How a mother can indulge herself within a budget

How to Indulge Yourself (Within A Budget)

FACT #1:  Being a mother is a beautiful gift.

FACT #2:  It’s also the most underpaid, overworked (but rewarding in it’s own way) job on the planet.

FACT #3:  Most mothers don’t pamper themselves nearly enough because of guilt, time or money.

Does #3 ring true for you? You’re not alone.  Guilt tops the list because our Mama DNA makes us great givers – but not great receivers.

Take a moment to imagine what it would feel like if you could pamper yourself once a month, twice a month or even EVERY WEEK?

BUT.(always the big but…)

‘I don’t have time.’

‘I don’t feel right about it.’

‘We can’t afford that.’

Insert your big but here:  ‘______________________________________________’.


Your kids are experts at making excuses – and so are you.

Here’s the absolute TRUTH:

You are irreplaceable.

Absolutely no one can do what you do on a daily basis.

Think about it… Whose name do the kids call when they need anything –  even when a fully capable adult is in the same room….

If you had to suddenly leave town tomorrow, what kind of massive list would you need to make for whoever was left in charge?

Now let’s go back to imagining what some pampering would do to your life. You’d probably feel more relaxed, less hard-done-by or begrudging. You’d feel happier, more fulfilled and have more to give – that’s for sure!

As a money expert who helps women save and spend mindfully, I’ve got a plan to help you to treat yourself a lot more often.

8 Steps to Indulging Within a Budget

#1:  Get rid of all your excuses: guilt, time, money, etc. NOW.

Remember how irreplaceable you are. Stop making excuses. Tell yourself you’re worth it! Because you are.

#2:  List all the ‘indulgent’ things you’d love to do but don’t because of the excuses you normally make.

Have fun with this!  Is it a girls night out?  A weekend retreat?  Clothes/shoes shopping?

Here’s what other Project Me mamas said when asked on Facebook….

Manicure/pedicure   A regular massage / facials   Reflexology   Weekly lunch date with a friend.

A date with myself in a coffee shop with my Kindle and cake. A guilt-free lie-in.

Sit with a magazine, wine & a chocolate, peace & quiet by myself.

Go on a painting retreat.   A yoga retreat.  A writing retreat.

Overnight stay in a spa – no family, maybe a girlfriend or maybe just total ME time.

Takeout Thai food and weekly beach picnics, a wardrobe of gorgeous and comfortable clothes that I feel great in, regular retreats/festivals

A 3-day getaway all by myself. Just to read a book and lounge by a pool.

A rock climbing class. Investing in respite care for an overnight/weekend just to sleep in, eat what I want, go out, and not worry about autism. Just for one weekend a month.

A fabulously fun meal at a gorgeous restaurant, followed by some retail therapy, and then a spa treatment and a stay at the plushest hotel ever. Yep. That would do it for me! 

Everyone will have a different idea of what indulgence means to them. What is it for you?

#3:  Choose three ‘I Deserve This’ items from your list.

  • One that’s no or low cost (candle lit bubble bath, watching a chick flick on your laptop in bed, heading to a coffee shop on your own or with a friend).
  • One that’s medium cost (pedicure, manicure, yoga class, massage)
  • And the third that’s bigger budget (shopping trip, weekend getaway).

Be clear on the cost of it and how often you’d like to indulge.

#4.  Figure out a Magical Monthly Number for each.

So let’s say one of the top three items on your list is getting a massage once a month and that it costs $/£ 70 (insert your currency) with the tip. That 70 is your Magical Monthly Number.  Or let’s say you’d like to treat yourself to some new clothes every three months and that you’d allow for $/£ 150, which means in a year you’ll spend 600.  Your Magical Monthly Number would be 50 (600 divided by 12).

#5:  Get clear on the money coming in and money going out in your household.

Ahem, yes this is the budget!  If you don’t deal with the finances, now would be a great time to talk to your man about it. You’ll both benefit when you’re clear on the money. Clarity will give you more power to make better decisions when you’re shopping for groceries, things for the house, the kids, etc.

Once you know what’s going on with the money, you’ll see how your ‘I Deserve This’ items fit into the plan. If all three don’t fit in right now – start with the no or low cost and make those happen!

Then turn your attention to how you can give your medium and higher cost ideas lift-off.

Can you earn some extra money? Sell something you don’t need or want?  Can you spend less in another area? Make a note of those potential savings, add them up and make a plan. Grab some paper and start writing down your ideas.

#6.  Treat ‘I Deserve This’ items like paying a necessary bill.

There is no getting out of it, it’s a definite must do!  The magical number is already worked into your budget and it has a job to do (which is taking care of you) so let it do its job! Whatever happens, be sure to use the money for you and not find another excuse to spend it on your kids. They have plenty already, right?

 #7.  Open up a separate account and name it something fun!

 You’ve heard of the saying:  ‘A picture is worth a 1000 words.’

 This separate account is your picture where you can see clearly the money that’s accumulating month after month.  Plus it is nice to see the money you have to spend! Woo hoo!

#8.  Automate it!

Now that you’re clear about how your items fit within the budget, set up automatic transfers for the amounts you estimated and bingo – you’re set to go!  Automating this piece saves you time.

Plus you won’t need to feel guilty anymore because it works within your budget, you know you have the money and all you have to do is schedule your pampering day in your calendar.

In the comments below, please share how you feel about treating yourself. Do you do it enough? If not, what holds you back? What would you like to indulge in?

website cover - life wheel new

Have you got the FREE & FABULOUS Project Me Life Wheel® yet?  It’ll quickly show you where you’re currently out of balance so you know what needs your focus FIRST.

Enter your first name and email address below:

You will also receive the Project Me newsletter to keep you motivated and inspired in all areas of your life.
I won't bombard you or share your details with anyone - promise.


  1. Helen Butler on April 21, 2015 at 1:08 AM

    I am a HUGE fan of treating myself and definitely encourage women I work with to do the same. But the guilt, oh my gosh! I don’t actually I think I suffer from mother guilt (yes, I am odd!) but I hear it a lot. I firmly believe that if we give to ourselves – with self-love, self-care, me time – we are much better mothers and can therefore give to everyone else in our lives. Great article Jen – a wonderful reminder that Mums are amazing and should treat themselves like angels. xx

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on April 21, 2015 at 11:11 AM

      Helen – then I guess we’re both odd! I’m also one who doesn’t suffer from mother guilt myself and treat myself freely, but in my line of work I also come across so many women who feel guilty ever doing anything for themselves.

      I wholeheartedly agree with you that when we give to ourselves, we have so much more to give! Thanks for your beautiful comment 🙂

    • Jen on April 21, 2015 at 4:21 PM

      That is a great thing that you don’t suffer from the mother guilt! You are definitely right, happy life, happy wife/mom right? Thanks so much for reading Helen!

  2. Kristy Goodwin on April 21, 2015 at 6:11 AM

    I love this post. So practical and achievable. I’m off to start an “I Deserve This” List and identify some indulgences. I also love the practical ideas in terms of budgeting and setting aside money specifically for this purpose. I am excited!

  3. Kelly Pietrangeli on April 21, 2015 at 11:13 AM

    Yay! So happy this resonated with you Kristy – I’d love a peek at your “I deserve this” this. You’re accountable to Jen and I to not just think about it, but to actually put it into writing, ok? xx

  4. Jen on April 21, 2015 at 4:23 PM

    So glad you found it practical Kristy! I’m all about simplicity and practical, so your comment means a lot. Yay on your list, definitely you’ll have to share with us. Can’t wait!

  5. Pam on April 21, 2015 at 7:26 PM

    Great post! You’re preachin’ to the choir here. I love to indulge in treats of all sizes: naps, coffee with friends, pedicures, trips…I deserve it! (and so do all the moms reading this!!!)

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on April 21, 2015 at 8:09 PM

      Hurrah Pam – good for you!!! I hope your comment inspires other mothers to drop the guilt and excuses and treat themselves to what they deserve 🙂

    • Jen on April 21, 2015 at 9:31 PM

      Glad you are actively doing this Pam! Yes you do deserve it :-).

  6. Emma Mathews on July 18, 2016 at 4:50 PM

    Money scored pretty low on my life wheel. I am using to blog to chart my self care journey. I would love to feature a few of your steps on there if possible with links to your blog. Emma

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on July 21, 2016 at 8:47 AM

      I’m happy to hear you used the Project Me Life Wheel Tool to flag up the low score in the Money area of your life. Using your blog to chart your self care journey is a wonderful idea! Absolutely you can feature these steps and link back. Wishing you well and keep us posted!

  7. Nimesh on February 11, 2020 at 12:34 PM

    Hey Kelly,
    If I may add ‘Being a Father is also is a beautiful gift 😀 (She is just 8 months old and I’m enjoying every second I spend with her)

    And getting rid of excuses is the best and utmost important thing you should do, only if you need to succeed.
    Keep sharing and Keep inspiring

  8. Jamie Knoblauch on November 29, 2021 at 6:49 AM

    I did this and nothing on my list was no cost or low cost. That just doesn’t seem right! Maybe I am not thinking in correct way. I did have several in mid range. And some in higher range. My self wants are costly! I really have to be working things. This does help me realize what I need to have to fulfill my self wants. Which I have never penciled out of thought of how to achieve! So this is my first step to that. I have never really planned or thought of my self wants much. This again will help me!

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on November 30, 2021 at 1:22 PM

      Well it’s good that this has got you thinking Jamie! There are plenty of high vibe, deeply nourishing activities that will feed your soul and not cost a penny. I challenge you to find some and report back. xoxo

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Browse the Vault

Popular Posts

The Key to finding a happier balance in life. The Project Me for Busy Mother's Life Wheel Tool

The Key to Finding a Better Balance

Daily Planner for moms and mums

How to Design Your Day the Way YOU Want It To Go


Video Training: Learn How to Master Your To Do List