I used to think nothing of heading into town in my lunch hour and spending a small fortune on stuff I didn’t really need. Two children and two stints of maternity leave later and I now have to seriously watch what I spend (and kind of wish I’d been a bit more careful in the past, the joys of youth!).
But I have found a few pain-free ways to still indulge in a treat or two. And boy do I need those little treats some days! So here’s how I’ve been rewarding myself lately without breaking the bank – and some of these are totally free.
Coffee – Free from Waitrose
I know it’s a ploy to get me through their doors and spending, but I’m strong, I can resist. Waitrose free coffee is decent, I can always use a caffeine boost and by-passing Costa and the likes easily saves me a good few quid each time I’m out. It’s better for my waistline too as it keeps me both on my feet and away from coffee shop cake. Which also saves yet more money. So far I’m winning!
Glossy mags – Free using library emagazine service
This has been an absolute revelation for a girl who used to be a total magazine addict. I used to buy several magazines every week, starting in my teens. Then by my late twenties there were the wedding mags, followed by the baby ones. Of course, these days having the time to sit down with a glossy is a luxury in itself but given that you can easily blow three or four quid on popping that extra reading material into the shopping trolley, it’s a habit I’ve seriously reined in.
I had weaned myself down to just a single money-saving subscription. But now I’ve discovered I can borrow digital versions via my local library website for free. Many of my old guilty pleasures are there – Marie Claire, Elle, Cosmopolitan (I feel so old looking at that now though. Still Good Housekeeping is also available!). And then there’s the celeb tittle tattle titles for a bit of escapism – Hello! OK. And grown-up home decor and food stuff. You get the picture. These can all be read FOR FREE on my laptop, tablet or smartphone (and on eBook readers if you have one). There is no limit on the number of titles I can access and no time limit – it’s amazing!
I’m not sure if all local libraries are now doing this – ours is West Sussex. You can also borrow certain books in this way now too.
Chocolate – Money-saving multi-packs
My desk drawer at work hides a multitude of sins, not least my
stationery confectionery stash! Given that most days require a chocolate-coated sugar boost at some point, it dawned on me that buying single bars from our sandwich lady or the corner shop was costing a small fortune. A trip to Sainsbury’s (or your supermarket of choice!) and you can almost always pick up a multi-pack of something for about a quid and it will last you a week. Given that most single bars now cost at least 70-80p, that adds up to a nifty little saving. Does nothing for the waistline but you can’t have it all. And at least at work I’m not expected to share it, or find it smeared down the walls later.
A beauty boost – 3 for 2 deals and a DIY facial
Now I know this isn’t exactly a revelation, everyone knows about these deals. But I did make the most of one of these offers this week when I was badly flagging and feeling decidedly knackered and dowdy. Desperate to indulge in a bit of budget me-time, I bought myself tubes of Manuka Honey Radiance Face Mask and the accompanying Refining Scrub and, for a real treat, a bottle of Argan Oil Perfecting Facial Oil, all from the Good Things range. Buying on a deal meant I got one of the tubes free and was able to justify buying the oil – facial oil being something I’ve wanted to try for a while now. That said, even without the deal the products are reasonably priced for what you get – £4.99 for the scrub, £5.99 for the mask and £6.99 for the oil,
They all smell gorgeous – so good I keep taking the odd sniff when I’m not using them – and it felt fabulous taking the time to wallow with a face mask on for the first time in absolutely ages. I almost forgot it was there and ended up leaving it on a good half hour!
Afterwards, I felt refreshed and I’m sure my skin looked brighter and felt smoother. I really like the way the oil makes my skin feel – super soft and pampered but without being too greasy, which had been something that has put me off trying oil previously. It claims to help treat signs of aging, so fingers crossed it lives up to that promise! So far, so good.
I’d gone for the Good Things range on a whim after seeing an other mum recommend them in Mother and Baby magazine. She was a make-up artist so I assumed she must know her stuff! And I later realised the range itself had been developed by an award-winning beauty writer (Alice Hart-Davis) so, again, I’m happy to bow to this greater knowledge! The fact that the products are made with natural ingredients and contain no parabens, sodium laureth sulphate or sodium lauryl suplhate (SLS) and no mineral oils or other petrochemicals, also really appealed to me.
So, those are the cheap and cheerful treats that have been helping make my days that little bit brighter. I’m always on the look out for more so please share yours with me!
NB: Everything mentioned in this post has been bought or obtained by me, for me. There is no PR jiggery pokery going on here, just my own thoughts, in case anyone wondered.
A couple more posts for anyone needing a positivity boost…