30 Little Happiness Boosting Things for $1 or Less

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What Can a Dollar Still Buy, Anyway?


As you probably know by now, this blog is all about the little things in life that can bring big happiness. One of my family’s main happiness goals is total financial security. We are really trying to get serious about our finances now that we are parents. While we have cut back our budget a lot, we don’t want to completely abstain from any superfluous purchasing, that can become tedious, fast! Unfortunately, it often seems you can’t get much for $1 anymore! Sometimes it’s a struggle to stay focused on our financial goals when there are so many tempting things out there to sidetrack our progress. However, these little items listed below are either free or under $1, so you can indulge in as many as you like without feeling a bit of guilt!

While it would be easy to fill this list up with things like, “Long walks on the beach,” “butterflies,” “freshcut grass” and “flowers” This is more of a list of things that you would typically have to pay $1 or more to enjoy.

  1. Daily coffee – There are lots of places out there where you can still get a cup of coffee for $1. While Starbucks is certainly not one of those places, I believe McDonalds and Burger King each offer coffee for 0.99/cup. To save even more, you can make it at home yourself for just pennies! I also love hot tea, which is similarly inexpensive.
  2. Office Supplies – I LOVE office supplies. You can often find all kinds of adorable office supplies at your local dollar store. I love getting new pens, notepads, sticky notes, stationary, etc. etc. etc.
  3. Public Domain – The public domain has been a great source of happiness for me! I can find all kinds of classics on the public domain for free. There are also tons of free audiobooks out there in the public domain.
  4. Your Own, Personal Domain – I got my domain from GoDaddy.com for $0.99! They run promotions all the time where you can register your own domain name for under $1 or sometimes even free. While you have to pay for hosting on a monthly basis, your domain name is often free and SO worth it!
  5. Happy Hour – Sonic’s happy hour is one of my favorite things! I can get a limeaid for less than $1! My local sushi bar also has $1 sushi happy hour, where select rolls are only $1. What a steal!
  6. Pinterest – I love Pinterest so much. It provides me with hours of entertainment. You can find all kinds of information and articles on pinterest that you would have to pay someone for elsewhere.
  7. Magazines – I also love magazines. I love thumbing through them and getting fun tips and ideas. I have lots of magazine subscriptions that cost <$1/issue!
  8. CHOCOLATE – I am obsessed with Dove dark chocolate bars. I can find them at almost any store for $1 or less per bar. Similarly, you can find all kinds of candy and small treats for $1 or less.
  9. Freebies – I love me some freebies. At least 3-4 times per year, I receive freebies in the mail from stores I shop frequently. My three favorites are definitely when Bath and Body Works sends out their “Free travel size item, no purchase necessary,” Victoria’s Secret “Free panty, no purchase necessary” and Kohl’s “$5 off any items, no additional purchase necessary!” I get a thrill out of great freebies
  10. The local park/Rec Center – We love going to our local park and rec. It provides all kinds of access to things that we would have to pay for otherwise. Tennis courts, ball fields, volleyball, basketball, walking trails and more. We actually canceled our gym membership and now we play tennis and walk instead.
  11. CHAPSTICK/lipbalms – I love me some chaptstick. You can still get it for $1.00! There are also all kinds of flavored lip balms you can find for $1 or less, too.
  12. PBS – PBS is a great resource for families. The baby loves Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, my husband loves NOVA and I love the cooking/home improvement shows.
  13. NPR – similarly to PBS, NPR provides great in-depth reporting at no cost. I am an NPR junkie and my husband teases me for having my preset radio station in my car set to NPR.
  14. Pexels.com – When I started blogging, I knew I would have to find a good site for free stock photos. Enter, Pexels. The selection is amazing, considering it’s totally free!
  15. Podcasts – I downloaded a podcast listening app and the rest is history. Some of my favorite podcasts are “Happier with Gretchen Rubin,” “Serial,” and the “Stuff You Should Know” series. Podcasts are so awesome and so free!
  16. Your Local Public Library – Our Public library is another great resource for free entertainment. On top of books, which are free, you can rent popular movies and audio books for $1/week
  17. PicMonkey – I cannot afford Adobe Photoshop, and for my purposes PicMonkey does the job of simple photo editing- for free!
  18. Shutterfly Cloud Storage – I love taking photos but they take up so much room on your drives! Shutterfly offers free unlimited cloud storage with your account. They promise never, ever to delete your files.
  19. Music – Most of the music in my google play account, I actually got for FREE. If you check in regularly, every Tuesday Google Play updates their music page with all kinds of free (or <$1) weekly specials. I’m sure iTunes probably does the same, but I’ve never used it. (No, really.)
  20. Wax Melts – at my local Wal-Mart, they sell half-sized packs of fragrance wax melts. I think they are usually $2.50 for the full size packs so I love loading up on the small packs to try as many new scents as possible.
  21. Donations – For $1 or less you can help feed the hungry, cure sick children or support your favorite pet political cause. Feedingamerica.org and Stjude.org are my two favorites.
  22. A Small Frosty at Wendy’s – I love me a Wendy’s Frosty. You can get a small one for a dollar!
  23. Movie Rentals – Amazon instant video and google play offer lots of fun movie rental specials for $1 or sometimes even free! I got Kung Fu Panda for free recently!
  24. A bunch of bananas – there are few sweet treats I love more than bananas. And you can get a bunch of them for under $1 when they are on sale.
  25. Storage Containers – nothing brings me happiness like organizing my home. There are so many great ideas at the dollar store for storage and most of the items I get are $1!
  26. Coloring books, word searches and puzzle books – I’m a kid at heart and I still enjoy coloring and puzzle books an awful lot. You can find them at the dollar store for $1 all day long!
  27. Amazon Review Clubs – Amazon Elite Deal Club offers daily specials on Amazon products in exchange for honest reviews. Lots of deals are $1 or less and some are even FREE! I’ve gotten lots of neat things. There are lots of Amazon Review Clubs, but Elite Deal is one of the best.
  28. Makeup Implements – I can find all kinds of awesome makeup implements for $1 at my local drug store! E.L.F. has awesome sharpeners, blenders, smudgers, tweezers and various tools that only cost $1! While I do love lux beauty products, implements are one place where you can buy cheap/generic without sacrificing quality.
  29. Craft Items – While I am not crafty, I often find dollar store deals on craft items that even I can make! My next project is the sharpie coffee mugs. I found plain mugs for $1 at the dollar tree and I have 30 colored Sharpies at home. I’ll let you know how it goes!
  30. The Almighty Coupon – Oh man, do coupons make me happy! They are usually free and can save you so much money. I get super stoked when I see free coupons just hanging around. Last month, I got a coveted 20% off Janie and Jack coupon in my Parents Magazine issue. I combined it with their summer sale to snag a great price on a sailor outfit for my son’s six month photos! Yay! I even got him an adorable pair of Janie and Jack socks for under $1! I regularly use coupons at Publix and CVS to save tons on groceries and other household items.



Did I include your favorite cheap happiness booster? What are your favorite things that cost $1 or less? Let me know by commenting below!


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