I have cheap tastes. If you’re coming down off the more expensive stuff, I have some recommendations.
I used to work with a couple of girls who were chocolate connoisseurs. They didn’t consider it chocolate unless it was a bar of squished cacao beans imported overnight from Belgium. Lucky, lucky me, loving Hershey’s and Dove and Russell Stover. I especially like the Hershey’s Symphony bars. If you prefer dark chocolate, try the Dove dark Promises. MMMmmmm.
A 12-ounce bag of ground Starbucks coffee costs about $8, or about $6 if I get it on sale. That’s, what, the cost of two coffees at Starbucks? Brewing at home lets me have coffee that feels like a treat, but doesn’t cost as much or require me to say, “Can I have one of those things that’s all, like, caramely? with whipped cream on top?” Plus, it makes the whole house smell yummy like a Starbucks, a marked improvement over the usual blend of wet diapers, wet Cheerios, and wet towels.
For two or three dollars, you can try a new kind of tea. Our grocery store has a nice selection, and I just get whatever appeals to me. Then after awhile, I have a bunch of kinds at home to choose from. My favorite is Bigelow Chai Tea, but I like the LOOK of the Tazo ones best.
THE LIBRARY. Free books. Serious. You take them out of the library with no more effort than taking them out of a book store, you keep them 2 or 4 or 6 weeks depending on your library’s renewal policies (ours lets you renew online), and you drop them in the book drop on your way to work. Also, our library has an ongoing book sale (some old books no one wants, but mostly duplicate copies of bestsellers that were donated), where hardcovers are $1 and paperbacks are 50 cents each or three for $1—so if you like to own a book or don’t want to have to renew it, it’s a cheap way to do it.
The clearance stuff at Target (look on the endcaps—the ends of shelf units that face the walls rather than the main aisles) is a fun way to get some treat shopping done without feeling like you shouldn’t have spent so much on non-necessities. Some days there will be practically nothing, and other days you will get a cute gumball notebook for 74 cents, Hello Kitty napkins for 42 cents, a set of cute stationery for $2.34, some sweet note cards for $1.32, and pink argyle post-it notes for $1.47. (And, fine, Elvis stickers for 74 cents.) Once you get into it, even empty-handed trips will be worthwhile: the hunt itself is cheap fun, and you can pick up a big thing of toilet paper while you’re there.
I bought these little plant kits from the Target dollar section. For a buck you can plant whatever they’re currently selling: at Christmastime it was spruce trees (right); in February it was clovers (left); and in March it was sunflowers (center). They’re fun to do with kids, they’re cheering to have in the house, and they’re fun to plant outside later. Plus: cute little flower pot to keep. (I repotted the spruce; the pots left and center are the kind that come with the kit.)
Have you found any cheap treasures?