40 Budget-Friendly Winter Activities

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I don’t know about you, but I have a love-hate relationship with winter.

I hate it because it gets cold where we live, and I despise the cold weather. But I love it because I love staying home in the cozy warmth and spending time with family.

But I know finding things to do in the winter can sometimes be a challenge, especially if you live where it gets cold and snows in the winter as it does here.

It makes it even more difficult if you are trying to stick to a strict budget and are trying not to spend much money. That’s where discovering some new budget-friendly winter activities can help you.

According to Tom Corley, a financial planner, accountant, and best-selling author who studies the habits of wealthy people, the most you should spend on recreation and entertainment is 10% of your take-home pay.

So let’s say you bring home $2500 per month. According to his recommendation, you should spend only $250 on things like eating out, spa treatments, manicures, girls’ nights, and family recreational activities.

That isn’t very much. Plus, if you have debt you are trying to pay off, you may want to consider keeping your fun money to 5% of your income to meet your goals faster.

Finding ways to save money on the entertainment portion of your budget can be challenging for some people. It may mean cutting out certain things completely to spend money on the things that mean the most to you.

Or you could stay within your entertainment budget by choosing free or extremely low-cost activities so that you can continue to spend money on other things.

So here is a list of budget-friendly winter activities to help you beat your winter boredom while sticking to your budget.

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Indoor Budget-Friendly Winter Activities


Winter is the perfect time to read that book you have been planning on reading. You could exchange books with a friend or visit your library to find a book.

Many libraries now have electronic copies of books you can sign out on their websites.

Or head to your local thrift store to find a used book for a budget-friendly winter activity.

Watch Movies

Cold weather and snow are the perfect excuses to have a movie marathon. Or rent a movie from Redbox for $2.00 a night. Redbox also has a selection of free movies you can stream right now!

Bake Cookies/Bread

Try a new recipe or make one your family loves. You could browse Pinterest for a new recipe or check out my favorite recipe website, allrecipes.com.

Tackle a DIY/home project

Stuck at home? That is the perfect time for getting to those home projects on your to-do list.

Have a Game Night

You could have a family game night or invite your friends over. Some of our favorites are Uno, Monopoly, Trouble, and Pictionary.

Do you have kids that love their video games? I’m sure they would love it if you played too.

Have a Potluck Dinner

Themed dinners are always fun. If you need ideas for dinner themes, I have a list of ideas in my free meal planning guide, or you can get just the list of theme night ideas below.


Find a free workout video online or a workout app for your phone. I really like the FitOn app. It’s free and has a variety of workouts for all fitness levels.

Have a Wine or Beer-Tasting Night (and Then Have a Sleepover)

Invite your friends over for a fun beer or wine-tasting night. Everyone can bring their favorite beverage to share and an appetizer to go with it.

Find a New Hobby

Some ideas are drawing, writing, painting, adult coloring books, knitting, crocheting, scrapbooking, & putting together models.

Start a Side Hustle

Finding a new way to increase your income will do wonders to help you stay on budget and reach your financial goals more quickly.

Check out these posts to help you find a new side hustle:

Work on Jigsaw Puzzles

We love putting a puzzle out on the table to work on if we will be home for several days. It is fun to spend time together as a family and get everyone off of electronics.

Decorate Your Home With What You Already Have

Sometimes just moving furniture around or moving decorative items to different rooms is all you need to help your home feel fresh and new.

Make a Family Yearbook

Do you have tons of pictures just sitting on your phone or computer from the past few years? I do! I have been slowly working on getting the past several years of pictures organized and made into photo albums.

You can use several great online companies to create your own family album. I have used Mixbook and Shutterfly before and have been very happy with the products I received.

Mixbook is super easy and user-friendly, and with Shutterfly, you can create things right on their app. They both frequently offer steep discounts on their products.


I am not what you would call a crafty person, but winter is the perfect time to work on your craft of choice!

Declutter, Clean, and Organize Your Home

Okay, for most people, this is not fun. But you have to admit, winter is the perfect time for getting your house organized and clean.

Keeping your home clean and organized can help you feel more relaxed. It’s a great stress reliever.

Try a New Dinner Recipe

A hearty soup, stew, or casserole is perfect for a cold winter night.

Indulge in Some Self-Care Time

Life is so busy that sometimes you-time gets put on the back burner. Give yourself a mani or pedi, try a new facial mask or scrub, soak in a bubble bath, or make a cup of tea and relax.

Play Cards

Learn a new card game or play the old classics. Rummy is the card game of choice in our house.

Make a Gingerbread House

If you don’t want to make gingerbread from scratch, you can buy some really nice inexpensive kits.

Host a Football or Basketball Party

Get your friends or family together to watch your favorite team. Keep it simple and have everyone bring a snack to share.

Budget Friendly Winter Activities: playing board games indoors

Budget-Friendly Winter Activities to do Outside the Home

Visit Local Museums

Local museums usually have free or cheap entry fees for their exhibits, and often kids get in free.

Visit Your Local Library

Check to see if they have guest speakers or activities for kids that could bust winter boredom.

Holiday Light Viewing

Walk or drive around to look at lit-up homes or businesses in your area.

Take a Walk

Get outside and go for a walk around your neighborhood.

Go on a Hike

Check out state parks and nature reserves in your area.

Ride Your Bike

Got a bicycle that is collecting dust? Dress warm, dust it off, and go for a ride!

Visit Relatives

Pack up the kids and car and take a road trip to see your family. Don’t forget to pack snacks for your trip to avoid spending money on food.

Go Sledding

Live in an area that gets snow in the winter? Make some memories by sledding with your family or meeting up with friends (you are never too old to go sledding!).


Whether at a soup kitchen, women’s shelter, or animal rescue, volunteering your time to help a good cause is an awesome way to give back to your community.


There is nothing more energizing than doing your workout outside in the cold! Dress warm and go for a jog, try yoga, or jump rope.

Build a Snow Fort

Help your kids build a snow fort. It’s a great way to get your kids away from their electronics to enjoy the season and make memories (don’t forget to snap some pictures for your photo album).

Attend a Winter Festival

Many communities have free or inexpensive festivals in the winter to check out.

Have a Bonfire and Make S’mores

Invite friends or have one with your family. This is perfect for family bonding time.

Test Out Your Photography Skills

Take pictures during your winter activities to use in your family yearbook. Look for different background scenes around your house or town to make them extra special.

Play Sports

My kids love their sports. They also love when my husband and I go outside and play their sports with them. Throwing the football together, playing two on two basketball or soccer, and practicing lacrosse are some of our favorites.

Create a Scavenger Hunt

If you have kids, a scavenger hunt would be so fun for them.

No kids? Have your friends over for an adult scavenger hunt! Have everyone contribute snacks or cans of adult beverages or sodas to hide. Create some teams and have a blast looking for the items (and enjoying them afterward!).

Ice Skating

Take your family to the local skating rink to learn to ice skate.

Star Gazing

Look for the constellations while chatting with your friends or family on a clear night.

Plan a Block Party With Your Neighbors

This is perfect for getting to know new neighbors and bonding with those you have known for a while.

Build a Snowman

This list would not be complete without adding this to it! Try making a snowman family.

Final Thoughts on Budget-Friendly Winter Activities

Staying within your budget can be really difficult to do, especially if you are keeping a tight budget to work aggressively toward your financial goals.

However, enjoying life and not feeling deprived is important when trying to pay off debt or save for a large purchase.

With some intentional spending and choosing budget-friendly winter activities, you can still have fun while working toward your financial goals.

Did I miss anything? What inexpensive winter activities do you do to keep your boredom at bay while sticking to your budget? I would love to hear your ideas. Please let me know in the comments!

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