This week I’ve got an extra special treat for you. While I’m off exploring Portugal, Anne is stepping in with a fabulous (and timely) guest post packed with tips for winter on a budget activities to help you survive the cold snap. I’ve got my fingers crossed for an early spring but will be following these tips to get through this last chunk of winter. 

Anne is a fellow Canadian and cold weather sufferer. She loves finding the perfect gift idea that’s on budget. She has been writing about gift-giving and personal finance online since 2012 over at Unique Gifter. Her favourite beverage is champagne, and she loves figure skating, even if it’s harder now that she’s not 20!

Welcome Anne, and thanks for filling in 🙂 

Where I live, the winters are long and cold. They’re snowy. The days are shorter. You go stir crazy and start itching for a tropical vacation that you can’t afford. Don’t you dare put that last-minute deal to Cuba on your credit card! Here’s our survival guide full of winter on a budget activities so you can stay sane until spring.

Our Winter on a Budget Activity Tips – Hibernating Is Entirely Optional

It’s pretty hard to enjoy winter when you live where the air hurts your face. (How many days until spring again?) Here are some ideas to help you stay warm and survive winter that you won’t have to spend all summer paying off. 

Netflix and… Warm?

There’s a reason most TV programming stops in the summertime. Winter is the best time of year to catch up on your favourite shows or check out all those summer blockbusters you missed last year. Cozy up on the couch with your pets (or significant other) and your warmest blankets while you get your binge-watch on. Bonus points if you include snacks or hot beverages.

Thrift Your Winter Wardrobe

Whether it’s time to replace your winter coat or you just want to add some more sweaters to your wardrobe, thrift stores are the place to be if you’re shopping on a budget. Skip the big chains (unless it’s half-price day) and check out your local charity based shops. Don’t forget to set a budget and stick to it, though! 

Eat Soup

Consuming warm food and drink does help you stay warm in cold weather. Be adventurous and make some homemade soup; you can even try out some new recipes! If you’re not a cook, at least experiment with some new varieties at the grocery store. There’s no shame in looking forward to trying a new type of soup at the end of a long winter day. 

The dark days of winter can be budget busters if you are trying to escape to the beach. Our survival guide of winter on a budget activities and treats will help you cheaply and frugally enjoy yourself, without going into debt.

Plan a Night in

No, don’t sit in every night by yourself. Take advantage of everyone’s winter blues and plan a “stay in” evening with your friends instead of going out. You can play board games, have a video game tournament, or host a living room movie night. Or get everyone over to watch your favourite sports event together. To save money hosting, have everyone bring their own drinks and snacks, or do a potluck.

Get Out of The House

Night ins are great, but you can’t stay in all the time. If you’re going stir crazy with the weather, try and get yourself out of the house for a few hours. Try and find cheap or free activities to check out, like a community Christmas tree bonfire, or even visit your local library. Go alone, as a date with your partner, or invite a friend to tag along. 

Cut Back on Your Heating Bill

If you have a fireplace or woodstove, it’s pretty easy to heat cheaply in the wintertime. Sadly, most people aren’t so lucky. You can still cut back on your heating bills by dressing warm even when at home. Wear socks and a hoodie when lounging around the house, have throws ready to go on the couch, and add an extra blanket to your bed so you can turn the thermostat down. This is also the time to check if there are any drafty areas in your home that could be easily fixed.

Enjoy the Sun

Days can be grey and dreary in the winter, and the days are shorter, but we still get sunshine. On a sunny day, open the blinds and let in some natural light. If you can, try and get outside (even if it’s just for a few minutes). One of the main reasons people feel sadder in the winter is a lack of vitamin D, so this can help temporarily uplift your mood. 

Do Something You’ve Been Putting Off

You know what I don’t do all summer when I’m enjoying the beautiful weather? Plenty. Take advantage of your desire to stay in and tackle some of those chores you’ve been putting off. Give your home a new coat of paint, tackle those small household repairs, or even read a book you’ve been procrastinating on picking up. 

Go on a Staycation or Mini Holiday

If you have a little bit of money in your budget, but not enough for a full-on vacation, a staycation is an awesome winter “pick me up.” It could be as simple as a massage or day at the spa or book a night in a hotel that has a nice pool, hot tub, and maybe even a free hot breakfast. It’s no substitute for sunshine and warmth, but it might help you hang on until spring.

Give in And Enjoy Winter

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right? It happens every year, so why not try and enjoy the winter season. Lots of winter sports like ice skating or snowshoeing can be done for cheap or free once you buy the equipment. For one afternoon out, try posting on Facebook to see if you can borrow equipment from friends. If you can afford it (or have friends with gear), skiing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing are a lot of fun too. And outdoor walks in the sunshine are always good for your mood, even if it is chilly out there. 


This kind of falls into the “treat yo self” category, but you can still do it on a budget. The harsh winter conditions leave our skin feeling dry and cracked. If you have eczema or sensitive skin, it can be a nightmare. Up your moisturizing routine and get some good quality products that make you and your skin happy. 

Plan Your Summer

Did you know the anticipation of a vacation has a huge mental health benefit? If you can’t wait for summer, start making summer plans now. You can begin to detail your summer vacation, plan a road trip, or just create a summer bucket list. DIY a countdown in your house or grab an app to make the waiting a bit more fun.

Focus on Your Mental Health

For most of us, winter is long and hard. If you have SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or get bogged down by the winter blues, this time of year can have a serious effect on your mental health. Don’t give up your self-care rituals and consider trying something new, like yoga or exercise, to uplift your mood. If you really feel down during winter, talk to your doctor about taking vitamin D or an antidepressant.

Me again! I hope you enjoyed Anne’s winter on a budget activities and tips. If you have any additional advice you’d like to share to make winter bearable, then do so in the comments. 

This post was proofread by Grammarly.

Image Credit: Giulia Bertelli


  1. As a fellow Canadian living in an area where winter feels about 3797490 months long every year, I enjoyed this list. This year, I’ve been focusing hard on drinking all the tea, accomplishing all the nagging indoor tasks (like finally organizing the bathroom cabinet) and moisturizing aggressively haha. All while counting down the days until spring.

    Hope you had a great vacation, Sarah!

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