6 practical ways to splurge

Learn something new

Pick up a language. Learn to draw. Take salsa dancing lessons.

Learning can improve your cognitive abilities, add a new dimension to your life, and encourage you to look, listen and learn more about the world around you.

You don’t have to dive in headfirst either. LiveMocha and Rosetta Stone both offer online language courses.

LiveMocha.com offers free basic lessons in more than three dozen languages and the ability to chat online with native speakers. To complete the courses, you'll need to earn tokens by helping others with their acquired language or pay a $9.95 monthly fee ( $99.95 for a 1-year subscription).

Rosetta Stone (www.rosettastone.com) uses either CD-ROMs or online access to instruct users in more than two dozen languages. It's pricey (disks are currently $399 or $299 for one year of online access), but it offers a more extensive language plan tailored to personal, business or even home schooling.

If learning a new language isn't for you, sign up for deal alerts from sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, which both frequently offer heavily discounted classes on everything from pottery to pole dancing. Ahem.

Recent offerings included a two-hour cake-decorating class for $65 and three 90-minute fencing lessons for $35.

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