One joyful step on the journey to simple living is recognizing and relishing the smallest, simplest life experiences. I think about a child’s laugh, a beautiful sunset and a playful pet as examples of what I mean. When we are watching our pennies, though, life can feel a bit restrictive. If we aren’t careful, we stage a budget rebellion and spend a wad of cash in defiance.
To stave off that budget disaster, it helps to plan ahead with some inexpensive luxuries and special treats. This way, we can treat ourselves without breaking the bank. Here are a few of my favorite simple and inexpensive luxuries.
Plan a long soak in a bubble bath. Bath salts and other soothing additives can be very inexpensive. This is the sort of purchase I make when something is on clearance. Then I save it for just the right occasion. Bath products are often received as gifts, too, and those can be stored away for a time when you really need some TLC. Pour your beverage of choice, light a candle, and settle in for a long, luxurious soak.
Buy inexpensive flowers. I know this sounds like sacrilege. After all, most minimalists would say to save your money and spend it on higher-quality items. In general, I agree with that sentiment. But in our local grocery store, I can find natural, non-dyed flower arrangements for about $8.00. They easily last a week or more, and just having them on my counter makes me smile. They are such a pick-me-up, especially during the cold winter months.
Take a walk in the woods. Nothing puts your life and struggles into perspective like some quality time in nature. If the woods are not an option, find some natural place that means something to you and plan an afternoon of just “being.” No agenda, nothing to spend money on, just sweet time alone or with your beloveds. I’ve never known a person who does this and comes home still grumpy or stressed.
Buy really, really good chocolate. If you are lucky like us, you have a terrific chocolate shop in your town (we have at least two!) If you don’t, then most grocery stores sell a variety of fine chocolate. Buy a single truffle or chocolate bar and take your time to enjoy it. If chocolate isn’t your thing, indulge in some other decadent sweet that makes you smile.
Spend a quiet night at home. Plan a quality night at home, either alone or with family. Light a fire or some candles, play some soft music, read a book, or play a game. Plan to include whatever activities make your heart sing.
The magic behind these simple luxuries boils down to anticipation. Planning ahead allows you to get excited. Even if little to no money is spent, having a nice treat to look forward to makes all the difference.
On the other hand, sometimes you need a spur-of-the-moment impulsive treat to feel happy. Flowers and chocolate certainly fit the bill. In this case, make sure you have a bit of room in your budget for splurges. These little luxuries can easily fit into the tightest of budgets.
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*This is an updated post, previously published in 2018.