I'm a sucker for a night on the town. I love the lights and sounds of night clubs. I enjoy the thumping bass and the pulse of the crowd. But one thing I don't like is the cost of a round of high priced drinks that can easily break $50 for me and a few friends. Rather than chase the parties, some weekends I just hang at home with my beautiful wife and have a great weekend without spending a dime.
With most of us having Netflix, or at least a Redbox nearby, a movie night is a cheap, or free, way to spend a little time at home. Pop some popcorn, pick a new indie comedy or action flick, or whatever you are in the mood for, and grab a spot on the couch. You can do a movie night alone, with friends, or make a date night out of it. Or, if you are like me, you can turn it into an Orange is the New Black marathon night. Because seriously, how awesome is that show!
Puzzles and Games
My wife and I had a relaxing in night last weekend with a puzzle on the coffee table. Puzzles are a fun way to spend time with people you care about without the distractions of screens and phones. Puzzles are pretty cheap if you don't already have one lying around the house. If you want something a little more engaging you can upgrade to a game like Monopoly, Risk, or even checkers. If you have a group of friends to play with, my new favorite game is Cards Against Humanity. This game is a blast to play with almost any crowd, but make sure it is all adults with a high tolerance for offensive jokes.
Put down the box of macaroni and cheese. Stop the microwave. Take some time to pick a recipe and actually cook something fun and new. Whether you are an experienced chef or merely an occasional kitchen helper, search online for one of your favorite dishes and learn how to make it yourself. Make a grocery store run to grab the ingredients and either cook for someone else or make a fun meal together for some good bonding time before the good food.
Flights, hotels, meals, activities, and other incidentals can make vacations super expensive. Save some money and combine some of these ideas into a stay-cation. Make a dinner, play a game, watch a movie, and enjoy some time in the hotel you are already paying for every day, your home. There is almost no limit to what you can do at home with some good company and creativity. And, unlike a vacation, it can be a great way to enjoy your friends and family without the big travel expenses that come with a full vacation.
What are your favorite stay-at-home activities? Have you ever stay-cationed? Please share in the comments. First published January 24, 2009. Updated August 14, 2014.