Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Affordable {but fun} date nights



David and I have been focusing on making our relationship a priority.  Let’s face it, between homeschooling, the kids’ extracurricular activities, church ministries, David’s work, and general house keeping…well, there’s not a whole lot of time to devote to our relationship.  However, we are choosing to find the time.  And we especially choose this since we’ve heard that research shows that many divorces occur after the children have left home and the parents find that their relationship has cooled.  I can’t help but wonder if we parents turn our focus on our children, homes, and busyness so much that we lose sight of each other.

In that light, we’ve decided to try to take one night a week for just us.  Though in reality, it is usually more like 2 nights a month.  We take what we can get.  {smile}

Since we are a one income family, we don’t have a lot of money to spend on our dates.  We’ve had to get a little creative.  But we’ve found that it doesn’t take much money at all to make our time together fun and to strengthen our relationship. 

Here are a few of our cheap affordable dates:

  • An ice cream date while our teenagers babysit

When we did this, we brought back some ice cream for the children.  So it was a win-win for all:  ice cream for them and time to talk for us.  This is really affordable if the ice cream shop is having a cheap ice cream night or you pick up a tub of ice cream from the store on the way home.  Total cost:  about $10

  • Shared meal and a Netflix movie

For months I carried around a restaurant gift card in my wallet and waited for an opportunity to use it.  I used half of it to go out to eat with a friend.  One weekend while the kids visited grandparents, David and I used the other half to order a meal that was big enough for us to share.  We picked it up, brought it home, drank our own drinks, and watched a Netflix movie.  Chinese food take out is pretty affordable and easy to share too.  Total cost:  about $7 dollars since we used the leftover money on a gift card 

  • Shopping

Last weekend, David and I went shoe shopping with some of my birthday gift money.  How do I know that David loves me?  He said he had fun talking and laughing with me as I spent my gift money on shoes.  We’ve also been shopping at hardware stores and grocery stores.  Like I said earlier, we take the time when we can get it.  {smile}  Total cost:  free when it’s gift money or the cost of what we are purchasing

  • A coffee date

Every once in a while, we will pick up a cup of coffee and talk while we sip.  Total cost:  about $7 – $ 10

  • A real deal dress-up-and-sit-down-and-eat date

For anniversaries, we try to get away to our favorite steak restaurant and eat a meal out.  On occasion, we will go there “just because”.  We try to order wisely and drink water so we keep our costs low.  Total cost:  Usually about $25 - $30

  • Stay at home and cook date

We’ve had a few dates where we have used what we had around the house and cooked a meal for us.  When we do this, we usually watch a Netflix or Red Box movie.  This is usually done when the kids are visiting grandparents.  Total cost:  cost of food and movie

  • Ideas for future dates

The dates above all cost money but it can be done even cheaper than this.  Some ideas are:

  • sitting outside in the evening under the stars with some homemade lemonade or sweet tea {hot cocoa if cold}
  • early morning coffee {probably not much talking then since one of us is not a morning person}
  • walks down the block in the evenings
  • movies after the kids go to bed {love Netflix}

I truly believe that it is important to make sure that we focus on our marriages and each other.  This is hard to do when our children are very little.  I will admit that it has gotten easier to do as our children have gotten older.  But I believe that even the little things add up in our marriages.

Do you have some affordable date ideas?  I’d love to hear it! 

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