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Monday, May 22, 2017

Frugal Indulgences -- A Survey

As I filled my bathtub with hot water, laced with scented bath oil, I reflected on what a luxury this is. Not too long ago, a luxuriating hot bath was something  not available to many people. Before the age of indoor plumbing, baths were for Saturday night, were taken in a small portable metal tub, most often in the kitchen. Heating enough water for one of these baths was done over a stove, one kettle at a time. A bath of more than an inch or two of hot water just wasn't feasible.

Fast forward to today and all I need is a bathtub, water that's been pre-heated in the water heater, time and privacy. I make my baths extra indulgent by adding essential oil fragrances, oils, baking soda, ground oatmeal, flower and herb bath tea, dim lights, and music. I can do all of this with what I have in my house.

Here's another favorite frugal indulgence of mine. I make myself a special cup of cocoa, using whatever milk I'm currently drinking, baking cocoa, sugar/sweetening, vanilla extract, and mini-marshmallows. I make this in the microwave, just one cup at a time. I try to make the cocoa special in some way, with vanilla or almond extract, marshmallows, whipped topping, extra cocoa powder, candy canes, whatever I can dream up, using what I have in the kitchen.

Thinking about this prompted me to wonder just how many ways there are to indulge ourselves, frugally. And I thought this would make a good topic for another survey. I'll leave the survey open for a few days, then compile all of the results into one post. I plan on using your ideas as my go-to list of how to provide that needed pampering during stressful times, with little or no extra expense. I've also opened a spot for $5 and $10 indulgences, which I thought might not only be nice for ourselves, when we can afford it, but also perhaps some nice ideas to treat someone else, for an occasion or when they seem to need a little indulging.

Anyway, share your thoughts and ideas! It's completely anonymous! I'll leave this up for a couple of days in case you have more thoughts to add. You can fill this out multiple times.


  1. Cute! I like YOUR surveys. I think everyone has a few indulgences and I can't wait to read what some of them are. I don't love baths so that isn't high on my list. I do like cozy times together with my husband even if it is just going to a "unique to us" store for a walk around. Sometimes I just tell him we're going somewhere and not tell him anything. We might end up at Trader Joes or Fresh Thyme or a Mediterranian store or an Italian store or anything else just to browse. The mystery is not telling him but just driving him there. Sometimes he does the same thing and that is really kind of fun and a nice little outing. Doesn't always cost us a thing and we mostly don't even get food or coffee either. We just browse and dream and get ideas to make something at home.


    1. Hi Alice,
      that sounds like so much fun! What an awesome adventure tradition you two have.
      Have a great day, Alice!

    2. Aww, Alice. You're such a romantic! :) Sara

  2. What an interesting survey. I looking forward to reading the comments.

    1. Hi Jayne,
      It's been fun reading some of the responses so far. you can click through to the response page and see what everyone has answered.
      Have a lovely evening, Jayne!

  3. It was fun to read the comments. I had a hard time choosing my responses. I wonder if this is true for everyone--indulgence, for me, is more about time than money. I love the gift of an empty (well, more like manageable than empty!) calendar and some free time. Going hiking or to the beach with my family aren't activities that really cost anything (I typically pack lunches, but that's "normal" budgeting), but being able to take time to spend together doing something fun is priceless. Truthfully, that's been part of our decision to have me work a minimal schedule--we value time over money.

    1. I agree - indulgences for me are more about time than money. And I had to chuckle at the responses - lots of coffee lovers in this crowd!

    2. Hi Kris,
      I agree, time is definitely a valuable commodity. A picnic at the beach or in a park is just as lovely as a fancy restaurant, IMO.
      Thanks for sharing and responding!

  4. I love this! I have to think a bit before filling out the survey, but I'm a big fan of long hot baths too - especially when it's cold.

    Your post reminds me of a story my father used to tell. He enlisted in the Air Force right out of high school. He grew up in poverty and the military was one of the few options open to him. He was stationed in the middle of nowhere in northern Alaska - this was in the 1950s, and they were collecting spy balloons that the government had sailed over the USSR taking pictures. So he spent most of his days in a small shack out on the tundra listening for radio signals indicating that a balloon had come down.

    But after a long day on the tundra, he got to go back to the barracks and take a hot shower. He said that the experience always made him marvel. Here he was, the lowliest of the lowly, yet he could enjoy a luxury that even the kings of kings couldn't have in times gone by.

    1. Hi Cat,
      Your father was so right. Things like indoor plumbing and the ability to stand in a shower as long as we want are such modern things.Your dad sounds wise. And yes, it is kinds funny how many of us love our coffee!
      Have a great evening, Cat!

  5. A frugal enjoyment for me is trading plants with my friends, but overall, I agree with Kris and Cat that unstructured time to do with what I want is the best thing for me.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      There's something so personal about having a piece of a friend's plant to put in your own garden. Every year when the plant does it's thing, you think of the friend who gave you the cutting or division.
      Thanks for responding, live and learn!


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