15 Frugal and Indulgent Winter Activities

15 Fun and Frugal Winter Activities | www.TheHeavyPurse.comEditor’s Note: Tanya from Eat Laugh Purr is back to share some fun activities you and your family can enjoy this winter.

Since Shannon shared 15 Smart Financial Moves to Make in 2015, I decided to share 15 fun ways to spend some of that extra money you’re saving and earning. šŸ™‚ Seriously, though, fun is something that needs to be incorporated into our lives, whether we spend a little or a lot depends on our budget and interests.

The key is to remember to spend mindfully. Shannon has shared before how she has the girls help decide how to use their entertainment budget, which I love. It’s a great way to help kids (and adults) balance indulgence and mindfulness. There is nothing wrong with consciously choosing to spend your budget on one highly desired activity, knowing that it means you’ll need to find very low-cost and/or free activities for the remainder of the month/year. I believe that’s called life.

It’s a great lesson to learn and one I’ve taken to heart. I’ve had family who had great wealth but never permitted themselves to enjoy it. It was a burden and their frugalness bordered on being miserly. While I’ve had other family members fritter away their wealth and create substantial debt because they spent mindlessly on everything but nothing that truly mattered. I, myself, have been guilty of that mindset too, but now I do my best to spend with intention, including fun activities.

5 Indulgent Family Activities to Enjoy this Winter

I’m excluding the big family vacation and instead focusing on day or weekend outings.

See a Professional Play

The first play I saw was Annie and it was a community play. I thought it was brilliant and remain a huge advocate of local theater, but I also think you have to experience a professional show at least once. And by that, I mean a theater show with paid, professional actors on a large stage with beautifully constructed sets in a grand theater. It’s a completely different experience and a great family outing.

Watch Your Favorite Band in Concert

My first concert was New Kids on the Block. You can stop laughing now. I was 14 and they were cool. Whether it’s a couples-only night out or a family event, the difference in seeing your favorite band live to listening to them on Spotify is night and day.

Cheer Your Favorite Professional/Semi-Professional Team

It’s certainly fun to support your local teams, but attending a professional game is in a league of its own. If your family is sports crazy, then nothing beats seating in a big arena filled with thousands of cheering fans as you watch your favorite team hopefully trounce their opponent.

Spend the Day at an Amusement Park

Now depending on where you live, you might not be able to go to an outdoors amusement park, but there are still plenty of indoor water parks you can enjoy. And if you live somewhere where it’s currently below zero, you would most likely enjoy a day in the water where you can pretend it’s 70 degrees outside.

Enjoy a Weekend Getaway

Even a couple days away from the typical grind of life can do wonders. Also, depending where you live, you may need to travel outside of your hometown to enjoy some of the more indulgent activities mentioned above. Be smart about it and you can enjoy an indulgent, yet affordable, weekend getaway.

Bonus Savings Tips

Just because you plan to be a bit more indulgent doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of a good bargain. Nothing makes me happier when I can spend less than planned because I scored some great deals. Living Social and Groupon offer discounts on specific events or activities, and I regularly see coupon codes for an additional 10-15% off, which nicely sweetens an already discounted price.

Be on the lookout for any specials or discounts, including group discounts, from the business itself. On low traffic days, they may offer special deals or be willing to give you a discount if asked. Or consider asking friends and family to join you, which may mean the better priced group rate.

Frugal Family Activities to Enjoy this Winter

These are some fun, low-cost to no-cost ideas you family will love.

Enjoy Outdoor Winter Activities

I grew up in Minnesota, so I spent hours outside ice skating and sledding until my cheeks were nice and rosy. Cross country skiing or downhill skiing and tubing are also popular choices. Or build a snowman in your front lawn and have a friendly snowball fight.

Go on a Geocaching Adventure

This looks like so much fun. Many kids (and lots of adults too) dream about finding a treasure and that’s essentially what Geocaching is. You download an app for your smartphone to find hidden items in different locations. You can also create your treasure hunt.

Tip: This is also a great idea if you’re looking for a low-cost, fun birthday party activity.

Visit a Local Museum

Most museums have small entrance fees but many also offer free weekends occasionally too. Fun, educational and low-cost, a real win-win in my book.

Tip: If you sponsor one of your local museums, your membership may include free entry on select dates or discounted tickets. Additionally, many larger corporations offer employee perks such as discounted tickets to museums and other attractions.

Show Off Artistic Talents with Snow Paint

This will appeal to young kids and budding artists. Take a spray bottle and fill it with water and food coloring. Head outdoors and let your kids color the snow, although make sure they aim at the snow, not each other! And maybe avoid the color yellow too. šŸ™‚

Host a Tropical Party Potluck

Unless you live somewhere warm, like me, you’re probably counting down the days until Spring. Forget about the snow and cold by hosting a tropical party party. Have guests dress-up in summer/beach clothes and bring a “summer” dish to share. You can make an easy, indoor version of the famous Kalua pork and some fruity adult and virgin drinks.

A Themed Night

Pick a theme and choose your meal and movie around it. Hungry for Italian? Then pair spaghetti and meatballs with The Godfather if your kids are old enough or Lady and The Tramp if they’re not.

Game Night Competition

Make game night interesting by offering a highly coveted prize. Perhaps, the winner receives a Get Out of a Chore coupon or something similar. And don’t feel like you have to play the same game every time. Switch it up. From board games to video games to card games, it helps keep things interesting, and it’s fun to learn a new game together too.

Tip: You can purchase games very cheaply at garage sales, although you run the risk of missing pieces. Or buy games after Christmas when they are heavily discounted.

Bake Treats to Share

Whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies or brownies to share with friends and neighbors who are homebound and/or with your local police officers, firemen and teachers. These individuals protect and educate your kids and appreciate a sweet treat as a thank you. Plus, getting your kids in the kitchen with you is just an extra bonus.

Volunteer as a Family

Pick an organization or cause that you care about as family and find out what you can do to help beyond giving money. Whether it’s serving at a soup kitchen, donating items at a food shelf, walking dogs at the humane society or flipping pancakes at your Church fundraiser, it’s a good reminder of how much we truly have and the difference we can make in other’s lives.

What are some of your favorite frugal and indulgent winter activities?

TanyaTanya is a freelance writer, web designer and blogger. You can find her at Eat Laugh Purr where she and her ginger tabby, Max, enjoy simple pleasures every day and at TV Fanatic reviewing Madam Secretary and more. Connect with Tanya on twitter and Pinterest. And please, no judgement on the number of cat pins I have.
January 28, 2015  •  14 Comments  •  Finance

Leave a Comment


  1. Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
    I went and saw a Michael Jackson cover band last weekend and it was great! So entertaining I forgot about the walk back to the car where I was completely freezing!! :)
    • Thursday, January 29th, 2015
      That's sounds like great fun. He had so many wonderful songs. And you know it's good when you forget about the cold. :)
  2. Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
    I am a huge advocate of allowing my three and five year olds to help decide where our money goes. One of our favourite activities is trawling charity shops (thrift stores). They get Ā£5 each we can spend a whole afternoon browsing and my older daughter is already great at haggling!
  3. Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
    We actually love working on puzzles in the winter, and they are even more frugal because my son received a number of them as gifts for Christmas. Puzzles are a great way for us to not only spend quality time together as a family but to challenge ourselves to accomplish something together as well. It always feels great when we complete another one.
    • Thursday, January 29th, 2015
      Puzzles are a great winter activity! It's such a great feeling of accomplishment when you put that final piece in place! And it's great that you son receives puzzles as gifts too, a fun and practical gift.
  4. Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
    This is a great list Tonya! We really enjoying playing different games as a family. Our two oldest are getting to the age where they can actually focus on the game and really enjoy it. We'll make dinner together and follow it up with some games and spend very little in the process. :)
    • Thursday, January 29th, 2015
      Sounds like a great family night, John. I know my brother and his family do a lot of board game/video game family nights like that too. They really enjoy them and it's good family time too.
  5. Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
    Good ideas. Not too much changes in my routine in "winter" versus any other time of the year. This is awards season though so sometimes I try to have an Oscar party potluck. That's always fun, and we make it competitive.
    • Thursday, January 29th, 2015
      Yeah, winter is sort the same as spring, fall and summer here. :) But I'm not complaining. I might miss the fall colors but I like wearing flip flops year-round. Love the Oscar party idea. I love seeing what they wear. And, of course, who wins. I haven't seen Birdman and Boyhood yet but I want to, heard lots of good things about both movies.
  6. Thursday, January 29th, 2015
    Ok I just want to admit right now that I've never heard of snow paint before but now I totally want to use it! I don't have kids, but we do have A LOT of snow at present, which is just screaming to be painted :). I'm all about the free entertainment activities and have found that there are plenty here in my city. In addition to free museums, the options for outdoor hiking and even just walking are plentiful. And, game night is an old favorite of ours :). Great list!
  7. Thursday, January 29th, 2015
    Ironically spending the day at an amusement park is a very popular winter activity here in frigid Minnesota. We have the biggest indoor amusement park (in the world?) at Mall of America. Great place to bring kids in the Winter.
  8. Friday, January 30th, 2015
    Hey there Tanya,

    There are great ideas! I like the themed nights and baking...of course I would, it has to do with food ;).

    I haven't been to the museum in a long time. I might pack up the grandkids and hang out at the children's museum for a while.

    Thanks for sharing this great list of activities with us. Have a great day and weekend.
  9. Friday, January 30th, 2015
    I just saw the NKOTB is on tour this summer. I'm surprised they haven't changed their mane to Old Men Already Been Around the Block, but I guess that doesn't roll off the tongue quite a well. We love ice skating and making hot chocolate after playing in the cold.
  10. Monday, February 2nd, 2015
    Hi Tanya, I love ice skating! Who doesn't? I even enrolled myself when I was in primary school. It is more fun when we're with friends and families. I like your advice 'Watch Your Favorite Band in Concert'. And I am looking for a good concert here in our area. I think Ed Sheeran will be performing. I hope I can still get a ticket.
  • Meet Shannon

    "As a Certified Financial Planner, it is my passion to help individuals and families build a healthy relationship with money. I look forward to helping you raise financially confident kids.ā€ - Shannon Ryan