Tips for being frugal and surviving Brokuary/Nospenduary
In my house, January has become known as Brokuary. Brokuary or Brokeuary, is also known as Nospenduary. It describes January, or, the period of cash-short days one spends directly after the December holidays. Tack on some New Year’s Resolutions about being frugal and thrifty and in a nutshell you have Brokuary! In Toronto, it’s also a bit cold (well, depends on the year) and this is probably the one month you can get away with being a bit of a hermit. But I’m too much of a social butterfly for that, so I’ve whipped up this list of Brokuary plans you can do with others and tips for cheap plans to curb some January spending.
1. Ladies Night In
To celebrate our first hang out of the New Year, I invited over two of my close friends on a Saturday night. Instead of dishing out lots of dollars on over-priced wine and food, we took our celebrations indoors! I cleaned up my house for the first time since the break, made some vegetable appetizers and home-made bruschetta (seriously, tasty!), pulled out a box of Pot of Gold and a bottle of wine. My friends responded in kind with two bottles of white wine and cupcakes! We ate, we drank, we played some xBox karaoke and we gabbed. Great night in! Net cost? Less than $20 per person, and most of that was the desserts and the wine!
Bonus tip: if you have an xBox, the new Karaoke game is only $2.50 for 2 hours and $5 for 6 hours! Perfect for an at-home karaoke night. They even have Gangnam Style!
2. Board Game Night
A friend of mine moved into a new apartment the first week of January and wanted some company on a cold Saturday evening in his new pad. The hook? Board games! Always a frugal choice. A bunch of us piled into his apartment (which is still missing a couch) and settled in for a long, very long, six person game of Settlers of Catan (I won!). We dined on leftovers from the holidays, half-eaten chip bags, donated wine and leftover alcohol. Afterwards we wandered to a bar down the street for a pint. The cost of the evening? Maybe $15 per person, depending on what you drank at the bar.
Bonus tip: If hosting at home isn’t a possibility, eat beforehand and mosey down to your closest bar. If you’re in Toronto, you can eat, drink and play boardgames at places like 3030 Dundas West, Snakes and Lattes, The Only Cafe and more. You can even search Yelp for reviews.
3. Cheap Movie Tuesdays
This should honestly be something that you do on the regular regardless of the month. I’m a bit of a film snob but even I hate paying $14 for the latest Hollywood blockbuster when I think of all the documentaries I could see at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema or the art films at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. So when it comes to superheroes? I usually spend $7 or $8 on Tuesdays instead!
Bonus tip: some theatres offer discounts on early matinee screenings on the weekends too. The Revue Cinema comes to mind, as do some of the Cineplex locations. Always inquire!
4. Ice Skating
Cheesy, but do I love going to a skating rink and skating for maybe only an hour but drinking copious amounts of hot chocolate! Free if you have your own skates, maybe $5-10 if you don’t. Slip a flask in your pocket and you’re golden. You get to spend some time outdoors, sneakily drinking, getting some exercise and on the cheap I’m hoping to add this to my weekend plans next week. City Rinks has great detail on what each rink in Toronto offers.
What frugal activities have you planned for this month? How do you keep active and social but on the cheap?