Sometimes, it’s easy to fall prey to believing that we’ll only be happier and more fulfilled when our circumstances change. But the truth is, those of us who live in first world counties have the ability to make choices that will affect how we feel.
If you ever wake up in a funk or you just wish you could spend a day at the spa but time and money aren’t at your disposal to do so, here are 27 Ways to Feel Happier — for free!
1. Hug someone.
2. Make a warm drink (coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or Decaf Chai Latte) and savor it.
3. Create a playlist of music that makes you happy.
4. Go outside and look up at the sky.
5. Write a note to encourage someone else.
6. Sing like no one can hear you. 😉
7. Take a walk.
9. Turn on some music and dance.
11. Watch a comedy clip on YouTube.
14. Organize something.
15. Send a text to tell a friend you’re thinking of her.
16. Tell someone thank you for something they’ve done for you.
17. Light a candle.
18. Bake something.
19. Smile at people today and see how many people you can get to smile back at you.
21. Listen to a podcast that inspires you. (This is one of my current favorite podcasts.)
23. Make someone else laugh.
24. Create something beautiful.
25. Sign up for some freebies. (Free makes me happy!)
26. Invite a friend over for tea or coffee.
27. Open up your windows in the morning and let the fresh breeze in.
What other ideas would you add to my list? I’d love to hear! Share them in the comments.
P.S. I highly recommend grabbing a copy of The Happiness Dare if you need encouragement and inspiration to add more “shots of happy” into your life.
So, I may have done quite the happy dance when I logged into my account at the beginning of September and discovered that finally I had earned the coveted Freebie Every Day of the Month reward from Panera. And it was one of the best rewards — a free bagel of your choice every day!
I’ve been trying to make the most of it… especially since I waited for months and months and months to get one of these rewards!
If you’re unfamiliar with how these rewards works, here’s a quick run-down:
- You need a MyPanera card that’s linked to your MyPanera account. You can sign up for a card by clicking the Join Now button here or in-store. You want to make sure that your card is registered at MyPanera (you can make sure it is by logging in online through the MyPanera sign-in button here.)
- Once you have your registered card, be sure to use it every time you visit Panera. You’ll earn rewards for doing so. You can log into your account to see how many visits you have left until you earn a reward.
- Log into your account regularly to see if they’ve rewarded you any extra bonus rewards. These are usually awarded based upon how often you visit and what you purchase when you visit.
Hopefully, if you haven’t gotten it already, you’ll be awarded a Freebie Every Day of the Month Reward, too, very soon! I’ve been loving all my free bagels + the free hot teas I’ve been earning, too!
After all, free is one of my very favorite words!
P.S. Do you have any great tips for ways to save at Panera? If so, I’d love to hear them!
Welcome to my weekly post where we take a break from money-related posts and I share about what I’m loving right now and give you a little peek into our life from the past week.
This week started out with a fun family excursion to Stillhouse Hollow Trail & Waterfall. You can read all about that in this post here.
On Thursday, I flew out to San Jose, CA to spend Friday and Saturday at the beach (near Watsonville) with a few friends to celebrate one of my friends’ 50th birthdays.
It was a true vacation for me filled with lots of relaxation, beach-walking, quiet, good conversations, seeing parts of CA I’d never seen before (we got to spend an evening in Monterey and see sea otters!), and good food. It was my first trip this year by myself and I missed my family a lot. It made me so grateful for how I’ve changed my lifestyle now that I rarely travel for business and that I get to spend so much more time with my husband and kids. I’m so grateful for how much we love to be together!
I wrote this Instagram post the day I left:
I woke up at 4:00 am this morning burdened for my kids. Each of them has their own set of struggles and I was reviewing them in my head.
The reviewing quickly turned to worrying which escalated to full out anxiety.
Am I spending enough time with them?
Are they eating healthfully enough?
Did I ask her the right questions in our conversation?
Does she feel loved enough?
Should I have responded to him like that?
Pretty soon, I had spiraled to a place of beating myself up and feeling so much shame and guilt as a mom.
And it didn’t help that I was leaving for California this morning to be gone through Sunday.
I got on the plane still carrying the weight and burden with me. And then I opened up my Bible reading and read this: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you REST.”
And I heard Him whisper to me, “You are free, Mama.”
“When I died on that Cross, it was for you. It was for your mistakes and your mess-ups.”
“It was so you don’t have to carry around the weight of guilt and shame and feelings of not doing enough.”
“Rest in me. Let me be adequate where feel inadequate. Trust Me in the messy, broken spaces.”
“Look to Me when you don’t know how to respond or what the next step is. Lean on Me when you feel overwhelmed with this job I’ve given you to raise these three humans.”
“Let me carry your burdens. Stop stressing and worrying and striving and trying so hard.”
“I came to give you life and hope and joy. Rest in me. You are free, Mama.”
What I’ve Been Learning
More and more, I’m noticing that I’ve stopped feeling the need to wear makeup everyday or spend a lot of time on my hair.
It’s not that I’m giving up makeup or fixing my hair, it’s just that I’m becoming more and more comfortable in my own skin.
I used to pretty much never step foot out of the house without full makeup on and my hair fixed. Now, I often leave the house or get on Instagram Stories with messy hair and no makeup.
It feels good. It feels freeing. And it’s evidence of the work that has happened in my heart in the past two years.
I still like being put together and try to spend a little time making myself presentable every day, but I stopped worrying so much about what other people think or say about how I look.
Some days, I have on a cute top, cute jeans, cute shoes, and full makeup. Other days, it’s a hat, 6-day hair, workout clothes, and little to no makeup. It doesn’t change who I am inside.
And I’m learning that the people who love you most don’t care about how pulled together you look or not. And that the people I want to attract online won’t care either.
There’s so much freedom in just showing up as YOU — on the great hair days and the messy bun days.
Links You Should Check Out:
- Struggling financially? This post might encourage you: When Your Bank Account is Almost Empty.
- If you find that you often have trouble focusing or you’re just curious how productive you are, you can take this Productivity assessment (which I found very interesting and insightful!)
- Missed my recent webinar on 3 Strategies to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed? I’m offering it again LIVE this week and it will be co-hosted by Jami Balmet from Young Wife’s Guide. Sign up for FREE here.
- Are your kids growing like weeds? Here are 27 Ways to Save on Kids’ Shoes.
- I was honored to be a guest on the Publishing Profits Podcast where I talked about How to Make Money Blogging.
The following is a guest post from Whitney of Lazy Life With Littles:
No time to clip coupons? No problem!
I love coupons, but there are so many easy ways to save money nowadays without spending hours going through newspapers, only to find three or four coupons relevant to you and your family’s needs.
Below you’ll find a roundup of different ideas from my arsenal that you can use to save money on things like groceries, clothing, restaurants, and daily essentials.
1. Download the Coupons.com app
I’m sure you all have heard about this website before, but (if you didn’t already know) it now has an app! No printing necessary!
Just go here to download the app. Search for the stores you shop (like Walmart or Target) and link your loyalty card. Load some coupons to your card and just scan it at check out. Your coupons will be applied to your transaction. That simple!
2. Never underestimate the power of Dollar Tree
I go to the Dollar Tree about every week — sometimes more!
There are so many great deals you can score at Dollar Tree. They have a good selection of frozen fruit (great for smoothies), plain quick oats, and snacks for the kids (raisins, peanuts, pretzels). Sometimes if you’re lucky, they even have name brand items, such as Nature’s Own bread or Juicy Juice juice boxes.
Other good buys from Dollar Tree include: beauty and hygiene products (makeup, cotton balls, deodorant), craft supplies, party supplies, and medicine. Look around, though. Sometimes they have hidden gems throughout the store that you never even knew you needed. 😉
3. Check out Groupon
There are also great deals on family fun like miniature golf, bowling, and museums. I’ve tried and enjoyed some new outings that I might not have otherwise done because I came across a good deal on Groupon (new restaurants, a winery tour, mystery dinner).
4. Shop Aldi
If you haven’t made the switch over to Aldi yet, I highly recommend you do so. Aldi has come a long way from what it used to be. I shop Aldi for most of my groceries each week, in addition to another store (usually Kroger) for the rest.
Aldi’s products are now made without the use of trans fats, added MSG, or synthetic colors. They also have a decent amount of organic options, and even some gluten free products! Their produce usually always has the best prices in my area in comparison to other grocery stores.
Aldi also has a line of baby products, and kitchen & bathroom essentials. I use the diapers for my little one and they seem to work just as well as the big name brands. Same goes for their garbage bags and toilet paper. And speaking of toilet paper, Aldi’s 4-pack of TP is only 0.59 cents!
Note: Since shoppers do bag their own groceries at Aldi, I suggest investing in durable, reusable bags.
5. Go to garage sales and thrift stores
I LOVE garage sales!
Garage sales are by far the lowest priced place to find clothes, especially baby clothes. You can find many pieces that look brand new, but for a fraction of the original price. I’ve seen baby clothes for 0.25¢ to 0.50¢ per item!
Even if you’re not in the market for clothing, you can find virtually anything else at garage sales: house decor, baby items, furniture, plates and dishes, knick knacks, shoes, etc. etc. etc. All at a very affordable price!
If it’s not garage sale weather, check out your local thrift store. The prices may not be as low as those found at garage sales, but they probably come close. Some thrift stores even have deals for the week (example: a specific colored tag is half off), so be aware of those, too.
6. Don’t forget Big Lots
This discount retail store is one that I love to frequent. They sell pretty much everything: furniture, toys, hygiene products, electronics. My favorite buys are the foods, though. They have a great selection of minimally processed, packaged products (great for on-the-go snacks for kids).
Examples of things I have personally bought from Big Lots include: Annie’s products, individual fruit and applesauce cups, protein and granola bars, Kashi cereal, almond milk, coconut water, jams, and dried fruit. They even discount items further if the sell by date is approaching. I recently bought a box of KIND breakfast bars for $1.25, and a few bags of granola for 0.25 cents each!
And there you have it — a few simple things that I do (and you can, too!) to save a little money on a day-to-day basics.
What are your tips to save on daily life?
Whitney is the lazy guru at Lazy Life With Littles. She is a wife, mother, blogger, and lover of simplicity. She believes in doing everything in life the easiest way possible.
Because of the possibility of Hurricane Irma hitting South Carolina, our local Aldi was packed with customers, and the shelves were mostly empty. It was impressive! 🙂 Needless to say, my grocery list had to be revamped since they were out of so many things.
2 dozen Eggs – $1.16, plus receive $0.10 back from Checkout 51 – $1.06 after rebate
1 16-oz carton Egg Whites – $1.89
1 pint Grape Tomatoes – $1.89
1 bag Baby Carrots – $0.99
1 bunch Bananas (2.35lbs @$0.29/lb) – $0.68
1 bag Green Grapes (2.05lbs @ $0.79/lb) – $1.72
2 Cucumbers – $0.98
1 bag Zucchini – $1.79
1 4-ct pkg Baby Lettuce – $1.99
1 bag White Tortilla Chips – $1.19
1 1-lb bag Shredded Mozzarella – $2.49
1 12-oz bag Shredded Colby Jack – $1.89
1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream – $1.69
1 32-oz carton Half & Half – $1.69
1 64-oz carton Cashew Milk – $2.49
1 gallon Whole Milk – $1.98
1 can Parmesan Cheese – $2.29
2 1-lb pkgs Butter – $4.90
1 loaf Wheat Bread – $0.89, plus receive $0.10 back from Checkout 51 – $0.79 after rebate
Total: after Rebates: $34.39
2 Spaghetti Squash – $3.87
2 Wewalka Family Style Pizza Crust – $2.98, used 2 $1.00/1 printable – $0.98/2 after coupons
Gala Apples (3.11lbs @ $0.99/lb) – $3.07
2 large bags Green Grapes (I had wanted to buy more at Aldi, but they were really picked over) – $4.97
1 gallon Orange Juice – $3.49
2 cans Bush’s Chili Beans – $1.60, used $0.75/2 printable (doubled) – $0.10/2 after coupon
Total after Coupons and Rebates: $21.45
Grocery Total for the Week: $55.84
Weekly Menu Plan
Everyone is responsible for making and cleaning up their own breakfast. Choices include:
Cereal, Oatmeal or Cream of Wheat, Toast, Scrambled/Fried/Hard Boiled Eggs, Fruit
PB and J Sandwiches, Apples, Carrots, Cheese Sticks x 2
Just Like Campbells Tomato Soup (recipe from the “Trim Healthy Mama” Cookbook), Grilled Cheese Sandwiches made with Easy Whole Wheat Bread
Leftovers x 4
Taco Salad, Spanish Rice, Grapes
Homemade Cheese Pizza ( or Veggie Pizza for those of us who will eat it ;)), Raw Veggies with Dip
Chicken Gravy Over Rice, Roasted Zucchini, Grapes, Kefir-soaked Muffins (I’ve been making my own kefir recently – if anyone has any recipes, or tips for kefir-making, I’d love to hear them!)
Spaghetti (I made up and froze some homemade sauce last week when a friend gave us a box of homegrown tomatoes. I use spaghetti squash instead of noodles for myself since I need to eat gluten-free), Italian Garlic Bread, Roasted Cauliflower
Grilled Chicken, Green Beans, Biscuits, Cantaloupe (leftover form last week)
Baked Potatoes with Seasoned Hamburger and Cheese, Broccoli, Fruit Salad