What can you do to make family night something to look forward to? Why not try pizza and a movie at the old homestead? A little budget tightening may be just the incentive you need to encourage your family to reconnect by spending recreational time together. A movie night can be expensive after you figure in meals and snacks, but change the location from the Cineplex to your family room, and that pricey luxury becomes an inexpensive feast with custom entertainment added. All that and you don't even have to include a gratuity.
Movies, Movies, Movies
For less than it would cost to seat one adult at a local theater, you can rent a film for the whole family to enjoy. If finances are a problem, here are some even lower cost options:
- Low-cost movie rentals -- Explore local movie rental stores in your area for their bargain fare. Movies that are a little beyond new release status may be available, even on weekends, for as low as a dollar each. Have a movie marathon with your all time favorites. Movies don't have to be new releases to be good.
- Join a movie by mail service -- Netflix and Blockbuster have a range of monthly plans that will allow you to periodically order a new release movie from the comfort of your own home and have it delivered directly to your mailbox. If you're not sure if this option will work for you, both retailers periodically have free trials to get you familiar with the service.
- Go to the library -- Many local libraries have movies available free of charge. Sign up for a library card, and you can check out your favorite movies when you stop in to explore the latest books and magazines.
If you have trouble settling on just one movie, create your own theme night and have the movie buffs in your brood make the top picks.
If you think making pizza is a hassle, guess again. Those specialty ovens and tools at the local pizza parlor make a great pie, but so can you. From lower cost, ready-to-bake pizzas from your local market to prepared crusts that you can load yourself, pizza has never been easier to make. For the lazy approach, just slice a loaf of French bread in half lengthwise and apply your favorite sauce and toppings to each side. Place both halves on a cookie sheet and cook them for 15 minutes in a 350-degree Fahrenheit (176.66-degree Celsius) oven.
If you want something with a little more culinary flair, pull out your bread maker and make your own pizza dough. For pennies and very little effort, you'll be able to whip up a tasty dough and then finish it off in the oven. Making your own pizza doesn't have to be a compromise move, either. No one is weighing the ingredients, and you're only limited by your imagination. If you're watching fat, sodium and cholesterol, or have family members who are picky eaters or suffer from allergies, you can still make a masterpiece that will fit the bill and cost less than you would pay for a pizza from a major restaurant chain.