Financial Intention

How To Save Money & Have an Exciting Time with Friends at Home

When I first got started with this whole frugality kick, the first thing I wanted to nix was going to bars. Truthfully, I was looking for a reason to avoid them anyway. All through college, my friends would invite me out and I would either make an excuse not to go or go and regret it. Between the overpriced drinks and blaring music that makes it impossible for you to have a conversation I wondered “are there any fun things to do with friends at home?”

I’m the outlier here, I know. However, I have found a solution to the issue to those noisy, expensive bars, and I’m quite proud of it. Prepare to be the Mecca of your friend’s social life, while your wallet thanks me for the room to breath. I introduce to you: Game Night

Pay for Value When You Go Out

Now that you’ve gotten the collective groan out of your system take a minute to think about it. Do you truly get value from what you pay for when you go out? I know I don’t get any value from paying someone $5 for a rum and coke that I could have made at my house for much cheaper. It’s about the atmosphere you sputter, and I would argue that inviting friends over to play games at home is a far better atmosphere than a bar.

The Benefits of Game Night

With the right games and some drinks, you can become much closer with friends and create lasting memories with inside jokes and references to previous game nights. I started hosting game nights when I was working and didn’t know many people. I would invite coworkers my age over to play some games. It was unbelievable who showed up and what we talked about, I got to know them far better than I would in an office environment, or even a bar environment, and I’m still friends with a lot of the same guys even though we have taken our careers in different directions.

Some Secondary Benefits

Additionally, you’re using creative thinking and problem solving, and it’s a lot cheaper than going out, especially if you’re lucky enough to know someone who already has some board games. If you don’t, I’ll tell you how to find him. He’s the guy doesn’t talk much and has a long nose, if you ask him if he has any fun games and talks for less than 5 minutes he is the guy you want. Anyone who rambles for more than 5 minutes about their games is not someone you want at your game night.

They Play Bridge at My Grandma’s Game Night

See, it’s a fantastic idea! People have been doing it for generations. And not all grandma’s ideas are bad. It’s dull you say? I’ll suggest some games that are at least 10x more fun than Bridge. I recommend that you have at least two games on hand: a party game for 4+ people and small game for 3-5 people. You can expand your collection once you realize how much fun this is.

My Big Party Game Suggestions:

  • One Night Were Wolf
  • Avalon
  • Masquerade
  • Ticket to Ride
  • Bang!

These are all a lot of fun, simple to explain, and quick to play.

My Smaller Game Suggestions:

  • Munchkin (My Favorite)
  • Settlers of Catan
  • Sherif of Nottingham
  • Coup

These require more to explanation, but with a smaller party, it is easier to learn.

Games to Avoid

You shouldn’t try and play two player games or even party games that don’t excite you. If you’re excited about your games, then your friends will pick up on that (this goes for other areas of life too). Don’t play two player games because it will exclude people. At all cost avoid long and complicated games like Risk, Monopoly, Mahjong, etc. Additionally, I’ve found that as fun as Cards Against Humanity is at first, it eventually gets tiresome which is why I don’t recommend it.

My friend, playing Mahjong in China, not enjoying it. I had a blast, but I think that’s because they let me win.

Traditional playing card games like Poker, Bridge, or Keno are great if you know them, but I never got into them. But again if you’re excited and enjoy them play them! I bet your friends would be interested in learning how to play them from you.

Other Options

Role Playing Games 

Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) is one of my favorite pastimes, but it’s not something you’re going to get into over the course of one night. However, if you’re lucky enough to know someone plays D&D, I’m sure they will share the experience with you. This game is a boat load of fun and creates memorable inside jokes.

Grilling and Using the Apartment Pool

When was the last time that you used the pool and hot tub that’s at your apartment? You’re paying for it, invite some people over, have them brings some sides and grill something. Grilling out is an excellent way to introduce friends in a low key environment.

Drinking Tea

If you can make a tasty cup of Gong Fu tea, then do this with your buddies. Talk and share your favorite teas, and it will be a blast. Honestly, if you know how to make good tea, then you’re probably already doing this. Here is a video about how to make people fall in love with tea.

Parting Words

I sincerely hope that you try this! I’m so glad that I did, the connections I’ve made with people at game nights have been priceless. If you have the chance, then replace a night of running up expensive tabs with a game night. Additionally, if your default evening plans are sitting on the couch, try inviting some people over to play some games. What’s the worst that will happen? It turns out awful, and you all go out drinking to make things better!

Do you think you can try out one of these games with your friends? If you already host or attend a game night, what are some of your favorite games to play? Let me know! I’m always looking for something new and fun to play!

Photo Credit: Enric Juvé, airpix, Randy Robertson, Kraken Fireball

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