As human beings, we are social animals. Maintaining healthy friendships and social ties offer us numerous benefits such as reducing stress, keeping depression at bay, and even better physiological healing. Oh, and did I mention it’s fun? Unfortunately many social activities can eat up an unreasonable portion of your budget. Dinner out with friends? Expensive. Cocktail hour or a night out dancing? Even more expensive.
|Monarchs getting social in Mexico
There is a solution. You can turn your home into the place to be, no matter what walk of life you’re in. While these ideas are categorized by general life situations, feel free to mix and match according to your lifestyle and social needs.
For the Young Adult
|Fun Jello Shots|
Happy hours and nights at clubs can be a ton of fun, but can also be super expensive. Instead, host a cocktail hour or house party at your own house. In the summer months, bonfires are also great if you have a suitable outdoor space and you meet your locality’s fire codes. Charge a cover or RSVP fee if you’re buying a lot of alcohol, but a quiet night in with friends can be just as enchanting. Either way, the cost of drinks from the store is a lot cheaper than the cost of drinks from the bar.
Special Note: If you’re having a party where there will be friends of friends of friends, make sure to lock up anything that would break your heart if lost, broken, or stolen. You may trust your friends, but you shouldn’t trust strangers. Especially strangers who have been drinking.
Dinners out can be fun and a nice reprieve from the doldrums of the work week. But, again, these can get expensive. For a lesser price, you can set up rotating dinner parties with a group of friends. By rotating, the same couple won’t be paying for food and slaving over the stove every week.
Special Note: Casserole-type dishes are a great, easy, cost-effective way to prepare a delicious meal for a larger group of people. Grilling out can also be a fun alternative in the summer months.
|Settlers of Catan was huge when I lived out West.|
I may be super dorky, but I love gameboard nights! My favorites are nerdy word games like Taboo, Scrabble, and Scattegories. For the stock market crew there is the amazing card game, Pit. Longer games like Monopoly and Risk are also fun, and can be abbreviated if you’re looking at a smaller time frame or you just lose patience. You could play kid friendly games, too, like Twister, Junior Monopoly, Jenga, or Apples to Apples. Or set the kiddos up with their own game station.
Special Note: By having a dinner party or game night, families can save on a baby-sitter as their kids entertain each other. If your kids are too young to leave out of arm’s reach, having a social, home-based event with friends who have children of a similar age will also help ease your stress as you can relate to people going through similar parenting highs and lows as you are. (They’ll totally understand and not judge you when you have baby puke on your shoulder or strained peas in your hair.)
Ew….I don’t want to clean my whole house so other people can come over and trash it.
Then don’t. Get your kitchen and bathroom spic n span. Then delegate one other room to socializing. (Probably the largest room in your house.) If you have kids, you may want to get their rooms looking presentable as well so they have someplace to go do their thing. Have dirty laundry that looks bad but isn’t enough to justify a load? How about paper bills laying around that still need to be paid? (You really should pay those, by the way.) Or kid’s school papers that have yet to be looked at? Don’t stress yourself out doing every last menial chore so that you can have a good time. You should get all those things done, but not in one day. Stressing yourself out is the exact opposite of your goal, here. Live your normal life, and lock all the unpretty realities behind one door that will stay shut until the company’s gone home.