Saturday, November 14, 2009

Date Night on a budget

With the kid's schedules, work and volunteer commitments and the lack of extra money, personal time together with my husband always seems to get pushed off. A few weeks ago, we decided that we needed to find the time to go out and spend a few hours together. After all, the kids are getting older, can stay by themselves, and we need to get to know each other again- as the "young-uns" will be leaving us in the next few years for college. The budget problem will not go away soon for us, so I thought I better strategize and investigate how to do this "Date Night" thing with the hubby on a regular basis. (dating is cheaper than marriage counseling)

I have been collecting coupons like a fiend. I rip up the Weds. and Sunday newspapers and harvest coupons and stash them away for future dates. My plan is to go out with my husband once a week from this point on... I think the budget can handle $100/month. Sound impossible? Here is how I think it will work...

*Plan Ahead- We will pick one night a week that we can go out. Weekends are general eliminated as our schedule is too tough on weekends with the kids. Weeknight also affords better deals at the restaurants as well. If you need a babysitter, try trading babysitting services with another couple that also has small children. One week you sit for their kids, and the next week, they sit for yours. You get regular dates, without having to pay for a babysitter.

*Use Coupons- Seemed too good to be true, but is a God send! Pay just $1-$10 for $25 coupons! Last Holiday season, my husband and I used a couple of these coupons to take friends out. Make sure you read the fine print, as there are sometimes limitations, like days of the week you can use them, or perhaps have to spend a certain amount to get the discount, but hey!...plan ahead! A nice dinner at a new restaurant could cost less than $20!

Costco offers discount movie tickets. For only $16 you can get 2 tickets for an evening movie. Using your cinema reward card can get you an even deeper discount. Check your local theater for membership or rewards card benefits.

A movie and a dinner on the same night?! No, I don't think we will make the $100 budget for the month doing that, but a movie one week- and a dinner on another- we can do.

*Do it anyway- If the babysitter can't come, or you overspent on previous weeks, don't scrap the date! Even if there is no cash for a cheap date, keep one night sacred. Make a pact to make sure you stay connected. With dinner at home, open a bottle of wine, start a fire in the fireplace, and treat each other as if you were on a date...after the kids are in bed. :)

Two weeks ago, I made a beautiful Pot Roast that I got on sale with root vegetables, dill and my favorite spinach salad. (Recipe in a future blog) Since I RARELY make a roast, as it usually does not fit in the budget, that was a special occasion to him- even without the quiet time together that we were able to enjoy.

Reconnecting with one another is important for every couple. Don't let the hectic pace of life or a tight budget put it off.

Any date night tips out there? What do you do to keep the romance?

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