One thing we’ve learned in our 6 1/2 years of marriage is how important a date night is. Of course these dates were fairly frequent and easy before we had kids. Now that we have 2 young girls, weeks and months can go by without a single night to ourselves. Going on dates can be costly when you factor in babysitting…so no wonder so many couples with young kids never go on them. Reid and I made a decision that we would continue to seek out date nights even though it wouldn’t be easy. Here some tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way!
1. Go Cheap. Very rarely do we go to pricey and fancy restaurants. Usually the only time we grace the doors of a fancy place is when we have a gift card or it’s someone’s birthday. Groupon is our friend. Anytime we find one for a restaurant that we might like, we jump on it. It also gives us a push to plan a date because there is a deadline to use your coupon or Groupon before it expires. Even if you don’t have a Groupon or coupon, be adventerous and find a hole in the wall burger joint to explore. It will be more memorable (and less expensive) than eating at some fancy schmancy place every time.
2. Don’t take your kids out to eat. A few months ago we had a giftcard to Applebees and decided to take our girls. As we sat down, we realized that Lula had only been to an actual sit-down restaurant a few times and Jane had never been to one. As the dinner at progressed, we remembered why we never take our kids. Going out to eat with kids is expensive. You have to buy kids meals that usually don’t get eaten, are mostly unhealthy and are pricey for the amount of food. And secondly, it’s not enjoyable (for us anyways). We spent the whole time trying to entertain our kids, force them to eat their expensive kids meals and apologize to other people next to us as toys were thrown in their direction every five minutes. Maybe your kids are very quiet and well behaved, but it’s not worth it to us. Instead, why not save your money by treating going out to eat as a “date night only” experience. By eating out less frequently, you’ll feel less guilty about going out with your spouse.
3. Start a babysitting co-op. This is the best thing we’ve done to enhance our date night frequency. We set up a babysitting co-op with another couple in our church that have kids the same ages as ours. One week, we will babysit for them while they go out for a few hours. The next week, we drop our kids off at their house and have a few hours to ourselves. FREE babysitting! And when it’s our turn to “babysit” it’s so fun! Our kids play great together and we get a little bit of a break because they occupy themselves…plus we know other parents are receiving a much needed date night…and it’s our turn to enjoy one next time! You could set this up with one other couple, or if you are really brave…do it with a bunch of couples. Everyone can take turns having tons of kids at their house once in awhile while the parents enjoy free babysitting and much needed alone time. Win-win.
4. Have an at-home date night. There are months where we simply can’t find the time to go out on a date, or maybe we just simply don’t want to spend the money. So instead, we do what we call “at home dates”. We will feed our kids and put them to bed. Then, we cook a new recipe together for dinner. Usually it’s something that we wouldn’t normally try for dinner as a family. Maybe we’ll make a fun dessert as well. After we cook dinner, we will watch a movie on Netflix or rent something from Redbox and it’s as good as a date!
Don’t skimp on date nights if you are married. They are really important. Now you have no excuses!
Do you have any tips for creating a cheap date night? Please share!!