Cutting Expenses

The Secret to “Me Time” on a Dime

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The baby spit up on my shoulder…again.  I am not even sure if I have any more clean shirts. I haven’t showered in days, and I don’t even want to know what my hair looks like right now.  I am more focused on my breastfeeding and pumping schedule than anything else.  I can’t even remember what I used to do with the seemingly endless expanse of free time I used to have, yet alone what I ate for breakfast this morning.

Being a new mom is tough, and most moms can completely relate to how exciting, exhausting, confusing, emotional, and sometimes dark the fourth trimester can be.  We can relate to the feeling of being completely lost, not sure of what happened to the life we had before these tough days of motherhood.

It is important that you make time for yourself, no matter if you are in the postpartum stage, have toddlers, or your kids are in school.  It is a little break that helps to reclaim and celebrate YOU so that you can be the best mom you can possibly be.

But…going to a movie costs over $12!  A manicure?  $25!  And don’t even think about a massage or eating out!  And what about the babysitter?  Taking time out suddenly looks expensive and unobtainable…but it isn’t!

I have found ways to do some of my favorite relaxing activities for cheap or free!  You probably have a different list than mine, but that’s okay!  The point is that if I have found a way to do a relaxing ritual without breaking the bank, you can too, no matter what it is!

So ask your husband, friend, or family member to watch the kids this evening (and get them into bed on time, of course) so you can take some time to yourself!


I used to love going and getting a manicure or pedicure at a fancy nail salon.  You know the kind…they bring you cucumber water, give you an amazing massage, and finish with a fresh coat of color that only lasts about 3 days.   All for the ridiculous price of $25…sometimes more.

Well, now that I am a mom, I can’t afford to splurge on a manicure at a nail salon.  In fact, the cost seems downright outrageous to me.  I can’t even afford to pay $9 a bottle for some of my favorite nail polish brands like Essie and OPI.

But I don’t have to.

Did you know that Ulta has a clearance nail polish section where great colors from the top brands start at as little as $0.95?  Seriously!   I haven’t paid more than $2 for a bottle of nail polish in years now!   And I am really picky about my polish!

When Ulta decides to discontinue a color, they put it on clearance.  In fact, these colors are not always the ones discontinued by Essie or OPI, but the ones that Ulta has decided not to carry anymore for some reason.  I have even found newly released colors on clearance, as well as base coat, top coat, and quick dry drops!

*The clearance nail polish is usually located on the bottom shelf of the nail polish display at my local Ulta; if you can’t find it at your store, just ask someone*

I now do my own manicures at home using nail polish I bought for less than $1, and it is just the time I need to reset and relax once in a while.


I love a good magazine—especially the fun ones like People, Us, InStyle, Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue.  But they run about $5 a pop in the checkout lines, and that is way too much to spend.

I now save a lot of money by subscribing to magazines through Amazon.  I got a year’s worth of InStyle Magazine for about $14—talk about a major discount!

I also shamelessly steal (after they have read them, and with their permission) magazines from family members and friends.  I don’t care if they are a few weeks old; it is still fun and relaxing to sit and read them.  And the best part is, they are free!

There is just something about magazines that relaxes me when I am stressed and overwhelmed, and now I don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get them.


Oh, candles!  I love them.  Just the ritual of lighting a candle puts me in a meditative and relaxing mood.  Breathing the fragrance in deeply slows my heart rate and transports me to my happy place.  Maybe I am weird, but if there are any other weirdos out there who can relate…here is my secret to cheaper candles.

Yankee Candle is by far my favorite brand.  The fragrances are amazing, they have a great throw, and the candles burn really nicely.  But they can be expensive if you pay full pop.

To get Yankee Candles cheaper, subscribe to their email list!  They send out coupons all the time for Buy One Get One, or even coupons for a certain dollar amount off per purchase.  In my mind, BOGO = half price and I usually stock up when I have one of these coupons.

I am also lucky enough to have a Yankee outlet within driving distance.  The outlet has amazing deals like 3 large candles for $30—that is almost 1/3 the price!  I’ll take it!


Makeup may not seem like a way to relax for some people, and you may even judge me for including it here.  But having great makeup to put on when you are going out is an instant way to make me feel more put together when I am actually falling apart.

My favorite way to get quality makeup for cheap is to buy it from a department store when they offer a free gift with purchase.  For example, Macy’s is offering a free 7-piece gift with any $35 Lancome purchase.  Couple that with a Macy’s coupon or sale, and you are in business!

$35 for just foundation seems really expensive to me—but if for $35 (or less if you can snag a deal) you can get foundation, lipstick, mascara, blush, makeup remover, and a bunch of lotions and magic anti-aging potions to try, it becomes worth it and fun.

Watch the websites for department stores near you, as well as Ulta, to see if there is a freebie to grab when you are short on something.


Reading is my all-time favorite relaxing activity.  There is nothing like losing myself in a book for a few hours to put me in a much better mood and give me a new perspective on being a mother.

Books are free at the library.  Yes, it is old school.  Yes, I am sure you don’t want to wait for the latest best seller—but if you are on a tight budget, paying $15 now is not worth it if you can get the same book for free in a few weeks.

Most libraries even offer eBooks for you to instantly download to your Kindle—for free.

Never pay for a book again.

When being a mom gets really tough and you need to step away for a few hours of me time to relax and get a cool head back onto your shoulders, you need to make time for yourself.  Don’t break the bank with habits and vices you may have spent a lot of money on before you had kids—instead, find a way to enjoy your favorite things for much cheaper.  If I can do it, you can do it!

What are some of your favorite things to do to relax?

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