What do you do keep your kids active in the winter? Is hockey $0 because they don't play? or have you found a no cost alternative? I'd love to remove this from my budget, but my son LIVES for hockey. Where in the world do you buy snow pants and jackets for 2$?!? Second hand snowsuits here start at 30$ (supply and demand I guess?) How do you pay 0$ for heating your home?
If my kid lived for hockey, I would fund it :) Actually, at my son's age (12) I would fund the second half of it, leaving him to come up with the first. But, if I were funding all or part of such an expensive hobby, that would be the limit of his paid rec.
We skate outdoors, so that's free. We go ice fishing (free, everything supplied by fishing agency). We walk in the snow. He has snowball fights with neighbour kids. They build snowmen, walls, etc. Via an occasional community event, we can ski/snowboard/etc for $10-$25, but I haven't bothered this year (long, early drive, parking costs, etc).
We use the library a lot, museum a tiny bit (small, free), swim indoors, and access our community center's free space. We bring board games to public places and invite people to play with us :)
Snowpants and jackets I've gotten for $4-$8 (thrifts). I buy them big so he can wear them for a few years, which reduces the annual average. (Funnily, he wears neither. His excellent boots, wool socks, and fleece outers do the trick. But, I still feel compelled to have them on hand for school ski events, etc.) The skates I haven't been able to buy big, so those I replace (used) every year, $10-$30 (thrift to consignment). Bogs is replacing his boots free, so we might be good for another year.
Second hand prices in my area really range. Craigslist and consignment tend to be very high. Salvation Army thrift the cheapest. Value Village in between those. So, my second-hand prices usually refer to SA or VV prices, in that order of shopping.
Heat is included in my rental (450 sq feet, baseboard, cozy). Did you see the video clip of the woman in Ontario (?) calling Trudeau on her home-heating bill? Her presentation was excellent. I watched it, cried for her, and said to my kid, "That's why I won't buy a house in Canada again."
(Really, I might one day, but the costs can get so crazy, so I'd be extremely careful.)
I think anything
can leave us susceptible to lifestyle creep: working full-time hours away from home; a long commute; kids; loneliness; a new relationship; becoming a caregiver; etc. If we run with the idea that x = $, we'll probably spend more than necessary. If we say, "Anything can lead to creep. My current x factor is triggering a desire to spend," then we can find new ways to approach the matter.