Frugal joys are the free or inexpensive things that make us really happy, and they abound during the winter! While the holidays can be hard on the wallet, there are so many ways to enjoy winter without going overboard on expenses. Different things make each of us happy, so it’s important to experiment with activities and experiences to see what works for you. The best part about frugal joys is that they increase our happiness without adding to our expenses. And in winter, there’s something for everyone, whether you love snow or prefer to be cozy indoors.
Here are some winter-themed frugal joys to keep you jolly all winter.
Holiday lights. Find the best holiday lights in your area and check them out before they get put away. Dyker Heights in Brooklyn has an incredible and legendary lights display, and most lights should be up through the first week of January. No matter where you live, it’s fun to walk or drive through the neighborhoods that really go all out for the holidays.
Free ice skating. Find your local skating rink and hit the ice. Lots of rinks let you skate for free during certain hours, and some are free on specific days of the week or year. If you don’t own skates, gear rentals are usually fairly inexpensive. And if you happen to live nearby to a frozen pond, you can call your town office and ask whether the ice is safe for skating. Whether you’re a pro or a first-timer, after a few hours on the ice, you’ll likely be (happily) exhausted.
Find (or make) the best hot chocolate. Scout your area for the best hot chocolate, and taste test until your find your favorite. Lots of places have exciting twists on the classic, like salted caramel or spicy chile, while others stick to the tried-and-true standard. An even more inexpensive option is to find some recipes online and make several different varieties at home. There’s nothing better than sitting on your couch and holding a big mug of hot cocoa on a winter day.
Have a hot toddy tasting party. Like hot chocolate, the hot toddy is a classic winter drink with lots of fun variations. Experiment with different recipes during a hot toddy tasting party and vote on a winner. If you need another excuse, National Hot Toddy Day is January 11!
Host a cozy PJ party potluck. Get cozy and invite friends over for comfort food. Potlucks are a great way to enjoy lots of different foods, and they’re easier on your budget than hosting a dinner where you prepare every dish. Plus, you can’t beat the coziness of PJs and comfort food!
Hold a clothing swap. If you cleaned out your closet for the New Year, gather your friends who did likewise for a clothing swap. Lots of us have clothes that are in great shape, but that we just don’t wear anymore. A swap among friends is a great way to add new treasures to your closet for free, and you can donate any leftover items to a nonprofit that can use them.
Volunteer. Keep the season of giving going by volunteering for an organization you feel passionately about. Lots of nonprofits, charitable organizations, and even small businesses desperately need volunteers for both short-term and long-term projects. Consider how much time you can commit to an organization and ask how you can use your skills to help. The cost is your time and effort, but the rewards of being connected and giving back can be immeasurable.
Bundle up for a walk. Lots of us exercise exclusively at the gym during the colder months. But spending time outdoors in the winter can be beautiful, especially after a snowstorm or on a clear, blue sky day. Bundle up and meet a friend, take your dog (you know he’ll be overjoyed), or enjoy the quiet peacefulness of a walk in wintertime.
Make a vision board for the new year. Plan and dream about what 2017 will bring, and make a vision board to keep you grounded and inspired as you work towards your goals. (Bonus points if you sip the hot chocolate or hot toddy winner while doing it!).
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