I love a family game night. I come from a very competitive family, so we can be a bit hardcore in our games, but you can have a peaceful family game night, too. If you play with games you already own and enjoy affordable snack food at home, it can be much cheaper than a family trip to the movies or even an outing to a mini-golf park or restaurant with games. Here are six tips for keeping it frugal.

Play Accessory-Free Games
Some games only need a watch, pencil, and paper. Try games like Win, Lose, or Draw or charades. Pair up and set a number of rounds. The team with the lowest time score wins at the end.

Choose Games You Already Own
Most families have a few games suitable for everyone. Games like Life and Monopoly are standard in most households, but you can also play cards, dominoes, or even Chutes and Ladders.

Borrow Games from Friends
If you’re tired of the games you own, ask your friends what games they have. Borrow a couple games and try them out. If you find one you really like, it’s a perfect holiday gift or something to ask for on birthdays.

Turn Off the TV and Other Electronics
Since you’ll all be huddled together playing the game, you can turn off the TV, the stereo, and the computers while you play. That will reduce your energy costs and prevent distractions. It may seem extreme, but it’s definitely frugal.

Eat Homemade Snack Foods
Family game night calls for finger food, but rather than buy junk at the store or order a pizza, use what you have on hand. Make a batch of nachos with chips and grated cheese, put out a plate of cold cuts, crackers, and cheese, or serve fondue with chopped bread, salami, and veggies. If you spend the evening grazing on healthy snacks, everyone will get a full meal without breaking up the fun for a real “dinner.” (Hint: my sister and I loved getting a night off the real dinner.)

Invite Friends Over for Game Night
Make it cheaper and even more entertaining by inviting friends over. Ask them to bring healthy snacks and their games. Then you can split into groups to play kids with kids and adults with adults. No kids? An all-adults game night is just as much fun.

Just about any game is good for family game night, but these are my favorites: Chickenfoot (dominoes), charades, Pictionary, Balderdash, Rummikub, Trivial Pursuit, Outburst, Risk, and Taboo. Some are great for big groups while others are good for two or more. What are you favorite game night games or snack foods? Tell me in the comments.


10 Responses to “Six Ideas for a Frugal Family Game Night”

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  2. Bonnie Jones on December 16th, 2009 7:59 pm

    Family game night is a favorite at our house. It’s a great way to get everyone unplugged and interacting with each other. Our favorite game is Triviathon.

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