Since my husband and I have been married, we’ve rarely had the money to spend on a date night. Adding up the cost of a babysitter (for several hours and multiple children), dinner at a nice restaurant and other additional expenses, it has just never really been in the budget for us. Not to mention the almost 8 years he spent working overnights, with no weekends and few holidays off, we spent our waking hours together with the kids.
While many may think the point is to escape life and our children, the point of a date night is more importantly about reconnecting and spending one-on-one time with your spouse. Without these times together, you can slip into a pattern that pulls you away from each other, rather than draws you together as a husband and wife should.
Even though we both love and, in fact, want to spend time with our children, it is still nice and important to take the time to reconnect with each other without the distractions every 10 seconds. With such a tight budget and living far away from family, we have become creative and more lenient in our idea of what constitutes a “date night.”
11 Cheap & Free Date Night Ideas
- Make Your Own Dinner at home – My husband and I enjoy cooking together and it can be a great way to flirt and spend some much needed quality time together. However, even if one of you makes dinner while the other one is working, you will be saving money by staying in. Watch for deals and sales throughout the month or leading up to a holiday (Valentine’s Day) or special occasion (anniversary or birthday) to get the best prices on steaks, seafood and more! You can have a 5-star dinner on a budget if you plan it right!
- Go to dinner on an “off” night – Whether you want to go out or just need some time away from home, planning dinner on an “off” night is a great way to save money. Pick a restaurant that does meal deals, like 2 for $25, which typically gives you more than enough food for two people. Take advantage of coupons or nights when the restaurant offers your favorite meal on special. And if its around a holiday like Valentine’s Day, choose to go another night and skip the rush and raised prices!
- Make it a lunch date instead – If you have the means, make it a lunch date! Whether your children are old enough to leave at home for a short time, or you can secure a babysitter (fall/spring break and summer time is best), lunch dates are perfect for saving money! Prices are cheaper, meals are smaller and some places are less crowded during the lunch hour. It can also be a great way to give you a break from the house and day-to-day grind.
- Watch a movie at home – With a tight budget, we rarely see movies in the theater. However, there are several options out where you can watch a movie at home. If you subscribe to Netflix or Amazon Prime, you have quite a few movies at your fingertips. You can also choose from sites such as PureFlix or FishFlix for good, wholesome movies without the threat of language or questionable scenes. If you’d rather watch something more recent, check out VUDU and Redbox for New Releases at reasonable prices. And if you’re on the Redbox email list, they will periodically send out coupons for a “free movie rental,” which makes it even better!
- Go to a matinee – We have taken advantage of many matinee’s with our children, so why not take in a movie with your sweetheart too! Matinee prices are cheaper and typically less crowded. Plus…if you’re old like us, staying up for a late movie isn’t always easy!
- Make your own cards or recycle old ones – At one point in our marriage, I was very in to scrapbooking and card making. This allowed me to create some fun and unique cards for my husband (and others). However as we get older and have been married longer, we are tempted to adopt my grandparents philosophy of recycling. They have file folders dedicated to birthday for him, birthday for her and anniversary cards where they have stored their past ones. Each year they flip through the cards and read them to find one they want to re-gift, add the year at the bottom and present the card that morning. I love the frugality of it and let’s be honest…there’s only so many ways to tell them you love them!
- Trade babysitting with other families – Since we do not live close to family, we have to be picky about the babysitters we use. We have very few young girls or families we trust to watch our children. This brings us to our next point, as I’m sure more and more families are becoming like us. Find a couple of young families or families with children close to the ages of yours and make a rotation. Every month (or however often you decide) a family or two takes turns watching the other families children. This is a great way to save money on babysitting and know your children are safe.
- Take advantage of Parents Night Out – A local church near us has “Parent’s Night Out” every quarter, which is the perfect time to give us an evening out together. The kids were safe at a church, had dinner and a movie night of their own and loved every minute! Sometimes we spent the time doing some much needed seasonal clothes shopping for the kids and other times we had a nice, sit-down dinner at a restaurant where we took advantage of a coupon or meal deal. It was a win-win!
- Take a walk together – Whether you live in a small town, large city or a rural area, make time to take a walk with your spouse. Walking is not only great exercise, but gives you wonderful opportunity to talk at leisure on just about any subject under the sun. Sometimes we just enjoyed holding hands and walking as we took in God’s Creation around us, and other times we had deep, meaningful conversations.
- Have a game night – My husband and I love to play games together. Whether board games or card games, we love a good game night. This is a fun way to bring in a little flirtation as you play, while spending some much needed quality time together. Some of our favorites includes Spite & Malice, Canasta, Scrabble & Ticket to Ride.
- Do a relaxing activity together – If games aren’t your style, why not try a calming or relaxing activity together. We have spent hours putting together 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles or coloring in those mandala coloring books. Some people may find watching television relaxing, which we often do together. No matter what you choose, being together is what’s important!
Whether for a special occasion or just to reconnect and spend time together, having consistent date nights is important – but they don’t have to break the bank! These are some of our favorite ways to save money on date nights, now I would love to hear yours!