Spending money on non-essential items may not be necessary, but it can help you to keep a sense of normality and give you a lift when you need it the most.
Beauty treatments and products
The side effects of cancer treatments can affect your appearance, and how you feel about your body and the way you look. However, you don't need to spend loads to give yourself a boost. Here are some top tips:
- Instead of paying premium prices, you may be able to find exactly the same products in high-street pound and bargain shops
- There are lots of great online bargains so shop around for offers and deals – especially if they have free delivery
- Don't be fooled by expensive looking packaging, sometimes shop-own brands are just as good
- Look for a local beauty college near you that may offer much cheaper prices on beauty treatments or massages. Check with your care team that it's okay to have them before booking
- Instead of buying beauty products you could research what natural beauty products could give you the same results. For example, homemade face masks or slices of cucumber to help reduce puffy eyes. Make sure the ingredients are within their use by dates.
It's a good idea to check with your hospital team first before embarking on any beauty treatments or massages.
Entertainment on a budget
Being in hospital or treatment centres for long periods of time, travelling, or waiting for appointments can mean boredom – and lots of it.
It's important to take things with you that will help keep you busy and entertained, not to mention keeping in touch with friends and family using laptops and mobile phones.
Laptops, games and gadgets can be expensive, but there may be some grants available to help with the cost of laptops. Please check with your CLIC Sargent care professional, or call us on 0300 330 0803 for details.
Why not give the cinema a miss for a while and visit museums, art galleries or free gigs instead? You could also take your own food or bottles of tap water if you want to reduce the costs of eating out.
Ahead of booking a restaurant table check online to see if there are any deals available. If you have a smart phone there are a number of apps you can download that will list thousands of great deals all across the country. Some will even make the booking for you.
TV and films
Try switching your monthly television package to Freeview. This way you only have to pay one fee per year and not monthly bills. Your television may already have Freeview installed so if you have extra boxes that you aren't using, you could sell them to get some extra cash.
If you have an existing gym membership but it is no longer possible to keep it up, most gyms will be able to offer you a way out of a contract due to special circumstances. You may also be offered the option of 'freezing' your membership. Make sure you don't cancel your direct debit without letting them know first or you could be in breach of your contract.
You could consider alternatives that better fit into your lifestyle, such as going for brisk walks. Alternatively you could try an activity where you can pay per session such as swimming, or looking up a local exercise group. There are also lots of free exercise videos available on YouTube, from aerobics to yoga.
Always look online first for discount deals on days out - you may be surprised what bargains you can find just by printing out a voucher. There are lots of websites available that offer daily deals on everything from eating out to tourist attractions.
If you have young children that need entertaining, and you have friends and family that have offered to take them out while you go through treatment, get in touch with your local council and find out what free activities are on offer in your area. This could also include libraries for story time, nursery rhymes or simply to borrow books, DVDs, music or magazines. You can either search online using the events guide or visit the main reception for more information.
Remember, if you have a lowered immune system (neutropenia - where the body has abnormally low levels of certain white blood cells) it's best to avoid crowded places to reduce the chances of infection.
Updated August 2016, next review due 2017.