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January’s not the best time of year for many of us in the UK. It’s cold outside and all those lovely summer evenings where we met our friends down at the pub after work seem like a distant memory. The excitement of the build-up to Christmas and New Year and the socialising around the festive period is well and truly over and half the people you know will be doing a dry-athlon and so won’t be going out.

Still, there are some upsides to this. As everyone tends to be in hibernation mode in January, it’s not a bad month to save some money and stay in – especially as most of our bank balances could probably do with some time to recover from Christmas overspending. The question is, what can you do for entertainment during these dreary winter evenings without spending too much?


Organise a girls’ night in

You’re probably not the only one who’s feeling the pinch at the moment, so why not suggest a girls’ night in with some friends. That way, you can still meet up and enjoy each other’s company but not put a big dent in your wallets. Start the evening off with a winter warmer meal that you’ve prepared ahead of time – such as chilli and rice or a big lasagne – and then have some fun ideas for entertainment lined up.

For instance, you could all try your luck at online bingo – playing at one of the many bingo sites like 32Red, Gala or Tidy Bingo. At 32Red, new players get £5 free to play with when they first register and then an extra cash bonus when they make a first deposit – click here for more info. In the world of online bingo, where games only cost pennies to play, the welcome bonus can provide you with plenty of great value entertainment.

Part of the fun of playing bingo is that there’s no effort involved in the game – the software marks off the matching numbers for you – which leaves you free to have a good old gossip with the girls and able to share the excitement if one of you gets close to a win. Alternatively, you could always have a games night along more traditional lines – getting board games such as Pictionary or Balderdash out. These kinds of games can be loads of fun if everyone is in the mood to participate.

If games aren’t your thing, you could always do some beauty treatment swaps. You can take turns to do manicures and facials or try out some different hairstyles on each other. It’ll take you back to your teenage years, especially if you get a couple of favourite movies to have on in the background and offer everyone a bed for the night so you can spend the evening in your onesies!

Learn something new
There are so many things that you can teach yourself to do online and cold winter evenings are the perfect time to learn something new. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to find out more about a specific subject – such as philosophy – or you want to pick up the basics for a foreign language before you visit a new country. Take advantage of all the free online resources to challenge yourself and perhaps discover a hidden talent. And if you’ve got an intellectually demanding job which means you don’t feel like thinking hard in the evenings, there are plenty of crafts and other manual skills you can teach yourself instead. Pottery, knitting, water-colour painting – take your pick. You can find out how to do anything online.


Get fit for the summer
Summer may seem like a way off at the moment but, before you know it, you’ll have to be ready for the big reveal in a bikini or shorts on your summer holiday. Is your body bikini-ready? If not, you can use these dismal winter evenings as a time to get fit and toned. Not only will the exercise help you lose extra pounds, but you’ll also find it mentally uplifting, too. Exercise is a great way to shake off the winter blues as your body releases endorphins (happy hormones) into your bloodstream, so you get a natural high after a workout.