership, which while not cheap, has been great for this summer. We go after supper sometimes, sometimes right before supper, sometimes I go in the afternoon. Whenever. It's already paid for, and it's great fun.

I also love to thrift shop. If I'm feeling like I really need a "treat", then I'll drive to the far thrift shop (crazy, wasting all that gas when I don't have errands to combine. ), and I'll browse as long as I like. Sometimes I find stuff, sometimes not, but it's always fun.

In the opposite vein, sometimes I like to browse high end stores to know what to be on the lookout for in the thrift stores!! Those stores (unlike Target, etc) are so far out of my league that I would never buy anything there, so it's truly a looking type thing. My latest obsession is high end baby stores, where bedding for a crib costs $600. Not my style, but I like the look, so I get ideas on how to do it for less.

I find that doing something fun with my honey is always good, too. We scope out free concerts around town, then either eat supper at home or take a picnic. We might go to a festival and enjoy a snow cone (I love these suckers, and they are usually less than $3).

And, I do pinecone surveys (an online survey company). WHen I have enough money from those (they pay $5 a survey), I gather a book and go and have lunch by myself in a chain restaurant that dh hates (Red Lobster, Olive Garden, you know the ones) It's my guilty pleasure, and one that will be even less frequent when the baby comes. But, it's an hour of bliss. No questions, no phone calls, no nothing, except people serving me. And, it's always less than $10.

Obviously, I like my solitude. ALOT. So, my ideas suggest that. Someone who thrives on less solitude will have different answers.
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Old 06-19-2006, 10:50 AM
 
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Our method is to pick 1-2 things we really love and then not limit ourselves to spending there. We save by skimping elsewhere.This allows us to feel like its frugal living by choice (even when its by need).

As a pre-kids example, we have an inexpensive movie theater here ($2-2.50) so instead of saying we can only see 1 movie a month-we say we can go as often as we'd like. We may only find time to go once a month, but its available as an option all the time.

Cafes are almost always on the list because we love the atmosphere, read the newspaper, know our baristas and really enjoy our time there.

When pregnant, DH and I allowed ourselves to buy all the baby clothes for Ds that we liked because we were only shopping at thrift stores ($1 or less an item) and knew we wouldn't be receiving handme downs. In almost 20 weeks of free wheeling spending, we still only shelled out $120 and have the first 9+ months covered.

Limiting spending too harshly leads, ime,to binge purge spending habits. So, we limit our spending on things we don't care about (no cable tv, no buying movies on dvd or music cds, having new clothes, etc) in order to have freedom elsewhere. For us its having areas of unrestricted spending that help keep us in line elsewhere.
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Old 06-19-2006, 12:00 PM
 
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Library...I can go and sit there sans kids and read the paper (storytime when they get older is great for this!) or I can bring home books and read while soaking in the bathtub (DH is great with keeping the babe occupied so I can relax).
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Old 06-19-2006, 03:04 PM
 
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a nap!!
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Old 06-19-2006, 03:20 PM
 
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oh and a bath (hehehehe) maybe a quite bath!
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Old 06-19-2006, 03:34 PM
 
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I'll buy a few extra ingredients aside from the staples at the store to make a special new recipe or pie or something like that.

I also browse the thrift stores...makes my spending power seem like so much more!

T
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Old 06-19-2006, 04:28 PM
 
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This post has intrigued me....I've been thinking all day.

One of the things that The Tightwad Gazette (love that book, BTW) recommends is to find frugal hobbies. Learn to love canning, gardening, sewing, fix-it projects around the house, refinishing furniture, garage saling, etc.

It extends to your kids. Help them to create forts from sheets nad furniture, write and put on plays and dramas, build forts outside, etc.

If you do this, then you don't feel deprived when you are doing things to keep your frugal household running. You feel like you are "getting" to do something you enjoy, with the byproduct of helping out your frugal household. Everyone wins.
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Old 06-26-2006, 04:11 AM
 
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I do a bunch of different surveys through various companies that pay, so sometimes I'm able to use the money from those to get extras for myself.

I really like mypoints.com though. For the price of reading some spam type email that they send me I collect points. If I do any shopping online (my husband and I are both college students so this is where we get our textbooks), then I get more points for that. When I have enough points for something I really want to do I can cash in the points for gift cards to stores or places to eat. It can take up to a month for the cards to get to me, but I can use them as gifts or just for me. I've gotten gift cards to places like Olive Garden, Home Depot, Suncoast Music...all sorts of places. Right now I'm saving up all the points I can get so my husband and I can possibly take a trip for our anniversary next year (they offer stuff through airlines too).

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Old 06-26-2006, 12:26 PM
 
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I buy/trade for really nice natural soaps. Having that treat when I take a shower really feels luxurious.

Jenny, proud maker of red things
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Old 06-26-2006, 10:43 PM
 
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I'm a big MyPoints fan too! When I order office supplies for the office, I always order through my account to get the points. The gift cards are a fun way to treat myself, although I've been using them lately to buy birthday gifts!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeBoof
I do a bunch of different surveys through various companies that pay, so sometimes I'm able to use the money from those to get extras for myself.

I really like mypoints.com though. For the price of reading some spam type email that they send me I collect points. If I do any shopping online (my husband and I are both college students so this is where we get our textbooks), then I get more points for that. When I have enough points for something I really want to do I can cash in the points for gift cards to stores or places to eat. It can take up to a month for the cards to get to me, but I can use them as gifts or just for me. I've gotten gift cards to places like Olive Garden, Home Depot, Suncoast Music...all sorts of places. Right now I'm saving up all the points I can get so my husband and I can possibly take a trip for our anniversary next year (they offer stuff through airlines too).

LeBoof
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Old 06-26-2006, 11:15 PM
 
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I belong to Club Mom. I used to be able to get points from my grocery. Now I just get points from ordering online through their site. So I order giftcards for my grocery and get 5 points/dollar. Then I use those points for giftcards that I can use for fun stuff.

Today, though, I got a real bargain. I wanted to get a manicure, so I went to this local shop. I was the only person in there. Got the full treatment for only $3!
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Old 06-27-2006, 11:49 AM
 
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First, things I do or buy to treat myself:

I buy one good bar of chocolate, or one small box, once a month and dole it out to myself (like a square a day, or something). This *doesn't* mean I don't eat other desserts, LOL - its just I know I always have something I really enjoy in the house for a treat.

A bath!

Time to read a book - I read alot for work, so for this to be a treat, it has to be an easy fun paperback, or something gorgeous and fictional, or something that speaks to my spirit. DH and I only buy books in hard cover - that means that the books we chose to buy are those we know we will want to keep around. All paperback, etc. or books we don't want to own, we get from the library. either way a book is a treat

dh and I instituted a new policy, a couple months ago, after bingeing on too many cds: we each get to buy one, once a month (on our anniversary day, which is the 15th of the month), at the same time. So we look forward to that treat all month and then go in and pick the cd we've most been wanting.
it's worked great so far - we don't feel deprived of music, so we don't binge!

walking the dog at a fast pace by myself

going to a yoga class

I try to always have fresh flowers in the house, or to be burning a candle or incense

fresh passion fruit, lychee nuts, or cherries. I will spend money on good fruit.

listening to a ballgame on the radio, listening to good jazz on the radio.

which brings me to a small digression on window shopping and magazines, not to be OT because I think it is relevant to simple living and frugality, and I don't mean to be snarky, or judgemental of pp's, either:

I don't browse where we can't afford to shop, and I don't read popular/consumer magazines (we also don't watch TV, for the most part because of trying to avoid advertising). For me, I find that engaging in popular media creates needs/wants, and makes me feel less than and less content. When I avoid media images about what should feel like a treat, or what I should be wanting/needing, I find that I need fewer treats and the simpler things are more satisfying. That way, when I look at my list of "treats" up above, I realize that its my whole life, that I'm not really making a special effort to treat myself. My life just feels like a treat, even though its pretty simple (and we have a LONG way to go on the frugality/simplicity path).

Just my opinion/experience.
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Old 06-27-2006, 12:00 PM
 
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oops, just went downstairs for breakfast and found three other treats!

1. good quality honey from the farmer's market to put on my toast and in my

2. good quality green and herbal tea in my

3. clean kitchen. which it is NOT! It would have been such a treat to go downstairs and see a shiny sink and clean counters, but we got lazy last night. So a clean house counts, for me, as a treat. And I'm gonna have to go clean it now
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Old 06-27-2006, 01:40 PM
 
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When babe sleeps we nap rather than getting something done.

There is always something that needs doing, but I can live with the raggedy lawn and garden if I can catch up on my sleep

Amy at Stone Fence Farm
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Old 06-29-2006, 02:07 PM
 
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Frugal ME treats

Turtle mocha at Caribou- $3.90
Browse the library
Take a hot bath uninterrupted
Take DD for a walk and get an ice cream cone from the store- $1.10
Scrapbook
Nice smelling lotion- $4
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Old 06-29-2006, 03:12 PM
 
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[QUOTE=rainy32

That way, when I look at my list of "treats" up above, I realize that its my whole life, that I'm not really making a special effort to treat myself. My life just feels like a treat... [/QUOTE]

That's beautiful -- everyone deserves a life that feels like a treat -- congratulations to you for having such a fine life!!!
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Old 06-29-2006, 07:01 PM
 
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I make and sell a range of all-natural bath products. (p.m. me for details! ) I am the R&D department for the products, which means I get to try out samples of all of them before I make them in bigger batches.

A citrus & saffron sugar scrub followed by a rosewater and cucumber milk bath soak will do a lot to improve your state of mind!

Visit www.evolutiontosimplicity.blogspot.com to follow my epic saga of single mummahood....

 

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Old 06-29-2006, 07:16 PM
 
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Olive oil treatments on my hair and nails. Oatmeal facials.
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Old 06-30-2006, 02:46 AM
 
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I love books ... actually am kind of obsessed with them. I used to have a huge book buying addiction - really.

I never buy books now, so as a treat, I will scope out college/university library fairs. It will often be a whole day event, and they'll have TONS of books for cents. Literally cents. I once purchased 8 books for 25 cents each. Of course, you have to look through piles of text books and non-fiction to find the good ones. But, for me, that is also part of the treat.

Public libraries also have these fairs. And sometimes I'll go to those. However, I have found that the books are more expensive at these than the university ones.

First special delivery - April 2010 :
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Old 06-30-2006, 11:38 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rainy32
I don't browse where we can't afford to shop, and I don't read popular/consumer magazines (we also don't watch TV, for the most part because of trying to avoid advertising). For me, I find that engaging in popular media creates needs/wants, and makes me feel less than and less content.
Just my opinion/experience.
In a way, I agree with this. In a way.

But, for me, browsing or window shopping in those expensive shops gives me ideas on how to make things for myself.

For example, I don't like the look of WalMart clothes. I like the look of more expensive things. I also think that more expensive clothing tends to last longer. So, by browing in those high end stores, when I am sewing or shopping thrift stores, I finish seams, line things, look for better material, etc. It gives me the look I'm going for, on my budget.

For me, this is especially true for home decor. I look at those expensive stores. It's not creating discontent. I would never spend $1000 on a side table. Never. But, I like the look they are creating with that $1000 side table. I put it in my head, nad when I see something similar for $10 at a garage sale, I know how it will work. Or (more likely) I'll come home and rearrange things to make them more into the look I like.

I like to change my furniture around alot (poor dh, my main moving help), as my mother before me, so this is just a fun sport, if you will.

That's why I'm browing at places WAY above my means. Places that wouldn't be in my means even with double our current salary. Those inbetween places (with the $500 side table), well, they do create more discontent and desire, I agree.
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Old 07-01-2006, 12:36 PM
 
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we sometimes go to happy hour at the coffee shop; drinks are 2 for 1. we also get a lot of free music from friends and dvd's too. there is a lot of free live music downtown, though we've only gone once this summer. we like to go to the farmer's market as well. we only get the produce that we need, but it's still fun to go. i really like that tip about having frugal hobbies like gardening, canning, etc. that doesn't work for us so much since we live in an apartment. i bought some potted geraniums and pinks for outside our front door. i've enjoyed having them there, and they're cheap!
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