Cutting back on your budget does not mean you have to cut out your date nights, you just need to get creative. In fact, being in debt can be extremely stressful on relationships so it is important to frequently carve out time to spend with your significant other.
Here are a few ideas for free or under $20 date nights.
Check out a movie from the library. Put the kids to bed. Pop a huge bowl of popcorn, drink soda, and watch a movie. Total cost around $1 depending on how much you paid for the food. (This was our most often used idea, and the cheapest.)
Dinner for Two
Put the kids to bed and make a special dinner for the two of you. Even if you splurge at the grocery store, you can make a pretty nice dinner for under $10. Use your best plates, cloth napkins, and place mats. Light some candles and put on some music that doesn’t have to do with learning the alphabet or times tables.
Put the kids to bed and get takeout from a Chinese restaurant. Once again, this can be very cheap. You can usually get take out for under $10.
Go Out for Coffee
If you have access to free babysitting (trade off with another family), go to Starbucks and get a coffee. Even better, convince him to go to a Starbucks in a Target. Then you can browse the clearance areas while you enjoy your coffee. Total cost around $10.
Find Free Nights in Your Local Area
Many museums have hours where admission is free. Usually the local paper or the museum website will have more information about their free admission days.
Find Local Restaurants
Find the local restaurants in your area. Everywhere we have lived (and I have lived up and down the east coast) there is always a mom and pop Mexican restaurant that serves great food, really fast, for really cheap. This is also true for Asian and Greek food as well.
Avoid Having to Tip
Go to a place where you don’t have to tip. These places are sprouting up everywhere–Panera, Jason’s Deli, Chipotle, Baja Fresh, Potbelly–the possibilities are endless. My husband and I eat at Potbelly for under $13 including a bag of chips and drink.
If you live in a medium to larger size city, check out the free events. Many museums have a free night or afternoon one day a week or month. Many local parks sponsor free entertainment, concerts, craft fairs, etc.
My teenagers do these all the time with their friends. Make up a list of fun things to “find” around your town. Get together with a group of friends or another couple and try to find everything on your list, sharing your finds on social media or via group text.
Even if you only have a deck of cards you can plan a fun date night, game night. Get out of a few of your favorite games, make some snacks, and have some friendly competition.
Attend Open Mic Night or Battle of the Bands
Admission is usually quite cheap or free to these events and you might discover some great local talent too!
This is one of my favorite things to do! Go to a crowded place like a shopping mall or park and observe. Make up stories about the people you see around you.
Garage Sale/ Thrift Store Shopping
This is a fun way to “shop” without spending a ton of money. Head out on a Saturday morning and hit some garage sales and thrift stores. See who can get the best deals for less.
Enjoy the great outdoors. Take a walk or bike ride together. This might be more challenging in the winter depending on where you live.