Winter can drag on – but you don’t have to let it get you down. In fact, even if you’re daydreaming about a tropical vacation, backyard barbeques, and other summertime activities, you don’t have to stay stuck inside.
There are plenty of ways to get out of the house and enjoy the winter – all while spending very little cash. Here are 21 fun activities you can do this winter that won’t bust your budget.
1. Go museum hopping
Museums are a great escape for the whole family. Whether you’re into art, music, history, or science, you can find a museum for almost everything.
Better yet, going to museums can be affordable. For instance, in Seattle, you can get free access to many of the city’s local museums through your city library card, which is also free. And you can always check out deal sites like Groupon to see if there are any discounted rates available in your area.
2. Find an indoor pool
Dreaming of summertime? A trip to the local indoor pool may be just what you need.
Check out your local school, gym, or YMCA to see if there is an indoor pool near you. While gyms often require a monthly membership in order to join and use the facilities, you may find other local pools that offer an open swim hour for a small fee.
3. Go sledding
Instead of avoiding the snow and the cold, dive right into it with some old fashioned sledding! What could be better?
You can find sleds at your local hardware store or supermarket, but you can also find cheaper DIY alternatives. For instance, pool toys, such as a tube floatie, or even a trash can lid often work just as well.
Perhaps the best way to get over your winter woes is to dedicate your time and energy to helping others. Plus, volunteering is free, and it’s a great way to get involved with your community.
To find charitable organizations near you, check out VolunteerMatch.org, which will evaluate your interests and help you find opportunities that interest you.
5. Bake some sweet treats
Baking is the perfect cozy-day activity when the weather is indeed frightful. So, stay inside and warm your home with a good, old-fashioned baking day.
To find inspiration for your baking adventures, check out this list of classic baking recipes from Taste of Home.
6. Take an art class
Take advantage of the abundance of indoor time by focusing on hobbies you’ve always dreamed about starting. Why not take an art class?
You can either sign up for local, in-person classes or you can find free options online. One great way to start learning the basics of any skill is to find lessons on YouTube. Nothing is better than free!
7. Read books
Is there anything more comfy than curling up with a cozy blanket, a cup of tea, and a good book on a cold winter’s day?
Dust off those old books you have laying around and crack them open. Of course, you can always hit up your local library as well. Or, you can check out ThriftBooks, which sells deeply discounted, gently used books.
8. Do household projects
Have a long household to-do list? Use the winter season to get caught up on indoor projects.
Whether you want to paint a room, or tackle a kitchen remodeling project, take the time to do it this winter. Not only can you stay warm inside, but you can cross these items off your to-do list before the weather changes and you want to spend more time outside.
9. Try painting
Do you have an artistic gift? Even if you don’t, painting is an excellent hobby to test out. Anything can be considered art – all you have to do is start.
Painting canvases is an affordable and fun hobby. Plus, you can use the finished product to decorate your house, saving big bucks on home decor. To stock up on supplies, you can hit up your local art store, or shop at discounted supply stores online, such as JerrysArtarama.com.
10. Get organized
Have clutter hanging around your household? Dedicate some time this winter to organizing.
If you only have a few minutes, start by organizing a single drawer or cupboard. If you have more time, commit to organizing an entire room. Toss any old documents or broken objects and donate the rest. You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel when you don’t have to stare into cluttered kitchen cabinets!
11. Attend a fitness class
Winter blues have you feeling a bit down? Blast away the wintertime sadness by boosting your endorphins. A workout class is an excellent way to meet people, try a new activity, and boost your mood.
Not sure which class is right for you? Try using ClassPass, which is available in major cities. With ClassPass, you pay a monthly fee which allows you to try out classes in various fitness studios. If you aren’t sure whether to do yoga, cycle, or weightlift, ClassPass is an ideal solution.
12. Plan a summer vacation
Well, there’s no shame in admitting that winter just isn’t your favorite season. If you’re more of a summer-lovin’ kind of individual, then take this time to plan your dream vacation.
Whether you prefer to escape to a tropical island or backpack across Europe, planning a trip when it’s cold outside can be just the escape you need.
13. Bust out the board games
Board games may be old school, but they are reliable – and fun. Games are also a cheap way to kill some time.
Even if you don’t have classic board games in your house, you can always borrow them or download free game apps on your smartphone or tablet. Need some ideas to get started? Check out this huge list of iPhone games from TechRadar.
14. Go ice skating
Enjoy the winter with some family-friendly ice skating. Whether you are an expert skater or can barely stand up on your blades, you can surely have a good laugh and a memorable time. To rent skates, you can expect to pay around $15 to $20.
15. Clean out your home
Bored and stuck inside? Take advantage of the slower season and clean your house.
16. Visit friend and relatives
Most of us are guilty of not visiting family or friends often enough. So, if you have relatives or friends nearby, take time this winter to schedule a visit and catch up.
17. Take a winter hike
Hiking isn’t just for summer. There are plenty of winter hikes to take advantage of – if you have the right gear, that is.
Check out your local area to see if there are any winter-friendly hikes near you. The key is to find a hike in a lower elevation (where it isn’t super cold) that is well maintained and not too steep. Make sure you gear up with your hiking boots, winter coat, hats and gloves.
18. Plan a movie day
When the weather takes a turn for the worst, stay put and enjoy a movie day inside.
You can pick a winter classic or another movie of your choice. Whether you prefer action, romantic-comedies or another genre, a movie day is a great way to enjoy a day inside this winter.
19. Start your side gig
This winter season is an excellent time to start earning some extra cash on the side. Take this time to think about what you want to do for your side gig. Whether you’re dreaming of starting a blog, an online retail business, or something else, it’s time to get your creative juices flowing.
20. Try winter photography
Photography isn’t just a summertime activity. The snow and long winter days can make for some ideal photos.
So take your camera, trek out into the snow, and shoot some cool nature photos. For some inspiration, check out these tips from Outdoor Photographer.
There’s no shame in simply relaxing. Enjoy the darker days by spending ample time relaxing and recharging. Take plenty of time for self-care, too. Now is a great time to get in shape, eat right, and start other healthy habits.
Chime has your back this winter
Winter can feel endless, but with some frugal planning, you don’t have to fret. One easy way to kick off your budget-friendly winter activities is to open a no-fee savings account. For example, an online Chime account will help you save money easily – and automatically.
Are you ready to enjoy the winter season and save big bucks at the same time? We thought so.