Inflation continues. Daylight hours are waning. Temps are dropping. It may not sound like it, yet there’s a lot to love about winter. It really is possible to find activities that are fun and easy on the wallet. Here are a few that may work for you…or spur your imagination to create a season you’ll truly enjoy.
- Think local for events. Tickets to big-budget productions can easily cost $50, $75 and more. If you want to take the family to an event, check local schools or faith-based organizations for budget-friendly alternatives. You may just find a new favorite venue.
- Host a kids’ afternoon. Live in a cold-weather location? Invite kids’ friends and neighborhood children to make a snowman, a snow fort, have a snowball fight or go sledding. Live in a warm-weather climate? Try a trip to the beach or a nearby hike. Afterwards, invite everyone in for hot cocoa. It’s almost free, will provide memories to last the season and wear out those little bodies (a gift for parents, too!).
- Visit your local library (or its website). Beyond books, many offer free passes to local attractions and parks. Aquariums, zoos and museums are usually much less-crowded during the winter, but check into passes early, as they may require advance sign-up. You could reap a big payoff if you’re able to take your family to a state park, local museum or other attraction at no charge.
- Plan a movie/game night. While you’re at the library, check out a classic DVD movie you’ve not seen, or a game no one has played.
- Try a new winter sport. You don’t have to be athletic to enjoy many winter activities. If you haven’t snowshoed or cross-country skied before, rent equipment at a local sporting goods store and head outside. Or look into a Nordic ski area if you live within driving distance. Most offer trail passes and equipment rentals that are far less expensive than downhill ski resorts.
For indoor activities, try ice skating at a local rink, or climbing at one of the many indoor climbing gyms springing up all over. You can take intro classes for either activity at a nominal cost. Thanks to the U.S. Olympic gold medal in the 2018 Beijing games, curling has enjoyed a tremendous rise in popularity. Curling clubs around the country – in southern states as well as northern ones – offer classes and beginner teams.
- Go swim. Many people consider swimming a summer-only sport. Yet indoor pools abound. This may be the perfect time of year to hone skills for next summer. You’ll find plenty of opportunities for budget-friendly kids’ lessons and teams. Adults can check out a U.S. Masters Swimming program near them – no need to compete, just a desire to increase fitness.
- Do for others. Countless nonprofit organizations need help year-round. You, and your family, may be able to volunteer your time in ways you had not thought of. Try researching picking just one thing to do this winter, with your family or partner if applicable.
With the holiday season approaching, budgets can be stretched thin. Keep yours in good shape with some fun, inexpensive activities. Your mind, body and wallet will thank you.
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