Treat Yourself: 11 Ways Moms Can Pamper Themselves on a Budget

Whether it’s Mother’s Day or just another Wednesday, here are 11 ways to pamper yourself for $20 or less.

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As moms, we tend to run ourselves ragged trying to be everything to everyone – so much so that we often forget about ourselves in the process. And not only do we forget about our own self-care, but many of us also feel “mom guilt” when we do try to treat ourselves.

However, the fact of the matter is that self-care is vitally important to the healthy function of any family. But just because it’s an important thing to do doesn’t mean that it needs to break the bank. In fact, there are dozens of affordable ways to pamper yourself and nourish your soul so that you can stay happy and healthy for your family.

So, clear your calendar and put your partner, your babysitter or your nanny on child duty for the afternoon. Take a look through this list of ways you can pamper yourself on a budget, and remind yourself that not only do you deserve this – you need this:

1) Lose Yourself in a Bookstore

Do you remember a time when you used to love going to bookstores? A time before summer reading lists and back-to-school season?

Get yourself back to that place. Stroll on over to your favorite neighborhood bookstore (whether it’s a Barnes & Noble or a little mom and pop) and take your time wandering down every aisle in the place. Visit each genre’s section and remind yourself of the interests you’ve been wanting to pick up again. Maybe even discover some new interests you never realized you have! You don’t have to buy anything – the key here is to simply spend as much time there as you want.

2) Buy Some Flowers

Who says that a bouquet of flowers has to come from somebody else? They look pretty, they smell pretty and the simple act of buying them for yourself reminds you that you don’t need someone else to make you feel happy and special.

3) Enjoy a Beer or Wine Tasting

Head to your local liquor store and ask if they’re hosting any upcoming tastings -- or if they know of any nearby. A typical tasting ranges from about $15 to $20. They’re a great way to not only sample a bunch of wines and beers, but also to learn more about the specific nuances of each style, too. Who knows, you might even discover a few new favorites! Tastings are one of those activities that you can either go solo, or make it a fun moms’ night out excursion with your friends.

If you can’t find any liquor stores that do them, you can also check out discount activity sites like LivingSocial and Groupon for great deals on tastings at local wineries and breweries, too!)

4) Get a Sweet Treat and a Cup of Coffee

I’m not talking about your run-of-the-mill bakery chain. I’m talking about your town’s best mom-and-pop pastry shop — that one that calls out to you by way of your olfactory senses each time you walk by.

But this time, don’t keep walking; go in, order the biggest, sweetest piece of gooey goodness you can find, pair it with a large cup of coffee (in a mug). Then, go sit, savor and enjoy the moment with a new book or your favorite playlist.

Just make sure to put your phone away – it’ll help you enjoy your “you” time a little more.

5) Take a Nap

This one seems so obvious, it’s laughable. Still, moms often feel guilty about sneaking away for that midday slumber.


According to the American Sleep Association, taking a short power nap is a great way to help you feel rejuvenated if you’re feeling rundown or tired. It can help increase alertness, boost your mood and even keep you from making careless mistakes. Oh yeah, and it’s free!

To help you get the most out of your nap, check out the A.S.A.’s website to see their tips and suggestions.

6) Take in a Matinee -- Alone!

Pick that one movie no one else in your family would want to see -- and go. Just you. Buy yourself your favorite movie snacks and you’re golden.

Trust me: it’s liberating.

7) Get a Dollar-a-Minute 20-Minute Massage

It’s just what it sounds like. Many local nail and hair salons offer walk-in neck and shoulder massages. If you have a headache (which, let’s face it, is par for the course in a mom’s world) this is an enjoyable way to ease the tension and relax you quickly.

8) Meet a Friend for Lunch

Now, keep in mind that there’s no need to go all out for this. Just find a nearby eatery that offers lunch specials certain days of the week, and voila! Remember, these outings are less about the food and more about the company. Don’t be afraid to vent honestly, gossip or just let it all out. That’s what friends are for. 

9) Sit Outside – and Leave Your Technology Inside

Again, one of those self-care activities that’s so simple, it’s laughable.

Soak in the sunshine, fill your lungs with fresh air and listen to the sway of the trees in the breeze. Appreciate the wondrous elements of nature that surround you. If you can’t find a quiet place at home, find a nearby park with comfortable benches or a place to sit on a beach towel. Connecting with nature can be extremely healing.

10) Go to the Makeup Counter

Yes, that’s right. Stop and chat with the people you usually try to avoid as you walk by on your way to your intended destination. Ask for some make-up tips and tricks by way of a consultation and get a recommendation for a $20-or-less lip gloss.

11) Delegate the Food Shopping to Someone Else

No, I don’t mean starve your family. I mean, once in a while do it online. You’d be looking at a $10 delivery fee and maybe another $10 for a tip. We’re talking twenty dollars in total to not have to walk into a grocery store. Your sanity will thank you.

If you don’t feel like paying the delivery feeds, just ask your partner to do it for you. Send them off with the kids and a detailed list that’s foolproof. While they’re out, do something nice for yourself – whether it’s taking a nice hot bubble bath, or just doing the crossword puzzle without five spectators watching.

Go ahead: treat yourself. And remember that it’s not an indulgence -- it’s a necessity.

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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