There’s nothing that says “winter” to me like bundling up in front of a roaring fire under a cashmere blanket… except that I don’t have a wood-burning fireplace in my apartment, and who on earth can afford a cashmere blanket? That’s why I put together this list of ways that you can feel cozy on a budget this winter.
Each one of these eight ideas will have you laughing in the face of the cold, wintery weather, for no more than the cost of a good book. In fact, most of them will cost even less, and will leave you feeling cozy and pampered all winter long.
Is there a better way to keep your feet warm than wool socks? If there is, I haven’t found it. While you can easily blow your budget on fancy wool socks, there are always good quality options within your price range. My personal favorites are from Costco, and they run a few dollars per pair. When it comes to keeping my freezing feet warm, it’s a small price to pay, and they’re the perfect complement to a cozy winter outfit.
Plus, if you tuck them inside your best pair of winter boots - no matter how fancy those boots are - no one will even know you’re rocking cozy socks under your fancy outfit.
Sauna at the Gym
Most gyms these days - yes, even the on-campus bro-fest that is your college gym - will have locker rooms equipped with small saunas. You’ll be surprised at how few people use them on a regular basis, too, so if you’re looking to warm up this winter, pop on down to the gym. You might have the entire sauna to yourself, especially if you hit up the college gym over spring break.
Repeat after me: It feels like I’m on a beach… It feels like I’m on a beach...
Learn to Knit
Instead of going out and buying a new scarf, why not try your hand at making one? All you’ll really need is some yarn and some knitting needles, and everything else you need can be easily found on Youtube. Seriously, the knitting tutorials you can find for free online these days are no joke, and at the end of it, you’ll have a new handy skill and a nice warm neck.
Plus, you know what makes for a cheap gift that everyone loves? Handmade, knitted items. Fact.
There’s nothing that will warm you up faster than clutching a giant mug of your favorite hot beverage between your winter-chilled hands. Whether your thing is coffee, tea, hot chocolate or hot cider, there’s something that just feels so much cozier about an oversized mug of your go-to hot drink.
You can find these mugs just about anywhere, but if you’re looking to stay on a budget, Target, Walmart and secondhand stores will all have some great mugs at budget-friendly prices.
Ok, cooking for yourself is a legitimate life skill, so if you don’t know how to make soup from scratch, now is the time to learn. A vegetarian soup will cost you only a few dollars to make - $10, tops - and even meat-based stews won’t run you all that much more. Plus, this is a great excuse to have the stove on for an hour or two, and stand beside it soaking in the sweet, sweet warmth.
To find a simple recipe that won’t break the bank, try Budget Bytes. Her recipes break down the cost per serving, and with a name like Budget Bytes, you know you can afford it.
Bundle up and go Tobogganing
One of the easiest ways to really amp up the coziness factor is to get outside in the cold in the first place. Pull your snowpants out of storage, grab your warmest mittens, some of your best pals and a Thermos full of hot cider, and hit the slopes with toboggans. It’ll feel retro, fun, and oh-so-cozy - especially when you get back indoors and get to switch into your warmest sweatpants! (And don’t forget those wool socks you have. Those are key.)
Have a Coffee Shop Date with Yourself
If work or school is keeping you too busy to spend an afternoon tobogganing, you can still ramp up the coziness by settling into a coffee shop in their warmest, comfiest chair to do some reading or get some solid work done. Arm yourself with a warm sweatshirt, a hot drink and your work, and settle in for a few hours of cozy coffee shop goodness.
Binge-Watch Something in PJs
Nothing screams “winter” more than hibernating, and since we’re not bears, our version looks more like getting cozy on the couch with PJs and a killer Netflix show or three. If there’s something you’ve been meaning to watch, or catch up on, a snowy winter afternoon is the perfect time to settle in, relax and binge to your heart’s content.
And yes, House of Cards and Orange is The New Black are as good as everyone has been saying they are, in case you haven’t seen them yet.
So what are you waiting for? Go get cozy, pronto.