Recently a friend lamented that due to her busy work schedule and family life she and her husband weren’t finding the time to spend one on one. She felt that her marriage and their financial decisions were both being effected by their lack of time to spend together.
With their family’s smallest members, and her husband’s long hours, and her crazy freelance schedule they were barely finding time to catch up at night before they fell into bed and started it all over again the next day. Weekends were busy with extended family, birthdays, household repairs and chores.
In addition to a busy schedule she couldn’t imagine spending a minimum of $100 on date night ($50 on a sitter and another minimum of $50 on dinner) before they even factored in any form of entertainment.
Instead they’d just squeeze in the occasional date time while both the kids were on playdates or when their families were visiting from out of town. It wasn’t ideal, and it wasn’t working.
My advice to her is outlined below (thankfully she was willing to let me share her story).
In my own life I find it’s imperative to make time to to connect so your marriage is stronger-after all you’re probably in this for the long haul. It’s also a great time to stop with the to do lists and instead talk about your dreams, your goals, and yes, even your finances.
Here are some ideas to help you make it happen.
Ideas for Saving on Childcare for Date Night
Rely on Family or Friends:
If you have friends or family that live closeby, they are often eager to spend with your little ones. Take them up on it, even if it means a lot of juggling schedules, and kissing up. Often family members are more willing to babysit if you have an appointment or some other obligation (back to school night, etc.) consider those date nights, and tack on an hour or two to enjoy dessert and coffee without little fingers trying to steal bits of your dessert.
Tip: No family closeby? Consider trading babysitting hours with a local friend with kids.
Join a Babysitting Co-op:
Consider joining a local co-op where you offer babysitting and receive babysitting in return. This can work wonderfully with a moms group, a group of friends, or a group of preschool parents.
Tip: If you don’t have an existing group you can form one with only a handful of families.
Kids or Parents Night Out:
Whether it’s parent’s night out at daycare, your gym, or church-consider signing up about once a month. You may also get a free ‘night out’ when your child has an evening activity (bingo night at school for instance). If another family is willing to take your child(ren) take them up on it, and offer to return the favor when the school fair rolls around.
Date Night at Home:
It’s not as fun as going out, but there’s no reason you can’t get cleaned up, put on some nice clothes and enjoy yourself at home. Consider these ideas or get creative and do something you both enjoy but don’t often get time to do.
- Movie at Home: Dim the lights, pop some popcorn, turn on a movie, and snuggle up under a blanket.
- Cook a Grown-up Dinner: Mac n’ cheese and hot dogs is no one’s idea of a fancy date night meal, so instead snack on cheese or a veggie tray while the kids are up and cook a fancy dinner together after they are in bed. Get out the fancy china and use your dining room (if you have one). To keep it low-key try fondue on the coffee table or a platter of dried meats and cheeses (with wine on the side of course).
- Play Games: Whether you like video games, chess, board games or card games spend some time playing together. It’s amazing what a little play time can do for your marriage.
- Host a Tasting: Hosting your own private wine, dessert, or cheese tasting. Set it up with candlelight and soft music for an even more romantic atmosphere.
Now that you know how to have a date night without spending a fortune, make one! Spend 20 minutes talking about your dreams & goals, briefly going over any financial issues. Then spend the rest enjoying each other’s company.
If you know your financial life needs a longer look than that, plan your evening around that with a reward of dinner at your favorite restaurant or a tasty dessert as your reward.
What are some ways you’ve found to help save on date night?
Looking for some other date night ideas? Look no further.