Treat Yo’ Self… for Pennies: 25 Spa Treatments You Can Do at Home

Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

Want to know a secret?

I’ve never had a professional massage.

I totally get why they’re appealing, but they’re just not my jam.

Manicures on the other hand?  Heck, yeah.

My tombstone will read, “How do my nails look?”

I’m not gonna lie, getting my nails done every two weeks or so costs a pretty penny (or 6,000, to be exact), but it’s the one luxury I budget for, even if it means using cheap body wash or mascara.

The main reason I go to a salon to get my manicure done is because there’s no way I could do it at home. I’m basically the most uncoordinated person on the planet, so I’d end up with acrylic powder in my eye and nail shellac on the walls.

For all other spa-type treatments, though, I’m strictly a DIY gal.

Here are some of my favorite ways to indulge myself easily right in the comfort of my own home — without spending a fortune.

15 Ways to Get Your DIY Spa Day On

  1. Everything you’ve heard about coconut oil is true. Skip the expensive body lotion or deep conditioner and use this low-cost alternative instead. An entire jar will only run you about $4 and will last for months.
  1. Apply an avocado or egg mask to your hair at the beginning of your spa routine, then wrap your head in a warm towel. Let it work its magic for at least 20 minutes while you give yourself a lip scrub. One egg will set you back 10 cents and an avocado is about a dollar.
  1. Korean sheet masks make your skin look amazing, but they can be awfully pricy. I picked up a handful at my local dollar store for a buck each recently and discovered they work just as well as the expensive brands. If you buy in bulk, you can save even more pennies.
  1. Speaking of masks, if you use Lush cosmetics or know someone who does, hang on to those little black pots and bottles their products come in. You’ll score a free face mask when you turn in five empties. That’s a savings of at least $9!
  1. Clear up blemishes and reduce fine lines with a 60-cent container of plain, generic-brand yogurt! Whether you use it plain or jazz it up with extras like a dash of honey or oatmeal, your pores will thank you.

    Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder
  1. After rinsing off the mask, I like to give myself a five-minute face massage. It’s surprisingly relaxing — and totally free!
  1. If you’ve got a few dollars to spare, sign up for a Sephora Play! subscription. For just $10 per month, you’ll get a box delivered right to your door filled with deluxe product samples and a bonus fragrance.
  1. This homemade eucalyptus sugar scrub is both energizing and effective. For less than a dollar’s worth of sugar you can make a batch to slough off dry, dead skin, leaving behind a tingly clean that smells luxurious.
  1. For a change of pace, I like to mix things up and exfoliate my skin with this three-ingredient coffee body scrub that you can make with the (free!) used coffee grounds leftover from your morning brew. It reportedly also reduces the appearance of cellulite. (Don’t tell me if that’s just an old wives’ tale — I don’t want to know.)
  1. Sometimes my skin just isn’t up for a harsh scrub down. That’s when I whip together this gentle scrub that rinses off easily with warm water. Not bad for 60-cents worth of oat bran. (I’ve tried it without wheat germ and it still works great.)
  1. If you plan to shave during your spa time, try dry brushing first to prevent ingrown hairs and razor burn bumps.
  1. If I’m going to sport beautiful nails, the rest of my hand better keep up appearances too. This lemon-sugar hand scrub is so easy to make, smells amazing and costs less than $2 to make. After you rinse it off, slather on some hand lotion and take a minute to admire your, er, handiwork.
  1. Do you know why every spa scene in a movie or TV depicts someone with cucumber slices on their eyes? Because it works! For about 75 cents, you’ll have all the slices you need, plus leftovers for salad. (Tea bags dampened with a bit of cool water are also a great way to reduce puffy irritated eyes if you’re fresh out of cukes.)

    Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder
  1. I’m cursed with dark skin patches on my face (thanks hormones!) that make me look like I blended my foundation with my eyes closed. One way I keep the discoloration in check is by dabbing a few pennies worth of lemon juice and honey on the affected areas. You can blend the ingredients together or apply them one after the other. Leave it on for about 20 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
  1. Treat your feet to a nice soak with whatever gentle bath wash you have on hand. Follow it up with a homemade foot scrub that costs less than one dollar. Simply stir one part coconut oil into two parts sugar and scent with a few drops of essential oil. A dash of lemon juice adds extra oomph. To kick (ha!) things up a notch, slather on some lotion and cover your tootsies with thick socks while the moisturizer works its magic.

    Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

10 Easy Ways to Spa-ify Your Surroundings

While planning your day of indulgence, don’t forget to design your own relaxation grotto. Give your bathroom a deep clean and then:

  1. Splurge on a soft, thick towel.
  1. Pick up some pretty containers from the dollar store to hold all the scrubs and potions you make.
  1. Scour thrift shops for a fluffy bathrobe to wear while relaxing.
  1. Get some inexpensive candles to create ambience during bath time — or make your own.
  1. Set a plant or vase of flowers in the bathroom, because greenery makes everything better.
  1. Cover your bathroom window with frosted contact paper to diffuse bright sunlight that might harsh your mellow.
  1. Put a few sprigs of eucalyptus on the corner of the bathtub to create a clean, refreshing scent when you run the hot water.
  1. Buy a bathtub overflow drain cover so you can fill the tub extra deep and soak all the way up to your chin.
  1. Queue up this chill Spotify playlist.
  1. Make this fruit and cucumber-infused water to sip as you spa

Want even more DIY spa ideas? Check out how to make your own sea salt spray, body lotion and more.

Disclosure: We don’t hesitate to pick pennies off the sidewalk when we spot them. But the affiliate links in this post help our earnings grow even quicker. Plus, it’s a lot cleaner than sidewalk money.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Maybe one day she’ll get over her personal space issues and try getting a massage.