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Access self-care while maintaining a budget!

I will be the first one to admit that self-care to me, means being able to get my nails done, or go to the spa once a quarter and/or have some downtime. Downtime does not mean reading a book and being by myself. Most of the time it just means not having anything scheduled or planned. It means I have the flexibility to take time for me and to decide what that looks like. If that means going to the spa, fine. If that means getting together with a friend, that’s fine too.

All too often self-care corresponds with an event or special occasion. For example, if you’re getting married, you might have a spa day to relax and calm your nerves. If you’ve worked countless hours throughout the pandemic, you might schedule an in-home massage. My colleague and Life Coach, Jen Westra would ask “How do you define self-care? What prevents you from enjoying self-care every day?” As you might guess, there are all sorts of stories we tell ourselves about when it is appropriate or right to take care of ourselves. For women, it is especially difficult to break the cycle of do it ALL, be it ALL and be nice about it ALL. If you’re interested in learning more about burnout, check out the book Burnout by Emily Nagoski, PhD and Amelia Naosi, DMA.

When it comes to self-care, the massages and spa days add up quickly in the monthly budget. When you’re budgeting, you’re not necessarily restricting your access to these services. As a financial coach I would ask, “what do you need to budget to have the services that you want?” and “what can you do daily to take care of yourself that doesn’t impact the budget?”

Budgeting for spa services and products can be difficult. If you know the cost of the services and may need a couple of products too, it can become a whopper of a bill! I recently visited a local day spa. I love supporting locally and women-owned businesses. They were running a special in April and I decided to bite! I made the appointment expecting to spend $60 plus the cost of two products. As I checked out the attendant had added the products and service all on one bill, which makes total sense. I inserted my debit card and removed it. Then I got a friendly screen on the ipad that asked me how much I wanted to tip my provider. I generally stick to 20%. So, I tapped on 20% and took my products and walked to my car. Once I got into my car, I did the math. I paid 20% on the entire bill, not just the $60 service. This is 100% my fault. I didn’t pay attention. I was in too much of a hurry. I could have given a “custom tip”, but I didn’t. Don’t do the math here, but I essentially paid a 50% tip because I paid the tip on the products too.

My solution for next time…take cash! It’s going to cause me to slow down a little bit, maybe ask for the breakdown and allow me to maintain my budget. Don’t get me wrong. I wanted to tip the technician, but my budget did not reflect that size of a gratuity. This might also occur if you go out for dinner. So many businesses now are giving customers the opportunity to tip and oftentimes your eye is drawn to the three largest icons on the screen, 20%, 30% or 40%. I guarantee that if I saw the actual number in dollars that I was agreeing to tip, I wouldn’t have clicked that button so hastily.

My budget-friendly and long-term solution for self-care is dependent only on you. I was introduced to the book Miracle Morning back in 2015. The book illustrates six ways to be our best selves and take care of ourselves, you guessed it, in the morning! It starts with silence (or meditation) and ends with journaling. It can take you as little as six minutes if your schedule is swamped or you can practice these strategies for an hour. Think about that?! An entire hour to focus on you, what you want, what you see for your future, and what you want to learn, etc. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it’s an easy read and much more budget-friendly than a trip to the spa! No gratuities required, recommended, or accepted.

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