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10 free (or nearly free) night-in ideas to get you through semester two

For when you have more deadlines than money!


It’s a cold night in February. Plans for pres never made it out of the group chat and it’s already too late to join the queue for Tamagotchi Tuesday. Everyone in the flat is tired, bored and about to notice that you forgot to buy toilet roll. Don’t stress. Here’s our list of 10 free, well nearly free, fun flativities to keep the peace during midterm season.

1. Host a flat Come Dine with Me

Granted, this one may take a little planning but it’s a fun way to escape the monotony of pesto pasta for the fourth day in a row. The menu can be modified to fit both cooking ability and budget and it’s a fun way to catch up with your flatmates after a long day of the fourth-floor library grind. Ask about allergies to avoid losing out on first place (and a trip to A&E).

2. Flat games night

Maybe one to avoid if you’re living with sore losers. Commit to a week’s worth of Monopoly or opt for a quick game of Uno. While our flat’s vetoed Twister’s countless times, our Facebook Marketplace Wii has provided hours of entertainment and we love a badly executed game of drunk poker too.

3. Karaoke

Want to recreate the atmosphere of a Dropkicks Westlife Wednesday at home? No problem. Get up some YouTube karaoke, grab a hairbrush for a microphone and wait for your neighbours to knock on your door to compliment your note-perfect rendition of Love Story. (Bonus points if guitars are involved).

4. Films, films, films

Control of the TV remote can be a heated topic of flat debate. Avoid this and another night of watching Love Island (I love Will, but it is quite boring sorry) by putting everyone’s favourite film titles into a jar and choosing one at random. Add some microwave popcorn and you’ll feel like you’re at Everyman, without having to step foot out of your flat.

5. Swapping clothes

If you’re anything like me, you’ve reached the point of the semester where your Depop likes have become a distant fantasy. Take some of the strain off your wallet by swapping clothes with your flatmates instead of buying new ones. Not only does this keep club photos interesting (there are only so many times we can wear an UO corset, after all), it’s good for the environment. It helps to save money at a time when Lurpack is security protected.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve reached the point of the semester where your Depop likes have become a distant fantasy. Take some of the strain off your wallet by swapping clothes with your flatmates instead of buying new ones. Not only does this keep club photos interesting (there are only so many times we can wear an UO corset, after all), it’s good for the environment. It helps to save money at a time when Lurpack is security protected.

With topics ranging from post-reading week debriefs, night-out statistics, or hinge matches, a PowerPoint night is great (and free) flat entertainment. You’ll find yourself paying more attention to your mates’ presentation on ‘Why I don’t trust men with Canada Goose jackets’ than the one you watched earlier for your degree (and we don’t blame you).

7.  Pranks

I owe this one to my mate at Newcastle who, under the pseudonym Prank Sinatra, gives me weekly updates about her recently initiated flat “prank war”. An evening spent plotting the next instalment of “hilarious pranking” (her words, not mine and definitely not her flatmates’) will leave you feeling like the cast of a budget CBBC show from the mid-2000s.

8. Draw portraits of each other

Unleash your inner Picasso with an abstract arrangement of your mate’s face, or opt for a life drawing if you have the ability (or misguided confidence). After you’ve finished, hang your masterpieces and wait until you host your next pres for people to ask whose baby cousin drew the pictures on the wall.

9. Valentine’s Day

If you aren’t brave enough to boogie Valentine’s Day away at Hive and don’t have romantic dinner reservations at Chez Jules, consider a night in with the flat. Decorating heart-shaped cookies followed by a wholesome flat dinner, cocktails, pints, shots, wine or tea, depending on your vibe or ignoring Valentine’s Day altogether. Anything but crying about someone that doesn’t care about you goes.

10. Plan a flat reading week trip for when you do have money

This one relies on the misguided hope that you will, at some point, stop spending all of your money on Venoms and start saving for the infamous reading-week city break. Paris, Rome, Amsterdam. Budapest, Berlin or Copenhagen. Research is the key to getting plans out of the group chat and gives everyone something other than Matchmaking Monday to look forward to.

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