By Dr. Jennifer Hunter
Welcome back to Money Moment, with your host, Dr. Jennifer Hunter.
When finances are tight, date nights may seem like more of a luxury than a necessity. Couples may find themselves eliminating their weekly or monthly date nights from the family budget to focus on children or other household expenses. However, taking care of your relationship by spending time with your spouse should be a top priority.
The good news is that it is possible to be mindful of your family budget while planning weekly date nights with your spouse. You may need to cut back on going out, but there are many activities that you can plan at home or that cost little to no money. Today we are going to discuss some fun date night ideas on a budget.
Plan a culinary adventure together
Maybe you or your spouse is a home chef. Plan a culinary adventure together. Is there a new dish that you or your spouse wants to try? If so, why not plan on cooking this meal together at home. You can light a few candles, turn off your phones and the television, and have fun together in the kitchen.
Host a game night
Consider hosting a couples-only game night at your home. There are several games that are perfect for couples to play together. You can either arrange teams or pit the sexes against each other. Prepare a few small snacks or ask friends to bring a dish from home is a great way to connect with your spouse and friends while saving money.
Be a tourist in your local community
Pick an afternoon or evening to check out the local landmarks, parks, museums, exhibitions, or other attractions in your neighborhood or local community. You may be surprised by what you have been missing in your own town. As a bonus, many of these attractions are often free or require a minimal admission cost. As always, anytime you are visiting attractions, be certain to ask if there is a military discount available.
Go on a Coffee Shop Hop
Coffee lovers unite! If you and your spouse have a love of coffee, why not make it a date? You can pick a few of your favorite coffee shops and plan a visit to each one. Start off with a cup of coffee at one shop and then make your way to another for a sweet dessert.
Plan a picnic
Taking advantage of the parks around your home is a great way to spend quality time with your spouse in the great outdoors. Cook a meal at home, bring an outdoor game, and pack your picnic basket.
Take a new class together
Many community centers offer free classes to residents in the neighborhood. If you and your spouse are interested in taking up a new hobby, check out what classes are offered around you. Getting out of the house and pursuing a new hobby is a great way to feel closer to your spouse.
Trivia nights are always fun. Split an appetizer and play a local game of trivia together. Many local restaurants offer weekly trivia nights that are a lot of fun and do not require spending a lot of money.
Save on the cost of babysitting
Taking a date day instead of a date night can save a considerable amount on the cost of babysitting. On a day when the kiddos are at school and both my husband and I have vacation time available, we will take a day off and spend a date day together. If you have close friends in the area, consider doing a kiddo swap. Maybe you watch their children one evening so that they can go out on a date, and the following weekend they watch your children so you can go out on a date.
You may also consider looking for local parents’ night out in your area. Typically, parents’ night out events are much less expensive than hiring an in-home babysitter. So, for example, the parents’ night out that my daughter enjoys so much, is at a local children’s museum. It is available from 6 – 10 pm for a total cost of $15 which is much less than we would pay an in-home babysitter. Looking for creative ways to save on babysitting because it can add to the cost of date nights.
Don’t let excuses, including financial ones, get in the way of spending quality time with your spouse. Date nights are one activity that should not be abandoned due to your budget. Putting the time into your relationship will help you enjoy all the other aspects of your life that much more.
Join us for our next podcast episode where we start the discussion about holiday planning.