Want to Save Money and Raise Smarter Kids? Try Family Game Night

Kid playing one of the most popular board games of all time: chess

What’s your most cherished childhood memory?

Maybe it’s an unforgettable family vacation, with long afternoons spent hiking or lazing on a beach. Maybe it’s learning grandma’s cherished pie crust recipe, which you now return to every single year around the holidays.

Maybe it’s even something that seems mundane in retrospect: weekly trips to the supermarket, loading groceries into the cart for mom.

But for many of us who were born long enough before the internet took over the world, some of the best parts of growing up involved throwing dice and carefully counting spaces on a tattered board.

That’s right, I’m talking about family game night. And if you can’t remember the last time you had one, you’re seriously missing out.

Here’s Why Penny Hoarders Should Bring Back Family Game Night

If your last family game night is a distant memory, we encourage you to gather your crew and dust off your old Pictionary set — stat.

Not convinced? Here are five reasons family game night is a total Penny Hoarder move.

1. It’s Cheap.

OK, putting this one at the top of the list on a personal finance website is a predictable move.

But when a family trip to the movie theater can easily add up to $50 or more, it’s still a strong argument.

Don’t get me wrong — I know that board games themselves are expensive. You should have seen my face when I was Christmas shopping for my 11-year-old nieces last year! Who plunks down $40 on Clue?

But there are lots of other inexpensive, fun games available, like the new Pie Face and Watch Ya Mouth sets, which are both under $20 at Target.

Plus, even if you did go in for the super-premium version of Monopoly… that $40 buys you a reusable item and an experience that’ll be different every single time. Movie night is one and done.

Besides, surely you have old board games languishing untouched in the back of your closet. And if you don’t, you can try out some of these games, which require nothing but your time and imagination to play.

2. It’s Interactive.

Yes, this might be obvious, but it’s also a huge perk.

It’s called family game night, which means quality time with the people who matter most.

What’s more, you’ll actually talk to each other. Let’s see a trip to the movies offer that!

Family game night

3. It’s a Great Opportunity to Get Screen-Free.

To be fair, this one depends on you. In our ubiquitous-smartphone era, even your 8-year-old probably turns to an app to get their game on.

Don’t get me wrong — family game night includes some great digital opportunities for interactive family fun out there. And a lot of them are totally free! (Heads Up, anyone?)

But if you’ve been on the lookout for an opportunity to get your family away from screens for a spell, game night is a fantastic way to do so. After all, one of the main requirements of almost every single board game is that you actually look at one another.

4. It Can Improve Cognition and Mechanical Skills.

There’s nothing like Jenga to test and develop your motor skills… even if you’re an adult.

Games can be fun learning opportunities for kids of all ages and, yes, even mom and dad.

If you want to focus on a specific skill set or pick a game perfect for your child’s age range, check out Fat Brain Toys. You can filter by age, category and interest.

5. It Might Help Your Kids Earn More Money Down the Line.

Imagination, teamwork, social skills and creativity are all pretty useful in the world of work — and even more so for those brave souls who go on to start their own businesses.

By developing these skills early in a fun environment, you might just set your kids up for a more lucrative life down the line.

Family Game Night is a Fun Way to Create Lifelong Memories

You don’t have to spend half your savings on a lavish family vacation or buy your kids the latest and greatest gadgets every six months to give them a childhood to remember.

Game nights for families offer a fun, affordable way to spend time together and help your children grow into better people.

And when it comes to answering that loaded question (“I’m bored! What should we do tonight?”)…

… what more could you want?

Your Turn: What’s your favorite game to play on family game night?

Jamie Cattanach’s work has been featured at Roads & Kingdoms, the BUST blog, Ms. Magazine, The Write Life and elsewhere. You can learn more and wave hello on Twitter: @jamiecattanach.