I will be the first to confess that The Teacher and I don’t do date nights as often as we should. Since one of our marriage goals is to have one date night each month, we’re taking a step in the right direction. Just putting pen to paper is a huge step in being more intentional.
Last month, we enjoyed an at-home date night. We will certainly be doing more of them in the future. They are easy on the budget, but still a time to connect with one another which is the most important part. It’s amazing how you can live with and sleep next to someone, yet sometimes feel like you are on two different planets at times. Or, maybe that’s just us. 🙂
While at-home date nights are a great option, there’s just something extra special about going somewhere for date night. Sometimes getting out of the routine and comfort of home is important. So what is one to do when money is tight or non-existent? In preparation for this post, I thought back to when The Teacher and I were dating. We were both in college, so needless to say, money was not in abundance.
Then, I remembered back to our first year of marriage when The Teacher was still finishing college and I was earning a pretty measly salary. Those were some of the best times in our lives. We were broke and oftentimes our dates didn’t cost a cent, but we could have cared less.
So, after walking down memory lane a bit, I thought I’d share some ideas in case you are desperate for a date night out and think there is no way to make it happen within your tiny budget. Just remember, the most important part is being together.
1. Order an appetizer and/or dessert instead of a full meal
Sometimes the best part about eating out is the ambiance and service. Even if you can’t swing the cost of an entire meal, perhaps you can split an appetizer or get dessert/coffee instead. Try eating dinner in and then heading out afterwards for some relaxation and good conversation.
2. Window shop at the mall or in a different area of town
The Teacher and I are big dreamers so we love to window shop for things like furniture. If you are tired of your own local mall or shopping areas, consider heading to the other side of town where you don’t typically get to look around.
3. Go to the gym or workout together
The Teacher and I did this all the time when we were dating and newly-married. We would help spot each other and encourage each other along the way.
4. Catch a movie at a discount theater or pick a matinee show
Movies can be ridiculously expensive, but there are some ways to save. We have a historic theater in town that shows second-run movies, so they charge $1.99. You can always consider a matinee showing as well, depending on your budget.
5. Take a drive and explore other areas of town
If you live in a decent sized city, it’s likely that you don’t get to frequent all that your city has to offer. On Sunday afternoons, The Teacher and I would sometimes drive just to get out of town. For some reason, some of our best conversations happen while in the car.
6. Go thrifting together
I think bargain-hunting is so much more fun when you have someone along with you. Sometimes we like to scope out a new consignment/antique store in town to see if they have anything fun.
7. Explore the outdoors
When the weather is nice, outdoor activities are always a great idea. We like to walk around the lake at my alma mater or check out some of the local parks. When we were newlyweds, The Teacher loved beating me in frisbee golf.
What about the kids?
If you have children, you know that babysitters are not cheap (and rightly so since they are caring for your most precious cargo) and the cost of childcare alone makes up a huge cost of your date night.
If you can plan ahead, consider putting a few dollars aside each month strictly for babysitters. If you don’t have a date night out that often, then your money should hopefully snowball and you will have some money saved by the time you need it.
Also, if family is not local to help you with childcare, consider talking to a friend about joining forces. You could watch their children one month and they can watch yours the following month. We have done this quite often.