Are you feeling the pinch of debt or the need to save more money? A great way to live more frugally is to stay at home more, but this can feel like a punishment if you aren’t careful. How can you switch your entertainment closer to home without spending too much money and without feeling deprived? The tips below can help.

Your Financial Situation

Cutting back on what you spend won’t do you as much good if you don’t have a good handle on your finances, so first take a look at what your debts are and how much you are saving, if anything. A good baseline to aim for is no debt besides your mortgage, an emergency savings fund of three to six months’ worth of expenses or more, and retirement savings. Beyond this, you may have specific goals in mind, such as a home remodel or a vacation. One way to manage high-interest debts is by replacing them with a lower-interest debt. For example, if you have credit card debt you need to pay off, you can check out your personal loan options and get matched in less than a minute. With a clear end in site with debt repayment, you can finally get your personal finances in order to start the new year and beyond.

Communicate

If this represents a big change in lifestyle for you, you might need to have explicit conversations with family and friends. You don’t need to go into detail about your financial situation if it isn’t appropriate. You can simply explain that you want to spend more time at home or spend less money. This can help cut back on the number of times you have to say no to outings you just can’t afford and will prevent people from thinking that you are avoiding them as opposed to the activity.

Dinner Parties

If you’re a savvy cook, you can probably throw a dinner party and entertain on your patio for friends for less than you would spend having dinner for two in a restaurant, but you don’t have to take on the cost yourself. Have a potluck, or talk to your friends about having a rotating dinner in which you take turns cooking for one another.

Family Nights

If you have kids, the cost of a night at the movies or even pizza night can add up. What if you stayed in and made the pizza yourself? This is a fun, easy activity, and pizza is so versatile that it’s easy to accommodate nearly any kind of food allergy or preference as well. Board games or even a family walk can also be excellent ways to spend time together without spending money.

Hobby Groups

Do you like to read or craft? You can set up a book club or a knitting circle in which you take turns meeting in one another’s homes. If you are particularly cost-conscious, look for books you can get from the library or used, and try to focus on crafts that don’t require you to spend a lot of money.