How to Practice Self-Care
on a Budget

It Shouldn’t Cost to Take Care

April 12, 2024

It Shouldn’t Cost to Take Care

April 12, 2024

Self-care is a term that gets tossed around a lot these days; it’s become a bit of a buzzword, often associated with spoiling ourselves or evoking images of expensive face masks, fancy products or trips to the spa. Not to say there’s anything wrong with all that, but the truth is that taking care of yourself is not something trendy nor self-indulgent ─ and it definitely doesn’t need to be associated with spending loads of money. 

In honour of that sentiment, we’ve put together a list of creative (and super-affordable) ideas for practicing self-care on a budget.

A Note on Self-Care

Taking care of ourselves is an essential approach to help us maintain balance and resilience when facing the inevitable challenges life throws at us. In essence, it extends way beyond the pampering, even though that’s nice too. It can look like taking responsibility for our behavioural patterns and the way we show up in the world or being fiscally aware and paying bills on time while saving money. It can be demonstrated by doing the essential planning and goal setting to make your life run more smoothly and it can look like committing to the regulation of your nervous system ─ prioritizing habits that make you feel steady, grounded and comfortable in your own skin.

The concept is multifaceted, just as you are, and inherently separate from consumption or spending money. So, that being said, here are some ideas to enliven your self-care practice without breaking the bank.

Let’s Skip to the Good Part


Hit the Road: Take a stroll in a nearby park or even just through your neighbourhood. Getting some fresh air and moving your body while connecting with nature is super regulating and rejuvenating. 


Say No: Setting healthy boundaries and breaking cycles of pleasing others or doing things out of guilt and obligation will go an incredibly long way to helping improve your quality of life.


Try Home Yoga or Meditation: Utilize some of the plentiful (and free) online resources or apps to practice yoga or meditation at home. All you need is a quiet space and a yoga mat. Great for recruiting endorphins and boosting your physical and mental health.


Write it Out: Start a journaling practice to express your thoughts, feelings, and goals. It’s a therapeutic way to reflect and gain clarity, and all you need is a notebook and pen.


Breathing Exercises: Regulate your nervous system, expand your awareness, deepen your mindfulness practice and simply allow more life in your lungs. So much of our mental and physical conditioning is connected to the way we breathe. Plus, breathing is free.


Clean Your Space: A cluttered or messy living space can take a real toll on your mental state and increase the sense of stress and overwhelm. Taking the time to clean up your space is an act of self-love, and the harmony created on the outside can (and will) extend inside. 


Library Visits: Borrow books, movies, or audiobooks from your local library for free entertainment and relaxation.


At Home Chef: Experiment with cooking new recipes at home using affordable ingredients. Cooking can be a form of creative expression and is a great way to nourish your body and get more in tune with your body’s cravings.


Art Therapy: Try engaging in creative activities like drawing, painting, or crafting. You can repurpose items you already have at home or get some inexpensive materials from a dollar store and let your inner child play.


Digital Detox: Take a break from screens and spend some time offline. Too much time spent mindlessly scrolling on social media is a straight shot to lower self-esteem and just generally feeling terrible about yourself. Disconnecting from technology can reduce stress and improve your overall well-being.


Volunteering: Giving some energy back to your community through volunteering can be incredibly fulfilling and enriching. It doesn’t cost anything and can provide a sense of purpose.


Educate Yourself: Make use of the incredibly abundant amount of information online to learn something new, or dive deeper into a topic of interest. There’s endless free education available these days, and gaining knowledge can be incredibly empowering.


Socialize with Loved Ones: Spend quality time with friends or family members. You can have a game night, picnic in the park, or simply enjoy each other’s company at home. It’s a simple but effective way to self-care.


Practice Self-Compassion: All the spa days in the world won’t mitigate the effects of having a harsh inner voice berating you for everything you do. Practice forms of self-compassion and radical self-acceptance, allowing yourself to develop a self-view that is a little more kind and gentle. 

Bottom Line

Remember, self-care is about taking steps to prioritize your well-being and finding activities that rejuvenate and regulate, regardless of the cost. It can look different for everyone because it involves identifying (and then satisfying) your unique needs and preferences. 

With a bit of creativity, you can practice self-care ─ and begin to honour and nurture your health and well-being ─  on any budget.


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