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Last Updated on May 25, 2018

6 Easy Ways to Treat Yourself

6 Easy Ways to Treat Yourself

Whether you’re male or female, treating yourself to some relaxation can be expensive. Getting a massage, going to a spa or salon, going on vacation—the costs can seem a little overwhelming. Fortunately, I have scoured the universe for some alternate solutions that won’t break the bank. Here are six easy and inexpensive ways to treat yourself.

1. Buy a small massager on Amazon.

Massages are good for you, but they’re expensive. However, I’m not suggesting you go out and get a massage chair, either. Instead, I suggest you invest in a shiatsu neck and shoulder massage pillow, which can also be used to massage your back, stomach, arms, and legs. You can find different brands for under $40 on Amazon, and they come with a warranty. The best part is, now you can get a massage whenever you want!

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2. Take a bath.

A common suggestion, I know—but baths are relaxing, and they’re a good replacement for a hot tub. Oh, yeah, and they’re free. You don’t have to go all out with candles and music (though that helps), but I suggest adding some bath salts, and sipping a nice warm beverage, or a glass of wine or beer while you soak up the relaxation. And if baths aren’t your thing, just take a shower (which can also include bath salts), but focus on letting the spray relax your muscles.

3. Pamper your hair and skin.

This suggestion isn’t just for women. There are lots of ways to give your skin and hair spa or salon quality treatment in the comfort of your own home, and without spending a ton of money. Things like face masks, skin creams, and coconut oil are readily available, as well as hair masks, beard oils, muscle soothing creams, and other essential oils. And these aren’t just for relaxing you, they’re nurturing to your body. No more feeling guilty, because you’re taking care of yourself.

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4. Curl up and read a book.

I’m sure you’ve heard this suggestion before, too; and maybe I’m biased, but I think reading a book is the perfect way to relax and refresh your mind. Not only does it provide you an inexpensive escape, but it’s good for you! Maybe there’s one in particular you’ve been meaning to buy or check out from the library, or maybe there’s one worn and thoroughly creased on your shelf calling your name. But I don’t have time to read, you say. Well, I say don’t give me that excuse, because another cool thing about books: You can put it down and pick it up again whenever you want—guaranteed, no fine print.

5. Go outside.

Nature is one of this world’s greatest pleasures, and simply stepping outside on a beautiful day can be exponentially invigorating. I recommend taking a walk, even if it’s just walking your dog down the street. If you live in the city, why not venture over to a park? Or, if you live near a forest preserve or national park, you could take some friends or family on a mini road trip and go exploring. Some parks are free, some are not. There are over 400 parks to visit, and 124 of them have an entrance fee, but there is a list of days when all parks offer free admission.

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6. Splurge on a really good cup of coffee.

When I say splurge, I don’t mean go totally crazy. I mean if you want Starbucks, or your favorite latte from your favorite local coffee shop, then get it. I mean when you’re at the grocery store trying to decide which bag of coffee grounds to get, don’t just look for the cheapest brand—trust me, good coffee is worth it. Pick out your favorite, or try something new. And when you’ve got that coffee in your hand, savor it. Breathe it in. Enjoy the bliss that is caffeinated excellence in a cup. You’re welcome.

Here is one last piece of wisdom: For the ultimate relaxation, try combining the things on this list (for instance, drink your coffee while reading, or read while sitting with your massager and wearing a face mask). Treating yourself doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. In fact, it should be simple and stress-free.

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Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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