Create a home cinema on the cheap

We all deserve some social time, but when you’re short on cash, or the weather is just not cutting it, planning a night in with your pals can be a cheap and fun alternative. Mike and Rachel help film-fanatic Ethan create a home cinema on a budget for him and his pals to enjoy all year round.

Plan a movie night:

  • If you don’t have a white wall, create a screen to project your film onto. Using recyclable paper – such as the back of non-glossy wrapping paper – and white-tack is a cheap and sustainable way to do this. You can make it as big or as small as you like

  • A projector means you have your own home cinema all year round. You can save on movie tickets and have something to do on those rainy days. Try to buy second-hand or use a reputable discount site to get them often better than half price. If it works out less in the end compared to year-round cinema tickets, you’re on to a winner

  • Black out your windows. Rather than buying expensive blackout curtains, thick material or even towels can do the job. If you want to create a dedicated ‘black-out’ device you can use Velcro on the towels and your windows so you can turn your room into a home cinema whenever you like!

  • Try an introductory deal on a streaming service to test it out before you buy. Some are even free or included in other subscriptions. Some streaming services also have the option for multiple users but read the small print before you commit

  • Make your own snacks – this applies to any night in! Making your own is often easier than you think and works out cheaper (and healthier!) than buying pre-made. Why not try Rachel’s homemade popcorn below?

  • Then all that’s left to do is invite your friends or snuggle up in front of a film on your own and have some well-deserved chill time!

The full recipe – homemade popcorn


  • A handful of popping kernels
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable or olive oil


Put a tablespoon of oil into a pan and put the pan on the heat

Add four kernels

Once popped, take off the heat for 40 seconds and add a handful of kernels

Shake in the pan and put it back on heat

Leave an air gap so your kernels don’t go soggy

The popcorn will start to pop and once the popping noise slows down, take it off the heat and add your desired topping, such as salt.

Other ideas for a night in: board games, cards night, arts & crafts or host a dinner party

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