Even if you are focused on living a frugal lifestyle, either through necessity or to maximise your savings, you need to enjoy some entertainment and downtime. The options for doing so have been severely restricted this year due to broader world events. But one aspect of lockdown that has proved true for everyone is that staying in has rapidly become the new going out.
Finding ways to entertain yourself without leaving your house certainly reduces costs in terms of travel, exorbitant bar bills and the like. But the most popular forms of home entertainment can still prove expensive, particularly when you go down the road of online subscription services for sport, games, movies and the rest.
Yet it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are eight very different types of home entertainment that will cost little or nothing, while providing hours of fun for the family. Why not give them all a go? It might just be the case that you never want to leave your four walls again!
Enjoy a movie night – or even 30
Remember the days of going to the video store to check out the latest rentals? Of course, these days Blockbuster is no more, and has been replaced by online streaming services. There are plenty out there, of which Netflix is the most famous.
Now $9.99 per month (or $13.99 for multiple streams and high definition) is not a bad deal given the hundreds of movies, boxsets, documentaries and original series on offer. But you don’t even have to pay that if you simply sign up for a free trial and then cancel your subscription after 30 days.
Play games online
Back in pre-internet times, it was common for families to sit together around a table and play games together. These days, gaming is more popular than ever, from the Fortnite phenomenon that has enthralled our teenagers to casino games for the adults – of which we will speak more later. These examples are generally solitary activities, but there are games out there that will appeal to the whole family, just like Monopoly and Pictionary did in the old days.
Sites like Arkadium.com have an amazing choice, with games in every category. So whether you want to play scrabble with your grandmother or entertain your toddler with a shape-matching game, you’ll be certain to find something suitable.
Learn a new language
We’re never too old to stop learning, and taking classes in a topic that is useful, piques our interest or ideally, both, is always a good idea. Courses used to be on the expensive side when it meant attending physical classes, but the internet age has changed all that forever.
Learning a foreign language is one of the most popular types of adult education, although it’s hugely beneficial for the kids, too. The Babbel platform is one of the most long-established e-learning apps, and there are more than a dozen languages to learn. The site itself offers regular promotions and you can also get some useful vouchers for free and discounted courses.
Go to a gig
Attending a concert is an amazing experience, but we all know the price of tickets can be outrageous. This year, virtual concerts have become all the rage, and their popularity has been such that even when things return to normal, it seems certain they are here to stay.
Many charity events are free to stream, and you simply donate whatever you can afford towards the appropriate fund. But even the conventional concerts are way more affordable than attending a gig in person. For example, Avril Lavigne is playing regularly, and your whole family can have the best seats in the house for the sum total of $25!
Enjoy a wager
Ah, the excitement, sophistication and endless possibilities of a night at the casino. Who can resist it? Even before the physical casinos were forced to temporarily close earlier this year, the online varieties were popular. In recent months, that popularity has skyrocketed.
Whether you play online or in real life, gambling can turn expensive. But the beauty of the online option is that some sites will let you play for free or demand only a nominal deposit. It gives you all the fun without breaking the bank, and you might even get lucky with a big win! Of course, it is still gambling, so know your limits and play responsibly.
Go clothes shopping
If the above three words caused the colour to drain from your face and left you thinking that you really will need that casino jackpot, think again. Clothes shopping doesn’t have to be expensive, and cyberspace is one of the best places to go if you want to keep the costs under control.
Which site to visit depends very much on the type of clothes you are looking for. Finder.com has some useful tips here, including PatPat for the youngsters, Kohl’s for timeless classics and Misguided for runway fashion with incredible discounts.
Throw a party
Don’t be horrified, we are not suggesting you fill the house with 100 hungry guests. It’s not cheap and it most definitely doesn’t fit with the current ethos of social distancing. But this year, Zoom parties have been the big lockdown hit, so you can throw one too.
Hosting a virtual party is great fun and it costs practically nothing. It does, however, require just as much planning as a real party if you want to avoid awkward silences and the attendees disappearing after five minutes. Make sure everyone knows how to use the technology, and be prepared to take the lead, especially over those opening minutes. Also, adopt a less is more approach. An hour should be just about right.
Of course, not everyone has a house full of family. If you’re on your own, the dating scene has been a tough one over the past few months. However, the internet has a solution for everything, and these days, thousands of singles are trying out online dating.
It certainly negates many of the worries that can spoil a first date if you are on a tight budget, but it also means you can broaden your horizons. For example, Tinder recently added Global Mode, meaning you can enjoy a date in cyberspace with a like-minded soul from anywhere in the world. Of course, things could get pricey if you want to take the relationship to the next level, but if you are both just dating for fun, you’ll have an evening to remember.