To keep stress at bay, you’ll need to relax, unwind, and hang out with friends. But with restaurant meals, drinks, and movie tickets getting more expensive each year, almost everyone can’t help but be budget-conscious. And with the reality of paying off student loans or credit card debt, forget about taking trips and vacations to exotic places for now.
But have you ever considered that probably the most forgotten place to hang out and have fun might be your home? She may be renting a humble apartment with a roommate, or her first house out of college may boast only a few modest furnishings.
Still, you shouldn’t let that stop you from providing a welcoming environment where your friends can relax and enjoy themselves. If you don’t have fun things to do, here are five frugal activities:
(1.) Step Up Your Parlor Games
Newspaper dance? Musical chairs? Pin the tail on the donkey? Do these games conjure up images of you and your fellow gamers at your 7th birthday party? Well, it’s time to go for an “upgrade” and find creative ways to inject adult-appropriate fun into your party games.
Two of the most popular “icebreaker” games that tend to reveal a lot about people are I have never___ and Would you rather___ or___? They require very little equipment and can be played by as few as two to four participants.
For I have never ___, have a pack of 4″ x 6″ unruled index cards and several markers on hand. Ask each participant to get two cards and write “NEVER” on one card and “I HAVE” on the second card.
As the host, come up with a dozen statements and write them down on a piece of paper. He can make them as interesting or controversial as possible, outrageous or incredulous, or even slightly risqué.
And then, read each statement out loud, and if it rings true for any particular player, they must show their “I HAVE” card. If they have never done so, they should hold up their “NEVER” card.
Here are some examples of revealing statements:
I have never ___
…pretended to be sick just to get out of a speeding ticket.
…I snuck into an R-18 movie when I was a minor.
…I embellished my credentials on a resume just to get a job.
… withdrew from a first date.
The game ends as soon as the last item on your list is read. This game is known to generate a lot of laughter from players and even slight expressions of surprise.
Would you prefer ___ or ___? involves choosing between two options, which can be good and better, or bad and worse. Examples are:
would you rather ___
…get stuck on an island with your persistent boss or your narcissistic ex?
… be the tail of a lion, or the head of a mouse?
… give up junk food for a month or pizza for a year?
…spend $100 at a thrift store or Michael’s?
As the host, write a dozen two-choice statements on a piece of paper and read them out loud one by one. Have fun seeing which friends will choose which ones.
(2.) Have a themed movie marathon
You may have friends who are movie enthusiasts, while others may be indifferent to movies and would just like to spend time with you and your group. Why not download several movies with similar themes and enjoy a nice evening with your team?
Prepare a box of microwave popcorn and serve a variety of drinks: cola, lemonade, iced tea, etc. You can also buy huge bags of chips or nachos and look up recipes for dips.
Possible themes could be works by acclaimed directors, women’s movies, Marvel movies, or some of Disney-Pixar’s best offerings.
(3.) Introduce a couple of adult board or card games
Scrabble, Monopoly, Snakes ‘n’ Ladders, and Pictionary have remained popular with children over the years. But for adults who would like to get together, playing some of the latest card or board games can be a great alternative to dining out and drinking.
While buying a deck of cards or a set of board games can be expensive, there are now numerous games to fit any budget. And according to the boardgamegeek website[dot]com, countless games are now being marketed for specific niches and player interests.
You and your friends don’t need to limit yourself to cards against humanity and settlers of catan. For starters, today’s millennials and young professionals may want to try #SocialStarwhile fans of pop music and trivia will be delighted with games like 300 pop questions, 70s music trivia, and The game of the 80s.
(4.) Make it a trade
Some of your friends may want to tidy up, get rid of their old stuff, and may be open to buying second-hand stuff that is still in good condition. If you have several bookworms in your group, you can trade paperbacks of books, magazines, and even comics or graphic novels.
If they’re leaning on the sporty side, they might want to swap out golf clubs for a pair of tennis or squash rackets, or resistance bands and dumbbells for a basketball or volleyball.
(5.) Make it an art-focused activity
For this activity, you may need to ask your friends to chip in a little money to stretch your budget for art supplies. Buy several sets of artist-grade acrylics or watercolors (just get the basic 12-color set to cut costs), acrylic canvases, or a couple packs of watercolor paper.
Beforehand, look up painting tutorials on YouTube. Don’t worry too much about producing something aesthetic, but make sure everyone puts in a little bit of effort. When everyone is done with their masterpieces, get out your smartphones and take pictures.