Have Kids and Low on Cash? Date Night Ideas for You!

Ah, yes, these are the days of endless diaper changes, bottle feedings and becoming all-too-familiar with the local pizza delivery dude. It doesn't matter if one parent stays home with the rugrats or both work, getting out of the house together at this time could even be more essential than any other period in a marriage. Your bond as husband and wife needs to be strong and united as you work to present a stable and happy front for your children. Keeping connected by date nights is one such way to help you achieve this.

In today's economy, date night might seem a luxury. Take heart, spending time together doesn't have to mean emptying your wallet; the point is to get together to reconnect as a couple away from the pulls of parenting. If your budget is tight, here are some ideas to get you out of the house on a date with your spouse without spending a lot of dough.

Dessert Date

If you feel you can't afford a full out dinner and babysitter, keep things a bit on the shorter (and sweeter!) side with a dessert date. Have dinner as a family at home, and then sweep out for some ice cream, coffee, cake – whatever suits your fancy. Linger over your treat as you catch up with your spouse. A bonus? Time it right, and the kiddos will be in bed when you get home, which means even more time together with your spouse.

Breakfast Date

Dinner out is a traditional option for dates, but breakfast can be a nice time out, too – often for much less than a dinner. Wake up, get dressed and start the day out at your favorite diner or restaurant with your spouse. Have a peaceful morning with no dishes to clean up and no grumpy kids wiping sleep from their eyes. A hot cup of coffee, time with your spouse and a smaller check than at dinner? It's a date!

The Drive-In

This is one of my favorite options. I still list it under the affordable list because often you can get two movies for the price of one, and there's no tempting display of popcorn to walk by that could entice you to open up your wallet and pay half of your week's salary for a small bucket.

The drive-in movie theater can be a romantic option, as well (think dark car, no kids), giving ample time to cuddle and enjoy each others presence. Like the dessert date night, the kids-in-bed after you get home bonus is almost a given for this date night idea.

Freebies

Keep in mind: date night doesn't have to cost a thing! A hand-in-hand stroll through a nearby park is a great, free date. Pack a picnic for a relaxed, leisurely lunch or dinner that doesn't come with a hefty price tag. This summer, plan some time at a local beach; soak up the sun and enjoy a dip in the lake or ocean. If your date needs to be indoors, spend some time browsing at a local bookstore or go people watching at a local mall.

One Last Thought

There is an option out there for having date night in; the idea being that you and your spouse have some bonding time at home over a romantic dinner/dessert/movie/etc. after the kids are in bed. This could work and is a nice idea for those times you need a date but just can't get a babysitter...or the weather is fierce...or the stars just aren't aligning right.

But I think it's important for couples to get out of the home together, too. Sometimes we can be distracted by home (“I'm just gonna check my email real quick” or “I have to get that last load of laundry done”) to the point that we don't participate fully on the “date.” Make sure you're making time to get out for dates as much as you stay in and connect as a couple.

Anyone else know of some great cheap date night ideas? What is your favorite low-cost date with your spouse?

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Anonymous's picture

femmefrugality wrote:

Fri, 08/12/2011 - 00:55 Comment #: 1

I couldn't agree with you more. I just found/wrote about this thing in my city that does free concerts once a week...I know they've had events like this in other cities I've lived in as well. Here they're called Third Thursdays...when I lived in NC they were called Fourth Fridays. Worth looking to see if there's anything like that where you live. Still have to pay for a sitter, but at least the date itself is free!

Anonymous's picture

anotherhousewife wrote:

Sat, 08/13/2011 - 23:14 Comment #: 2

Love this post! Date nights are a priority in our family. In fact we are going on a date tonight. We make it a priority for the kids to know mom and dad go out on dates. Of course they love when we do because normally that means grandma is watching them.

When my kids were very young, we lived far away and didn't have much help in the sitter department. I would make them a "special" dinner (like pancakes or raviolis straight from the can), let them watch a short movie and then put them to bed as early as possible.

My hubby and I would turn off all electronics, except for background music and make dinner together. We would allow the first few minutes to discuss work, kids, everyday issues and then they would banned from our conversation. To help with this I would put a stack of cards from the game Loaded Question on the table and we would take turns asking and answering the questions. This led to some great conversation and discovering new things about each other. We still do this!

For cheap dinner dates we try and make it out for Happy Hour, Reverse Happy Hour or split a meal.

Anonymous's picture

The Kids-and-Finances Guide for Parents | MomVesting wrote:

Thu, 01/19/2012 - 21:45 Comment #: 3

[...] Having kids doesn't have to be the end of your marriage. Here are tips for inexpensive date nights. [...]

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