How to Control Your Self Care Spending

Here are some questions to ask yourself that will keep the amount you spend on self care reasonable.
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Woman with facial mask using cell phone

One of the ideas that has gained popularity over the last few years has been self care. Basically it is a catchall term for the things we do to bring a little enjoyment to our lives while also reducing stress. It can take many forms, some which cost money and others that don’t. It can be something as basic as taking a long bubble bath with some scented candles lit to buying something a new gadget like Casely phone cases or a new makeup kit as a self-treat.

While it is always fun to have a little retail therapy, it can become a problem if it becomes an issue that leads to increased credit card debt. Here are some questions to ask yourself that will keep the amount you spend on self care reasonable.

How Much Should You Spend on Self Care?

Financial planners usually say that people should spend around 30% of their monthly pay on housing costs, 10-15% on groceries and personal items, 10% on utilities and 10% should go into savings. That leaves about 45-50% of your pay to cover other expenses like credit card debt, student loans and car expenses to cover and that amount can vary greatly. For this reason it is accepted that about 5% of your pay should be set aside for self care. 

With the average American household income being $56k that works out to around $1450 of income available to be spent per person every year. That breaks down to around $120 a month or $30 a week. Because this isn’t a lot of money it is important to watch what you spend on yourself so you can avoid the stress and anxiety of living beyond your means.

Anyways, if you want to cut down the costs with you car even further, you can sell it for junk and share transport with your room mate, co-worker or loved one.

What Should I Buy to Self Care?

This is a difficult question to answer because different people find pleasure in different things. With only $30 a week available the best idea is to spend that money on items that give you the most bang for your buck.

Two of the best things to spend your money on are gym memberships and some form of body treatment like massages, manicures or pedicures. A gym membership isn’t very expensive and it will help you feel great about yourself. Even going to the gym just once a week is a great way to reduce stress.

Spending money on a manicure or pedicure will remind you of the money you spent on it between visits to your nail salon and can serve as motivation to stick to your budget. An actual spa day is a bit more expensive and will probably use up all of the money you should be spending on self care but the way that a massage and a facial will leave you feeling might well be worth the expense.

Other ways to indulge in some self care can be much less expensive but just as worthwhile. Small ticket items that can be forms of self care would be items like buying a daily latte or a good bottle of wine to enjoy in the bath. While care must be made to not overspend, the options are endless if you’re careful.

What Kinds of Self Care Doesn’t Cost Money?

One form of self care that is gaining popularity is actually using the money you would normally spent on yourself to help pay down your debts. While it isn’t exactly fun or glamorous to be responsible, the long term effects will be worth the effort.

Knowing that you are reducing your debt or putting money away for the future will remove the stress of making ends meet and can lessen the anxiety over how to afford retirement. Some financial planners have gone as far to say that it can become addictive to use your money in this way. You can always treat yourself by taking a walk in the park or sitting back with a drink and enjoying the sunset.

It is important to focus on yourself some of the time. Using a little money for self care is one of the ways to make life more enjoyable, but care must be taken to not go overboard with your spending. This just defeats the whole purpose of self care, as it will just make miserable in the long-term.

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