If you’re a fan of Parks and Recreation then you’re already familiar with the concept of treating yourself. A day dedicated entirely to you may seem frivolous and indulgent, but science suggests otherwise. Study after study shows that taking a little me time to take care of yourself is highly beneficial. It’s so important, me time is more influential on happiness than money.
Think about it. Can you really be at your best if you’re completely stressed out? If it were up to me, spa and salon services would be covered by health insurance, because one hour of massaging, scrubbing or coiffing can work miracles. I instantly feel saner and more energized. I’m ready to finally get everything on my to-do list done.
But factoring spa visits into an already tight family budget isn’t easy. You can always save money by investing in a few pieces of salon equipment for home. However, if you plan to treat yourself to a service at the spa, here are a few ways to save for the splurge.
Have the Change on Debit Charges Roll Over Into Savings
Some small changes can have a big effect on your budget, and this is one of them. All you have to do is make one change, and multiple times a day you’ll save money without even trying.
Many debit card providers have programs for rolling the change on debit card purchases into a savings account. If that’s not possible through your provider, don’t worry – there’s an app for that. With apps like Acorn and Digit you could easily save a couple hundred dollars for an annual spa day.
Use Cash Back Bonuses
As more credit card providers enter the market incentives get bigger and better. Cash back rewards are the most popular credit card incentive by far. Who doesn’t like the idea of earning cash back every time they pay a bill or buy groceries? If you’re spending the money anyway, you might as well get a little change back.
NOTE: The trick here is you have to pay off the credit card bill each month. If not, the interest is going to cost much more than the cash back on purchases.
Cut Your Cable and Phone Bills
Cable, internet, and phone service aren’t cheap, but really they do provide inexpensive entertainment for the family. Have you gone to a movie lately? A family of four will easily spend $50 on tickets and one tub of popcorn.
With a little creative account work, you can get an entire month of movies, television, and Internet for little more than that single trip. If cable has gotten too expensive you can substitute it with streaming services for a fraction of the price. The biggest names in streaming services include:
- HBO Go
- Amazon Instant Video and Streaming Partners Program
- CBS All Access
- Sling TV
Track how much TV your family watches and which channels are most viewed for a month. This information will tell you which programs really matter the most so you can piece together a cheaper custom entertainment package.
Are you still hanging on to a grandfathered limitless data plan? If so, you should save around $50 a month by switching to another service. If you don’t use more than 4-5GB in data every month you’re overspending for limitless data delivery. Sprint recently started a limited time only deal for new customers that can save your family hundreds of dollars a year. Sign up and your monthly rate will be half what you’re currently paying.
Smart phone technology changes rapidly, which means it pays to review your plan against what’s available at least once a year. If you don’t want to deal with a phone service switch, call your provider and ask about the possibility of getting a rate reduction. When they know you’re considering other options providers are more likely to offer up a special deal.
Go Meatless One or Two Days a Week
There are a lot of reasons to go meatless. Chief among them are improved health and a fuller wallet. Going meatless just one day a week can save a family around $80 a month. Replacing meat with eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds and beans for one day could easily pay for a hair wash, cut and blowout or a mani/pedi.
Use a Grocery Shopping List
I mentioned in a previous post that you can save money by going solo (sans kids) to the grocery store. However, one thing you should bring with you is a grocery shopping list. A list will keep you laser focused so discretionary items don’t add to the bill. Planning your list before the trip also gives you time to look for coupons on the items you plan to buy.