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The ultimate guide to inexpensive self-care

Written by:
Staff Writer

Self-care is highly important. Taking care of yourself, both mentally and physically, is crucial. It helps reduce stress, boost confidence, and maintain financial well-being. As important as self-care is, many, with low income or a lot of debt, struggle to incorporate it into their lives. In this article, we will share inexpensive self-care activities to boost your physical and mental health on a budget.

What is self-care?

Taking care of your mental, physical, and spiritual health is known as self-care. According to psychologist Marni Amsellemi, PhD, self-care is defined as everything that feels nourishing that you do for yourself.

So, why is self-care important?

In this fast-paced world that we live in self-care is more important than ever because of these little things:

  • Self-care reduces burnout
  • Improves relationships
  • Diminishes stress and anxiety
  • Develops durability
  • Improves productivity

There’s a temptation to think that something that offers this many impactful benefits will need to cost a lot. That’s not the case. Self-care can be as elaborate as a trip to an all-inclusive resort or as simple as being in nature or meditating.

Mindful practices for nurturing the mind

Focusing on the present moment (or practicing mindfulness) is one of the best ways to enhance self-care. In fact, in 2023 the University of Toronto discovered that mindfulness training can help doctors improve their well-being and better communicate with their patients. 

Mindfulness can be tricky. So many distractions can pull you away from the present moment. When you are removed from the present, anxieties and worries can creep up about the past or the future. These worries not only put a damper on your self-care but can also lower your mood. Like a muscle, the more you practice being in the present the easier and more consistent it becomes.

Here are some affordable activities that you can do to stay mindful:


Journaling is a great way to stay present. Journaling is very inexpensive. All you need is a journal and a pencil. You can purchase a journal and a pencil at your local dollar store for less than 10 dollars.

Journaling helps you be mindful by addressing your thoughts and feelings. Whether you are thinking about your day or your future, journaling can help you detach from anxious and negative thinking. A WebMD study discovered that participants living with depression and anxiety who journaled for the duration of 12 weeks had fewer symptoms of depression. 


Meditation is the practice of focusing on your breath so that you can stay focused on what you are doing. It’s proven to improve sleep, boost mood, and enhance creativity. In a 2023 study published in CBC News, it was discovered that just doing 10 minutes of breathing meditation was found to help lower anxiety and enhance concentration. The best part, it’s a low-cost (even free) exercise. For a little comfort, all you need is a few dollars for a yoga mat.

Going for a mindful walk

Mindful walking is low cost but has plenty of benefits. According to research published in CBC News in 2023, it was discovered that practicing mindful walking regularly can help reduce anxiety and lower a person’s blood pressure as well as medication. The key to enjoying the benefits of these walks is mindfulness. The difference between a regular stroll and a mindful walk is awareness. When you go for a mindful walk, take note of the sights that you see, the sounds that you hear, and any sensations that you feel in your body. 

By doing this you’ll come to notice a boost in your feelings of peace and relaxation.  

Nurturing the body on a budget

According to Statistics Canada, only 45% of Canadian adults meet the weekly requirement of getting 150 minutes of physical exercise. Taking care of your physical health is crucial for self-care. Your physical health is highly connected to your mental health. The more active you are throughout your day, the better your mood and sleep quality.

Here are some inexpensive activities that you can do to take care of your body:

Exercise using bodyweight workouts

Bodyweight workouts are inexpensive and can save you time. In a 2021 study published in the National Library of Medicine, Bodyweight workouts were discovered to improve cardiovascular systems without requiring much time. By doing them every week, you will be saving 40 dollars or more that would have gone towards a gym membership. 

YouTube is a great platform to find some great free exercise videos that you can do at home that do not need any expensive equipment. There are plenty of exercise videos on the website that just require you to use your body weight. These videos will provide you with challenging bodyweight workouts such as pushups, squats, and abdominal routines that you can do in 30 minutes or less. 

Take an Epsom salt bath

Epsom salt is a substance with magnesium and sulphate properties found in rocks. You can purchase a bag of Epsom salt for 33 dollars or less online or at your local health and wellness store. Epsom salt enthusiasts say that it relieves stress, enhances mood, and helps with reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Do some yoga

Yoga has become incredibly popular in North America. Its reputation is due to its ability to stretch muscles, promote relaxation, and bring serenity to the mind and the body. Additionally, yoga helps participants focus on their breathing and stay present in the moment. In a 2022 study published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, it was discovered that participants who practiced yoga for as little as 3 months had lower blood pressure and heart rate. 

The great part is that there’s no need to join a yoga studio anymore. There are plenty of inexpensive phone applications for Android and IOS. Plus, there are great videos on YouTube to help you get a great workout whether it is 15 minutes or an hour. These inexpensive options are a great way to kick-start your yoga routine.  

Jump rope

The average cost of a high-quality skipping rope ranges from 25 dollars to 50 dollars. A great value for one piece of equipment that can provide a full body workout that’s portable.

There’s a reason why jump ropes have been around since ancient Egyptian times. It helps to develop concentration, boost your coordination, increase your stamina, and help improve mental health.

Nourishing the soul without spending a fortune

Developing spiritual and emotional health is vital to self-care. There are plenty of inexpensive things that you can do to help you get in tune with your spirits and spark a sense of joy.


Volunteering your time to help those in need is free and offers many benefits.  Volunteering at a nonprofit organization or a food bank is one of the best ways to nourish your soul. Not only will you be helping others, but you will also be building friendships, making lifelong connections, and feeling good about yourself knowing that you are helping the less fortunate.

Reciting positive affirmations

Time magazine reports that we have, on average, 6,200 thoughts a day. Some of these thoughts will be negative and some will be positive. The National Library of Medicine, discovered that receiving positive affirmations helps systems of the brain process goals and stay task-oriented. In other words, positive affirmations help you stay focused on your goals and decrease your negative thoughts.

Visit your friends

Cultivating friendships not only helps your mental, physical, and spiritual health. Studies have shown individuals who have close friendships live less stressful and anxious lives. In fact, research shows a “50% increased likelihood of survival for participants with stronger social relationships.” In other words, you can literally extend your life simply by laughing with a few friends!

Boost your financial well-being without spending a dime

Financial health is linked to mental and physical health. A study done by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada found that people who had improved their financial health were more relaxed and had a greater sense of mental well-being. 

Here are some things that you can do to boost your financial health: 

Create a budget

Thirty-six percent of Canadians have experienced mental health challenges due to financial struggle according to the 2024 Financial Stress Index. The foundation of financial wellness is a well-defined budget. Simply knowing where your money is coming from and going to will help reduce stress and anxiety.

The good news is that there are plenty of places to get help creating a budget for free.

Conduct a no-spend challenge 

One of the best ways to improve your financial health is to avoid spending money frivolously. The no-spend challenge is a zero-cost way to curb your spending impulses. 

The concept of a no-spend challenge is simple. All you do is pick a timeframe (a week or even a couple of months) where you avoid spending money on anything but essentials. There are numerous reports of people saving hundreds, even thousands of dollars by doing a no-spend challenge.

Tip: Many people attribute successfully completing a challenge because they knew their “why”. Before starting the challenge they knew what the money they saved would be used for and focused on that.

Creating a sustainable self-care routine

Taking care of yourself while on a budget doesn’t have to make you break your piggy bank. Inexpensive self-care is achievable. Below is a list of things that you can do to create and maintain a budget-friendly self-care routine that won’t cost you your financial health: 

  • Incorporating self-care into daily life: Create a list of budget-friendly self-care activities that you can do while you are at home and on the go. It is also a good idea to quantify how much time and money you think each activity will take. 
  • Set up realistic and affordable self-care goals: Creating realistic self-care goals is important to maintaining your mental, emotional, and financial health.  
  • Importance of consistency in self-care practices:  One of the best things that can help you get in the mindset of taking care of yourself is being consistent in your self-care routine. It is wise to pick a self-care activity that you enjoy and try to do it for 30 days because it takes about a month to create a new habit. 


Self-care is highly important to your mental, physical, and financial health. Sometimes the inclination is that self-care needs to cost a lot, but that’s not the case. There are plenty of inexpensive ways to incorporate self-care into your daily life.

If poor financial health is getting in the way of practicing self-care a credit counsellor can help. Call one of our expert counsellors for tips on how to boost your finances.

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