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    The Broke Millennial’s Guide To Self-Care

    November 20, 2019 Taylor James 4 min read
    Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more details. Thanks for supporting the brands that make The Happy Arkansan possible!

    When people think of self-care, they usually think luxurious spa days, indulgent, expensive meals, and face masks, and tropical vacations. As much as I would love to be smearing 24 karat gold cream on my face every night or jetting off to The Bahamas after a stressful week, those kinds of things aren’t possible when you’re on a budget. Prioritizing self-care is so crucial for your well-being, both mentally and physically, so I’ve put together a few of my favorite ways to practice self-care while sticking to a budget.

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    Scented Candles

    Set the mood for your self-care party for one by lighting your favorite scented candles. Place them all around your room or apartment for a tranquil vibe. Scented candles can be purchased for reasonable prices at most big box stores or even on online shopping sites like Amazon.

    Your Favorite Playlist

    If you don’t have it, you can get a service like Spotify or Apple Music for free and make playlists to your heart’s content! When I’m practicing self-care, I love to throw on my girl power playlist with artists like Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Stevie Nicks, and Lizzo and dance around the house with my dogs. Music can be a real mood booster and stress reliever.

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    A Cup Of Tea

    Even the ritual of making tea can be relaxing. Brew a cup of green tea, peppermint, or your favorite tea flavor and serve it up in your favorite mug. The warmth of the tea can help you relax both your nerves and your muscles.

    Your Favorite TV Show Or Movie

    Turn on the tv or grab your laptop and queue up your favorite movie or show. I love to put on comedies that I’ve seen 1000 times before, but always make me feel better. My top choices right now are Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, and Workin’ Moms.

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    Gratitude Journaling

    When I was in middle school, I always kept a journal where I would recount every drama-filled second of my day. It was a great way to let go of the tumultuous emotions a middle school girl carries around. Now that I’m older, I dedicate a day of the week where I swap my phone for my gratitude book, where I write out what happened to that day, what I’m thankful for, and my ongoing goals. It helps me focus on the present and the immediate future and gives me a more positive outlook.  The good part is that pretty much everyone has a spare notebook lying around the house so you can get started on this one for free!

    Use Your Favorite Face Mask Or DIY Your Own

    Paper sheet masks are so popular right now, which means they’re readily available and affordable at most drug stores! DIY face masks are also fun for self-care, and you can make them with ingredients you have lying around the house. Mash an avocado or a banana, mix with honey, and apply it to clean skin. Let sit for at least 10 minutes, rinse with cold water, and you will be fresh-faced!

    Adult Coloring Books

    What better way to relax than kicking back with a box of crayons and your coloring sheets? Adult coloring books are a great way to unwind and give yourself a few minutes of low-key self-care. You can even print coloring sheets off the internet for free to help you stay on budget without running to the store for an actual coloring book. Also, many graphic designers offer coloring sheet subscriptions where you get new sheets each month. My favorite is Rad & Happy’s Color Happy subscription for just $5/month.

    Yoga/Your Favorite Exercise

    I know you’re probably thinking, “Yoga is totally out of my budget.” The great thing about YouTube is that there are so many free workout videos. You can do yoga or any other workout straight from your phone. Even light exercise is great because it gets the endorphins flowing and is a great way to practice self-care to get yourself feeling good! My favorite workout videos are the kickboxing ones, so even if yoga isn’t your thing, you will be bound to find something you love!

    Call Someone You Love

    According to a study from 2010, talking to someone you love on the phone is almost as good as a hug. You can even take it one step further and see them in person if they’re close by. When I’m having a rough day, I call my mom and talk it out. It’s incredible how much better I feel after a 20-minute phone call. Whether you talk on the phone, video chat, or in-person, your mom/dad/friend will be glad to hear from you.

    Be Kind To Yourself

    When you’re having a stressful day, it’s easy to view everything in a negative light, including yourself. It’s always important to treat yourself with kindness. Making an effort to say and think nice things about yourself can radically change your mindset. Try putting notes up on your mirror with encouragement and affirmations for you, so you see them every day.  No matter what, you deserve to be treated well by everyone, and that includes yourself. Remember, if you wouldn’t say it about someone else, don’t say it to yourself!


    Self-care doesn't have to be expensive, and it's not selfish. You deserve some time for yourself, even when your finances are less than stellar. Hopefully, this list gave you some food for thought to consider the next time you need a self-care date.

    Which one of these self-care activities are you trying next?

    Latest posts by Taylor James (see all)


  • Maureen December 2, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    Great list! I personally don’t like going to the spa so for me, it’s all about making things happen on a budget and at the comfort of my own home. Plus, it saves big bucks which means I can put that extra chump change for something else.

    Maureen |

    • Amanda Cross December 22, 2019 at 3:13 pm

      The only things I do outside of my own home are monthly manicures and the occasional pedicure. I really love being able to do more of my self-care activities at home too.

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    About Amanda

    Hey Y’all!
    My name is Amanda Cross, and I am the blogger behind The Happy Arkansan. I am a blogger, freelance writer, and podcaster. When I am not creating content for any of my content online, I can usually be found baking, watching YouTube, or napping. I love helping millennials and young adults navigate the mess that is adult life. Keep reading for my thoughts and experiences.

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