Making time for date nights with my husband is a real struggle with our busy schedule, but every time we make it work it is so worth it. It can be so easy to push it to the back burner and let budget, busyness, and kids get in the way of quality time together. One of goals this year is to have at least one quality date night out a month, and we are working hard to make that happen. Today I’m sharing tips to help you make date night a priority, plus some fun details from our recent #lobsterworthy date night out at Red Lobster.
With two small children galavanting around our house, date nights are hard to come by. I love dinner and a movie, but sometimes you want a little something different even if you don’t have wiggle room in the budget. Today I’m sharing ten frugal ideas for your next date night (or day) that are cheap or free after polling my girlfriends to get some fresh ideas for our own marriage. These dates would be perfect for your Valentine’s Day celebration or any night you can get away with your sweetie. If you need a frugal babysitting solution so you can afford to go on a date, check out my post on cheap/free babysitting options here. Read on and please share your frugal date night ideas in the comment section.
This post is part of a sponsored campaign by Collective Bias on behalf of their client. Have you ever enjoyed a coffee date night at home? There’s nothing I love more than sipping a hot cup of coffee and munching on a delicious treat while spending quality time with my man. Pumpkin Spice coffee and quality time are two of my love languages, after all.
Around here we are super busy, but long to slow down. We have to schedule our date nights and make them fit in to our routine and our budget. We have several methods for finding time for connection without breaking the bank. We swap babysitting with friends, sign up for cheap Parents’ Night Out functions, and have date nights at home.
What does a date night at home look like? Typically we put the kids to bed and then enjoy a quiet dinner together, and then maybe a movie or just time together to catch up and enjoy each other’s company. We always try to have a little special treat on date night. One of my favorite treats is sitting on our back porch enjoying a cup of coffee (probably decaf) and a little dessert. Coffee-mate Pumpkin Spice flavored creamer adds a coffee shop touch to our budget evening for much less than a popular coffee shop chain I won’t name. I’m excited for the Peppermint Mocha flavor to come out for the season soon as well.
Recently we had the opportunity to try Coffee-mate Pumpkin Spice powdered creamer in our Taster’s Choice coffee. The flavor is perfect for the cool fall weather, and was such a great little treat snuggled up on the back porch. What I love about Taster’s Choice is that in about two minutes I can have a cup of delicious coffee without having to brew a whole pot. Just add hot water and a teaspoon of coffee and stir, then add your Pumpkin Spice creamer. It was so warm and soothing.
To create your own instant coffee shop, you just need a few minutes of prep time. Here’s how to set the scene… Pick a quiet spot, maybe a table on your porch. Set a pretty table cloth and maybe a candle. Grab two coffee cups and fill with water heated in the microwave or in a tea pot. Take your Taster’s Choice coffee, Coffee-mate Pumpkin Spice creamer (both found at Walmart), sugar, and spoons out to your spot. Stir up some delicious coffee and conversation. Taster’s Choice also is great to have on hand during the holiday season for neighbors and friends who drop by.
Need a conversation starter? Here are a few ideas: Tell me a story from your childhood I’ve never heard before. If you had $100 right now to spend just on yourself, what would you buy? If you could rename yourself, what name would you pick and why? What are you thankful for this week? What was the best Christmas present you ever received as a kid?
As parents on a tight budget, we are always looking for a cheap babysitting solutions so we can have date nights, go to social events, and spend time with friends. We don’t have any family near us, so that’s not an option. In Dallas the going rate for babysitting one child is around $10-15 per hour. PER HOUR, people. That means if we want to go out to dinner and a movie we are shelling out an additional $40 to the babysitter, minimum. There is no room in our budget for that kind of expense, unfortunately. Our whole dining out and entertainment budget for an entire month is $95. Yep, that’s it. We are on one income and prioritize saving for retirement and other things above dining out and entertainment. So, we’ve had to get creative when it comes to babysitting solutions. We’ve found a few things that work well, and one we really want to try.
Cheap Babysitting Solutions: 1) Parents’ Night Out – Several churches and local kid businesses (YMCA, etc) host Parents’ Night Out evenings a few times a year. We sign up for every one we come across. In our area these are typically a 4-5 hour window where you drop your child off and pay a fee to help the church youth group raise money. Most churches are well equipped to care for children because they do it on a regular basis, and we feel good about helping out a local church. Usually you don’t have to be a member, and most in our area charge $10 for the first child for the whole time slot, and $5 for each additional child. This is a steal! To find a Parents’ Night Out in your area, just do a google search or call local churches or kid friendly organizations.
2) The Swap – Trade babysitting nights with another family. We’ve done this a few times and hope to schedule more in the future. Most kids Bear’s age go to bed around 7 pm like he does, so we put him to bed and then have 1 parent from another family come over and watch tv, read in peace, etc on our couch while we go out for a few hours. Then one of us goes over to that family’s house on another night to relax and watch the baby monitor while they go out. Everybody wins. This doesn’t work as well for single parents unless you can take your child to the other house and put them to bed there, then transport them home when the parents return.
3) The Co-op – My parents were part of a babysitting co-op in our neighborhood growing up, and my mom has encouraged me to start one here with our friends. A babysitting co-op is a group of families who organize themselves to trade off babysitting using a point or voucher system. You earn points by babysitting for others, and then cash them in when you need a sitter. I haven’t gotten around to starting or joining one, but hope to soon.
we are on a budget. we use cash only, and try to stick to that budget like glue. at the same time, we have to carve out quality time in our busy week to spend together, building this marriage and keeping romance alive. to keep the budget in sync with the dates, we have to get creative. our latest discovery is a dollar movie theater about 4 miles from our house. we will never be the first ones to see a movie, but that is ok. we went out to a movie, shared popcorn and a diet coke, and paid less than $10 total. the regular movie theater costs $10.50 per person here in dallas, $13.50 for 3D. that is crazy talk. that means we would be spending $21 for 2 hours entertainment without any snacks. no thanks. i’ll take the dollar theater any day.
here are a few more of our budget date ideas: share a bucket of balls at the driving rangeoutdoor concerts (bring a picnic)the zoomini golfhikingrent a movie at homebike ridesfield trip to ikea 🙂walking through christmas lights (in dec., obviously)