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12 ways to master self-care on a budget

2019-09-27

There's more than enough stress in the world, which is why self-care is an increasingly major priority for many people. We all should regularly take the time to relax and refresh, whether that's channeling soothing and calming energy or embracing creative and indulgent whims.

Of course, one of the many daily anxieties we face can be money. That means that while you should prioritize self-care, you don't want it sending you into debt and despair. 

With that in mind, we found 12 ways to practice self-care that won't add financial stress — or any stress — to your life.

Aromatherapy

Essential Oil Diffuser: $24.49

Diffusers release aromas in the air that may be calming, invigorating, or relaxing. Pardon the pun, but they are an "essential" investment and cornerstone of any self-care routine. Turn on a diffuser every time you're in a room to refresh and excite the air around you. We like BriteLeaf's 2-in-1 essential oil diffuser and humidifier, which has a decent size water tank, auto shut off, and efficient oil use. It also comes with a calming lavender essential oil.

Essential Oils: $9.99

While lavender is a terrific oil, you'll want more than one. You'll need a set for the ultimate self-care experience. This collection of six from Lagunamoon comes at a solid price and features the essential essential oils. Eucalyptus is useful for clearing the air, especially during the winter, while lemongrass and peppermint are more invigorating. Because you only need a few drops of oils for hours of refreshment, the monetary investment will go far.

Bathtime

Bath bombs: $13.99

Elevating your bath time experience from simple relaxation to ultimate rejuvenation is another essential part of self-care, and bath bombs are a terrific, inexpensive way to make that happen. This set of six from Anjou is mild but effective, made from natural oils that soothe your skin and don't leave any stains on the tub.

Bathtub Tray: $21.99

Wooden trays that extend across the tub make spending time in the bath far more convenient and enjoyable. It's the kind of indulgence that gives you a wonderful return on investment, in part because it motivates you to take relaxing baths and offers you all you need while you're soaking. Durable and able to withstand humidity and water, it allows you to rest a book, phone, or drink while in the tub. This bamboo tray from Giantex is one of the most affordable while still maintaining quality.

Scented candle: $6.99

While these are worthy additions to any room at any time of day, candles are the best during bathtime. Turn off the lights and light a candle – it doesn't necessarily have to have a scent, especially if your bath bomb is particularly potent. We prefer long-lasting, quality candles, like Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day sustainable options. Grab this single lemon-infused candle that promises to burn for 25 hours – that's a lot of baths.

Creativity

Coloring Book: $13.73

Adult coloring books have become incredibly popular over the last few years, and with good reason. They offer a simple, creative, and time-consuming outlet that forces the user to avoid screens and focus on a single activity. As a result, they can be especially calming and nourishing. We love this hardcover Disney option featuring classic animals from animated films.

Colored Pencils: $9.99

If you're getting a coloring book, you need the right tools. This set of colored pencils from Amazon Basics comes at a terrific price and includes a durable, easy-to-transport tin. The 24 colors should keep you going for a long time.

Jigsaw Puzzle: $13.95

Jigsaw puzzles are another creative endeavor that narrows the focus, eliminates distraction, and offers a sense of satisfaction. A few hundred pieces may easily consume a rainy afternoon, while 1000 pieces, like this deal from Buffalo Games, may require multiple sessions across days or even weeks. 

Journal: $11.63

Sometimes writing down your thoughts, experiences, and ideas can go a long way in helping you clear your mind. A journal is a simple self-care item to have on hand but one that can be most effective and offer a great chance at self-reflection. Moleskin is known for its durable notebooks, and this large black journal is all you'll need and comes at one of the lowest prices we've seen.

Exercise

Yoga Mat: $12.99

Yoga welcomes everyone, no matter your age, weight, or flexibility. There is a flow out there for you, and it's especially easy and calming to take up yoga at home. In what can often be a highly marked-up industry, Balance From has high-quality inexpensive mats – and you can choose from a range of colors.

Yoga Ball: $9.99

If you're getting a mat, invest in a yoga ball as well. These large, inflatable bouncy balls allow you to work out your balance, coordination, and core muscles, while also providing good tools for stretching and some specific yoga exercises. Balance From offers another well-priced option and plenty of colors to match – or contrast – your newly purchased yoga mat.

Relax

Tablet: $79.99

While this is on the highest end of the affordable self-care spectrum, a tablet like the Fire HD 8 will provide many self-care and relaxation opportunities. With apps and streaming services, you can tune in for free yoga videos or guided meditation; with an E-reader service (like Amazon's Kindle Unlimited) you can take advantage of unlimited eBooks and audiobook; with Amazon Prime Video, you can take a break from your stress with a movie or TV show. Ultimately, self-care comes down to how ready and willing you are to embrace treating yourself, and you can't put a price tag on that.

Anthony Marcusa  is a writer for BestReviews.  BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

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