It wouldn’t be Suburban Dollar if I didn’t hit on some truly suburban topics. I don’t pretend to live an exciting night life of nights on the town, crazy parties, and all night raves. I am a true suburban dad. Almost everything we do either centers around is limited by our children. This isn’t a complaint it is just a fact. Going to a football game or a movie is not only expensive but it is a logistical nightmare with finding a babysitter, driving the kids there, packing bottles, etc.. etc.. When money is short it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice fun, you just have to start looking closer to home.
The Big Game
This past weekend my wife and I got a treat and were able to go out without the kids. We haven’t been out together since our second son was born over 6 weeks ago. We had a blast but football tickets are expensive and you just can’t get away all the time. A great, kid friendly, alternative is to host your own neighborhood tailgate. Have everyone come down to your driveway and bring a dish, their kids, and some frosty beverages. The kids will love it because they can play together, the adults will get non child interaction, and it is just as good as siting in a parking lot somewhere. Move it inside to watch the game and weather isn’t an issue, crowds are non existent, and you don’t need binoculars to see whether Eric Berry just broke an interception record (he was so close).
Lets face it, movies are ridiculously expensive. It costs less to wait and buy the Blue Ray movie then it does for two people to go to the theater and watch a movie, let alone a family. With the invention of things like RedBox and NetFlix you can get a movie to watch at little cost to you. Throw in some popcorn from the store and you have a movie night that won’t break the bank, and will provide for a lot better family environment. Oh yeah and you can take a baby.
Parties are not known for their highly frugal nature. You invite a bunch of people over, they drink wine, eat some food, drink some more wine, etc. There is huge amounts of prep work to make dinner for your guests, not to mention buying the wine and supplies. There is no reason an informal dinner party has to be a one house show. There are several ways you can have a great party without breaking the bank.
- The B-Y-O-E party. This could be considered the Uncle Scrooge party method but it has worked great for me in the past. Anytime you are just looking for an excuse to get together you can throw a Bring Your Own Everything party. You supply the grill/cooking surface and your guests bring whatever they want to eat. All you as the host are responsible for is not burning the Smith’s hot dogs or dropping Mrs. Brown’s steak on the ground.
- The B-Y-O-M party. Another adaptation of the BYOB party you have each of your guests bring their own meat. In this party you could/would provide all other aspects of the party, such as plates, forks, condiments, and side dishes. Meat is usually the most expensive part of a meal and if everyone brings their own no one is left buying 15 lbs. of hamburger meat.
- The Appetizer Party. Appetizers are small, generally easy to make, and inexpensive. Everyone attending brings one or two appetizers to share. You get to eat some great food and only had to slave over a hot stove for 1 hour instead of four.
- The Game Night Party. This is actually a natural progression from any of the above parties or it could be a stand alone event after everyone has eaten dinner. We typically see more of the game type parties in the winter when you haven’t seen your next door neighbor for four weeks. Games like Partini, Cranium, and Catch Phrase are good entertaining party games.
Next time you think you have to get out of the hood to have a good time, think about ways you can keep at home and have fun for less. I would love to hear about any other ideas you have for having fun close to home.