Are you suffering from post-holiday budget blues? Don't despair. There are plenty of ways to enjoy yourself during the winter that won't damage your finances. Here are eight ideas to get you started.
Remember the thrill of sledding when you were a kid? It was fun back then, and it still is. If you don't live in a snowy climate, give ice blocking a try. Ice blocking is just "sledding" downhill on blocks of ice.
Find an indoor rink and rent some skates, or head out to a nearby frozen pond. It doesn't matter how skilled you are. Whether you are perfecting your spin or crashing into your family members, you are guaranteed to have fun. Or, if you still have your old hockey equipment, get some friends together for a friendly scrimmage. No equipment? Check for rentals in your area.
Playing in the snow
Channel your inner child and play in the snow. Building a snowman, making snow angels and snow forts are all perfect activities for a snowy day. If the weather cooperates, try your hand at ice sculptures or think big and create an ice palace.
Some people wonder why you would want to sit an upturned bucket and stare at a hole in the ice. But if you love fishing, you should try ice fishing. Just find a frozen lake or pond (make absolutely sure the ice is not too thin). If you don't have fishing equipment, you can often find used equipment for sale. You may have a friend with a well-equipped ice house or just bring a chair. Best of all, when ice fishing, you won't get sunburned.
With all those outdoor activities, you are going to need some new mittens. If you don't know how to knit, wintertime is the best time to take up a new hobby. Get some inexpensive needles and yarn, and you are ready to start. There are many tutorials online to get you started, but knitting is also a fun social activity. Check your local area for knitting groups. People are happy to share their skills, and help you if you can't figure the pattern out. Even a scarf or blanket is a simple and creative project. Or knit something for someone else, such as a shut-in or a new baby.
Learning a new skill
Everyone has a secret longing to learn a new skill or improve an old one. Find your passion and pursue it during the winter months. If you love watching cooking shows, sign up for a cooking class through your community adult education program. Or visit your craft store for some inexpensive paints and canvases. You may even want to host your own paint and sip night. Learn to play a musical instrument. Is there a novel in your head, or do you want to write your memoir? Get out a pad of paper and your pen and start writing. Or join an improvisational theater group. There are endless ways to meet interesting new people and enjoy the fruits of your talent.
Have a game night
Dust off your board games and invite your family and friends to participate in a game night. If you don't have any games, you can find budget-friendly games at thrift stores, or invite others to bring their favorites. You can even host a competition, fueled by snacks you loved when you were a child. Hand out goofy prizes to the winners.
Visit museums or historic homes
Many museums or historic sites offer special programs or reduced prices during the winter months. Winter is a great time to explore some of the lesser-known museums in your area. Or brush up on your local history and tour some historic homes.
You don't have to travel to an expensive resort or spend a lot of money to enjoy yourself. Plan some outdoor activities and work on new skills for a fun and fulfilling winter season.