Since we first got married, my husband and I have always tried to make our relationship a priority. Two kids and four years later, we’ve had to get more creative with juggling babysitters and work schedules, but we usually manage to set apart at least one evening a week for each other. Here I’ll share a few of our regular date ideas that don’t break the budget. After all, quality time doesn’t have to be expensive.
Subway sandwiches and a walk downtown ($5 foot-long apiece, walk – free = $10 total)
Applebee’s Half-Priced Appetizers after 9pm (usually $5 per person, plus tax/tip = $15)
Added perk of feeling like a fancy sit-down restaurant AND if you don’t go until after 9pm, you can put the kiddos to bed at the grandparents house and run!
Milkshakes at Steak & Shake (2-4 pm on weekdays) ($3 per milkshake, plus tax/tip = $9)
Extra points if you marry someone who doesn’t like maraschino cherries and will let you have his everytime.
Theater Movie (overpriced popcorn optional) ($4.50 per person on weekday afternoons = $9)
Gourmet Coffee Date in the Mall (chat in the coffee lounge or walk around and windowshop while you sip) – ($6 per person = $12)
Hunt for Treasures at Goodwill or Yard Sales (a little self-control can make this under $15)
AFTER BEDTIME, AT-HOME DATE NIGHTS: (for when babysitters elude you)
Ice Cream and Netflix Night – Have your husband bring home a tub of his favorite flavor and a tub of yours. Kiss the kiddos goodnight, turn on a lighthearted episode, and grab some spoons. ($8, not counting Netflix subscription)
And assuming you don’t finish the entire tub, you’ll probably have extra ice cream for next time! (But no judgment if you do)
Candles, Champagne, and Bubble Bath – No, it’s not just for people in movies. ($6)
Caution: Candlelit romance may quickly turn to loud laughter if you have a small tub and… not two small people.
Salsa (or attempt to!) – Put some music on and get moving together. Even if you’re no pro, your husband will probably appreciate the effort. There’s something about music that makes it easier to get the ‘flirt-on’. (free)
Also good exercise… the real kind of romance that leaves you breathless.
Board or Card Games – (free, if previously purchased)
Keep the competition both fierce and friendly by keeping score with articles of your ‘opponent’s’ clothing instead of cards or tokens. Or perhaps the loser owes the winner a ten minute foot-rub?
At-Home Massage – (free to $5, depending on if you choose to buy lotion or massage oil)
1) Sometimes just by timing when you go somewhere, you can get the same thing for cheaper (as with Applebee’s, Steak & Shake, and the movie theater). So check around town and see what you’re able to make with your husband’s work schedule.
2) If you have a nursing baby, it may seem impossible to ever make it to a movie or leave him with a babysitter. After they’re sleeping consistently at night, try leaving after bedtime! See if you have a trusted neighbor or local relatives who will let you put your kids down there for the evening and pick them up on the way home.
3) Learn to think beyond the candle-lit dinner and a movie. Have a pillow-fight, play tag, do the unexpected. Whatever it takes to get each other laughing and having an honest good time.
I’m always looking for new ideas, so I’d love to hear your ideas for a budget night out (or in!).