Five Frugal Treats for Difficult Times

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These days, I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that many folks are facing unprecedented financial hardship. More difficult times may be ahead: interest rates are on the rise. This could have devastating consequences for people with debt. 

When times get tough, it is easy to look at what you have and cut cut cut. Very often, enjoyable things get cut: an evening out at the movies, eating out, luxury items like chocolates or baked goods. We are all navigating these same waters, trying to get through each month. 

This article is intended to provide encouragement for all Frugalite readers. There are ways to be frugal and keep some enjoyable activities and foods in your life.

Why is this so important? The answer is as simple as our brain. We now know more about our brain and its ability to change and develop: researchers have called this “neuroplasticity.” You may have been told when you were learning to drive that the car will go “where you look.” Your brain is similar. If you only focus on self-deprivation, pain, loss, and what you don’t have…quite simply, that is the direction that your brain will develop. 

Renowned spine surgeon Dr. David Hanscom emphasizes that the path to contentment and healing requires us to actively focus daily on creating an enjoyable life. So, in this spirit, I will share small frugal ways we can keep enjoyment in our lives during these difficult times.

Small amounts of high-quality items

I love quality baked goods. I am now in a rural area, but when I lived in a nearby city, I loved to go to a local bakery and buy a “Pain au Chocolat,” or French croissant with chocolate. They were delicious! I can still remember eating them and enjoying them by the lakeside. However, my doctor has told me that I should not be eating a lot of baked goods.

In addition, eating out is now something beyond my current budget. How do I continue to enjoy some special treats under these conditions? I have gone smaller. In a local discount grocery store, I found small bags of “healthy” fruits dipped in 70% cocoa for just under $5. While these are not organic at this price, they are GMO-free, which is nice. 

frugal treats
Chocolate-covered strawberries are always a winner too!

This $5 bag of delectable chocolate-coated cherries contains enough for an entire month if I just have two a day. I did this today with my single cup of coffee. I stopped everything and just drank my coffee, and stared at the beautiful view outside my window. With my full attention, I ate these two chocolate-covered cherries. They were incredible! I am already looking forward to my cherries tomorrow morning. There are also chocolate-covered blueberries for the same price. That will be next month. The cost: approximately 17 cents per day. I can do that. It’s worth it.

Enjoy some comfort food.

For some of us, comfort foods are the foods we enjoyed in our childhood. It may be a dish that we remember our grandmother or mother making. For others, it may be a food that we learned to cook for ourselves or that our spouse or partner makes. One of my favorite comfort foods is scalloped potatoes. I have so many memories of enjoying these made by my grandmother or aunties. This is not an expensive food to make. It just takes some planning and time. 

Another example from my own life is pancakes. I like them. I have nice associations with eating them on relaxing weekend mornings. They are not expensive to make (flour, milk, an egg, baking powder, baking soda) but take a bit of time. Is there an inexpensive comfort food that you could make for yourself this week? What would you need to do to get this organized? If you can’t afford all of the recipe items yourself, could you get together with a friend and make it?

Frugal self-care

Sometimes a real treat doesn’t have to cost anything. It can take some time to take good care of yourself. Times are busy and stressful. Especially when I am stressed, I know that taking a hot bath will help me.

I like to put Epsom salts in my bath. But, I can’t always afford them. So, I use what I have on hand. I do have some essential oils. Just a few drops of a relaxing blend or some lavender oil can make it even more special. Summer is coming…maybe your feet could use some pampering…a soak in a bucket of hot water…a pumice stone. You’ll look great in those sandals now! Sometimes just spending some time on ourselves is a nice way to treat ourselves. 

Connect with like-minded people

I have a wonderful friend who is a horticulturist. His knowledge about plants and gardening is simply incredible. He has been kindly answering my gardening questions for years. Today, I simply took a few minutes to call him and reconnect. I updated him on the germination of my corn plants…the first time I had successfully planted corn kernels collected from my own harvest.

We celebrated together, and he answered a couple of questions that had come up for me about my seedlings and how to plan my bean crops. I find it is so easy to just shut down when I am stressed: I’m too tired! This phone call was like a breath of fresh air for me. What a treat!

Try something different.

This month, I happened upon a free trial of a movie streaming service. I haven’t been watching very many movies lately. There was a movie mentioned in an article on the Organic Prepper website: Elysium. I decided to sign up for this free trial so that I could watch it. It was really interesting!

So far, I have also watched some cool apocalyptic sci-fi, a documentary about a huge retirement complex in Florida, and a rom-com. All for free! This is a treat, as it is something different. Of course, I have already put it on my calendar to cancel the free trial before I have to pay. There’s always the library, after all!

Treats: You are worth it, dear Frugalite!

During challenging financial times, it is still important to enjoy some treats. Could you see yourself trying any of the thrifty treats offered here? Do you have one you can share with us? Please tell us in the comments below.

About Colette

Colette is passionate about sharing her knowledge of thrifty living and self-sufficiency. She has developed her skills in self-reliance living in the suburbs, the city, and more recently, on her own Half-Acre Homestead. Colette lived five years completely off-grid and without running water in an eight by 24 foot tiny home while designing and building her own 18 by 24-foot eco-cabin. She has just launched her website, Half Acre Homestead. Colette invites you to stop by and visit this work in progress! Coming soon in 2022 is her exciting new online program. Interested in Resiliency, Preventative Health, and Self-Sufficient/Off-Grid Housing (to name a few!)? Stay tuned for more details!

Five Frugal Treats for Difficult Times


Colette is passionate about sharing her knowledge of thrifty living and self-sufficiency. She has developed her skills in self-reliance living in the suburbs, the city, and more recently, on her own Half-Acre Homestead. Colette lived five years completely off-grid and without running water in an eight by 24 foot tiny home while designing and building her own 18 by 24-foot eco-cabin. Her website, Half Acre Homestead is attracting followers from around the world who want to become more self-sufficient.  Colette invites you to stop by the Homestead and check out all of the great resources including the practical How To Guides, A Tiny Home Resource Center and her organic gardening stories on her blog. She shares her wholistic model (body/mind/spirit) for achieving self-sufficiency in her Free Course, "Growing Self-Sufficiency: The Whole Picture." Stop by the Homestead today to register free of charge!

8 thoughts on “Five Frugal Treats for Difficult Times”

  1. Cookies are a nice thing to make and you can even portion them out and keep them in small batches in the freezer. For epsom salts, the cheapest I have found them is at my grocery store. I can buy 8 pounds for about 5 dollars as I recall. Dollar Store has them too but they aren’t always as cheap. Then you can put your own essential oils on them for an indulgent-seeming bath.

    I think I know what chocolate covered cherries you’re talking about by the way – and if they are the ones I’m thinking of, they are awesome!

    1. Hi Redbranch, Yes, cookies are a nice idea. I like the idea of portioning them out. Otherwise, I honestly will just eat them ALL! There is a large container of Epsom salts that a local grocery store/related drug store chain sells. I am almost out. I will keep an eye out for sales. You definitely get yours cheaper than mine! I bet we are eating the same chocolate covered cherries….oh they are soooo good!

  2. Thanks for sharing this Collette. I appreciate Daisy from Organic Prepper sharing. I love comfort food and who doesn’t need something tasty to brighten one’s spirit. I love me some strawberries and chocolate and look forward to more of mine being ripe if I can stopping picking them and eating them before I make the chocolate lol
    Thanks for all the other suggestions too. A good movie sounds real good to me or reading a new book I got Sharecropping the Apocalypse by Ron Foster. Although the movie Elysium does sound good too.
    I have oodles of rice krispy cereal from a time when I qualified for commodities. I’m thinking of some rice krispy bars maybe or something else with them.
    I also have farina that I imagine is the equivalent of cream of wheat. I have a recipe I used to make chocolate cookies with it and maybe I’ll do so again for a change of pace.
    Thanks again for sharing and you’ve got me thinking on some more things to do that brighten life for me and others.

    1. Hi Cindy, Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. I was just amazed that you already have strawberries out. How nice! I enjoyed reading your thinking about how to use some items you have on hand to treat yourself. I hope this will inspire others! Wishing you the best.

  3. Mindfully eating those chocolate covered cherries is the way to go! I’m more of a strawberry woman but I also believe that chocolate enhances pretty much everything. Focus and count your blessings! I reminded myself of that today as I mowed my lawn. I have a house to take care of and the ability to do so. That’s more than many! Blessed Be.

    1. Hi Jayne, Yes, I do think chocolate does enhance almost everything. I have heard about chocolate covered insects, but I wouldn’t go that far! We won’t have strawberries here for a while, but I do enjoy them very much. I have wild strawberries here and will see how they do this year. It is so good to tune in the frequency of gratitude. That is so effective to take something like a chore, mowing the lawn for example, and turn it into an opportunity to appreciate what you have. I am inspired to use this idea in my own life. Many thanks!

  4. Colette,
    I’m enjoying your articles. I really liked this one! You are right, we need to treat ourselves once in awhile.

    1. Hi Tammy, Thanks so much. Here I am in my little eco-cabin in the middle of nowhere. It truly makes my day to hear from you that you are enjoying my articles. I hope you are inspired to have a thrifty treat yourself: you deserve it! Wishing you the best!

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