Now is the time to unwind, refresh and reconnect, but these moments of self-care and celebration can come with a price tag. Explore these few ways to be adventurous while keeping it easy on the budget.
We all need to treat ourselves to self-care from time to time. Those moments of unwinding, restoring and even reconnecting with others act as a restart of our nervous system, allowing us to enter back into our daily lives refreshed and recharged.
Planning moments that matter can be as simple as scheduling a weekly walk with a friend or setting reminders to do deep breathing exercises every day, but sometimes those moments require a financial planning element. Here are a few ways to recharge, restore and reinvigorate that you might not have considered. Plus, we’ll compare funding options like building a savings plan or using a pay-over-time repayment option so you can feel confident about your financial choices.
Reinvigorate with a trip
Traveling is making its way into our lives once again. For many, planning trips and visiting new places is a key part of their mental well-being. In fact, travel has been shown to increase empathy, energy and focus. Even the act of planning a trip can increase joy and optimism. Whether you’re ready to embark on the vacation of your dreams or you just want a taste of road again, there are plenty of ways to scratch your traveler’s itch this summer. Here are a few ideas to get you inspired:
- Be a local tourist: Chances are good that there are plenty of activities and sights to see right in your home state. Skip high-priced airfare by going on a mini road trip across your state visiting local attractions like flea markets, nature trails or historic sights.
- Take advantage of cheap airfare: Instead of buying a ticket to your ideal destination, Google Flights and its new flexible date tool lets you plan flights based on price, rather than destination. Google will pull the cheapest flights available to you based on your departing airport and timeframe, with some national flights being as low as $150 round trip.
- Tour national parks: If you’re an outdoor lover, a National Parks pass is your ticket to an adventure of hiking, camping, water activities, birding and more. Passes are only $80 for the year and grant you access to every national park in America.
Restore at home
If you were one of the over 5 million people to become a home owner at the height of the pandemic, you may not have been able to snag the home of your dreams thanks to a tapped out housing market. Bring the harmony to your space you’ve been craving by tackling affordable projects that align with your personality.
- Create a spa-like experience: If your idea of unwinding involves a long soak in the tub, then it’s time to turn your bathroom into the cozy retreat you’ve always wanted. Lower-cost changes like removable wallpaper, a fresh coat of paint, a plush rug or even new knobs or fixtures can breathe fresh life into a room. Couple that with spa-inspired additions such as a towel warmer, bath tray, candles, or even portable tub jets to bring your oasis together.
- Build a backyard paradise: Your backyard is your private sanctuary, so make the most of the space with some retreat-ready upgrades. If you don’t have a deck, patio or balcony, create one in a leveled section of your yard with affordable pea gravel or pavers. Add furniture that fits your relaxation style, such as loungers or a table for two. Bring it together with comforting elements like outdoor pillows, an oversized umbrella for shade, bistro string lights and citronella candles to keep pests away.
- Turn your bedroom into an oasis: Out of all the spaces in a home, your bedroom should be the place you find the most peace. Channel that restfulness by bringing in relaxing textures and calming colors, like blues and greens. Make a few low-cost changes like swapping out nightstands, adding a plush rug, hanging some new artwork or bringing in cozy lighting.
Reconnect over celebration
You might not think of celebrating as self-care, but studies show that celebrating events produces positive health benefits, including improved physical health and a better ability to cope with demanding situations. Over the past couple of years, many events such as graduations, retirements and family reunions went unmarked, so there’s a lot of celebrating to catch up on. Here are a few affordable ideas for reconnecting with those you love:
- Throw a potluck: A BYOD (bring your own dish) party is a low-stress way to get people back together and it’s affordable if you’re working with a smaller budget. Make the event special by assigning a theme, like favorite dishes from your childhood, appetizers only or food by region or country.
- Rent a space: From bowling alleys and escape rooms to dance floors and private dining areas, spaces of all sorts are available for rent for your next get-together. Search your local area for activity and party spaces that you can rent by the hour, and don’t forget to ask about any food or drink guidelines.
- Bring the party to your backyard: Celebrating a graduation or birthday in the backyard can be a blast. Create a fun and relaxing environment your guests will want to stay in with backyard games and lots of seating. Shop the deli department of your grocery store for store-made sides to save prep time. Crank up some tunes, fire up the grill and invite the whole family over.
Options for financing the moments that matter
Here are a few ways to go about funding your dream project, event or trip to make it a reality:
- Use traditional or pay-over-time credit: The benefit of putting your adventure or project on a credit card is that you can embark on that project immediately. This will, however, increase the amount of debt you owe, and when using a traditional credit card, the charges will be subject to interest if you can’t quickly pay it back in full. If fixed monthly repayments sound like a more manageable fit for your budget, there is a pay over time option available for U.S. Bank customers. Eligible credit card purchases over $100 can be repaid through ExtendPay Plan , a pay-over-time service that’s tied to your U.S. Bank credit card. Rather than having to pay interest on this purchase, you can make fixed monthly payments for a small monthly fee.
- Make a budget and save: Saving for your project will guarantee you have the funding you need, but also requires a lot of lead time. Create a savings plan and goal and put money away every pay period. While this will push your summer plans out by a few months or even a year, you also won’t be spending money you don’t yet have.
Learn more about ExtendPay Plan to determine if this is a good payment option for you.