Spending quality time with the family doesn’t have to break the bank. Check out these wallet-friendly winter activities that the entire family can enjoy.
Play in the snow
There are a couple of ways you can plan a week’s family vacation to the snowy mountains or your local ski resort on a budget. See if any of your friends or family members will lend you their place in exchange for a service or favor. Do some research about local ski resorts, bed & breakfasts, cabins or hotels that might offer you a family discount during an off-season. A good time to score discounts is right after holidays when older children go back to school. This is ideal if you have young children or older kids with varying school holiday schedules.
If money is tight, but you still want change of surroundings, see what the next town or city has to offer. All you need is a tank of gas, some changes of clothes for the little ones, and snacks. Check out the natural landscapes, parks, free museums, and try a couple of the local diners.
Check out Your Local Farmers Market
The farmers market is a great place to spend a couple of hours enjoying the outdoors with the family. As you walk by the people selling fresh fruits and vegetables, canned goods, farm-fresh dairy products, you will see snack vendors selling prepared foods including popcorn, funnel cakes, hot dogs, and other foods you can try. Some farmers markets have booths that offer kid-friendly activities. Spend the afternoon buying seasonal produce to try at home. Create recipes with these unfamiliar fruits and vegetables at home. Sometime vendors sell boxes of mixed vegetables at a greatly discounted price.
Choose a Library with a Lot to Offer
Libraries offer much more than just books and movies. Some have outdoor areas with water fountains and landscaping where you can sit and enjoy a few hours of afternoon gazing and absorbing calm vibes while the kids enjoy reading or drawing. Also, many libraries offer book sales where you can score awesome books for only a couple of dollars.
Your Community is a Treasure Trove of Ideas
While visiting your local library or attending a town hall meeting, grab a flyer for upcoming community events. Most of these events are free and are family-friendly. Keep in mind what your family likes when deciding which events to attend. Community events include opportunities to volunteer to help others in the community. This may include dividing canned foods into boxes, sorting clothes and toys for a drive, volunteering to shovel snow, etc.
Keep an Eye Out for Special Events
Many people plan their meals around whatever ingredients are on sale at the grocery store. Use the same strategy when planning quality time with the family. Keep an eye on your city’s website for special event announcements. Plan your family trips around what the free or reduced-cost entertainment being offered that week. Pack accordingly to avoid overspending during the event. For instance, if the event is an outdoor movie, make sure to bring plenty of popcorn for the family and candy. You can even make and bring snacks for your child to enjoy at the event.
Look for Free or Discount Skiing Deals
Ask about the nearest ski destination that doesn’t charge or charges a low-cost fee for families. While entrance may be budget-friendly, consider the supplies you will need when you get there. If you are planning to make a weekend out of the ski trip, you need to rent a cabin or reserve a hotel room. Rooms are cheaper during the school season, many hotels, bed and breakfasts, and cabins offer a party rate. Try coordinating your trip with another family and share the cost and benefit from the group rates.
Make sure your clothing and gear need is safe and comfortable. Consider purchasing ski equipment instead of renting it if your family plans to go often. However, make sure to rent these items for the first family ski trip to find out if this is something you will participate in regularly. Save money by bringing your own snacks and easy-to-prep meal ingredient to enjoy at your destination.