Editor’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. 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.
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?