Eight free (kind of) night-in ideas to help you combat the cost of living crisis

Because every time I leave my flat, my bank balance dies a little

Enough is enough. This cost of living is really getting out of control. Why does it cost me £20 to go out and eat? Why are my 99p shots from the Benny Satch now £1.70?

Amidst my outrage, I’ve decided to take this personally and offer eight ways you can turn your bank-draining night-out into a lovely, free (kind of) night-in. Thank me later the next time you don’t spend a fortune buying overpriced shots or giving your left kidney for a single main course at any restaurant in Leam.

1. Host a board games night

A strangely wholesome yet deadly activity, I’m a firm believer that board games are a great way to either build friendships up or tear them down. Whether it’s UNO, Articulate, Exploding Kittens or just the classic cards, hosting a board games night with your friends will be a sure-fire way to get everyone screaming, shouting, cursing and desperately fighting for the win. All you have to do is gather around six to ten people, deal out the cards and watch chaos unfold. And all for free – as long as one person’s got the games already.

Everyone is just accusing each other at this point

2. Binge a new TV show

Since breathing fresh air now makes my wallet bleed, now is the perfect time to stay in and get stuck into a new TV show. And there’s so many options out there. Personally, I’ve gotten addicted to BoJack Horseman on Netflix lately, and I’m currently re-watching the whole of The Office with my girlfriend (for like, the third time). My flatmate is constantly pitching Andor to me on Disney Plus, and we’re also all watching Breaking Bad together – but there really are loads of other shows just waiting to be binged.

3. Fashion show time

Why dress up to leave the house when you can dress up and stay inside? Hosting a fashion show with your friends is the perfect way to socialise, not spend any money and also look good while doing so. Try on new outfits that you wouldn’t normally wear outside. Swap clothes. Explore different colour combinations. The possibilities are endless.

4. Make sharing platters

Since we’ve already established the eating out is way out of budget, try staying inside and whipping up some homemade sharing platters. On your next Tesco run, grab some garlic bread, salad ingredients, cheese and grapes to get started. They’re really easy to make, take barely any time whatsoever and are deceptively filling. They’re also really cute, so that’s a plus.

This picture makes me hungry again

5. YouTube karaoke

One of my favourite things to do, quite possibly ever, is to just host a YouTube karaoke night session with my flat. Gather your friends, pick out a couple throwback songs, find any random object for your mic (you can use a hairbrush, water bottle, spatula) and put on your very own concert. You can practically hear the crowd screaming and chanting your name already. All for free, too. What’s not to love?

My go-to karaoke song

6. Make your own tier lists

Pretty random, but creating your own tier lists with your friends can lead to a lot of arguments. A lot of debates. There’s loads online, you just have to Google them. Does Michael Scott really belong in the S tier of a The Office character ranking? Is this Harry Styles Grammy outfit truly deserving of a D tier placement? Only you can decide.

No I will not be taking questions. This tier list is final

7. Club in the safety of your room

Despite my undying love for Smack, Neon and Pop (please read this with heavy sarcasm), I am also a believer in flat clubbing. That’s where the real party is. With no need to spend ridiculous amounts of money on shots or queue-jump tickets, hosting a club night with your friends in your room is the way to go. All you have to do is get a speaker, put on some loud music, fire up those LED lights or sunset lamps and we’re off.

A pretty cool photo of my friend Yoni partying in my flat

8. Flat film night

Ah, the classic. Possibly the chillest way to spend your night-in, fire up a movie and gather some friends for the perfect evening. Whether it’s a Pixar film (Up! has got to be an all-time favourite), a new Netflix romcom or a horror film, you’re bound to have some fun. Recently, I’ve watched The Menu and it was great. Other movies that I’d recommend are The Father, Everything Everywhere All At Once and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.

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