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You know what's fun? Pampering. Eating. Learning. Drinking. Socializing. Helping People. Basically — lots of things. And while there is a lot of free fun to be had out there, it's not unreasonable to buy yourself a little bit enjoyment on occasion (as long as you're spending consciously). With that in mind, here are 15 fun, (mostly) useful things that can be yours for a five spot.
1. A Magazine Subscription
You could blow your $5 on one magazine at the newsstand, or you could take advantage of one of Amazon's frequent magazine sales and snag a full year's worth of issues for $5. Don't see something you like for $5? There are usually plenty of $7 subscriptions too.
2. The Ubiquitous Latte
If you read enough frugal living websites, you know that you're not supposed to regularly buy lattes (because, yeah, those little savings make a big difference over time). But an occasional latte — especially if you're sharing conversation with a good friend — can be a very worthwhile treat.
3. Fresh Flowers
I consider fresh flowers to be one of the ultimate indulgences — they're not practical, and they have a very limited lifespan. That said, I love the vibrancy they bring to a room. On my birthday this year, I spent $4 to buy fresh Gerbera Daisies, and it made me really happy to see them in my kitchen over the next week.
Read on for more.
4. Exotic Fruit
Enjoy a bit of fruit you don't have regularly — lychees are my favorite. If your regular grocery store's "exotic" fruit collection is a few kiwis tucked next to the bananas, visit an Asian grocery store to find more unusual fruits like dragon fruit, mangosteens, and Asian pears.
5. An Accessory
Whether it's a scarf, new belt, or even just socks, perk up your wardrobe with a new accessory. Try scoping out discount stores like TJ Maxx, Ross, and linkMarshalls.
6. A Bath or Makeup Product You've Never Tried
One-time packets of bath salts, nice bars of soap, trial size shampoos, and lots of nail polishes fall well under $5. Pick one and pamper yourself.
7. A Nice Beer
I've seen stores in more and more states where you can buy beer by the single bottle. If you like a nice beer (but not the dear price of a six pack), buy a single bottle. Personally, I love sour beers, and I'd recommend Flemish red ale. The Monk's Cafe one is good.
8. New Pens
Most of my pens are freebie ballpoint ones branded with company logos, but I love the feel of writing with something a bit nicer. Consider splurging on something that will allow you to write without constantly shaking the pen to try to get more ink out.
9. A Small Toy
I'm a fidgeter, and I love things like squishy balls that I can fiddle around with. I'll also never get tired of high-bouncing super balls. This is extra fun if you're with a kid.
10. Fresh Herbs
Fresh herbs can add such a wonderful flavor to food and drinks (mojito, anyone?). Or, instead of just buying some at the grocery store, purchase a small herb plant so you can have fresh herbs all year round.
11. A Kickstarter Project Donation
Lynn wrote last year about how spending money on other people is a way that money can buy happiness. Help fund someone's dream project by donating through Kickstarter, where people raise funds for everything from making movies to recording concept albums to opening theaters and more.
12. A Cheap Show
From music to comedy to theater, there are always plenty of $5 or "donation accepted" shows going on. Check your local listings.
13. Used Books
Depending on your used book store and what you want to read, $5 could mean one book or 50 books.
14. A Nice Greeting Card
. . . which you can then use to write a note to someone.
15. New-to-You Thrift Store Clothes
A new shirt, new pants, or new dress could all be yours at the thrift store.
What are your favorite things to buy for under $5?
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