Frugal Winter Fun for Family and Date Night


Ed note: While a storm like Juno will come and go, there’s no escaping the dreary winter, generally, in much of the United States. (Florida, I don’t want to hear about it.) Kelly Whalen has some great tips for affordable, indoor entertainment – whether you’re occupying the family or just your significant other.


Winter is here and with it comes the inevitable feeling of cabin fever. Whether you’re stuck inside due to a snowstorm, or avoiding outside due to frigid temperatures, you may get stuck on what to do for date night and family nights. Instead of lamenting that you have nothing to do, check out our lengthy list of ideas for frugal winter fun.

7 Frugal Winter Activities for Kids

1. Build a fort.

You may remember doing this when you were a kid, and as an adult it’s just as much fun! Grab some blankets, pillows and sheets, and create an epic fort.

2. Host a talent show.

Have each family member share a talent with the audience. The best part is you can do it in pajamas. To make it even more of a challenge for tweens and teens, put talents in a hat and let everyone choose.

3. Have a dance party.

Put together a fun new playlist or go to Pandora and pick fun dance music like Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake it Off’ and get your groove on. Bonus points if you dress up!

4. Spa day at home.

You may not be able to go to the spa, but you can have a spa day at home. Create homemade facials from kitchen ingredients, give yourself a manicure and pedicure, and style everyone’s hair. Look for DIY beauty ideas here.

5. Board game day:

Gather up board games and have a family game day or night! Have some snacks on hand to keep the fun going for hours.

If cabin fever gets to be too much, here are a few places to go with the family that won’t break the bank.

6. Volunteer.

Volunteering is a great way to get out of the house and help your community. Consider visiting a nursing home, donating time to a local food bank or spending time caring for animals at your local shelter. Look for charities that welcome young kids.

7. Bake or Cook:

Make a plan to bake something fun or cook a new meal with your kids. Heading to the grocery store is a nice break from the house.

WinterDates-fireplace7 Winter Date Ideas at Home

A little intro here: along the lines of, it’s also important to make some time for you and your spouse. Have no fear, these ideas take minimal planning and are easy on the budget.

1. Romantic fireside dinner.

Create your favorite at home meal after the kids go to bed, and enjoy a date night in front of the fire.

Tip: Don’t have a fireplace? No problem! You can find a fake fire channel on cable and streaming services.

2. Movie date.

Watch a movie and eat popcorn at home to save big. Not only can you cuddle up without having to brave the polar vortex, but you can watch in your pajamas if you want.

Savings tip: If you plan to go to the local movie theatre, shop for discounted tickets and skip the snacks by eating at home before you go.

3. Ice skating.

It’s a great winter date, and you can do it on a small budget.

Tip: Look for discount days or evenings.

4. Grown up game night.

There are many games that are fun for adults, so have some friends over for a grown up game night. Provide some adult beverages and snacks for a perfect date night in with friends!

5. Go sledding.

Is there snow on the ground? Why not go sledding? You think it’s only for kids, but it can be a fun date activity, too. End with some hot chocolate.

6. Beer or wine tasting.

Beer and wine tastings are a great way to expand your palate and have a fun date night.

Tip: Look for local wineries and breweries via your local tourism site. (Add a savings angle: many will give you the tasting for free with a purchase. You can also often find deals for this kind of activity on sites like Groupon.)

7. Trial classes.

Lots of places offer free trial classes whether you’re interested in trying your hand at cooking something new or learning some ballroom dance moves.

Tip: Search Google for your town or city name and free classes.

Hope you have lots of winter fun, and stay warm!

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