12 Frugal Living Tips for Winter


* This article contains an affiliate link. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.

 

Winter is the perfect time to take control of your personal finances, whether before or after the expensive holiday season. Here are 12 frugal living tips for winter to help you get back on budget and save money. #frugallivingtipsforwinter #frugalliving #frugallivinginwinter #frugallivingtips #savemoneyinwinter Winter is often thought-of as being the most expensive time of the year. First the holiday season kicks things off with a bang (and a hefty price tag). Then there are the extra costs for heating and powering our homes.

Plus, since the weather is often cold, dark and gloomy, there aren’t as many fun, free things to do outdoors, so it’s easy to blow your budget on other things that will help you beat cabin fever like eating out, going to the movies and even going shopping just for something to do.

But the flip side to this is that, once January hits, many people are motivated by the fresh start the new year brings and are ready to hunker down for a while and get their finances on track after the holidays. So in many ways that makes winter the perfect time of year to adopt some frugal habits. 

If you want to know more about ways to have a frugal holiday season, check out this post: 10 Frugal Living Tips for Christmas.

Otherwise, the following frugal living tips apply all winter long (and certain ones apply all year long!)

 

1. Have a No-Spend Month

While November and December probably aren’t the best candidates for extreme frugal living, January is the perfect time to plan a no-spend month. 

A no-spend month (also called a spending freeze) simply means you don’t spend any money on anything that isn’t a necessity. This means no dining out, no clothes shopping, no beauty products or subscriptions or fancy stuff, and stick to a budget for essentials like groceries, housing and transportation.

For more help with creating a budget, check out the Money & Budgeting section of our Free Resource Library.

 

2. Plan Meals Around What’s in Your Pantry

Another reason why January makes such a great candidate for a no-spend month is because your fridge, freezer and pantry are likely loaded with leftovers from Christmas and other food you’ve put up throughout the year. So it’s easy to save money on groceries by shopping from your pantry and planning meals around what you have on hand

Related: How to Shop From Your Pantry Like A Pro

Of course, you can and should make a habit of this all year long! But right after the holidays is an extra-good time to eat from your pantry and fill in the gaps on budget for everything else.

For more help with meal planning, grocery shopping on budget and shopping from your pantry, check out the Meal Planning section of my Free Resource Library.

 

3. Learn a New Money-Saving Skill

Winter’s a great time to learn a new skill, especially when it comes to homesteading. Since we aren’t so busy gardening and preserving, we can take more time to learn something more time-consuming and involved like sourdough bread-baking, knitting, quilting, soap-making, candle-making or cooking on a wood stove.

 

Related: 13 Winter Activities for Modern Homesteaders

 

It’s also a good time of year to slow down and read up on any new skills you’d like to learn. Take advantage of having some extra time on your hands and fully immerse yourself in something you want to master. Just remember: one thing at a time if you really want to get good at something.

 

4. Go to the Library

I love the library. I don’t use it as much as I should, but every time I go back to the library I ask myself why I don’t go there more often.

You can take out an unlimited number of books, DVDs, magazines and even toys from some libraries, all for free! It’s also a great place to get out of the bad weather and hang out for a while if you just can’t stand to be home anymore but you don’t want to be outside either.

 

5. Get Warm for Free

One of the most expensive things about winter is the extra expense of heating your house during the coldest months of the year. Find frugal and free ways to warm up by layering your clothes, warming your house with a wood stove (if possible) or cuddling up on the couch with a big warm blanket and someone you love.

For more ideas on how to stay warm for free during the winter, check out this post.

 

6. Spend Time “Off the Grid”

Along with using less electric heating, you can save money in the winter by using less electricity over all. Turn off lights and light candles. You can even learn to make your own soy candles to save even more money and light your home naturally all winter long.

Unplug appliances and electronics that aren’t being used. Cook on the wood stove if you have one. Take a technology break (and a break from unnatural screen light) and read by the light of an oil lamp. 

Using less electricity doesn’t just mean more money in your pocket, it’s good for your mental wellbeing to take a break from screen time and unnatural lighting as much as possible.

 

7. Go Skating

Skating is another  frugal winter activity that typically only costs a few bucks for some rink time and skate rentals. Many sports centers even offer free skates for families, kids and teens on certain days throughout the winter season.

If you live somewhere where it gets cold enough for a lake or pond to freeze over, you can even skate for free! Maybe even grab a couple hockey sticks and a puck and play a pick-up game:)

 

8. Have Fun in the Snow

If there’s snow on the ground (or on nearby mountains), you can have a full day of fun in the snow for next to nothing. Get the kids together to build a snowman. Go sledding. Have a snowball fight. Or just grab some hot chocolate and go for a snowy, winter walk through the woods or down a country road.

 

9. Play Board Games

Winter is the perfect time of year to sit at home and play games with the whole family. This could mean card and dice games like Yahtzee, Poker, Crib or Go Fish, board games like Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit or Clue, or more “active” games like Pictionary, Charades or Twister!

 

10. Have a Family Movie Night at Home

The cold winter months are the best time to snuggle up together and have a family movie night, complete with homemade popcorn, popped over the wood stove perhaps? Whether you watch Netflix, Amazon Prime or a good “old-fashioned” DVD, having a family movie night makes staying in a little more entertaining and is way more frugal than going to see a movie at the theatres.

 

11. Have a Romantic Candlelight Dinner at Home

Whether it’s Valentine’s Day or Saturday night, make it a little more special for no extra cost by enjoying a nice candlelight dinner at home. Cook a nice meal, set the table, dim or turn off all the lights, play a little mood music and get dressed up for dinner at home. There’s no reason why eating in can’t be just as fun as eating out!

 

12. Go on “Staycation”

Save money on travel and enjoy a staycation in the comfort of your own home this winter. By the end of January/early February, I really start missing the warm, sunny weather, and so I find myself craving things that remind me of sun like tropical fruits and exotic foods. A great way to treat yourself when you can’t afford an actual vacation to Mexico or Hawaii is to have a little staycation at home with all of the things that remind you of warmer days.

Start by preparing your home for your stay. First, tidy up, do all of the chores that need being done like laundry and dishes. Make the bed (and maybe even put a chocolate on each pillow), break out the fancy soap, candles and towels, and then, prepare for your stay.

If you’re going for a tropical theme, cut up some fruit like pineapples, mangos and limes. Stock up on coconut milk for making piña coladas and exotic soups that will warm you up on your winter staycation. Prepare a playlist of “summertime” music or something that reminds you of a sunny vacation like reggae music (my go-to!)

Spend your time however you would on vacation. Have a nice meal, pamper yourself (at home pedicure perhaps?), maybe dress up to have drinks and go dancing with your partner… Yolo, right? If you can’t afford a real beach vacation, you at least deserve to treat yourself to a staycation instead;)

 

Frugal Living Tips for Every Season

Post-holiday season winter is the perfect time to cut back on our spending and get back on a budget that works. These frugal living tips will help you cut back on non-essential spending and save more money this winter while still having fun.

For more frugal living tips for every season, check out the following posts:

Frugal Living Tips for Spring

Frugal Living Tips for Summer

Frugal Living Tips for Fall

 

Wishing you health, wealth & homestead happiness:)

I'm a modern homesteader on a mission to transform our house into a safe, sustainable, self-reliant sanctuary and to help you create, grow and live a good life by transforming your house into a thriving homestead too!

 

 

 

 


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4 Comments

  1. Jane

    It seems like this time of year, regardless of the season or which side of the world we are on is the most expensive. Here it is so hot that those who have air conditioning have them on all the time, and spend very little time outside. We dont have aircon but we do have ceiling fans. I have the ones in the living areas on all day and turn them off at night. The bedroom fan goes on at night and stays on till the next morning. We have a three light rule in this house. There will be no more than three lights on at once. Once dinner and the dishes are done all the lights go off and we just have the light of the TV. If I want to crochet I have a lamp that gets turned on.
    Here in Australia post Christmas sales are on. These are big sales and often are worth spending to get required items. It is a good time to stock up on pantry items as well. It is also a time when it is easy to get lured in to purchase extra items. I stay away from the stores as much as possible.
    I use the Library as a means of getting all the usual things but also as a place to enjoy the cool of the aircon.
    Hope that Ryan’s job hunting or ‘Hire a Hubby’ home maintenance business is getting sorted out. I am off to have a mango smoothie for brekkie. I live in the sub tropics, 150m from the beach. I am on holidays all the time.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Jane!

      So true. This time of year is expensive across the board regardless of whether it’s summer or winter whereto are. Especially as the world gets hotter in the summertime, the cost of air conditioning rivals the cost of heating! Actually, it’s probably worse because at least you can use a wood stove to heat your house but you pretty much need electricity to run an air conditioner and cool down. Plus there’s the added expense of the holidays no matter where you live.
      I love the three light rule. I should try to implement that. We have a toddler who is currently into turning all the lights on that she can reach. Trying to teach her about conserving electricity right now but the concept is a bit advanced to say the least! But now that we have our wood stove running and I make my own candles so we can burn lots without worrying about paying good money to replace them, so we’ve reduced our overall electricity costs for the winter.
      There are also still post-Christmas sales on here too, and if you have some extra cash they are well worth taking advantage of. That’s what I did last year and I put things away for this Christmas and shopped throughout the year and honestly this was the most affordable Christmas we’ve ever had (and thank God because it coincided with Ryan losing his job). Right now we’re keeping it super frugal and only spending on absolute necessities while we finish up our big building projects, specifically the laneway house so we can start earning a rental income. But Ryan is off building a shed for someone for a couple hundred bucks today so that will help until he has time to dedicate every day to his new business. There’s lots of work around here so I don’t think it will be hard for him to find work to fill his days.
      Thanks again for your comment! Your little corner of the Earth sounds beautiful! Makes me miss Australia for sure. Where exactly are you> I envision Port Macquarie or something like that. So gorgeous there.

      Reply
      • Jane Allan

        Anna we’re quite a bit further north of Port Maquarie. We’re in Hervey Bay Queensland, just south of Bundaburg. We’re a four hour drive north of Brisbane, about half way between Brisbane and Rockhampton. Fraser Island is just off the coast from us. It’s a sub tropical environment and at the moment it feels very tropical. We currently have high humidity and I am hoping this leads to a much needed storm. Stay warm and I will try to stay cool.

        Reply
        • Anna Sakawsky

          Oh yes, I’ve been to Fraser Island:) Will do! Nowadays we look forward to the “Goldilocks” off-seasons when it’s not too hot, not too cold but just right! Take care.

          Reply

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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We’ve been saving up cardboard for months now. We’ve had 6 yards of mulch sitting in our driveway for weeks, and we’ve weeded the same areas of our garden more times than I can count. Not to mention, mulching our garden paths has been on our to-do list ever since we put in our main garden 3 years ago.

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While I’m a huge proponent of investing time and money up front to do things the right way and make life easier right off the bat, the reality is that it’s not always feasible or affordable to do all of the things you want to do right away. This is true for homesteading and for life in general; You just have to do what you can with what you’ve got and chip away at your goals little by little.

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This is so important to remember, no matter where you are on your journey. Always take time to celebrate your accomplishments and don’t dwell on all of the things you still need to do. Just focus on the next thing and little by little it will start to come together. Take things one step, one day and one cardboard box at a time, and eventually you too will look back and say “holy crap, look how far I’ve come.”
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(1/5) The past few weeks have been some of the most difficult to date in my occupation as a homesteader and a blogger.

I've had to do a lot of soul-searching to really, truly, deeply ask myself why?

Why have I chosen this path, and why is it important to me to share it with the world??

The truth is, I've talked about my "why" before. I don't homestead and grow food and cook and preserve and preach about sustainability and self-reliance and self-determination simply because I think homegrown tomatoes are healthier and taste better than store-bought tomatoes. Sure, this is part of it, but it's not the part that drives me to put in the long hours and hard work that goes into the line of work I've chosen.

What drives me to do what I do and to share my passion for homesteading and self-sufficiency with the world comes from a place deep inside me that sees the wrongs in our system, and wants to do whatever I can to challenge them and make them right.

I've talked many, many times about the flaws with our modern, industrialized food system, and about how homesteading is a way to take back some control over our food supply and buck this system. (Yes, that's buck, with a "b" ;)

I talk all the time about the importance of supporting small farmers and local businesses instead of big corporations, and about the importance of voting with your dollars.

And I preach the importance of community, and why it's so important to support each other and find support in your community, whether in your local community or online. Because self-sufficiency is about more than each individual person or family; It's about empowering entire communities of people to rise up and take control of their own food supply and basic needs, and break free from the cycle of dependency on the system that most of us are born into.

To me, homesteading is about so much more than the act of growing and preparing food, or DIY-ing your own soap or candles or toothpaste. Quite honestly, it's a way for everyday people to take back control over their own lives and throw a proverbial middle finger to "the system" and the status quo.

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So this is 34...

(1/3) When I look back on my 34 tours around the sun, all I can say is WOW! How incredibly blessed I’ve been.

In my younger years, I had the privilege of travelling around the world and living abroad 3 times, long before borders closed and travelling became more of a nightmare than a dream.

When I returned home to my roots, I completed my second degree in education (my first degree is in journalism) and I married the love of my life. During these years of schooling and settling into domestic life in Vancouver, we started learning more about where our food comes from and how reconnecting with nature could help relieve much of the crippling anxiety that I felt living in the city, so we set a goal to move to Vancouver Island where we could afford more land and start farming and gardening once we were married and I was done school. With laser focus and intention placed on this goal, the stars aligned and we made our move 6 years ago now. We’ve never looked back.

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I don’t like radishes. But I love to grow them, which has created quite a dilemma in the past. That is, until I discovered ROASTED RADISHES!

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It’s amazing how much living close to the land changes you and gives you a greater respect for all life. As much as I’m still not ready to put my hands out and hold a spider (I literally passed out when I was a kid and tried to hold someone’s pet tarantula), I am learning to coexist with all things, and appreciate the unique purpose that every living thing serves here on Earth.

As much as it may seem like we have nothing in common, if you take a moment to just observe nature or sit in stillness by your garden gate, you’re sure to realize we all have more in common than most people might think.
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