Your relationship just ended, you’re hurt, and you’ve just scoured the internet for answers because you want to know how in the world you ended up in this position and all you’re trying to do is make yourself feel better. Now.

Yes, breakups suck and the only thing that will really pass that icky feeling, is, unfortunately, time – something you just cannot buy or drink away.  Instant gratification, which includes binge eating, binge drinking, excessive spa days, or last minute vacation getaways sound like a quick fix – but, that icky feeling will come crawling back as soon as you get back into your old routine. With such easy access to credit these days, it is no wonder people are knee-deep in consumer debt.  According to the latest report from Statistics Canada, Canadians owe more than $2 trillion in household debt – and with a population of about 37 million people, that’s around $54,000 per person! Kind of crazy if you think about that.  So, if you find yourself tempted to reach for that plastic, use some of the following tips to avoid blowing your budget and putting yourself in the red post a relationship break-up:

  • Hang out with girlfriends – talk it out, cry it out, bitch it out, whatever it takes. You get great company and just being able to express your feelings in a safe place really does help. It’s positive for the heart, and serves as a reminder that you are not alone.
  • Netflix – you can’t go wrong with good ol’ Netflix! Pop a bottle of wine, grab some snacks and stay in for the weekend with some friends. Cook a nice meal together to save on eating out or ordering in.
  • If you feel like you don’t have anyone to turn to, consider seeing a psychotherapist if it is covered under your health benefits. If not, write in a journal and express everything there. Getting thoughts and feelings out there, whether it is to another person or on a piece of paper, is very helpful.
  • Sports/ Hobbies – I played A LOT of soccer, post my 12-year relationship break-up a few years ago (still do). Playing team sports or doing group classes gives you the opportunity to meet new people, be social, and of course, relieves a lot of stress. It is a great outlet to exert anger or frustration that may be bottling up, and of course, the fitness component – if you are back in the pond, start sprucing yourself up again!
  • Spa days at home – if you are really itching to treat yourself to a spa day, which can really add up, do it at home! Do facials (face masks can just cost a few dollars or split a bottle of mud mask with your girlfriends), manicures, and pedicures at home or at your friend’s.
  • If you are itching to get away – take a weekend road trip with some friends, or consider cashing in your points that you have accumulated from your credit cards or loyalty rewards programs.
  • Treat yourself to a nice book – read a feel-good novel or if you are really on a tight budget, grab a latte and spend an afternoon on the weekend at the bookstore and just read for free. Alternatively, go to a second-hand book store and pick up some good reads for a fraction of the book cover price.

A general tip for everyone that is on a strict budget, use gift cards at stores you routinely shop at to avoid over-spending – you can reload it every month, is more convenient than cash, and it prevents you from dipping into your other budgets.