Small, affordable treats are lovely, life-affirming things. They bring moments of joy, and take you far away from some of the more mundane and humdrum aspects of everyday life. If you can be kind to others, you can be kind to yourself every now and again too.
[box type=”alert” style=”rounded” border=”full” icon=”none”]“One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats, and if some of these can be inexpensive and quickly procured so much the better.”
― Iris Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea[/box]
Is there any actual evidence that treats work? In the 2005 BBC documentary and experiment, Making Slough Happy, participants were given a 10-point plan to improve their happiness levels. One of the activities was to have a treat of some sort every day, and to take time out to fully enjoy and savour it. There are elements of positive psychology and mindfulness in there, if you’re interested in that sort of thing.
Treats do seem to make us a little happier in our everyday lives, and some recent research has suggested that they can even make us more productive at work, as well as happier generally.
A proper treat should be something that cheers you up or transports you for a few moments. It should not be something that’s unaffordable, guilt-inducing or related to compulsive or addictive behaviours – eating 200g of chocolate, for example, is more of a binge than a treat. A spending spree when you’re up to your neck in debt is more of a self-destructive behaviour than a treat, and so on. Keep it small and manageable.
Ideas for cheap treats
Everyone has their own idea of what a treat is, but here are a few ideas to get you started:
· A £1 bundle of asparagus from the market in spring
· Time out alone to listen to some new music
· Home made chocolate truffles
· A soak in the bath by candlelight
· Visiting an art gallery or exhibition
· Tickets for a cheap event
· An hour to work on a craft project
· Reading a book in bed on Sunday morning
· A really, really good cup of coffee
Why not come up with a list of your own treats? You could create a personal list of 10 in a couple of minutes, so give it a go and pick one to try. It doesn’t have to be highbrow or worthy in any way, just fun and enjoyable.
And of course some treats don’t cost anything at all, because it isn’t about the act of shopping in itself anyway. For example you could go for a walk in the park, attend a free event or exhibition, or download some free music or books to enjoy.
Coming up next
I’ll be doing a few more features on the theme of Treats Under A Tenner over the next few weeks, so keep your eye on the Treats Under £10 category on here. They will also be featuring in the weekly email from now on, so please sign up if you’d like more deals and treats in your inbox.
Should you treat yourself more often? What are your favourite cheap treats? Would love to hear some more of your ideas – the best ones will be featured in new articles or turned into some special new Treats Under A Tenner.