Delivering Innovation

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 overlooked place to hang out and party could be your home? She may be renting a humble apartment with a roommate, or her first home after college may boast only a few modest furnishings.

Still, you shouldn’t let that stop you from providing a cozy environment where your friends can relax and enjoy themselves. If you don’t have 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 up images of you and your fellow gamers during 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 type” games that tend to reveal a lot about people are I have never___ Y Would you rather ___ or ___? They require very little equipment and can be played by as few as two to four players.

For I have never ___, have a pack of 4″ x 6″ unlined index cards and several markers handy. Ask each participant to get two cards and write “NEVER” on one card and “HAVE” on the second card.

As the host, come up with a dozen affirmations 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 players, they should 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 underage.

… I embellished my credentials on a resume just to get a job.

…backed out of 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 the players and even slight expressions of surprise.

Would you rather ___ or ___? it involves choosing between two options, which can be good and better, or bad and worse. Examples are:

Do you prefer ___

…being stuck on an island with your persistent boss or 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 sheet of paper and read them aloud one by one. Have fun seeing which friends will choose which ones.

(2.) Have a themed movie marathon

You may have movie-enthusiastic friends, 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?

Pop a box of microwave popcorn and serve a variety of beverages: 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 films, Marvel movies, or some of the best Disney-Pixar offerings.

(3.) Introduce a couple of card or board games for adults

Scrabble, Monopoly, Snakes ‘n’ Ladders, and Pictionary have remained popular with children over the years. But for adults who’d like to get together, playing some of the latest card or board games can be a great alternative to dining and drinking.

While buying a deck of cards or a set of board games can be expensive, there are now plenty of 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 need not limit yourself to cards against humanity Y Settlers of Catan. For starters, today’s millennials and young professionals may want to try #SocialStarwhile fans of pop music and trivia will end up delighted with games like 300 pop questions, 70s music trivia, Y The 80’s game.

(4.) Make it an exchange

Some of your friends may want to declutter, get rid of their old stuff, and may be open to second-hand stuff that’s still in good condition. If you have several bookworms in your group, you can trade paperback editions of books, magazines, and even comics or graphic novels.

If they’re leaning on the sporty side, they might want 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-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, search for painting tutorials on YouTube. Don’t worry too much about producing something aesthetic, but make sure everyone puts in a little effort. When everyone is done with their masterpieces, get out your smartphones and take pictures.

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