After the excitement of Christmas and New Year, things can often feel a little flat. The weather’s normally a bit depressing, evenings are still dark and it seems like a long time under summer. A lot of us have blown the budget on Christmas and going out, and are having to tighten our belts a bit in the New Year which doesn’t help either. However, don’t despair – it’s important to have something to look forward to, and we’ve come up with the Cosy Home Guide to Having Fun on a Budget!
1. Organise a ‘swap shop’ party
Who remembers Swap Shop in the 1970s and 1980s? These days, it’s been succeeded by online auction sites such as eBay but we think it’s still a sound concept! Get together a party of friends, families, acquaintances and neighbours, organise some nibbles or ask everyone to provide something, and bring along something to swap!
This is a great chance to declutter and pick up some new gear as well. As long as it’s good condition, swap anything from homewares to clothing – even boxes of chocolates! (Just be careful you remember which Christmas presents you were given by those attending the event, though….). These parties are great fun, and if you don’t want to swap goods you can always just ask for a charity donation instead.
2. Start a cooking club
If you’ve always wanted to learn to cook or just to expand your recipe repertoire, then this is for you. Doing something as a group activity makes it more enjoyable and motivating, but we don’t always have the time to commit to evening classes or courses. Invite a few friends, and each week one person demonstrates and cooks a favourite recipe. Afterwards, you get to eat the results! You can either take it in turns to provide all the ingredients for your own recipe, or everyone can put a few pounds into a kitty each week and one person can do the shopping.
3. Or a craft/book/flower arranging/dance club!
The beauty of this concept is that as long as you can find a few other people to do it with, you can have a club to do just about anything! Book clubs are great on a budget, as you can usually borrow books or buy secondhand copies cheaply online. Take it in turns to host and provide drinks and nibbles.
4. Have an ‘exercise day’
We all find it harder to get motivated in the winter – it’s cold, dark, damp and honestly not very nice out there. This is another occasion when getting together with friends can really give you a shot of enthusiasm, and help you factor in some regular fresh air and exercise. This can be anything you like – a long walk, your first bike ride in 20 years, roller blading…you name it. Take it in turns to suggest the exercise and swap the locations around to keep it interesting. You could even aim towards an event, such as getting fit for a charity 5k race.
5. Do the ‘free challenge’
This one takes a little thought and preparation, but it can produce some really entertaining results. The challenge is to organise a family day out, and see how little you can spend. Many UK museums and other visitor attractions have free entry, and Britain’s beaches can be stunning out of season. Be creative with transport (walk, cycle, take the train) and pack your own food. Each member of the family gets to plan and organise their own day – be prepared to visit everything from playgrounds to railway stations, and art museums to ruined castles.