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.
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
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.
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.
I used to love hosting random social events with friends. Over the years though I got a little lazy and less social. I do miss that kind of thing though. It’s much cheaper than going out somewhere and usually much more enjoyable. Now if only my cat hadn’t peed on my couches leaving an impossible to get rid of stench 🙁
Oh, no! Cat pee is impossible to get out. It can be a lot. Which is why I’m in favor of rotating.
I don’t think that I really want my house to turn into a social butterfly haha. I really like my home to be private, but it may change when I get older and have kids!
I’m pretty private about my stuff, too. Small gatherings of friends are fun. No wild stuff in my house, though. :p
I love game nights! My house is boring, I need to learn from this post.
So love game nights that it’s silly!
You’re awesome at it, too!
My brothers used to come over every weekend for Euchre. I miss those days lol. I would totally whip out some Monopoly and have a get together.
So fun! I’ve never played before…I’ll have to try it out.
We have poker nights with friends from work, lets us get our minds off of things for a while and get a little silly.
I love those Jello shots! Very fun! I’ll have to remember those for adult parties (with alcohol) and for kids (without alcohol, of course!).
They’re all so fun! I like the idea of leaving the alcohol out for kids.
i love these ideas and they really speak to me as I age. I still like going out now and again but I’m not 22-23 anymore and I’m much more aware of how much the nights cost! thus, I’m always down to switch it up.
I love every single idea here- they all are really good ones! and i think game nights are fun even though people still scoff at them!
Games nights are awesome. Going out can be fun, but bringing the out in can be equally as fulfilling.
I am a huge fan of all of the ideas you mention. In fact, we do many of them. We have people to our house often and we have a blast. You don’t need to spend a ton of money to have fun if you ask me.
This is an awesome post! Thanks for sharing all of this. I am such a homebody, that I feel like we do almost everything here. And while hosting stuff can get pricey, you are so right–way, way cheaper than hiring a sitter and going out. I really appreciated your perspective on cleaning for company too–thanks!
It can get pricey…which is why I’m in favor of rotating hosts. And it is cheaper. 🙂
Ticket to Ride is our new crack cocaine….wickedly addictive board game.
Did you actually suggest charging a cover charge to get into a party at your house? I’m going to do that AND invite only my relatives. Awesome.
I did! Haha two birds with one stone. Make money and discourage the nasty family members from coming over. Thanksgiving dinner, anyone? That’ll be $10. :p
Great suggestions for staying entertained, while saving money. Actually the activities that are the most inexpensive are the ones that many times are treasured for years to come. For example, my family went to amusement parks, carnivals, etc. which cost quite a bit, but I remember having the most fun playing Trouble all night with my mom and brothers in the living room!
Couldn’t agree more. Happiness often does not come with a price tag.
Great suggestions! I am totally one of the people who hate making their house spotless just so other people can come over and “mess it up.” Lol. We are finishing our basement for just this reason!
This is an interesting concept. If you don’t mind using your residence as a social hub, then these suggestions will work perfectly both socially and financially. However, like you stated, make sure that you designate just one space for the events, and always lock up your valuables.
Couldn’t agree more. Just because you’re having people over doesn’t mean you have to open up your WHOLE house.
I want jello shots, gone are those days…
Mostly for us, too. Sigh…
I’m a big fan of board games too, but we don’t play them very often…maybe we should change that. 🙂 Those are by far the coolest jello shots I’ve ever seen—love the pic.
we love hosting friends, especially friends with small kids, over for game nights… in our group of friends, the “social gathering spot” tends to bounce around, but we have one of the better houses for it.