When times are hard, looking after your finances is more important than ever. But life is to be lived, so there’s got to be time for fun and enjoying yourself too – even if money is tighter than you’d like it to be. 

Nights out can be expensive and harder to afford when faced with higher bills and food prices, so why not host friends at your house instead? You and your friends could take turns hosting and there are loads of things you can do. 

Here are some ideas to add a bit of novelty and excitement to your next night in, so you can enjoy life without breaking the bank. 😌


Come Dine with Me 🥘

Creating your own version of the popular TV show is a great way to spend a few nights in. 

Each week, you or a friend can host and cook your group a meal. This doesn’t have to be a fancy, three-course meal like they make in the shows: it can just be a simple dish that you enjoy making. A good way to keep costs down could be setting an ingredient spending limit for everyone. 

You all then rate each other’s meals out of 10 and the winner can get a prize of your choice. Or, they can just win bragging rights – we’re talking about staying in control of your finances, after all, so don’t feel bad if you don’t want to splash out on a big trophy. 🏆😅 

(Just don’t be like Heather or this guy if you lose! 😂)


The Great Uni Bake Off 🎂

Instead of taking turns cooking a meal, how about baking? 🍪

Each week, one person from your friendship group can bring their baked goods for you all to try (along with a tea, coffee or other drink of choice, if you like ☕). Then, you all rate each other’s bakes and see who comes out on top as the best baker in the group. 👩‍🍳

Or, if you really want to get into the spirit of the show, you could do as they do on The Great British Bake Off and have a challenge for each week with everyone baking something similar to then be judged.

Again, setting a budget for how much you’re allowed to spend on your ingredients might be a good idea.


Movie marathons 🎥

Invite all your friends round and have a movie night in. 🎥

All you’ll need is your favourite streaming subscription (here’s some guidance on how to stay on top of your subscriptions), some drinks and snacks (popcorn is a MUST, of course 🍿) and you’re all set. 

Everyone could pick their favourite film, you can choose a theme (e.g. Lord of the Rings, Marvel, IMDb top 10 horror movies 👻) or you might like to use a Netflix roulette like this one to help you make your choices.

Then sit back, relax and enjoy the show!


Invite friends round for the big game ⚽

Do you enjoy live sports? Maybe you usually go to the pub to watch them? If so, you’ll inevitably end up spending lots of money on drinks and snacks, making it an expensive day or night out. 💰 

Whether you’re watching a World Cup game, a big boxing fight 🥊 or the tennis, you can save some money by streaming the game at home and inviting your friends round. Your house might not be as packed as your local would be, but you’ll spend a lot less and it will still be a lot of fun! 


Board game night in 🎲

Another great night in idea is to have a board game evening. 🎲

Now, board games are pretty expensive, especially on a student budget, so we’re not saying to go out and buy loads of new board games for £20 a pop. Instead, could you pick some up from your family home or borrow from friends or other people you study with? Charity shops are also typically a board game gold mine! And if all your friends do the same, you’re sure to end up with a solid selection of games between you. 

All that’s left to do is buy some drinks and snacks and you’re ready for a great, chilled (depending on how competitive you are!) evening.

Some of our favourite board games for a night in are:


Remember, life is to be lived, so it’s important to make sure that you enjoy it, at the same time as looking out for your future financial wellbeing. You might not be able to splash out on lavish nights out or trips away at the moment, but you can still make lots of memories in your own home.


Related blogs

The cost of convenience

Why is my life getting so expensive?

4 ways to invest in yourself and improve your life

5 ways to make money as a student


Further learning

Blackbullion budget calculator – Understand, and plan for, your financial circumstances at university with this easy to use budgeting calculator

Top 10 Money Tips – Discover how you can break bad spending habits and create new good money habits. How to manage money effectively, know where your money is going, create a budget, and pay yourself first.

The Budget Decision Tree – A step by step decision tree to help to examine your income and expenses and put a plan in place to balance them – or ideally have more income than expenses!

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