If you tune in to the Meadowsweet Money Podcast, you know I like to share ways I’m making my life easier and better. I believe that when our lives are easier and more joyful, it frees us up to share our gifts with the world (and friend, the world needs your gifts!)

Generic and blah “should’s” aren’t welcome here!


Check out the list below for 101 creative and low-cost ways to infuse more fun, ease, and enjoyment into your life:

  1. Keep a small reusable bag in your purse or car, and commit to using it when shopping. (I love this one from Target.)
  2. Pick 3-5 spices you rarely use in your pantry and pledge to use them up.
  3. Learn about the Wheel of the Year, and pick up fresh flowers to correspond to each seasonal holiday.
  4. Set a daily reminder on your phone to take a 15 minute break for “afternoon tea”.
  5. Add some whimsy to your morning coffee and experiment with adding a sprinkle of cinnamon, swapping out honey for your sweetener, or a drizzle of chocolate. Keep a list in your phone of your favorites.
  6. Plan to add more art to your home. Throughout the year, look for artists locally and online. Pick up pieces that make your heart happy.
  7. Build a habit of turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth. It’s good for the planet and your water bill.
  8. Select four times a year to have an unplugged week, and put it in your calendar. Remove social media from your devices, log out of sites on your computer, or set up site blockers.
  9. Create a Google My Map of nearby parks and walking trails. Dedicate time each month to explore a new park in your community.
  10. Download the iNaturalist app to begin identifying native plants in your area. Impress your out-of-town friends and family with your new knowledge!
  11. Make a list of low-cost attractions in your area that you can visit on one tank of gas. Make it a goal to visit all on your list by the end of the year.
  12. Start a “stocking stuffer” box. Throughout the year, add product samples, free goodies from the dentist, and any other random items that come your way. Come the holiday season, use the items in this box to round out your Christmas stockings.
  13. Open a High Yield Savings Account and set up an automatic transfer each month or each payday to kickstart your emergency fund (Note: a $1000 emergency fund is $19.23 a week).
  14. Plan out your holiday cards in advance. Pick one or two holidays in the year, set up your address list in a spreadsheet, and set up calendar reminders to order your cards and stamps.
  15. Turn all your hangers in your closet backwards. At the end of the year, donate the clothes you didn’t wear.
  16. Add some whimsy to meal planning by creating 1-3 theme nights. For example, you can make spaghetti and meatball night more fun by playing an “Italian Restaurant” playlist on Spotify, adding a red and white checkered tablecloth, and lighting a candle.
  17. Get familiar with your spending triggers, and pick one or two to create systems around.
  18. Learn one new way to wear your hair or makeup and practice it once a month.
  19. Pick four “clutter collecting” spots in your home to build better organization systems.
  20. Learn the actual lyrics to a commonly misheard song.
  21. Dedicate an hour to pitching single socks and worn-out/too small underwear.
  22. Find 30 minutes to review the apps on your phone and delete any you never use.
  23. Develop a habit of cleaning out your sink to make meal prep easier.
  24. Practice ways of cleaning up your kitchen as you cook to make post-dinner clean up less overwhelming.
  25. Save and freeze veggie scraps to make your own vegetable stock.
  26. Intentionally select a word of the year, and create wallpapers on your phone with Canva to keep your word top of mind. You can even add a symbol to your word of the year to add more meaning!
  27. Make a list of locally-owned restaurants and create your own rating system as you try them (for example, rankings for atmosphere, service, menu design, and overall experience).
  28. Select a favorite dessert and pick one recipe a month on Pinterest to taste test and review.
  29. Organize family movie nights with snacks that correspond to the movie.
  30. Order a Seasonal Enchantments Workbook from Hannah’s Enchantments and complete the activities to add more magic to your year.
  31. Pick one color for the year, and intentionally add more of it to your home, wardrobe, office space, etc.
  32. Think about what you wish they would have taught you in school. Create a plan to study this subject and master the basics.
  33. Select a weird holiday and build a family tradition around it.
  34. Write down a list of tiny annoyances (the can opener that sticks, the remote control that got chewed on by the dog), and set up calendar reminders to replace/repair/donate/etc.
  35. Discover 3 services your local library offers that you didn’t know about before.
  36. Create a YouTube playlist of seasonal background music to play while working, cleaning, or studying. (I’m a fan of videos by Nemo’s Dreamscapes and Disney World queue line music, like this one.)
  37. Set up a project pan for products you need to use up.
  38. Master one or two cocktail or mocktail recipes to master when your friends come for a visit.
  39. Figure out a new signature accessory to sport for the year (neck scarves, seasonal brooches, colorful hair clips, or statement earrings are all good options).
  40. Join Postcrossing to send and receive happy mail from others all over the world.
  41. Visit your local library and re-read your favorite books from childhood. Research the authors and illustrators.
  42. Pick up a new low-cost hobby.
  43. Dedicate yourself to finding the best sandwich in town (or fried pickles, iced tea, ice cream, etc.)
  44. Find all the labyrinths within driving distance and walk them. Film yourself using the time-lapse setting on your phone.
  45. Open up your jewelry box and do a swap with friends. Or just clean your jewelry – you deserve it.
  46. Learn a new card game.
  47. Spend an afternoon clearing out the digital clutter. Delete/move files in your downloads folder, unsubscribe from emails you never read, and update software.
  48. Develop your own opening and closing rituals to transition from work to home.
  49. Learn ways to extend the shelf life of your produce to reduce food waste through proper storage.
  50. Discover what sell-by and expiration dates actually mean so you don’t toss perfectly edible food.
  51. Make a travel plan for a bucket list vacation. Research costs for hotels, activities, and restaurants. Even if you have no immediate plans to go, it might motivate you to begin a sinking fund to visit!
  52. Devote 1 hour to setting up the appointments you keep putting off (dental cleaning, annual well-woman’s exam, vision check, etc.) and be sure to spread them out through the year so you don’t get overwhelmed.
  53. Clean and detail your car. You’ll feel much more luxurious while driving, and feel less tempted to upgrade to a more expensive ride.
  54. Change your scent with the seasons. Get small or travel sizes of perfumes to wear for each spring, summer, fall, and winter.
  55. Upgrade your meals by learning the art of food plating.
  56. Theme your days of the week. For example, “Sunday Reset” could mean cleaning out your purse, changing the sheets, and airing out your home. Get creative with it!
  57. Explore the wonderful world of simmer pots. Not only do they make your home smell amazing, they don’t produce soot or warm up your home the way candles can. I love making simmer pots in my tiny crockpot.
  58. Find the best spots in town to go “dog watching”.
  59. Get a daily digest of what’s headed to your mailbox using USPS Informed Delivery.
  60. Create a list of movies you want to watch/re-watch in the next year. If you’re a weenie like me, use DoesTheDogDie.com to check for common triggers.
  61. Download apps like SuperCook or Mealime to find recipes that work with what you have on hand and reduce your grocery bill.
  62. Pull out all your kitchen utensils and sort through them. Donate any you don’t use, pitch and replace any that are broken, and put back your favorites.
  63. Subtlety dress up as your favorite characters, a la “Disney-bounding“. Use clothes from your own closet to mimic the vibe. You don’t even need to be going to the parks to enjoy this act of whimsy.
  64. Focus on low-effort, low-cost holiday decorations. By switching out dishtowels, your daily mug, or throw pillow cases, you can create big impact on a tiny budget.
  65. Start a low-budget collection. Pressed pennies, hag stones, sea glass, weirdly shaped paper clips…these are all ways to start a special collection without a lot of cost.
  66. Take a class from your local agricultural extension office. You can find classes on everything from safe canning, gardening, home maintenance, and much more!
  67. Create a “smile file” to store kind memos, emails of encouragement and appreciation, and thank you notes. I screenshot messages of gratitude from my Instagram and save them in a digital smile file!
  68. Comb through your social media and unfollow accounts that make you less-than-happy. Set aside an hour to mute, unfollow, or block any accounts that make you feel bad about yourself, raise your blood pressure a little, or lead you into the comparison trap too easily.
  69. Teach yourself the at-home, copy-cat version of your favorite takeout order. Personally, I’ll take my homemade version of beef and broccoli over carryout any day.
  70. Get adventurous and try out a new produce item. Ever had a jackfruit? A pomelo? How about mamey sapote? Pick up a single fruit or veggie you’ve never tried before…you never know what you might like!
  71. See if your local library participates in Kanopy – if so, you can stream thousands of films for free!
  72. Reduce your junk mail by signing up for Catalog Choice. They’re a nonprofit!
  73. Did you know your chocolate can be unethical? Check out this list of chocolate companies working to disconnect from sources that use slavery.
  74. Join your local Buy Nothing group! Not only can you help the planet through the sharing economy, you can find unique items that you need without buying new.
  75. Sharpen your skills for free.
  76. Update your direct deposit form at work to have a small percentage (2-3%) of your paycheck to go into a high yield savings account. You can use these savings as the start of your emergency fund, travel fund, or other savings goals.
  77. Think about your large goals and seek out podcasts with interviews of people that accomplished that dream. Dedicate 15 minutes a day to listening, and picking up tips and tricks.
  78. Get into the practice of writing “open dates” on your beauty products. This helps you to know how old your lipsticks/blush/eyeshadow palettes really are, and toss anything that’s been sitting around for far too long.
  79. Thinking about starting a business? Check out the free resources and connect with a business mentor through SCORE – a program of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
  80. What’s that thing you’ve been putting off? Get out a timer and set it to the amount of time you think it will take to accomplish the task. Chances are, you’ll be finished with the task long before the timer goes off.
  81. Create a menu of struggle meals to keep in rotation for those nights cooking feels extra overwhelming.
  82. Start integrating the seasons into your daily life. Select foods that are in season, go for walks in all weather, and discover the magic of living in tune with nature. You can even upgrade your daily routines to reflect the seasons.
  83. Become a connoisseur. If there’s something you love (coffee, cheesy romance novels, heirloom tomatoes, tea, etc.), find a way to become more fluent in that topic.
  84. Have a list of No’s. What’s the stuff you absolutely refuse to participate in? Maybe it’s workplace gossip, solving problems after 9pm, or loaning money to family.
  85. Ditch the complicated holiday decor for simple and easy-to-store solutions. Tea towels and throw pillow cases with holiday designs are a personal favorite.
  86. Pick one thing to stop doing forever. Always buying planners in the new year, but forget to use them by March? Give yourself permission to give it up entirely.
  87. Rename your savings accounts. It’s a lot less tempting to pull money from your “Bougie Italy Trip” fund, than a random jumble of numbers.
  88. Thank your home. Each time you leave your house or apartment, say out loud or in your mind, “thank you”. It not only boosts your good feelings toward your living space, you might be more motivated to complete the maintenance work that comes with home ownership.
  89. Buy yourself a gift card. Struggle to do something kind for yourself when you really need it? Make a commitment to buy yourself a gift card for the services that make you feel your best. I do this with pedicures, and it has made it so much easier to say yes!
  90. Search your email inbox for the word “unsubscribe” and then go through and purge yourself of those marketing emails.
  91. Have a solo holiday. If the holidays are a stressful time filled with nosy relatives and eye-rolling conversation, pick another day to go it alone. Pick your favorite activities, food and drink, and indulge yourself. For instance, Christmas is a stressful and overstimulating time for me, so I celebrate Yule (December 21) all on my own.
  92. Swap honey-do tasks with a friend. Does your bestie love painting, while you love reorganizing the pantry? Schedule a day to visit one another and swap those tasks you dread.
  93. Pick a sustainable swap that makes sense for your lifestyle. A few years ago I started replace my plastic chip clips with some made of steel. Not only with they be far less likely to break, they hold a lot better too.
  94. Have canned responses ready to go. If you find yourself responding to the same questions over and over, save a template to your computer of responses. Then you can copy, paste and customize.
  95. Start a “In Case Emergency” binder at work. In it, outline tasks you regularly do, when, and instructions if the task is complicated/uses software others may not be familiar with. Not only does this help a colleague that might need to step in if you get sick, but it can also show your clueless boss just how much you’re managing day-to-day.
  96. Keep a brain dump list next to your computer. If you have random thoughts throughout the day (“Call the plumber”, “find out what that sandwich was Julie had for lunch yesterday”, “return books to the library”), write them down on this list. Then spend 20 minutes at the end of each day to check off as much as you can.
  97. Block out sensory distractions. My husband recently let me borrow his noise-cancelling headphones. Sorry, but these are mine now.
  98. Do a 5 minute sweep each evening before bed. Set a timer on your phone (or play one of these songs) and do a quick tidy. Whatever isn’t picked up can be dealt with tomorrow.
  99. Work with a therapist. If therapy is a challenge for your budget, or you don’t have insurance, check out Open Path Collective – they’re a nonprofit network of therapists that offer $40-70 sessions.
  100. What’s the stuff you’re constantly forgetting? Pair the task with something you already have a strong habit of doing. For instance, if you’re always forgetting to take your medications, set your pill organizer next to the coffee pot so you see it each time you make your morning cup.
  101. Revisit what felt like magic from your childhood. Take a pottery painting class, set up a bubble machine in your yard and draw with chalk on the driveway, or spend a Saturday morning watching cartoons while you eat cereal on the couch.

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