When you’re constantly surrounded with images telling you about the next best thing you need to have in your life, it’s hard to feel like simple things are enough.
But when you really think about it, improving your life or well-being doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money — or even a lot of time.
In fact, sometimes the simplest things can have the biggest impact. For me, there are several simple things that changed my life and, in some cases, created some of my best memories.
Self-improvement doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, either. Skip the expensive classes and check out our free self-improvement guide instead!
I have monkey mind most of the time, so I thought meditation would be impossible for me. That is, until I found a form of meditation that allows you to just let all those thoughts running in and out of your mind be a part of your meditation.
Learning to meditate has made a significant impact on my life. I’m more relaxed and positive, and the 20 minutes a day I spend meditating is time well spent!
You don’t have to spend money to learn how to meditate, either. A book or online video can help you with it — and what you gain is priceless.
I always search for coupons when I go on vacations, and I’ve found that CityPASS is one of the best deals. You can buy a CityPASS to your favorite destination city, and it will include discounted tickets to a variety of local attractions and some CityPASSES even include some transportation discounts.
The best part about these tickets is they show me some other activities and places to go that I might not have known about otherwise! While the tickets may cost more than $30 depending on your destination, the memories made are priceless.
CityPASS already offers great discount on event and activity tickets, but you’ll find even more deals with a CityPASS coupon or two!
3. Recreation center classes
If your jaw dropped when you heard the cost of a gym membership, you’re not alone!
Luckily, your local rec center probably offers some individual classes for as low as a couple bucks per class. They may also offer activities for kids at a fraction of the cost of private lessons.
A bonus perk I’ve found when attending rec center classes is you get to know people in your own community, make new friends, and share common interests with others.
4. At-home dry cleaning kits
These kits fall into the category of a brilliant idea that also saves me a lot of money!
I like to use Dryel’s dry cleaning kits instead of dropping off my clothes at the dry cleaner. I put four items in the bag that comes in the kit, add one of their dry cleaning cloths, toss everything in the dryer, and 30 minutes later I’ve got four dry-cleaned items for pennies on the dollar!
You can find Jeanette’s favorite dry cleaning kits online at Amazon — and save some extra money with Amazon coupons.
If you want an amazing experience with your kids that costs nothing, put a blanket on the ground and look up at the stars.
I remember doing this with my son and it was as exciting as any toy could be! Especially when there was a full moon or some type of upcoming astronomical event. One time we even brought some pencils and paper to draw pictures of what we saw.
Afterward, I bought glow-in-the-dark stars to put on my son’s bedroom ceiling so he could fall asleep under the stars every night.
6. Premium channels
I enjoy good TV programming, and a show I can escape to for an hour every evening is something I really look forward to.
These days, TV programming has expanded with the addition of dozens of new channels. I don’t mind paying a couple extra dollars a month for a premium channel or even a service like Netflix so my family can access movies and educational programs. These services make for great at-home family movie nights, too!
Does a cable subscription not fit into your budget? Find out how you can ditch the cable bill and watch TV shows online instead!
7. The “Heads Up!” app
You may not think twice about that app you paid about $1 for, but Ellen’s “Heads Up!” app has been a real lifesaver for me when it comes to dinner parties.
I had some people over recently and the conversation was going nowhere. To get people talking, I pulled out my phone and opened the “Heads Up!” app — suddenly the party was a hit! In fact, one friend I had over said, “I usually hate games and was horrified when you suggested it, but it turned out to be so much fun!”
This game has been a real hit for kids, too. Last night, we were out and my friend’s kids were getting restless and bored. I pulled out my phone and let them give it a try — they loved it and the adults were able to carry on the conversation.
As a bonus, this game really makes you think, so you’ll be using all your brain power while you have fun!
8. Local family memberships
When my son was young, I’d grab an annual family membership for our local museum. This usually cost about $60 for a family of four, but it was so worth it!
This was one of the best investments I ever made because we got in free at the museum we joined for a whole year, and we also got in to dozens of other local museums and learning centers for free or at a lower cost than usual.
We had something to do every weekend, and it was so much fun! My son loved going to every different museum and we made some of our best memories together.
9. My library card
I love going to the library, but I’ll admit I don’t go nearly enough.
Libraries offer so much more than books to check out. They offer an escape into different worlds, resources for learning more about certain subjects, and fun programs just for kids.
You may also find certain expensive things offered for free at your local library.
For example, a friend of mine wanted to learn some UX design skills, and she was able to get a Lynda.com account for free at her library. Libraries may also offer a chance to learn for free with Rosetta Stone and other online learning resources, too.
10. A bungee cord
This is so simple, but it’s solved one of my biggest headaches!
Every morning when I left my house, my garbage can would be tipped over on its side with all my garbage spread out over the sidewalk. Some pesky raccoons would get into the can at night and make a huge mess. I’d have to go back inside, grab some rubber gloves, then pick up all the garbage and stuff it back into the can. Yuck!
One day I had this great idea to put a bungee cord over the lid of my garbage can to hold it shut. Now I don’t have to clean up the raccoons’ mess any more. I love it!
11. Magazine subscriptions
Photo by Niloo
I love to read magazines, but buying them at the newsstand costs too much.
Instead, I spend about 20 bucks and subscribe to my favorites. I look forward to getting each month’s copy in the mail, plus I can share them with friends after I’m done reading them.
Most subscriptions are less than $20 per year, which makes the hours of indulging in “me time” I get totally worth it.
You can nab a great deal on dozens of magazine subscriptions with a Magazines.com coupon!
When I was growing up, we’d take photos with our camera and bring the film in to be developed. After we got our developed photos back, I’d put them into a photo album and show my friends. Sounds pretty old school, right?
These days we take photos with our phones, but they tend to stay there. I wanted to start sharing these photos instead, so lately I’ve been creating photobooks by sending these phone photos to places like Walgreens and CVS.
Making photobooks is really inexpensive and I get to enjoy looking through the book after it’s created. Plus, photobooks make great gifts!
Are you curious about how you can save even more money at the drugstore? Check out my drugstore savings tips!