Special treats that don't require spectacular spending.

In today’s economy, finding money to treat yourself can be a real challenge. Making time to renew and refresh yourself is vital to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and having things to look forward to can really improve your mood. Just because you are on a tight budget does not mean you can’t have a special treat every now and then. Using a few simple tips and tricks, you can be on your way to mood-boosting and budget friendly treats!

1) Use coupons to order take-out

 Eating out is often one of the first things to go when budgets get tight. However, you can still have restaurant quality food on a fraction of the price with a little planning ahead. Choosing take-out over dine-in or delivery will save you on tips and delivery charges. Pair these savings with a coupon found in your local paper, entertainment books, or through restaurant loyalty programs, and you will have yourself a great deal! Some banks are now offering cash back deals when using your debit card, so make sure to check out your bank’s website when planning your next meal out.

2) Plan a special meal or dessert around a grocery store sale

            Getting sick of your beans and rice grocery budget? Use grocery sales to your advantage. For example, this week strawberries were on sale for $1.50. I chose to buy them and pair them with some inexpensive home-made short bread. Add some homemade frothed milk in place of whipped cream, and you have yourself a special treat that lasts all week-long for under $2! Pairing specialty sales items with home-made goods can allow you to get some budget friendly variety in your diet. If you enjoy adult beverages, make sure to follow your local liquor store through email or social media. You can be alerted to specials and sales that allow you to fit alcohol into even the tightest of budgets. Combine these sales with rebate offers often found in your newspaper coupon section, and you have even more savings!  

3) Take advantage of free events and happy hours

            Use the internet to your advantage by researching local events and happy hours. Many restaurants have great happy hour deals. Why pay full price at 7pm when you can get half price at 5pm? Also, many parks and community centers have free festivals, events, and classes. Many museums have periodic free admissions days. With a little research and planning, you can have a special day out with little to no out-of-pocket cost. Follow daily deals sights and local blogs to help you stay connect to the free events in your area!