Enough with all this technical lingo – you won’t see the words credit, mortgage or scuba diving in this post. After presenting a great reason to save up (healthy down payment) in Thursday’s article, it is only fair to share ideas on how to save money and still have a universally-recognized status of “cool” today.

I don’t want you to be a person who only eats peanut butter and rejects every social engagement in fear of spending a dime. You have to give yourself some leeway or you will go crazy and/or rebel. And then bye-bye savings. To avoid those two negative results, here are some fun ideas to help you along the cool saver’s path.

You ready for this? My suggestion for today takes into account that you like food, movies and TV, friends and a slight bit of cheesiness in your life. If this doesn’t sound like you, turn around, do not pass go, and do not take this priceless advice. But if you are open to such things, read on!

See how much better TV has gotten since the 50s?

TV-watching parties: the more themed the better!

TV is in a golden age. Mad Men, Modern Family, Lost (RIP) and 30 Rock (I could go on) are all easily available for your watching enjoyment. Most of these shows you can stream from Hulu or Netflix, and the others you can put on your Netflix queue. Here are some watching party ideas. Please tweak these for your tastes. Remember if you play host, it is okay to have your watching pals bring some elements of dinner. That way, you share the cost of food and spend less than restaurant prices. So here’s how to do dinner and a movie (or a TV ‘sode or 2) for a lot less dough, and in my opinion, a lot more fun.

Tex-Mex & Dex (translation, Fajitas and Dexter)

The show about our favorite serial killer takes place in hot and spicy Miami. What better to ease you through a tense season finale than some show-inspired food? So, okay. Tex-Mex doesn’t come from Miami, but the rhyme was just too good to resist. I’ve tried this combination and it was heavenly. Do it, I dare you.

Cookout & Mad Men

What says “early-1960s” better than a friendly cookout? If you want to get really wacky, why not have a dress up party for the premiere or finale? Ladies, come on, even if you think Betty Draper is the biggest baby ever, you have to admit her dresses are gorgeous. And guys, Don Draper is the lady killer of Madison Avenue. I think one night in 60s gear would do everyone some good. Don’t ask me why, just try it out and thank me later. But don’t take the theme too far and bring broken marriages hidden under those bright smiles.

Mystery Meat & Lost

Ha! I kid. In my opinion Lost is better on DVD or via stream anyway; less time between those infuriatingly lovable cliffhangers. If you haven’t opened the hatch or have friends who haven’t, this could be your next addictive pastime. After each ‘sode, you can all discuss theories and solutions. With Lost, the fun never stops. And you can leave the mystery meat at home, and perhaps go for a Hawaiian theme. I’ve never tried Pineapple pizza, but I think I just might if it means I get to watch Jack lead those survivors to the cave one more time.

Special Episode theme

What about those much-awaited episodes in your favorite series? I had friends in college who sent out invitations and served cake and punch for Phyllis’ wedding special on The Office. Suddenly, you aren’t just spending a Thursday night with your wallet under lock and key. Now, you are enjoying great TV with friends AND cake!

As you can see, TV presents endless options for a cheap and fun night with opportunities for regular re-occurrences. But, if you are a silver screen type of cat, here are a few movie night ideas to round out my time with you.

Foreign Movie Series

Asian film and Asian smorgasbord: Why not start with Stir Fry, Pot Stickers & Battle Royale (other film suggestions Mongol or any Akira Kurosawa film).
Get ready for a delicious meal and a shocking movie. I cannot think of a better scenario, and I’m trying.

Spaghetti & Meatballs with a dash of Michael Corleone: Okay, not exactly a foreign film, but The Godfather series does feature Italy and a lot of pasta. It is actually hard to watch these movies without getting hungry for some marinara, so why fight it?

Hot Chocolate (and breakfast) with Let the Right One In:This frosty Swedish film would go great with some hot cocoa or mochas. Why not throw in some waffles or pancakes to round out the meal. Who doesn’t love a little breakfast with their vampire action?

And there are so many more countries to try! Just look at the Netflix watch-instantly selection and go crazy.

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