10 Tiny Ways to Treat Yo’ Self for $20 or Less

(Image credit: Parks & Rec / Universal Media Studios (UMS))

Friday the 13th is tomorrow, but guess what? It’s actually your lucky day! That’s because October 13 is also Treat Yo’ Self day. Yes, it’s a fictional holiday invented by Parks and Recreation. No, you do not have to be a fan to appreciate this day dedicated to indulging yourself.

You also don’t have to go hog wild. Tiny treats can be just as delicious and fun as over-the-top extravagances! Here are 10 little luxuries for your kitchen and for you.

  1. J.R. Watkins Lemon Cream, $6 for 3.3 ounces: If you’ve been cooking up a storm, washing dishes, and in general causing wear and tear on your hands, treat them to this fresh, clean-smelling salve. Bonus: It’s TSA-friendly.
  2. Bluegrass Soy Sauce, $10 for 100 milliliters: You will never go back to Kikkoman once you pony up for this barrel-aged soy sauce. So rich, so complex, so much punch in just a few drops — this soy sauce takes a dish like beef noodle soup up to a whole other level. I am obsessed to the point that I have been known to carry sample sizes in my purse when I go out for sushi.
  3. Black Truffle Sea Salt, $19 for 35 grams at Zingerman’s: We’re totally over the fake truffle oils; truffle salt, on the other hand, is still a winner. Some days there’s no more perfect lunch than a couple soft-boiled eggs with a shower of real truffle salt.
  4. Dry-Aged Ground Beef, $20 for four, 8-ounce patties at DeBragga: If you’re an omnivore looking to treat yo’ self, it doesn’t get much better than a luscious hunk of dry-aged beef. It doesn’t even have to cost the week’s paycheck. This aged ground beef for hamburgers is light years beyond the usual burger.
  5. Greek Kalamata Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $9 for 1 liter at Trader Joe’s: Do you have everyday olive oil and Special Olive Oil? Yeah, me too. But what better occasion than Treat Yo’ Self day to upgrade to an oil that’s both great and not crazy expensive for all-the-time use? Leave it to Trader Joe’s to weather the olive oil controversies and offer a stand-out at less than 10 bucks, no less. Get a bottle and get busy drenching something delicious in it.
  6. Grocery Delivery, $15 per month at Shipt: Look, everybody is busy. We’re so busy it’s hard to get in the kitchen as much as we’d like. Why not make it easy on yo’ self and save some time and hassle? Try out one of the grocery delivery options popping up at stores all over the place. Shipt is a biggie and will get your dinner fixings to you the day you order them, but even Costco is in on the game. With all that time you save, make a lovely leisurely dinner.
  7. Surface Cleaner, $12 for 16 ounces at The Laundress: It’s all fun and games until you have to clean up the kitchen that you just demolished making that fabulous dinner. Using some yucky, chemical cleaner doesn’t make the job any more enticing. With a fresh, clean, yummy-smelling all-purpose cleaner like The Laundress, you may find cleanup, if not actually fun, at least a little more pleasurable.
  8. Champagne Coupes, $2 each at IKEA: There’s just something that feels so glamorously decadent in an Audrey Hepburn singing Edie Piaf kind of way about drinking bubbly from a Champagne coup. They’re also so shallow you can have what feels like endless glasses without inadvertently getting over-served. When friends come over I love to make it a special occasion and pop a cork in the kitchen and serve everyone their drink in the coupes I brought home from a Paris thrift shop (yes, I try to do most of my kitchen shopping there!). Buy these inexpensive ones come from IKEA so you can have enough for a party!
  9. Aloe Plant, from $9 at CactusLimon: Plants make people happy. That’s what the hashtag says, anyway. I’ve only recently started dabbling in plants and don’t have one in the kitchen, but on Water Wednesday (the only way I can keep them alive) they all make a trip into the kitchen and hang out for a while, and you know what? It really does do something for the vibe in there. I asked my favorite happy-making plant shop for a great addition to the kitchen and love their recommendation: an aloe plant that can sit in the windowsill. And hey, have a little accident with the stove? You’ve got your fresh aloe vera right there!
  10. Épices de Cru World Spice Kit, $17 at Spice Trekkers: An Airbnb host/chef in Canada turned me on to spices from this shop in Montreal where the spice trekkers hunt down the best spices on earth. Walking into her kitchen was like entering the spice bazaar in Istanbul because her cupboards overflowed with the aromas of the world. This kit of four spices is a great starting point to add some of those flavors to your kitchen.
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