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

Woman In the Snow
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Spring, Summer, and Autumn, move aside. With the winter solstice on 12/21/21, winter is nearly upon us 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 winter weather. But making a small snowman, igloo, or snow fort of any kind is a lot of fun. Snowmen are pretty easy to make – just roll the snow into balls and stack them. Igloos, on the other hand, take a bit more work but will be worth it when you’re wrapped in a cozy blanket in your snow house.

2. Indulge in Winter Treats

Comfort food and drink always hits the spot. Why not try making some homemade cookies, hot chocolate, chocolate cake, or even smores: 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 winter dessert is a great way to spend a day, and making them yourself means they’ll taste even sweeter!

3. Home Movie Night

Thinking about a night at the movie theater? Think again. There’s nothing better than curling up and watching a movie on a cold winter night; no need for the big screen! 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, you can start a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime and check out some popular holiday movies on the streaming platform (oh, and you’ll also get 30 days of free shipping for all those gifts you’ll be ordering).

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 the 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! If you’re considering a potluck, make sure anyone visiting has been tested or been quarantined!

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 it’s 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 towns and 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.

9.  Find a Local Light Show

A fun winter activity for those cold and icy winter days is to play some board games. Chess, checkers, Monopoly Scrabble, Jenga: there are so many to choose from! The best part? You probably already have many of these games in your hall closet. So why not take one out at home and start playing a game with your partner, your spouse, or your kids? Your wallet will thank you!

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!