With Winter here and Valentines Day right around the corner, I thought that it would be the perfect time to share with you guys some of my favorite activities. However, with Christmas and the New Year, you might have spent more money that you wanted to on gifts, so here’s the twist : why not try having frugal fun ?
Even if it is always nice to go out and treat yourself to a nice cup of coffee, or a dinner with friends, or even a movie, I would like to remind you of the possibility to spend time with your loved one without having to spend a dime. More fun for less money : now how does that sound ?
- Hosting a cozy movie night at home
This is pretty self explanatory, and probably the most popular free activity of all time. Just invite a few friends over, and lay out some blankets and pillows on your sofas to watch a movie together. Pick a comedy for some fun, a horror movie to get scared together (always better than being alone right ?) or even an award-winning film or documentary to get your daily dose of culture in.
Of course, snacks are mandatory ! Feel free to buy some popcorn or pretzels at your local supermarket, or if you’re feeling a bit fancier, just make some finger foods and appetizers. The combinations are endless : veggies and hummus, fresh fruit, crackers and spreads, toasts, olives, nuts… They do not require a lot of preparation, and everyone can bring something homemade for a fancier and healthier night (or not… I mean homemade pizza, brownies or cookies do sound like a very good idea too, just saying !). You can even make them together.
- Organizing a classy brunch
We often think of organizing a dinner to invite friends, however, we might be too busy or feel lazy at night, especially during the winter months. So why not host a brunch for a change ? You can set up a facebook event, or be even fancier by sending out some personalized e-vites ! Want to go even further ? You can establish a dress code too ! It’s always nice to be dressed up on a Saturday or Sunday to go to a nice brunch, isn’t it ?
Then for the food, you can keep it simple in order to keep your budget, and ask people to bring stuff too. Just make a list and everyone can choose what they will bring : toasts, sandwiches, salads, tabbouleh, fresh veggies and fruit with hummus or guacamole… And if you want to take it to the next level, you can make pancakes, crepes or waffles for your guests and they can bring some toppings such as chocolate sauce, peanut butter, fruit, marmelade… Who can resist a pancake station ?
- Having a girly sleepover
How can we not think about having a girly sleepover for those winter nights when we just do not want to go outside ? In addition, it will probably bring back some very good memories. Pyjamas are mandatory of course (it is the opportunity to go crazy on the onesies guys !), as well as a good (or very bad) romantic comedy. If you want to go back in time and reenact your school sleepovers, ask your friends to bring some clothes and makeup so that you can share, trade, and try new things ! Light a few candles, munch on some snacks, do your nails and get up to date on your friends’ lives.
- Have a picnic
I feel like people think of picnics as being a summer activity. To one extent, it is true : going out to eat when it is raining or 0°c outside might not sound like the best idea. However, if you pick a relatively sunny and warm day, you can go in a cute park, or near the beach depending on where you life to enjoy the rare sunlights of winter. Stock up on the fluffy blankets, and fill your thermos with hot tea or coffee to keep you warm and enjoy the peacefulness and stillness of the place. If it is too windy, you can even stay in your car : just open your trunk and lay out your blanket and food there while enjoying the view.
- Organize a yard sale
You probably have accumulated a lot of stuff you do not really need throughout last year, and maybe one of your new year’s resolution is to get rid of some of those stuff, and go more minimalistic. Well, take one day to organize a yard sale : gather the things you and your friends don’t need, then advertise it on social media and tell your neighbors. Not only will it be fun, you’ll also end up making money !
Try something more cultural or crafty
- Host a book or movie discussion group
One of my favorite activity during winter is to curl up in a fluffy blanket to read a good book or watch a movie with a hot cup of tea or coffee. If it’s raining outside, it’s even better ! So why not share the fun you had while reading a particular book or watching a certain movie with your friends ? You can decide in advance which book to read or movie to watch in order to discuss it at your gathering, or you can just ask them to talk about something they liked. You will discover new works, and this might turn into a regular meeting who knows.
- Host a board games night
It is good sometimes to just have a night off without technology, and just disconnect your phones and computer in order to better appreciate the company of your friends. Invite them over for a technology-free night and play board games and card games ! If you don’t have any at home, you can always play taboo, mimes or riddle games. Fun guaranteed.
- Discover your own town
You can also go outside and not spend any money, I promise. I think that my favorite thing to do during the day is probably to explore the town I live in : go to the museum, wander in the streets, do some windown shopping and walk next to the river as if I was a tourist. Invite your friends for some fun, or your significant other for a romantic yet simple day, and don’t forget your camera to immortalize those good and free moments.
- DIY night
Looking for activities on the more artsy side ? Then DIY is for you. I find that too often we procrastinate making our own stuff, whether it is knitting a scarf, making a scrapbook or creating some personalized hand crafted cards. So what about inviting your friends over with all the different materials that they have (colored paper, funny scissors, glue, glitters, stickers…) and work on a project together ? The complementary glass of wine to keep you focused is highly recommended.
- Cooking night
Who loves to cook ? Who loves to eat ? But who lives with too few people to make a giant feast every weekend without having to eat the same thing for the rest of the week ? Well cooking night might be an answer to your problems. Get creative in the kitchen with your friends and cook an amazing dinner, and why not a three or five course meal if you’re really inspired ? Have an appetizers station, then a group making dinner, and of course, people to make deserts (yes, not desert, deserts) and cocktails (hello mojitos, white russians and pina colada!). The really great thing about this is that if you don’t have some ingredients or specific cooking utensils (spiralizer, blender, waffle maker…) your friends probably will and you can share them. Also, you get to eat a very delicious meal AND share the leftovers among yourselves.
Get your sweat on !
- Go for a hike
If you’re lucky enough to live near a big park, a forest, a even a beach, spending some time in nature is always a good idea. Don’t forget your camera and get your sweat on by going on a hike with a group of friends. The best part ? Going back and having some nice hot tea or coffee (or chocolate with extra whipped cream and cake !) together.
- Workout session
Now I know that I might frigthen some of you by mentioning working out in an article about fun, but trust me, going for a run with friends is so much more motivating than being on your own. Time will fly, and calories will be burnt ! You can also opt for a group session at home by pushing your furniture on the sides and putting on a Youtube video in your living room : crossfit, tabata, aerobic or even dance, the possibilities are endless. And if you feel like something calmer, just choose a yoga or pilate video.
As you can see, it is always possible to have some fun on a shoestring budget. The main point is to get get creative and remember that spending a ton of cash is not a requirement to have fun ! Speaking of tight budget, you might want to use some budgeting apps to make your life easier such as the personal capital one (click here for more info).
And don’t forget to let me know which activities you tried !