Holiday expenses have taken a toll, making it time to buckle down to a budget.
While trimming expenses, there is no need to eliminate entertainment. There are many cheap or free offerings throughout the area.
The library is always a good source for free stuff to do.
Current offerings range from movie and book clubs to crocheting classes and activities for kids.
Terri McDougal, head of children's services, points out story times, play groups and crafts that are all geared to little ones.
Story time for ages birth to 18 months is held at the main library in downtown Charleston at 10 a.m. every Tuesday.
"Tiny Tots," at 10 a.m. Wednesdays at the main library, is geared to ages 18 to 36 months.
"Toddler Exploration," for birth to 36 months, is offered at 10 a.m. the third Thursday of each month. Kids are invited to be prepared to make a mess.
"There aren't many places in the community to take children that age," McDougal said. "It's free and the mess is contained here. Several branches provide play groups for ages birth to 36 months."
STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities will resume in February at several locations. McDougal enjoys seeing parents and kids working together on projects.
Check your respective library location for programs for kids and adults.
The Elk Valley branch is planning an American Girl program that will kick off at 6 p.m. Jan. 16 when participants will have a chance to learn about the various characters based on the books and the dolls. The program will continue in February and March.
Teens and adults can use these dreary winter months to learn to crochet.
"Hook, Yarn and Single Crochet" will be offered at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 16 at the main library, 5:30 p.m. Jan. 27 at Sissonville, and 4 p.m. Feb. 5 at Cross Lanes.
The library also has clubs and programs geared to books or movies, as well as discussion groups.
A series of films begins Jan. 13 and continues through Feb. 27. The program, titled "Created Equal: America's Civil Rights Struggle," is made possible with a grant from National Endowment for the Humanities in partnership with Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
"We will show pieces of four powerful documentaries and then have discussions led by different scholars," McDougal said.
See www.kanawhalibrary.org for details about these and other programs.
For those who like to enjoy the outdoors, join the Shirley Schweizer Winter Walk at Kanawha State Forest on Jan. 25.
Meet at the swimming pool at 2 p.m. in warm clothing and appropriate shoes or boots. The hike is free. Call 304-546-4492 for more information.