Bored and on a Budget? 10 Ways to Beat the No-Money Blues.

I know how the song goes, and it’s not one of my favorites to sing along with. So when I hear it playing, there are a few little things I do to send those blues on their merry way. These are in no particular order… just do what makes you feel good, as often as possible.

1/ If you already have a subscription to your favorite magazine, keep it. If you don’t, find one you like and order it. Receiving something new (and regularly) in your mailbox other than a bill is not only nice to look forward to, it can also change your state of mind by giving you a new project to work on, a fashion tip, or financial advice… depending on what genre your magazine is.

2/ Try out a new fragrance… the kind you get as a free sample from a magazine insert, or from the spritzing gal (or guy) at a department store, or while reviewing the perfume wall at Sephora. Collect these gems whenever you can to stock up for your rainy days. It’s refreshing glamour that often won’t cost a dime.

3/ Paint a whole room, or just a single wall, to look like a place you’d rather to be. Be sure to put it in a special place that you can retreat to, such as a reading nook. Even if you don’t have the world’s greatest artistic skills, you can still make your wall space feel special. Picture this: beige paint on the bottom third of the wall with an uneven edge that leads into pale blue on the top two-thirds of the wall. Add some wispy clouds and seashells and voila! Instant beach. (An over-sized painting can also do the trick.)

4/ Reflect natural light around your home with a variety of mirrors. Hang them up as a grouping in a dark corner. Besides just helping to brighten up your space… they will help lift your spirits, too.

5/ Tour a model home. Even if you can’t actually afford to move, you can still walk in and have a look around. Seeing the type of house and/or life you aspire to can help you shift your focus and priorities back onto things that will help you attain your aspirations. Plus, you can get some decorating ideas, see beautiful built-in carvings, admire artwork, and simply enjoy doing something different for a change… with a bit of daydreaming thrown in.

6/ Wear high heels with your jeans. You don’t have to be all dressed up with someplace to go just to wear pretty shoes. Go ahead and wear your wedge sandals or kitten heels with long, short and Capri-length pants whenever you’re out and about. Just because you have the doldrums doesn’t mean you have to look the part by wearing comfy sweats and sneakers or flip-flops everywhere. Head out into the world with your chin up.

7/ Make your own smoothies. They’re easy, fast and fun to make. Here’s a quick recipe: 1 sliced banana; 1 cup of frozen fruit; 1 cup of vanilla or plain yogurt. Blend furiously in your blender, then enjoy. Don’t have a blender? Here’s another fruity recipe that makes for a great, easy pick-me-up: 1 cup of fruit juice + 1 cup of lime or berry-flavored clear soda; drop in a few ice cubes and maybe a few fresh or frozen raspberries. The point here is: working in the kitchen with sweet fruity colors and scents can perk you up. Drinking your light-hearted brew, with its bright cheerful flavors, can help chase away a less than stellar mood.

8/ Recreate a gallon of plain vanilla ice cream into an even more indulgent treat. You don’t have to buy expensive, ready-mixed ice cream just to satisfy your sweet tooth. Keep crushed up cookies, chopped up candy, chocolate chips, coconut slivers, cereal, raisins and your other favorite bite-size treats in your pantry. When the mood hits, it’s easy to stir them into your ice cream or sprinkle them on top.

9/ Doll up some instant coffee so it rivals the more expensive, coffee-shop concoctions. All it takes is a splash of this and a dash of that. Here’s what I usually do: Follow the basic instant coffee recipe on the jar; sprinkle in cinnamon and sugar to taste; add a hint of vanilla extract; pour in a cup or so of milk; drop in some ice cubes; stir. Within a couple of minutes, you can whip up a delicious, decadent drink that only costs about 50 cents per serving.

10/ Indulge yourself with an at-home, head-to-toe spa makeover in 7 easy and well-deserved steps:

Step 1: Wet your hair and apply an intensive hair treatment; wrap up your hair so the treatment has time to really sink in. Run a comfortably hot bath while you do this.
Step 2
: Apply a facial mask that suits your skin type and needs.
Step 3: Sink into your bath for a good 20-minute soak. You can either use this time to read a book by candlelight with a wine spritzer at your side and soothing music playing… or, simply lean back and close your eyes, covering them with slices of cucumber or moistened tea bags.
Step 4: Finish your bath, rinse your hair and wash your face. Apply moisturizer to your entire body, making sure to use facial moisturizer for your face and neck.
Step 5
: Trim your fingernails and toenails while they’re still soft after your bath. If you so desire, paint them a pretty color.
Step 6
: Dress in warm comfy clothes and allow yourself some time to rest.
Step 7
: Wake up feeling fully refreshed, then go eat something healthy and tasty to liven up your taste buds.

11/ BONUS TIP: If it’s a warm sunny day and you have access to a bench in or near a garden, go outside and enjoy it — along with a good book and a picnic!

Hopefully, after trying out at least one of these blues-beating tips, you’ll find yourself singing a much happier tune!

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