Frugal Fun with Friends: Turning TV into a Social Event
I’ll admit it: I’m a pretty boring person. By marrying me, my wife now assumes that label and all that goes with it as well. That’s why, for every Friday or Saturday night we spend out at a concert, comedy show, or sporting event, there are at least nine others spent building a puzzle while the television plays in the background. But, as I’ve recently come to realize, watching TV doesn’t have to be an antisocial affair. In fact, with a few additions, it can actually make for some enjoyable frugal fun with friends.
Let me explain. A couple of weeks ago, two of our friends invited us to participate in a Game of Thrones death pool (ours was inspired by AV Club, but plenty of other sites seem to have their own versions). In full disclosure, I’ve never actually watched more than two minutes of this particular show, but my wife is current with it and the betting for bragging rights angle of the game intrigued me. Once we were in, several participants in our little group agreed to meet up on Monday nights and watch the episodes together.
While we missed the first edition due to my traveling, our first GoT night was this Monday and it was a blast! What’s more, it didn’t cost us a dime. This not only got me thinking about how similar gamification techniques could be applied to other programs but also how you could turn these gatherings into full-blown events. To the gamification point, I know my friends also participate in a fantasy Bachelor/Bachelorette league that, while interesting, I can’t see myself getting into. Still, the idea behind it is solid.
As for how to turn it into an event, one tasty addition would be food. While everyone in our group ate at their respective homes before a brief gathering (it was a school night, after all), you could just as easily turn the evening into a potluck. Alternatively, it might be fun to have a different person prepare a meal for the whole group each week. For bonus points, you could even theme the dishes to the show de jour.
Like I’ve mentioned plenty of times before, having a great time doesn’t have to cost you a ton. This relatively recent trend of turning television watching into an interactive social event speaks to that reality in a big way. So, instead of spending a small fortune to take on the town, I prefer to place my (non-monetary) bets, head to a friend’s house, and turn on HBO for a surprisingly entertaining night in.