Date night is one thing I will never, ever give up. Even when we were living below the poverty line with a baby my husband and I would still make time for date night. I think it’s because we had our first child so young-we just didn’t want to give up on our time together because we had a baby. That was often easier said than done when you don’t have two spare nickels to rub together.
Somehow we made those date nights work by putting our baby to bed and settling in for a date night at home. In one of our apartments we lived across the street from a small strip of stores including (I’m dating myself here!) a VHS rental store. We planned which nights to rent a movie based on the cost (they offered one night that was cheaper (Tuesday if I recall) and settled in for movie and homemade dinner as our ‘date night’.
There’s only so many times you can watch movies from three years ago, though. Occasionally we could drop off the little guy with my parents or sister and have a few hours to do something, but again we were constrained by finances, so we had to get creative. Movies have always been one of our favorite things to do together, so we found ways to make it work on our meager budget. Even back then dinner and a movie meant spending a small fortune, so we had to be smart and figure out ways to save.
Sixteen years later we can occasionally afford a night out now, but with more kids (and their growing expenses) and more financial responsibility we still use the some of the same tips and tricks I discovered all those years ago to save big with a few additions thanks to living in the modern world.
Savvy Date Night Savings for Dinner and a Movie:
Daytime Date: The best way to save is to skip the evening out and go out during the day. If you can take a long lunch or coordinate days off you may even be able to skip the cost of the sitter! Matinees are slightly cheaper than evening movies (savings $1-2 per ticket), and lunch is usually half the cost of a dinner out. (savings $10-40) Students, seniors, and military members often get additional discounts-so be sure to take advantage of those if you qualify.
Rewards Programs For the Win: If you frequent a certain movie theatre or chain restaurant you can score loyalty points for every visit and get freebies for future visits. We frequent our local Regal Cinema where you can use more than one reward card. We get free drinks, popcorn, and even movie tickets!
Text Alert: More and more theaters and restaurants are introducing text rewards and coupons that come right to your phone! No need to print anything out, and this is often on top of our other ways to save.
Eat Before You Go: I know it’s tempting to get candy, popcorn, and soda at the movie theatre, but it adds up fast! If you get dinner before the movie there’ll be no need for those expensive concession treats.
Earn While You Date: Now through March 31st Discover card members can sign up to earn 5% Cashback Bonus on up to $1,500 (!) in purchases at restaurants and movie theaters.
Use Rewards: Discover cardmembers can redeem their accumulated Cashback Bonus rewards for partner gift cards from several restaurants and movie theaters like AMC Theaters.
Get Cash Back for Shopping Online: Discover cardmembers can shop online through ShopDiscover, Discover’s exclusive shopping portal, to earn extra Cashback Bonus. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, several merchants are increasing the amount of Cashback Bonus available with each purchase.
- Restaurant.com – Currently at 25% Cashback Bonus until Valentine’s Day, typically 20% Cashback Bonus
- Fandango – 10% Cashback Bonus
- Living Social – 5% Cashback Bonus
- Groupon – 5% Cashback Bonus
What are some ways you save on date night?
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Discover as part of the Discover Preferred Blogger Network. All opinions are my own.