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In a flash of tinsel and candy cane stripes, the holiday season is over before you know it, leaving you feeling a little flat on the other side of the new year.
With nothing left to look forward to but lousy March weather, your family might be going a little squirrely after the holidays. But not for much longer!
Just keep scrolling for some ideas to beat the winter blues.
Here are three ways you can survive the dark and dreary months after the holidays without spending a lot of money.
Host A Dinner Party
During the holidays, most of us won’t think twice about accepting invitations to dinner at diners and fancy restaurants alike.
December isn’t just the season of giving — it’s the season of eating out and socialising far more than you usually do.
You can save money without sacrificing your social calendar by moving the dinner to your home.
Rather than making a reservation at your favourite restaurant, ask your friends and family to RSVP to Chez Vous.
You’ll be able to share a meal without paying the expensive bill that comes with a typical dinner out.
To maximise your savings as host, make it a family-style potluck.
Each person can bring ingredients you need for the meal, or each person can bring a pre-made dish to the table.
It’s an easy way to organise a group meal, and it will save your family money each month in grocery bills when you don’t have to make everything!
Find Free Events In Your Community
Part of the winter doldrums come from spending too much time inside. Cabin fever is real. You need to break up the monotony by leaving your den of hibernation every once in a while.
Getting your family out of the house is a great way to lift their spirits, and you don’t necessarily have to spend money.
You might be surprised to find out just how many free events are happening in your community every week.
Check in with your local town hall, library, or community center to see what’s happening.
They should have a schedule of all the free lectures, book clubs, open houses, and music festivals that are planned for the winter.
When you organise your outing around free community events, you might just make friends in the neighbourhood.
Make It A Movie Night
With Oscars season coming up, it may be tempting to take your family to the theatres every time you feel the winter blues hit.
While it’s a great way to spend time together, a family outing at the cinema is expensive.
Ticket prices have never been higher. The average ticket price for 2017 was nearly $9, which means a family of four can expect to pay $36 on tickets alone — not including any of the extras like popcorn or candy.
One way you can avoid these costs is by seeing a movie on special family nights. Plenty of cinemas offer discounted ticket pricing for families at specific times throughout the week.
Call your theater or check their website to see if your local cinema offers a similar service.
If they don’t, why not bring the cinema to you?
Find a time when you and your family can meet on the couch, snack on your favorite treats, and stream the latest movies.
This is a low-cost alternative to seeing something in the theater.
Why Affordable Alternatives Matter
Finding low-cost alternatives is what saving money is all about.
By swapping out costly ticket prices and snacks with more affordable replacements, you’ll keep more of your money in your pocket and in your savings.
With better savings, you’ll greet unwanted wintertime expenses with confidence.
You might face an unexpected furnace breakdown, a frozen pipe, or an auto repair after you hit black ice without needing help.
Or, you might find you’re a little short — in which case you might want to research online loans as a way to help.
Online personal loans are a convenient, simple alternative to traditional borrowing options from mainstream banks, so you may find them easier and faster to secure.
These cash advances are a great backup, especially following the holidays when your savings may be depleted. But first, try to save as much as you can before an emergency hits.
Things like hosting a potluck, attending free events, and watching movies at home are affordable alternatives to expensive ways of filling your time.
They’ll help you rebuild your finances after the holidays, but more importantly, they’ll help you beat the winter blues without wasting your money!