As I said yesterday, summer is a time for throwing parties. But, with all your money going into your gas tank, you might not have anything left for entertaining. Or you might just be bored and need something to do now that there’s nothing to watch on TV. Here are 9 nearly free ways to entertain yourself, your family, and your friends at home.

Host a Game Night
Drag out all those old board games (or fire up the Wii if you have one), and invite everyone over for a game night. Ask your friends to bring snacks and drinks. Use your regular plates, cups, and utensils to avoid buying them. You can also do this with the family. Rather than a full dinner, make nachos and then play a game together.

Open that Bottle Night
Technically, Open That Bottle Night falls in February, but that’s nine months away, so do it now. The theory is that everyone has a bottle of wine they never opened. Maybe they were saving it for a special occasion that never came or they just forgot about. Invite all your friends over to open those bottles. Even if some are crap, you’ll still have plenty left. Serve veggies, finger foods, cheese, etc. Since your friends are bringing wine they already have, they can bring snacks, too.

Open the Freezer Night
This is a great one for barbecue season. Ask everyone to dig a grillable out of the freezer, thaw it, and bring it to the party to share. Assign the buns, side dishes, and drinks to the guests and you’ll have an instant party for little cost.

Silly Movie Night
Each family member or friend picks a DVD they love (the sillier the better). Put them all in a bag and draw one. That’s the one you watch with lots of popcorn and other junk food.

Have a Treasure Hunt
Write names on dollar store goodies and hide them in the yard, then send your kids or friends out to hunt for them. The challenge is that they have to find their own name, and can’t help anyone else. If you hide them well, this could fill hours.

Play Obstacle Croquet
This one’s good for a weekend day. You probably know someone with a croquet set. Borrow it and set it up in your backyard or a nearby park. Up the ante by introducing obstacles like a wooden bridge (just two small planks leaned over another piece of wood), or a tough root to get around. In my epic set-up, my friends had to hit the ball up a seam in the concrete, up a grate, across the deck, down a gravel path, across the lawn, over a bridge, through a tunnel, and then go through all the wickets. The winner got the glory.

Play Farmer’s Market Bonanza
Take the whole family to the farmer’s market and have each person choose one ingredient. Then you all have to figure out how to combine them into a delicious meal that you cook together.

Tapas Potluck
Ask your friends to bring hors d’oeuvres, preferably in bite-sized pieces. If it’s you and the family, plan a dinner of appetizers while you play a game or cards.

Backyard S’mores
S’mores don’t have to be a camping food! Get out the supplies and roast them over the BBQ. Use a gas burner if you don’t have a BBQ. Sit around whatever flame device you have eating s’mores and telling ghost stories.

If you invite friends to share in these activities, then they’ll have to drive to get to you and spend a little to provide snacks, but it will still keep the costs pretty low for everyone. If you stick to your family, then your costs are slightly higher, but you don’t have to drive far, so it’s still pretty cheap.

Do you have any ideas for entertaining for free or nearly free? Tell me in the comments.


11 Responses to “9 Nearly Free Ways to Entertain at Home”

  1. Funny about Money on May 24th, 2008 10:02 am

    Outstanding ideas. We usually fall back on the potluck. But as some of us have remarked…ho hum!

    Definitely have to try some of these out!!!

  2. » Festival of Frugality #127 is up! on the Festival of Frugality on May 27th, 2008 9:08 am

    [...] Sound Money Matters 9 Nearly Free Ways to Entertain at Home [...]

  3. Momma @ Tales From The Road Less Traveled on May 29th, 2008 2:05 pm

    Our favorites are the Tapas and Farmer’s Market Bonanza. Fabulous ideas!

  4. Party Time! « Bits of Pieces on May 30th, 2008 3:57 pm

    [...] 9 Nearly Free Ways To Entertain At Home from Sound Money Matters [...]

  5. Carnival Listings in the 4th Week of May on May 31st, 2008 7:34 am

    [...] 9 Nearly Free Ways to Entertain at Home by Sound Money Matters. It is fun to have people over for a party or go out with friends, but it is often kind of expensive, as well. There are some good tips here on things you can do with friends that are very inexpensive. [...]

  6. Reach Your Goals Fast on May 31st, 2008 8:49 pm

    I’m a big fan of game night myself and any kind of “theme” party – we like to do fondue parties. Always looking for fun ideas to do at home… Great site!

  7. Monday Link Love - The Finished the Post But Forgot to Publish It Edition « Are You Going To Be This Way The Rest of The Time I Know You? on June 3rd, 2008 8:23 am

    [...] Money Matters‘ post 9 Nearly Free Ways to Entertain at Home. These are great ideas to spend time with people you like without having t o break the [...]

  8. Frugalness 4 Mom | Freebies 4 Mom on June 16th, 2010 10:52 pm

    [...] 9 Nearly Free Ways to Entertain at Homefound at Sound Money MattersSpeaking of summer, you are probably going to have a few friends over? Well, here are some great ideas to keep your get-together a fun and frugal one. Thanks for reading [...]

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