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Happiness on a Shoestring

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by Camille (subscribe)
Camille is a freelance ghost blog and web content writer. She's also a musician and an "Autoimmunee". She loves learning and sharing about how to live life with positive energy and meaning. see: and
Published July 29th 2015
Some of the best things in life are free (or close to it)
This post has been inspired by a book called "Daniel and the Angel" written by Jill Barnett as part of an anthology (1994). The story tells of a fallen Angel named Lillian, and a hard hearted man named Daniel. He believes that money can buy anything and everything. She is set to prove him wrong, that there are some things in life money can't buy (for everything else there's mastercard...) Sorry that was wrong, I couldn't help myself. Ok back to the point. So I was inspired by this little challenge of Jill's character Lillian. What are the some things in life to enjoy that you don't have to buy/spend so much money on?

Being a so called "spring chicken" in the world, out on my own, I've found it a challenge to learn balancing the bills of rent, weekly groceries, electricity bills, etc. and also being able to fit in a little personal spending money. I remind myself constantly that I work to live not live to work. And so this idea of Lillian comes at a splendid time in life.

I'd like to discover (or perhaps re-discover) some activities and ideas of how to add a little happiness in life without overspending. While it is fun to go out go carting or maybe rock climbing, it might not be in my budget or time constraints, and I believe that even a person who has everything isn't necessarily happy or even uses all these resources available to them.

Some of the ideas presented in this post may require you to use some of the things you have at home, I try to come up with ideas that don't need you to go out and buy something in particular, hopefully you already have some of these things at home and if not, why not try borrowing from a friend or relative?

There's nothing more relaxing than going to the Spa. But a trip to the Spa can be expensive. Why not make the Spa at home? You only need a few things, and you can transform a boring afternoon at home into a relaxing one.

footspa, happiness on a shoe string
stock image: graceie/

What you'll need:
A bowl/bucket/basin of some type to fit your feet comfortably in as you soak
Conditioner/Mouthwash– did you know that squeezing a bit of each in water then soaking helps soften your skin?
A brush – preferably something with a handle that you can wet, has soft bristles, and maybe a bit older (you're not worried about ruining it by using it on your feet)
An old towel to wipe your feet afterwards
Moisturiser (finish up with some lotion to leave your feet feeling smooth and soft)

Here's a few links to sites that have the steps and ideas on how make a great home foot spa:

DIY Milk Foot Spa at Home
Best Home Spa Techniques
The Frugal Girls Foot Scrub and Soak Recipes

Across the road is a gorgeous little park complete with a playground for the kids, picnic tables and communal bbqs. This might sound an obvious idea, but so many people forget you can always escape for a while to a park, get close to nature and rejuvenate your mind. And the best thing about it is it's free.

park, happiness on a shoestring, cheap ideas for fun
Hubby relaxing in the park on a picnic blanket with a good book!

What you'll need:
A towel/sheet/cloth to use as your picnic blanket
- The makings of a small meal in your pantry – think tuna and cucumber sandwiches, left over pasta, pieces of fruit, some cheese, cold boiled eggs and a pitcher of cordial – whatever you like.

Here are some simple and easy picnic ideas:

Picnic Ideas and Recipes
Let's Have a Picnic
Packed Lunches & Dinners for the Pool or Beach

Another home spa treatment is easily within reach.

Have you got oats in your pantry? Lemons? Instant coffee? Sugar? Baking Soda? Avocado? A quick check of things you already have at home in your kitchen, can add up to be just two or three ingredients that make up an amazing face mask!

facial, happiness on a shoestring
stock image: zenspa1/flickr

Click on the following links for inspirations for DIY face masks:

DIY Face Masks - Beauty For Less
Homemade Face Mask Recipes
More Mask Recipes

Hanging out with friends doesn't always mean having to go out. Skip the movies or another outing that costs $$$ by bringing the fun home. Games night isn't just for families, it can be fun for young adults and professionals alike. Set up a night with snacks you have at home, and ask friends to bring something too (chips, drinks) sort of like a pot luck. Set up some game ideas such as Charades, Poker Night, Taboo, etc.

game night, happiness on a shoestring, cards
Our game night starting late afternoon - watch the sunset and let the games begin!

Click on the following for inspiration for Game Night Ideas:

Minute To Win It at home
Party Games for Adults
Dating Divas

Don't worry you don't have to be a great artist to enjoy in this simple life pleasure. You just need some paper; a pencil/crayons/pens/paint/oil pastels etc.; and your imagination. This is more a mind exercise than anything else.

The concept is to draw a mind map bubble, it's all about what you think and how you want to express yourself. I like this as it forces you to get introspective.

In the middle draw you or what represents you, then from there write down words or draw down things that make you happy. Sounds a bit silly, or childlike but seriously having a looking at yourself, and consciously thinking of all the things you are grateful for, and make you feel alive is like an instant shot of happiness.

And the best part, it doesn't cost a bit – no need for that shopping high to feel happy, just a few quiet minutes to yourself, and the freedom to express what you may not have been aware of before.

Click on the following for some examples of mind maps:

Mind Maps for self analysis
Mind Maps to unleash creativity
Mind Map yourself for growth
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Why? Because not all fun has to cost a bucketload
Where: Anywhere and everywhere
Your Comment
The alternative to retail therapy=happiness. A good round-up of ideas, thanks Camille.
by Jenny Rossiter (score: 3|4145) 1637 days ago
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