When our kids were little, we decided to institute a weekly date night for ourselves. There are just ONE problem:
We didn't always have the option of a sitter! Grandparents are either not local, or they go to bed early, so we didn't always have the option of a free sitter! And honestly, there were definitely times that paying for a date night AND a sitter just wasn't an option. Heck, some weeks even eating dinner out was tight on the budget!
I'm not trying to make it sound like we're incredibly poor (although there have definitely been times when money was tight!)… Rather, we've chosen to live VERY frugally so we can invest in some big, crazy dreams.
And that means that we have to think outside of the box! So, if you're currently on a tight budget because money is just TIGHT right now… or you're working diligently to get out a debt… You can still have a great date night!
Here's how to have date night on a budget:
Don't expect it to be perfect!
The kids can tag along AND you can still have a great date night. Put on their favorite music so they're having fun. We really like going for drives if we have the kids with us — that way we're not stressed out about them getting into stuff or running away from us at a restaurant. Let go of your preconceived ideas of the "perfect date" and let it be imperfect and messy!
Use what you HAVE.
One of our FAVORITE ways to do date night on a budget is to put the kids in the car with their blankets & lovies (for bedtime) and drive around until they fall asleep. Then we'll order dinner to go and eat it in the parking lot.. or just go to Starbucks for a late-night (decaf!) treat. You can enjoy a small treat even if you're on a tight budget!
Un-stick your Mindset.
I'll admit it: I've been known to get all worked up because something doesn't go as planned. (Oops!) Be okay with trying an unconventional date-night, and you might just be surprised! Our favorite date-night is STILL late night drives eating in the front seat, with the kids snoozing in the back. (And we only tried that after I got cranky one night because we couldn't have the "perfect" date night!)
Need more specifics? Here are some dates we've had and still do consistently:
- Stick your kids in the car with all the sleepy-necessities… we drive around with the radio (which helps them fall asleep), and once they're asleep we will order Applebees Carside To Go, or snag some burgers at our favorite local restaurant!
- Same thing as above, but STARBUCKS. We'll grab a decaf latte for each of us (or split one!) and go for a late-night drive.
- An evening drive! Eat leftovers after you get home or grab some quick take-out. (You can tell we like car rides! Like I mentioned earlier, we are able to relax better when we're not worried about what the kids are up to.)
- Order dinner to-go and watch a movie. We usually wait until the kids are in bed, then one of us will run to get dinner and we'll watch a fun movie — all from the comfort of our own home.
- Buy a quick-cook dinner you wouldn't normally eat (Pre-frozen food, a bunch of appetizers, or a cheese, pickle, and wine platter!), and eat around the coffee table — you can play your favorite board game, or watch that movie you've been eyeing on Netflix!
Before you think I'm leaving out the Single Ladies… stay tuned! I've got an AMAZING podcast interview for you — coming next week!