I have a friend who is pretty breezy about her spending habits, and in a way, it's a quality I admire. While I'm weighing the cost benefit analysis of dried versus canned beans, she's getting herself cheap manis or treating herself to a new drugstore eyeliner. She's not rich by any means, and her splurges aren't bank-breakers, she just likes to give herself lots of little treats. "That was just the price of happiness today," she'll say. And sure, money can't buy happiness, but it can buy a little pick-me-up on a day that's not going your way.
- A coffee for you...and the next person in line. Don't you love those stories about people getting to the pay window at the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru and realizing the person in front of them paid for their drink? This might fall into "urban legend" territory, but I like to think not. For example, a generous friend of mine regularly treats the next person in line at her coffee place and it makes her feel like a million bucks.
- Wet 'n' Wild. This is not a suggestion for a Girls Gone Wild type night but advice to hit up the cheapest product line at your drugstore. For just a buck, you can score bright nail polish that will make you feel like Lady Gaga when you glance down at your keyboard. And, you know, I'm sure there's a scientific study somewhere that's proven what we all know: sometimes a girl just needs a new lipstick.
- Smell like a rich lady. Here's a freebie: did you know that you can get free perfume samples of any fragrance at Sephora? Just grab a sales person and tell her what you need. And you can usually nab free perfume samples at department stores by just asking nicely. A little Chanel No. 5 can go a long way toward making you feel like fancy girl.
- Take yourself out for happy hour. You might say there's something a little depressing about drinking alone, but isn't there something terribly glamorous about a self-confident woman at a bar, enjoying a glass of wine, and reading a novel? If that's not your bag, share the bar nuts with a friend who also wants to spend a fiver on a little post-work buzz.
- Fresh flowers. I'm a huge fan of the $4 bouquets of cheery yellow flowers at delis. They bring a pop of sunshiny color to your fluorescent-lit desk or a dreary corner of your apartment.
- Give it away. Studies show that giving away as little as $5 can really increase your sense of well-being. Send it Haiti or give it the homeless man you always pass on your way into the office. And who knows? There is that karmic notion that says what you put out into the universe will come back to you tenfold. And when it does, we can talk about happiness on $50 a day...
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