Family nights could become expensive if we went out but we have found one way to a cheap version of family night that works well for us.
My husband and I are homebodies. We love to stay at home. Our idea of a fun evening is curling up on the couch (or in his case, in his recliner) and reading a good book.
But a few years ago we brought home this thing called a baby, and now, eleven years later, our son still doesn't like reading all that much. His idea of an evening of fun is building things with his Legos. Not a bad hobby, but not really a family activity.
And then around nine years ago, we brought home another bundle of joy who, like us, loves to read, but who also loves to explain in long, drawn-out detail to everyone within hearing distance exactly what her book is all about…down to the most obscure detail. So although she'd enjoy an evening of reading together as a family, the remaining occupants of the room wouldn't be able to enjoy the pleasure of peace and quiet, which is generally desirable when reading.
Then way back in 2002 we brought home our latest model, a bouncing baby girl, whose favorite pastime is board games. Her ideal family night would consist of non-stop game playing, including Racko, Bugopoly, and Apples to Apples. While the older kids and I also enjoy a good board game on occasion, Dad isn't that much of a fan of games. So yet again, we struck out on a family-wide activity we can all enjoy on a regular basis.
Obviously, finding a single activity that our entire family enjoys is a little challenging, especially on a tight budget.
But there is one thing that we all enjoy doing together — watching movies. The problem is, we don't have cable or satellite TV — only rabbit ears which don't get us more than a couple of local channels. Even checking out movies from the library is generally out of the question since our local library is tiny and has a paltry selection of movies, and the closest large library with a decent movie collection charges a ridiculous annual fee for membership.
And of course, taking our family of five to the movie theater would require a small fortune, and even renting movies at our local Movie Gallery would get expensive pretty quick.
So what do we do?
Well, a couple weeks ago my husband signed us up for a trial membership with Netflix. We've never considered Netflix before, but now that they offer unlimited streaming movies on top of their regular DVD program, we thought we'd give it a try. And it has been a perfect fit for us. In between the DVD selections which are mailed to us, we watch movies over the internet. Their selection is great and we can easily find movies that satisfy each picky member of our family. (The homeschooling-mom side of my personality is even excited about all the history- and science-related movies they have available!)
So we've finally found our cheap family night activity. And for the cost of just two movie rentals, we can watch movies every night of the month. That definitely works for us!