Sometimes us moms just need to get away from our kids. Sometimes we need adult conversation. Sometimes we need to remember exactly why we married and procreated with that guy that hogs the covers every night.
Sometimes, we need a date night.
Problem is, dates aren’t always cheap when you have little ones. Between dinner, movie, and a sitter, you can easily spend well over $100 on an evening out. That makes this frugal mom feel a little bit faint. However, I believe there is always a cheaper way to do things. Here are my tips for saving money on date night, while still having a good time.
Create a Co-op With Other Parents
You probably know some other parents out there in a similar situation to yours. Little time together, little money to hire a sitter. We also don’t have grandparents close, so our cheap/free sitter options are limited. A great idea is to create a baby-sitting co-op. We have an agreement with another couple from our church: you take ours once a month, we take yours once a month. Ours kids love playing together, so the actual baby-sitting part is really pretty easy. And when we go out, we feel secure knowing that our kids are being watched by people we trust, who have their own kids and know what to do in case of an emergency. And it costs us nothing but one evening a month, and we have the guarantee of one date night a month. It has been wonderful for us!
So how do you find parents and work out an arrangement like this? Well, we lucked into our situation. Our friends called us when their sitter canceled at literally the last minute. They tried to pay us for watching the kids, and I said “Just take mine next weekend for a few hours, and we’ll be even.” Our arrangement grew from there. Talk to your friends with kids, talk to the parents of your child’s playmates, put a flier up at daycare…just start talking to people. Chances are there are other parents out there willing to make the trade with you.
Make it a Week Night
Ok, I know. Going out on a Tuesday night doesn’t sound very romantic. But it’s a great way to save money. Lots of restaurants offer deals on weeknights, in the hopes of drawing people in during their slower times. Some places offer special deals if you eat before 6:00 pm, others may offer half-price appetizers if you come in after 9:00 pm. My husband and I like to go to Buffalo Wild Wings on Tuesdays, because they offer deals on wings all evening.
Many movie theaters also offer weekday deals. A good tip is to follow these movie theaters on Twitter or Facebook to stay current on their promotions. Following your local frugal bloggers is great way to find out about these specials – check out my friend Ann-Marie at Chaos is Bliss if you live in Indy!
Change It Up
You aren’t limited to the traditional dinner and a movie date. Look for free options in your city. If it’s a nice evening, pick up some takeout food and go to the park. See what museums in your area are cheap or free. Look for free concerts in your city. Instead of spending big money on pro-sports tickets (and concessions) check out a local high school sporting event. If you are having trouble finding things, do a web search for “free events” plus the name of your city. You might be surprised at what you find.
Stay in for the Night
Just because you don’t have your kids doesn’t mean you have to go out. Grab a pizza and a movie from the Redbox. Play a board game. Cook dinner together. Watch a show on a channel other than Nickelodeon. Take time to enjoy being with your mate, even if you go nowhere at all.