Free and Cheap Activities To Have A Great Winter on a Budget

A hot chocolate, fire, slippers and iPhone
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Winter is officially here and it’s the most wonderful time of the year! There’s a lot to love about winter, but the holiday season can do a real number on your wallet. If you’ve torn through your budget on gifts, you might feel like you’re stuck for the rest of the season, which lasts until mid-March. Luckily, there are tons of free and cheap activities you can do this winter.

No matter what your budget is, you can find something that you and your bank account will both love. Here are some of our favorite things to do when winter comes around.

1. Build a Snowman/Igloo

Of course, you’ll need to live somewhere with a lot of snow for this one, but making a snowman, igloo, or snow fort of any kind is a lot of fun. Snowmen are pretty easy to make – just roll snow into balls and stack them. Igloos, on the other hand, take a bit more work but will be worth it when you’re cozy in your snow house.

2. Indulge in Winter Treats

Homemade cookies, hot chocolate, and smores are just a few winter delicacies you can easily make at home this year. Ingredients aren’t too expensive and none of them take very long to make. An easy hack is to use a boxed cake mix to make soft cookies! Treating yourself to some goodies is a great way to spend a day, and making them yourself means they’ll taste even sweeter!

3. Home Movie Night

There’s nothing better than curling up and watching a movie on a cold winter night. Whether you’re flying solo or with family/friends, a movie marathon is one of the best ways to spend a day when going outside isn’t an option. If you’re not sure what to watch, we’ve compiled some of our favorite holiday movies available on Amazon Prime to help you get started.

Or stream Disney+ where each new account can get a free 7-day trial to binge one of hottest shows, The Mandalorian, and other Disney classics.

4. Museums, Zoos, and More

Cultural spots like museums, zoos, and aquariums are usually busiest during the spring and summer, but not so crowded in the winter. Not only can you bask in some free heating inside a museum, but you can dodge crowds of tourists and see whatever you want at your leisure. Some places even offer discounted or free entry during winter months, so check your local attractions for discounts!

5. Get Your Craft On

Since you’re probably going to end up stuck inside during the winter more than any other month, why not try making some homemade crafts to pass the time? You can look for craft fairs or classes in your town, or pick up materials and go crazy at home. This is a perfect activity if you have kids, or just want to let your creative side shine a little bit. If you need to add to your existing craft supply, check out these Hobby Lobby coupons to save some money!

6. Have a Potluck

As a step up from a night of baking cookies and making hot chocolate, try hosting a full potluck dinner. Invite friends and family and encourage everyone to bring their best homemade dish. You’ll end up with an inexpensive, delicious dinner with all your loved ones! You can have a potluck any time of year, but a great meal with friends always goes a little further during the winter. Make it extra cozy by having everyone dress up in adult onesies, PJs or other themes! Hosting a potluck is one of my favorite winter activities because it brings together friends and food!

7. Go Sledding

Sledding is one of the best kid-friendly activities in the winter, and it costs almost nothing. All you need is a sled, whether its store-bought or homemade, a local hill and some fresh snowfall. After that, gravity does the rest of the work! You can get all the thrills of a roller coaster without any cost.

8.  Find a Local Light Show

Many major cities have amazing light displays around the holidays, but even if you don’t live nearby you can probably still find a great light show nearby. Check out if there are any light shows being hosted in your town, or drive around and see what houses in your neighborhood went all out this year.

Have a Budget-Friendly Winter this Year

Most people end up spending a little bit more than they’d like on gifts in the winter, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the season can’t be frugal fun. Take advantage of free activities nearby, and turn your home into a personal winter wonderland without breaking the bank!