Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A month of dates for under $100

My husband and I have very different schedules. He works from noon to midnight and I am a morning person. This causes a lot of personal time conflicts. About a year ago we decided that we needed a weekly date night, and since then, have been connecting much better. We used to go out and not think about the money. After all, I figure, even if we were doing it with no budget, it would be cheaper than marriage counseling.

In these last few months we have had to be more careful... just like everyone else.

This is my coupon file. It is the front page of my menu folder. I have figured out a way to have 4 dates a month with my husband for under $100.

#1: Plan ahead.

Pick one night a weekend that you can go out. This is harder with inconsistent schedules, but try set aside a night each week. Even if it is a different one every week. Planning ahead almost always saves money. See if you can trade babysitting with a friend who has children. You may not be able to go out every weekend, but say on one Friday evening you go out and then the next week they get to go out. Then both of your families will get the benefits of regular date nights without having to pay a babysitter.

#2: Use coupons. I thought it was a scam at first... Honest, I did. Who gives out $25 coupons for $1-$10? But it isn't. We have used them a bunch of times. (Today's code is ENTREE for $2 coupons.) Make sure you read the fine print! There are limitations. You have to spend a certain amount to get the discount, but if you are careful, you can get a really nice dinner at a new restaurant for less than $20.

Discount movie tickets from Costco. For just $15 we can get into an evening movie. And don't forget to use your cinemas rewards card! We use the Regal Club Card and have gotten free tickets, free small popcorn's and free small sodas (both of which you can upgrade to a large for a dollar, plenty to share). And that cuts the cost off even more!

We don't do both of these things in the same night. We go to the movies one week and eat out the next. For two movies and two dinners out this month it has cost us $83.22 over the last 4 weeks. That is with 18% tip on both dinners, and popcorn and soda for both movies. (Last night we saw Couple's Retreat. Not great, but funny.)

And #3: Do it anyway.

Sometimes our babysitting doesn't work out. Sometimes we don't have the cash for even the cheap dates. But we try to keep our date night sacred... like a pact to make sure that we stay connected.

Dinner I made my husband on a 'date night'. Grass fed beef roast cooked Med Rare, sauteed shallots with mushrooms and garlic. Buttered cabbage with dill. Eat your heart out Applebee's.

Any date night tips out there? What do you guys do to keep the romance in these hard money times?




Rachel said...

I'll have to check out those restaurant coupons! Thanks for the tip! We don't have the luxury of babysitters... but we split a Ben & Jerry's icecream each Friday night when the kids go to bed and watch a movie together. And on Saturday mornings we do a "family date" and do something fun with the kids. I love the weekend!

anotherkindofdrew said...

You hit the nail on the head. The most important thing is "the pact." We have a date night every two weeks (as that is all we can afford right now; coupons or not). We live about 35 miles from the closest....well, anything, so oftentimes gas is a consideration into our expenses. However, we like to make date night more of an afternoon.

For instance, we go to Barnes & Noble and pick up a stack of magazines that we would never be able to buy, get a coffee drink (splurge) and talk, laugh, share pictures, etc. It always brings about a dream conversation in which we describe to each other our dream kitchen or our dream vacation or something. There is so much connection in hearing the other person's dreams. We then follow that up with a run by Red Box (movie rental...check 'em out online if you don't know about them), get a new release and finish the evening with a movie at home.

We don't have kids so that is never a problem or consideration but because my wife is a stay-at-home farm wife it is important to take her out of the house and because I work at a computer it is important for me to connect through conversation!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the ideas. I have several certificates that I am yet to redeem for one reason or another.
My husband and I have been talking about doing more date nights so thanks for the tips.

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