26th February 2023

Self-care on a budget

If you’re looking for some cheap ways to bring a little joy into your life and look after your well-being then read on!
Self-care on a budget
Photo: Maddi Bazzocco @ Unsplash

At the moment, it seems like everyone I’ve spoken to has felt burned out, anxious, and in need of some proper self-care. However, the cost-of-living crisis has of course meant that many students have had to cut down on social activities with friends and extra-curriculars. So, in an attempt to bring a little more joy into your lives, here are some self-care ideas, either for free or for under £2!


YouTube is a great free self-care resource with videos on pretty much everything. Whether you’re looking for well-being activities like meditation, yoga, and pilates, or something to listen to such as audiobooks or podcasts, YouTube has something for everyone. If you don’t mind the occasional ad, then it’s a brilliant costless resource for your self-care day.


There’s something about a warm mug of tea that’s so comforting, particularly with the grey and gloomy background of Manchester in late winter. If you’re not an English breakfast tea type of person (like myself!) then Sainsbury’s does fruit teas from 80p which are the perfect accompaniment for watching a film, reading a book, or talking to friends.

Face masks

These are a lovely way of relaxing and taking care of yourself, with Superdrug selling them for as cheap as 99p. There is a wide range of types available, such as exfoliating, cooling, and de-stressing – it’s even three for two currently. You can also have a look at Primark, and some can even be made at home using natural ingredients, but I’d advise checking them first to make sure they’re okay for your skin type. Of course, also check for allergens and other concerns such as if they’re vegan or cruelty-free.

Go for a walk

I never believed in the power of a good walk until I tried it, but there is definitely a sense of joy that comes from getting out in the fresh air and getting your steps in. It’s obviously much nicer on sunny days which are sadly hard to come by in Manchester winters, but as long as you check the forecast beforehand and bring a coat, you’ll be fine! The walk from Fallowfield to the Students’ Union is approximately thirty minutes and ideal if the buses are full, but if that’s too much for you then you can always walk around Whitworth or Platt Fields Parks, or explore the city centre, Didsbury, or Withington.

Catch up with friends

When deadlines are looming and course reading is piling up, there is a temptation to spend hours holed up in the library. Whilst staying on top of work will help you feel less stressed and is of course an integral part of uni, don’t forget to make time for your friends too! If you’re looking for a free option, then you can visit one another’s houses or see if they’ll join you on a walk. Otherwise, check out a new café or restaurant and have a good chat.

Take a nap

Let’s be real – university life can be a lot! From 9am lectures to late nights spent at Deaf Institute, sometimes the best act of self-care can be having a rest and taking a nap. A good night’s sleep has a multitude of health benefits and there’s nothing wrong with prioritising rest when it’s needed.


The university has hundreds of societies that are the perfect way to meet new people and spend some time not thinking about lectures and homework. A lot of societies require a membership, but many you can pay as you go or are even free. Have a look at the Students’ Union website to see what’s available.

Tidy your room

Now, I don’t mean to sound like a mum but hear me out! Having a good spring clean can make you feel better, so I think it’s a valuable act of self-care. Sometimes a messy room can make everything feel more stressful and overwhelming, so tackling it head-on and clearing your space up can make things feel much better. It’s also important to have a space that you feel safe, comfortable, and happy in, which is definitely helpful if your room is tidy. You can also treat yourself to a candle like this £2 one from Sainsbury’s to help make everything seem less gloomy.

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