Thursday, August 21, 2008

Friday Night is Date Night! Part IV: Frugal Fun Dates

We have reached the final part in the Friday Night Date Night series, and I certainly hope that the ideas I have posted here have been helpful and inspiring. 

To share a personal story, just last Friday night I implemented one of the ideas myself, in a slightly simpler way. I hadn't planned on doing anything (I know, I'm a terrible wife), but when my DH called, sounding very worn down, he said he was going to be home late. So I made a frozen pizza for the kids, put some chicken in a marinade for us, then put the kids in the tub once they were finished eating. My husband got home shortly after and went to take care of the kids (bath time is kind of his special time with them) while I finished the preparations for our dinner. Once the kids were in bed we had our "date." It wasn't anything extravagant, just some yummy grilled sesame ginger chicken, rice, and broccoli, which we ate in the dining room (we only use the dining room for special occasions) by candlelight. Afterward, we played a card game together in the living room.

What made it special was that he was surprised (usually when he's home late we just eat without him and then he grabs his dinner from what I put away for him in the fridge and eats it in front of the tv), we had some special time together, and it showed him that I care about him and I love him. Sometimes just the simple things make the biggest difference, and if you keep it simple, then you're more likely to do it, because you won't get stressed about it.

On to this week's topic, which covers everything that the last topics didn't cover- Frugal Fun Dates for under $10- these are dates for anytime, any weather, and any budget! So here we go!

1. Secret Shopping- No, this isn't where you get paid to write reviews of stores! For this one, you and your sweetie set a budget, say $5 each, and then you go to a mall or another shopping area with a wide variety of items (Wal-Mart would work, or even the dollar store!). You split up and set a time and place to meet (usually 20 minutes to a half an hour is about right) and your job is to each buy a gift for each other. My DH and I have even done this as a family with our kids- each of us takes one child and we go buy gifts for the other two. It's fun because you get a surprise gift, it's an exciting challenge to see what you can get for your money, and it's a great way to become closer by thinking about one another. (This also usually results in both of you finding other things that you thought were cool/interesting that you want to show the other after you've exchanged gifts, so then you can go on a walk and look at all the stuff you missed!)

2. Window Shopping- This one can be especially fun if there's a home decorating project you're working on, or a particular big ticket item you're in search of. Just go to a variety of different places that have the types of things you're interested in and compare. Take notes on what you like and don't like, even take photographs and then compare them. It's a date and it's useful!

3. If I Had A Million Dollars- This one is a combination of the first two, and I named it after the Barenaked Ladies song ("If I had a million dollars, I would buy you a house..."). For this one, you pretend to be millionaires and set a fictional budget for each other (say, $20,000). Then you split up and find the things you would buy for each other if you had that kind of money. Meet up and take your honey to see their pretend present! 

4. Museums/Historic Homes- If you're not a fan of shopping, museums are a very fun option, and there are many out there that have free admission. It might sound dull, but you never know what you might learn about your significant other when both of you are standing in front of a piece of art, and learning something together will be an experience that strengthens your bond.

5. Model Home Tours- Whether you are an apartment dweller or a seasoned home owner, a model home can always give you some good ideas. Look in your area for new developments or a Parade of Homes (builders and designers showcase their best work in model homes and prizes are awarded). Most of the homes you will see will probably be out of your price range, but dreaming is half the fun. And you can keep your eye out for new decorating ideas!

6. Just Dessert- I always think it's fun to go out to a great restaurant and just order dessert- I remember once going to eat at a very nice upscale restaurant and we almost didn't order dessert (we were using a gift card) until we saw how inexpensive it was! You can even just get one dessert to share. Either way, you can enjoy the swanky atmosphere and gazing across your sweets to look into the eyes of your sweet...

7. Fashion Models- I used to do this with my girlfriends in college, and it's just as fun now with my husband! (though with much less giggling) Go to a clothing store and take turns picking out things for each other to try on. My husband loved finding evening gowns for me to wear, and I enjoyed the opportunity to dress him up too! The only rule is that you have to try on whatever they pick out- no exceptions! You might even find something you'll want to take home with you...

8. Book It- If you love books like I do, go to a library or bookstore and just hang out. You could even go to a bookstore that has a small cafe and make a whole night of it- get some great books, have a snack, play some games (often there will be chess or checkers). Bookstores aren't just great places to meet guys, they're great places to appreciate the one you already have!

9. Get Lost- Get a map (or your trusty GPS), hop in the car and just start driving! Make turns you don't usually make, and see how lost you can get. Then, using your map and your navigation skills, find your way back home! I did this in college when my family moved to a new area, and I got to know the area really well. Whenever I would go somewhere new with my mom I would say, "Hey, I know this place- I got lost here once!"

10. Go Gaming- Save up your quarters and go to your local arcade. Try as many games as you dare, and see who can beat the high score!

11. And Everything Else- There are so many fun things you can do out there, and prices vary from location to location, so I wanted to include a brief list of everything else that could fall under the "under $10" category, depending on the businesses where you live. And don't forget that you can often find coupons to bring the cost down on many of these activities! Some that I thought of were: 
- bowling
- roller skating/roller blading
- indoor rock climbing
- ice skating
- cheap movies/dollar theaters
- pottery classes

So there you go, you have all the inspiration you need to create some fantastic fun frugal dates, whether at home, outdoors, or anywhere else! Your assignment for this week: GO ON A DATE ALREADY! Then come back next week and tell me about it. I would love to read about your experiences and your ideas. Happy dating everybody!

1 comment:

  1. My husband and I love to hang out at the bookstore on date night. We usually get a coffee, collect a stack of books we're interested in, and find a quiet corner chair to flip through the pages.

    It's a lot of fun, but the downside is that we can't buy anything now that we're living frugally. I take down the titles and check the library, though.


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