Post-pandemic, the value of the American dollar has decreased significantly. People are searching for fall and winter activities that don’t break the bank. After all, just because the dollar won’t get you as much as it did a couple of years ago, doesn’t mean you have to give up on entertainment altogether! Below is a list of activities that are fun and allow you to stay on budget. Before venturing out, remember that to participate, you must be prepared. Make sure your car insurance is adequate and up to date by searching for the cheapest car insurance and finding the best coverage for you.
- Go Ice Skating. You don’t have to be a world champion or Olympic figure skater to have fun on the ice. In fact, kids as young as 3-5 can strap on the ice skates (though parents are urged to be very patient with them!). While mastering the art of ice skating might take years of practice, it doesn’t mean you won’t have fun trying. Plus, it’s a tremendous bonding opportunity for family, friends, and even first dates. Depending on the city, there are likely several places around, indoors and outside. Just don’t forget your protective gear, especially if you are a newbie (helmet, kneepads, mittens, etc.). Cost: You can choose to rent or buy ice skates, and it might cost around $10 to rent each pair.
- Have a Snow Sculpting Competition. Invite friends, family, and neighbors for a bit of friendly competition in the snow. Serve hot cocoa and cinnamon crisp cookies, and play either holiday or popular music in the background. Ideally, a compressed block of snow is a good starting point, so choose a day with lots of snow on the ground, very little wind, and moderate winter temperatures. Have folks bring their own snow sculpting tools (such as hand spade shovels, and various accessories), and see what they come up with after a couple of hours. Cost: Hot cocoa and cookies.
- Take in the Holiday Lights Around Town. The least expensive way to soak in the splendor and beauty of holiday lights is to grab your family and walk around the neighborhood. If it’s too cold or your neighborhood just doesn’t satisfy, pack everyone in the car and search for the best holiday lights in town. Some houses are virtual masterpieces, and they might just be enough to motivate you to build on your own decorations next year. Light is naturally inspiring, and part of the wonder and celebration at holiday time is the sparkling of lights set amid the cold, dark winter. Cost: At the most, a bit of fuel.
- Binge watch Favorite Shows with Friends. The pandemic has inspired some creative modes of entertainment, and one of them is the ability to watch movies and shows remotely with other people. While the idea behind this isn’t new, synchronizing multiple sets of viewers was nearly impossible until platforms like Teleparty (which includes Netflix, Disney, Hulu, and HBO) came along. Others, such as Squad, Groupwatch, Scener, and Watch2Gether are all designed to bring people closer while enjoying their favorite streaming entertainment. Cost: Some platforms require logins and/or accounts, while others don’t. Research which suits you and your friends best.
- Host a Potluck Dinner. Just because times are lean, doesn’t mean you have to shy away from socializing. Throw together chili in the crockpot and invite friends and neighbors over to bring toppings, cornbread, etc. Light some candles, turn on some music, offer hot mulled cider or hot toddies and encourage lots of mingling! Cost: The cost of chili, snacks, and drinks, and your time cleaning pre and post-party.
- Visit the Aquarium or Zoo. We tend to forget that zoo and aquarium animals even exist in the winter time. More than likely, local zoos and aquariums offer deep discounts of their admission prices when interest is low. Plus, you can avoid the summer heat and crowds, to be able to more fully appreciate the animals in their natural habitats. Oftentimes, zoos and aquariums partner up with local museums, offering the consumer discounts on admission prices to museums and planetariums, as well. Cost: Varies, but likely deeply discounted from summer rates.
Although most people prefer the summer, simply because the snow is flying and temperatures are dropping doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. There are plenty of things to do in your home, neighborhood, and community that are family-friendly and economical.