Looking for some fun, low-key ways to hang with your roommates? Sometimes all you need is a chill night in with a glass of wine and light conversation. But other times you want something a little more engaging – especially if you’re broke, bored, and / or trying to forge stronger relationships with your roomies!The good news is that a bit of quality time will go a long way toward building goodwill in your shared abode. And it doesn’t have to be expensive, either. Here are four fun things to do with your roommates that’ll help keep communication lines open, cost virtually nothing, and won’t break the bank.
You might only have a deck of cards between you or you might share an inventory of board games that would make serious tabletop gamers jealous. Either way, grab some takeout with your roomies and settle in for a memorable game night together. You can liven things up with some drinks, a little music, and maybe even a friendly wager. (Loser buys snacks for the next gaming session?) By upping the stakes with a little friendly competition and committing to a follow-up roommate activity, you’ll have more fun and establish camaraderie. Game nights are also a great way to bring each other’s friends into the mix and take the edge off one-off introductions. Don’t even have a deck of cards? Check out this list of cheap or free party game apps.
Cook a delicious meal together
Breaking bread might be the most time-tested way to feel happy and connected that humanity has ever discovered. It’s a surefire community-builder – and it doesn’t come with a major price tag or time cost. (Hey, you were going to eat anyway, weren’t you?) So circulate some favorite recipes among the group and see what gets everyone excited. Digging through cookbooks together or breaking out a family-favorite meal is half the fun.
You could also try signing up for a trial run of one of those meal-in-a-box services we’re always hearing about and schedule your roommate dinner night the day it’s supposed to arrive. This takes all the stress and guesswork out of the process (the recipe searching, shopping, calculating). And dinner is practically guaranteed to be delicious because meal kit programs are designed by professional chefs. This approach has a higher cost, but it’s still probably cheaper than eating out.
Lastly, there’s always an even simpler route: Buy a pre-made pizza dough, roll it out, add some sauce, throw on some toppings, and toss it in the oven. Voilà – a semi-gourmet pizza without leaving the house, and you made it together. Pair with a salad and in less than an hour you have a meal that satisfies a whole range of taste buds.
Protip: If you ask nicely, many pizza shops will sell you a ball of fresh dough for less than a frozen supermarket crust would cost you.
Work out together
Working out isn’t just a fun bonding activity – it motivates us to sweat harder and meet our fitness goals. Are you and your roomies into staying fit but tend to hit the gym separately? Maybe you simply have different approaches to working out? No worries. If you have a gym in your building, a nearby track, or a hiking spot you’ve been wanting to try out, ask a roommate to join you sometime. Scheduling a workout with housemates can be a great way to de-stress together after a long day of work or kick off a nice weekend. You can spot each other while hitting the weights, take a kickboxing class together, or just go for a power walk to get groceries.
Whatever you decide to do, setting fitness goals and exercising together can be a kind of casual team-building effort that benefits your health while also helping the whole household develop a positive, healthy vibe.
Sure, you could go to the theater and check out the latest new release. Or you and your roommates can take advantage of that absurdly large smart TV and kick back with a brainless action film or critically acclaimed documentary. Why pay for a ticket when you could binge a new Netflix series together? Or watch a comically bad horror film and make fun of it the whole way through?
Don’t forget to make some old-school stove-top popcorn! It’s much healthier, far less expensive, and can turn any casual hangout into an authentic movie night. Crack open a few craft beers and settle in for some collective laughing, crying, or screaming. Bickering over which movie to watch and debating afterwards how good / bad it was? Yep, that’s a crucial part of the evening.
Movie night is a perfect low-cost, low-effort way to get to know your housemates and settle into your common space together. Start building a ‘roommate movie watch list’ so you always have something fun lined up for the next screening!