Finding Happiness on a Budget: 11 'Inexpensive' Purchases That Spark Joy, According to Working-Class Americans

Mature Couple Choosing Plants At Garden Center


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Mature Couple Choosing Plants At Garden Center

Simple Pleasures

Sometimes all it takes to turn a bad day around is a little treat. After all, who doesn’t enjoy the simple pleasures of life? A steaming mug of good coffee, an ice cream sundae with all the fixings, a shiny new pair of white sneakers. Working-class Americans from r/PovertyFinance recently shared a list of their “happy purchases,” with a focus on pick-me-ups that won’t break the bank.

Happy young lady shopping in thrift store of vintage clothes

Thrift Store Finds

Even if you’ve only got a couple of bucks to spare, you can find plenty of treasures at the thrift store. “A book, a CD, a stein, whatever. Just something that makes living a little less dreary,” one commenter writes.

Family Eating Pizza at Home Out of Pizza Box

Eating Out With Friends

There’s a big difference between scarfing down a burrito alone in your car and sharing a meal with friends. It should be obvious which one is more likely to spark joy. So call your friends, grab a bite, and think of it as a social expense rather than a waste of money.

Cup of coffee and books on retro wooden bedside table. Rustic white ceramic vase with bouquet of pink cocmos and zinnia flowers. Beige linen and velvet pillows in bed. Scandinavian interior, bedroom.

Flowers From Aldi

Nothing brightens a room like a bouquet of sunny daffodils. Snag flowers on the cheap by shopping at Aldi, which one Redditor says sells bouquets for just $3.99.

Women holding a pens writing a notebook. Recording concept
Man eating chicken burrito, wide shot POV.
1shot Production/istockphoto

A Friday Night Burrito

For one Redditor, every other Friday night is burrito night — a habit that they’ve kept up for five years. Not only will this give you something to look forward to every month, but it also means you get to eat plenty of delicious burritos.

Related: 10 Ideas For Leading A Simpler, More Fulfilling Life

Senior calling dog to him
Potted Devils Ivy plant inside a beautiful new flat or apartment.
Grumpy Cow Studios/istockphoto
Pen on the notebook
Kuntalee Rangnoi/istockphoto


Pair your fancy gel pen with a small, high-quality notebook. They’ll make writing to-do lists and notes a lot more fun. “There is something about pens and paper that is so satisfying,” a Redditor writes.

Young coffee lover sniffing hot drink at cozy home interior

High-Quality Coffee

One Redditor who wakes up early for work — we’re talking 3 a.m. — needs something to roll out of bed for, so they “splurge” on quality coffee and creamer. And if you like your coffee sweet, another commenter suggests adding a pump or two of salted caramel Torani syrup. 

Costco cafe pizza hot dog churro

Costco Hot Dog

Only a dollar or two to spare? If you’re willing to brave the crowds, enjoy a $1.50 hot dog combo from Costco (the price hasn’t changed in decades!). Pair it with a churro for the full experience.

Beautiful young woman uses bottle of perfume at home, closeup

Travel-Size Perfume

Sure, good perfume is expensive — like, hundreds of dollars for a small vial expensive. But you can always buy a teeny-tiny travel-size or tester bottle and save your favorite scent for special occasions.

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