8 Ideas for Self-Care on a Budget



We all need self-care to get through our lives but it gets forgotten which is probably why we are all so burned out. The problem is, the mainstream media depicts self-care as expensive spa days, or other high cost activities. The truth is that self-care is so much more than that and in the main is free.

In this post I want to look at some ways you can practise self-care for a very small cost or nothing at all. These are things that you can slot into your daily routine and build new habits. If we can make our self-care a habit then we are so much more likely to stick to it.

I do want to say that you might be thinking that you don’t have time for self-care and it is a selfish act. I want to challenge that here. When we practise self-care we fill our cups and it gives us so much more energy to give to others. When we neglect ourselves, we get more and more drained and this can lead to burnout of caring fatigue. This can result in our ability to give reducing. So sele-care is the ultimate act of giving as we receive and it allows us to give more than others. So that being said, let’s explore the best ways to practise self-care on a budget.

1. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation

This is something that people often don’t think of as self-care but they are one of the best ways to give back to yourself. It does not take long to practise a meditation and you could slot in 5-10 minutes a day and get a massive boost.

Personally, I tend to get up before my son and make sure I take time to do a meditation everyday. It is part of my routine and is definitely a habit. If you are not sure when to fit it in, I can recommend reading Atomic Habits by James Clear. In this book, he discusses habit stacking. This is the act of attaching a new habit to an existing one. So you might attach your meditation to your morning coffee. This process makes it much more likely to stick.

If you are new to meditating, I would recommend trying an app or a free meditation on YouTube that can guide you. It is important to say at this point is to not expect to have a perfectly still mind. Even Buddhist Monks, with thousands of hours of meditation under their belts, only have a quiet mind for short moments. The real benefit of meditation comes every time you catch your mind wandering and bring in back to a point of focus. Be kind to yourself and enjoy your practise. You will quickly notice the benefits extending to your whole life.

Cost: $0

2. Take a Nature Walk

When we spend time in nature it calms our mind and more. Almost everyone has heard of the flight or fight state but have you also heard of the rest & digest? Well this is where we go when we spend time in nature. In this state it allows us to recharge both physically and mentally. We are then able to take on our daily tasks with more enthusiasm and energy.

You can do this anywhere you can be in nature. For me I love to go down to the beach and walk along the seafront, taking a moment to sit on the beach and watch the waves. I find it massively soothing. For you it might be a walk in a forest or round your local park.

Cost: $0 

3. DIY Spa Day

Ok, so this could be an expensive one but it can also be done on a budget. You could get some epsom salts for the bath and can make your own scrubs and masks. The best thing about making your own is you can use everyday ingredients you have around the house.

If you are not up for making your own products, there are some great low cost items you can pick. It is certainly a lot less than forking out for a spa day. I have a friend who has a big bathroom with 2 baths and she regularly has a friend or two over for their own home spa days. If you like company, this is a great time to connect with a friend.

Cost: Variable, depending on products used.

4. Read a Book or Listen to Audiobooks

This is the perfect time to switch off and enter another world. Now, I often listen and read personal development books, but this is the perfect time to get into a novel. Allow yourself into a fantasy world and let go of all the stresses of your daily life. You are letting go of any need to do anything with this activity so you can just sit back and enjoy your book.

The best thing with this is you can visit a library and get a book for nothing and have a wide range of choices. If you do decide to buy something then the cost is relatively low, especially if you are a slow reader like I am. You can also get audiobooks from your local library. Or for a small subscription you can have access to a large range of books on many platforms, including audible.

Cost: < $10 (free if you use the library)

5. Practice Yoga or Stretching

This is one of my favourites because I absolutely love yoga, that is the reason I learned to teach. I realise this is not for everyone but if you want to get moving, it is the ultimate in self-care. Remember that if you have a medical condition to check with your doctor before you start a new activity.

The best thing about yoga is that you can find a level and style that suits you. Yes you can go to a class but they can become expensive and there are loads of free options on YouTube these days. I have a subscription to access online classes and they can work out very low cost, because I do yoga often. Of course, if you have done yoga for a while you might not even need an app or a class. You can create your own routine.

Like many the other practices mentioned in this post, yoga will activate your rest & digest system. This will allow you to reset and have more to give in other areas of your life.

Cost: $0 (if using free online resources or your own experience)

6. Journaling

For me, journaling as the ultimate in self-care. When we take time to reflect on ourselves and who we really are, what we are feeling, it causes huge shifts. You can include your gratitude list in this and watch the magic happen. Often by shining a light on what we are feeling we can shift what is happening. Awareness is half the battle.

We can use a notebook and pen or a digital app or you can use a guided journal to give you prompts and guidance. If you are looking to go deep then I recommend my Self Reflection Journal. This took me a long time to develop and included elements that I find useful for daily practise and to go deep on who I am.

Cost: <$15 (depends on the type of journal you use)

7. Cook a Healthy Meal

This is great for those of you that love to cook. Obviously if you hate cooking then this is not for you. This is also not about making the family meal, you are only doing this for you. As a mum I can tell you how important this is. My son is of an age where he only eats a certain number of meals and most of them are things I would not choose for me.

So when I have time away from my son I use that to take the time to cook something that I love. Something I know he would not eat. I am not making it to impress anyone, I don’t have hungry people to feed. I can take my time and make something I love, putting my flare and heart into it.

The act of then sitting down and eating your meal, enjoying what you cooked is real self-care and love. Take this time for you and enjoy it.

Cost: <$10 (this depends on the ingredients you use but often you will have them already)

8. Spend Time Alone

This is a massive one for your self-care. In our lives, we are usually doing things for other people, with other people. This gives us such a small amount of time on our own, doing nothing. Yes you heard right, doing nothing. Make sure you unplug from technology in this time.

So often we fool ourselves into thinking our lives are more meaningful because we are always doing stuff. The truth is we can get more meaning out of those moments when we do nothing, when we allow ourselves to rest. This might be as simple as taking 10 minutes to sit in the garden or lie on your bed.

It is important when you do this that you don’t try and fill it with activities. You can let your mind wander and activate your creative side. Often it is in these moments of quiet that our best ideas can come. This time to switch off might lead to a huge energy boost for the rest of your life.

Cost: $0


As you can see, there are so many ways to practise self-care that cost very little or even nothing. This is about finding something that works for you. Something that is going to recharge you. Your thing might not be on this list but whether it is or it isn’t, it is important to make time for it.

I encourage you to make time for self-care today. Pick an activity and give it a go, then let me know in the comments how it went. 

Remember that you are important and you can’t pour from an empty cup.

About the author, Mercedes Aspland

Mercedes is a transformation coach, helping people to transform their businesses, health, money mindset and more. With over 30 years experience in personal development and almost 20 in business she is uniquely positioned to support others in making the changes they need to live the life of their dreams.

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