Taking your special someone out on the town for the evening can quickly become expensive! Even dinner and a movie can leave your wallet begging for mercy! Here are some ideas to still spend quality time together while leaving your budget intact.
Change it up — Make it a day time date, weekday date and search for specials and discounts:
- Fancy restaurants often are cheaper during the day, and even run lunch-time specials to increase crowds. Enjoy the fancy new hot spot during a Saturday brunch – miss the crowds and the larger price tag.
- Along with movie matinees, think about theater tickets or other day time performances that offer lower prices for day time shows.
- Also consider shifting your date night to an off-weekend night to get lower cost or free admission to places that cater to weekend crowds. Many museums offer weekly or monthly free days, and fewer people will allow you to actually hear your date’s thoughts on the latest exhibit.
- Look into if your city offers ‘restaurant weeks’ that highlight local cuisine and often features a cheaper, price-fixed menu. It can be a great way to try a new restaurant without breaking the bank!
- Sign up for sites like Groupon, LivingSocial and other online coupon offerings. Many days will feature local restaurants giving 50 percent discounts on cuisine for the day.
Forget the movies – head outdoors:
- Take advantage of nice weather! Head outdoors and soak in the fresh air – major bonus? It’s absolutely free!
- Go for a long stroll or bike ride at a local park.
- Better yet, pack a picnic and end your stroll when you find a good place to relax.
- Watch local listings for outdoor concerts, movies or performances. They are usually free! Just bring a blanket and some snacks, and you’re set for the evening.
Stay in – it’s always cheaper and can be just as fun!
- After a long work week, sometimes nothing sounds better than curling up in PJs at home. That doesn’t have to be the end of date night. In fact, many inexpensive date nights start by staying home!
- Pull out supplies from the pantry or stop by the deli on the way home, and make dinner together. It doesn’t have to be fancy – or it can be – but either way, it’s almost certainly going to be cheaper than going out, or even carry out.
- Rent a movie, play a board game or bust out the cards! Stay clear of TV, your own books or turning in early. Relax together by doing something you never make time for during the week!
Think outside the traditional date-night box:
- Visit your local library and check out a video.
- Start a two-person book club, and meet at a coffee shop weekly to discuss.
- Drive around to neighborhoods where you’d love to live.
- Take a driving day-trip to parts unknown, stopping wherever you’d like along the way.
- Make it a Saturday morning date to the Farmer’s Market – vow to buy something you’ve never had or go home and make something with the groceries.
For those of us married with kids, hiring a sitter adds to the cost of a date night and sometimes asking grandparents to take the kids too often wears thin very quickly. So here’s a couple no/low-cost alternatives:
- Take turns with another couple with children that get along with yours. You watch their kids for their date night and then you have a date night and they watch your kids. There is no cost to this and your kids have friends to play with while you enjoy your date! Win-Win :-)
- If you have a hobby/service (i.e. baking, knitting, vegetable garden, handyman work, etc) see if you can trade a friend/trusted neighbor to sit your kid(s) for a couple of hours for some home-made baked good, etc.
For more financial tips on how to save on date-night excursions, here are a few articles from national news sources for reference: