As we head into shorter, colder days, what are some things you can do to keep Old Man Depression away but not break the bank? These ideas will warm you like a comfy sweater!
- Rent snowshoes and go for an outdoor hike. Snowshoes can be rented for $15 or less at many outdoor stores. Strap them on over your sturdy winter boots and enjoy the frosty views.
- Soak in a natural hot spring. After your vigorous snowshoeing, you’ll want to relieve your sore muscles. What better way to enjoy the snowfall than from a 100+ degree tub of healing mineral water?
- Drive around and look at Christmas lights. Most people have them up until mid-January at least. Fill a thermos with hot chocolate, pile into the minivan, and enjoy holiday spirit without the pressure to find the perfect gift. Use Google to find the best displays in your city.
- Take in a local college sport. Cheaper and often more exciting than the pros, your hometown university probably has several opportunities to cheer on student athletes.
- Make s’mores. Fire up that Weber or backyard fire pit and throw on your heavy jacket. Who says the melty yumminess of marshmallows and chocolate is only for summer camping?
- Go ice skating. Many outdoor shopping centers now have free winter ice rinks with skates to rent. Show off your inner Dorothy Hamel, or just have an excuse to cling desperately to your sweetie.
- Host a neighborhood Snow Day Party. Hey, if the schools are closed, you know your neighbors are stuck at home, so they can’t say no to an invitation. Challenge yourself and your guests to create a last minute potluck with just the random ingredients left in your pantry.
- Play in the snow. Building a snow man, snow fort, or just a snowball fight with the kids is a great way to burn off all of those holiday cookies.
- Go to the dollar movie theater. Catch up on those flicks you missed over the busy holidays for a fraction of the cost.
As a financial planner, I hope these things will keep you from doing the following no-so-budget- friendly cold weather activities:
- Online shopping out of boredom
- Buying an expensive new car because you need more excitement on the road than just ice
- Day trading in your 401(k)