To keep stress at bay, you would need to relax, unwind, and hang out with friends. But with restaurant meals, drinks, and movie tickets getting pricier and pricier each year, almost everyone can’t help but be mindful of their budget. And with the reality of paying off student loans or credit card debts, forget about taking trips and vacations to exotic locations for now.
But have you ever considered that probably the most overlooked place to hang out and have fun might be your home? You may be renting a humble apartment with a roommate, or your first home after college may boast of only a few modest furnishings.
Still, you shouldn’t let that stop you from providing a cozy atmosphere where your friends can unwind and enjoy. If you’re at a loss for fun things to do, here are five frugal activities:
(1.) Upgrade Your Parlor Games
Newspaper dance? Musical chairs? Pin the Tail on the Donkey? Do those games conjure images of you and your playmates during your seventh birthday party? Well, it’s time to go through an “upgrade” and come up with creative ways to inject adult-appropriate fun to your party games.
Two of the most popular “icebreaker-type” games that tend to reveal a lot about individuals are Never Have I Ever___ and Would You Rather___ or___? They require very little equipment and can be played by as little as two to four participants.
For Never Have I Ever ___, have a pack of 4″ x 6″ unruled index cards and several felt-tip pens handy. Ask each participant to get two cards, and print “NEVER” on one card and “I HAVE” on the second card.
As the host, come up with a dozen or so statements, and jot them down on a piece of paper. You can make them as interesting or as controversial as possible, outrageous or incredulous, or even mildly risqué.
And then, read each statement out loud, and if it rings true for a few particular players, they must hold up their “I HAVE” card. If they’ve never done it, they must raise their “NEVER” card.
Here are a few examples of revealing statements:
Never Have I Ever ___
… pretended to be sick just to get out of a speeding ticket.
… snuck into an R-18 movie when I was a minor.
… embellished my credentials on a resume just to land a job.
… backed out from a first date.
The game ends as soon as the last item on your list is read. This game has been known to garner plenty of laughs from players, and even mild expressions of surprise.
Would You Rather ___ or ___? involves choosing between two options, which can be good and better, or bad and worse. Examples are:
Would You Rather ___
… get stuck in an island with your nagging 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 host, write down a dozen or so statements with two choices on a piece of paper, and read them aloud one by one. Have a great time seeing which friends will choose which.
(2.) Have a Themed Movie Marathon
You may have friends who are film enthusiasts, while others may be indifferent towards movies and would just like to spend time with you and your group. Why not download several movies with similar themes, and indulge in an enjoyable afternoon with your crew?
Prepare a box of microwaveable 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 of acclaimed directors, chick flicks for the ladies, Marvel movies, or some of the best offerings by Disney-Pixar.
(3.) Introduce a Couple of Card or Adult Board Games
Scrabble, Monopoly, Snakes ‘n’ Ladders, and Pictionary have remained to be popular among children throughout ages. But for adults who’d like to get together, playing some of the latest card or board games can be terrific alternatives to going out to dine and drink.
While buying a deck of cards or a set of board games can be pricey, there are now numerous games out there that can suit any budget. And according to the website boardgamegeek[dot]com, countless games are now marketed to specific niches and players’ interests.
You and your friends don’t need to limit yourselves to Cards Against Humanity and Settlers of Catan. For starters, millennials and today’s young professionals may wish to try #SocialStar, while pop music and trivia enthusiasts will end up delighted with games like 300 Pop Questions, 70’s Music Trivia, and The 80’s Game.
(4.) Turn it Into a Swap
Some of your friends may wish to de-clutter, get rid of their old stuff, and might be open to the possibility of acquiring second-hand stuff that are still in good condition. If you have several bookworms in your group, you can exchange paperback editions of books, magazines, and even comic books or graphic novels.
If they lean towards the sporty side, they may wish to trade 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-Centered Activity
For this activity you may need to ask your friends to chip in with a bit of money, to stretch your budget for art materials. Purchase several sets of artist-grade acrylics or watercolors (just get the basic set of 12 colors to reduce costs), acrylic canvas, or a couple of 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 bit of effort. When everyone’s done with their masterpieces, bust out your smartphones and take pictures.