I was introduced to the concept of a zero dollar day a few years ago by a fun and frugal friend.
Over the years, I’ve adopted this desire to enjoy more of the free stuff life has to offer—because it’s actually everywhere when you seek it out. In New York, it’s a simple walk in your hood or a stroll and seat on a bench in Central Park. When I lived in Sydney, it was listening to the waves at the beach and smelling the ocean. In the UK, it was a drive in the countryside.
But as winter rapidly approaches and outdoor options dwindle, there are still loads of ways to have a blast without blowing the Benjamins. Give 'em a try!
Set the mood with music.
When you cook (or order in!), play a Spotify soundtrack to match the cuisine’s country of origin. Mexican, Indian, Japanese—the playlists are endless! It's adds novelty and a restaurant vibe. Why not? Light a candle while you’re at it and really enjoy your food.
Dust off any designer goods.
Remember those expensive bed sheets Aunt Jane gave you as a wedding gift? Throw 'em on! I bet you have at least one expensive item of clothing, beauty product, or piece of furniture wasting away in a hidden corner of your home. Douse it in daylight, because today is special! Why not wear your most expensive shirt or shoes on a regular Tuesday? Or drink out of those wine glasses you inherited (heck—drink tap water from them!). They’re yours; use them!
Maximize your memberships.
You know what else you probably don’t always use? Your gym membership. Your ClassPass spots. Your library card. Your access to any local club or community you signed up for but forgot about.
Go! You might even make a new friend or two. Or try restorative yoga for the first time (my lazy day fave). Or be pleasantly surprised that the gym equipment’s come a long way since January.
Bliss out with a boost.
I love to re-read a praise file I keep on my computer for a confidence boost whenever I want to feel good. Compliments, great feedback from students and clients, kind online comments—it’s all in there. Create your own! The same feel-good fun can come from looking at old photo albums. Dust them off! And let memory lane make you smile. You’ve come a long way, kid.
Use what you have.
The other day I was perusing my desk drawer for stamps and found a $25 Amazon voucher I won a year ago. It had not yet expired; there were two days left! So I jumped online and bought two new fiction books to enjoy during the cooler evenings coming up. It felt like a mini jackpot!
What unused gift cards, Groupon ticket, or store credit can you throw down now? It feels not only free but also wise (because it’s the opposite of wasteful). Same goes for using old ingredients in your pantry—desiccated coconut ~ what?!—to make a cake or cookies. You have more ingredients than you realize once you get back there.
It’s possible to have a $0 day and feel rich. Sipping tap water out of crystal. Rocking that pricey outfit. Tuning into Thai beats. Lathering on that luxurious lotion you stole from a hotel room last summer. Booking yourself a massage with a spa voucher unused from your birthday. All the while saving for that plane ticket, new MacBook, or pair of kicks. You clever thing, you.
Susie Moore is Greatist's life coach columnist and a confidence coach in New York City. Sign up for free weekly wellness tips on her website and check back every Tuesday for her latest No Regrets column!