While it’s important to live within your means and make sure you save some money for emergencies, it’s also important to pamper yourself from time to time.  After all, life’s too short to ONLY focus on saving, and one of the keys to budgeting is to make sure to budget some fun money into your weekly spending.

Below are three of my favorite ways to spend a little of my hard earned money.  They are luxury items that I’ve found a way to get at a discount.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

  1. Massage

While massage is considered part of taking care of yourself in many Asian societies, in the United States it’s still considered a luxury.  There are a number of very high end massage services in the United States – for example, a new service, Soothe, promises to send you a 5 star masseuse within one hour, starting at $99.

However, if you’re willing to travel a bit and search, there are many better options available – both in terms of price and variety of service.  For example, a Massage Envy membership is only $59 per month and includes a one hour massage each month.  They have more than 1,000 locations across the US, so odds are there’s one near you.  Massage Luxe day spa introductory prices start at only $39 (for first time clients) for an hour – another great deal to take advantage of.

Another excellent option, if you live in a major city, is to visit the China town area of your city.  I’ve gotten outstanding Qui Gong and Thai massages for $40 or less in relatively expensive cities (like NYC, LA, and Miami) by going to a local “hole in the wall” massage parlor.  Believe it or not, while you may not get all the luxuries of a high end spa, the masseuses are excellently trained and very thorough.  I’ve found it to be money well spent.

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  1. Eating Out

There are a number of excellent deals for dining out. This may include happy hour discounts if you’re able to arrive early to special nights where kids eat free.

For example, Red Lobster happy hour prices are incredibly discounted compared to their regular prices.  Monday through Friday from 3 – 6 PM, they offer $5 apps and $3 drinks, which is deeply discounted when compared to their regular prices (where apps are $9.99 and up).

If you have children, there are a number of places that allow them to eat free when you order one adult meal.  The catch is that you need to make sure to go on the right night.  One of the best deals out there to save money is at IHOP restaurant.  For kids 12 and younger, receive a free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult entrée any day from 4:00 – 10:00 PM.  Red Robin and TGIF have similar deals, but you’ll need to check with your local chain to see which days they offer it.

  1. Hair and Nail Salon

I’ve always felt that spending $15-30 on a hair styling from a quality place was money well spent.  The confidence and spring in your step you get from looking good is priceless.  A good stylist that can understand what you want can make you look younger, better looking, and can therefore make you feel more confident.  This carries through to everything you do throughout the day.

I’ve always had a very high quality experience matched with a low price at Fantastic Sam’s hair salons.  There are more than 1,250 of them located throughout the country, and they encourage you to bring a picture of a hair style you love.  The stylist I have will then make adjustments based on the shape of my face, type of hair, and other factors.

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Pampering yourself doesn’t have to be expensive, and the overall benefit you can get to your physical health and self-confidence is immeasurable.  While it definitely makes sense to save money every month and live within your means, it’s also important to have a budget for yourself and allow yourself to spend a little bit of money guilt-free each month.