If you're a parent who's also married, finding the time for a date night can be hard to pull off.
Add in a tight budget and it can seem impossible. But, as we all know, getting time away to be an adult with another adult is important. With a little creativity and extra planning, you can still enjoy a night out with your significant other, even on a small budget.
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
While some parents have the benefit of close family and friends to watch their children when they go for a night out, many must pay a sitter to take care of their children. This cost can add up, especially if you have a larger family. Try asking a friend to swap babysitting duties with you. You watch her kids one night while they have a date night, then your friend can watch yours while you have a night out. It’s free and it’s well worth both couples’ time.
Change the time
Date night doesn’t have to happen on a Friday or Saturday night. To save money, try going to a matinee movie when prices are more affordable. Lunch menus are also significantly cheaper at most restaurants. Or try catching a movie or dinner on a weeknight. You only save some cash but you avoid the crowd.
Pack a picnic
A picnic at a local park is both romantic and budget-friendly. Use items from your own pantry in your picnic or stop to get something affordable on the way. Bonus: Look for free or affordable local events like concerts or other festivals to enjoy dinner and a show.
Who says you have to go out to have a date? Put the kids to bed early and cook a meal together. Enjoy some quiet time or a romantic movie in the comfort of your own home. If your kids aren’t big on early bedtime, plan dessert for after the kids’ normal bedtime.
If you and your partner enjoy being active, make it a date. Going on a walk, hiking the local trails or going on a bike ride are all fun and free activities to enjoy with your partner. Some other ideas: laser tag, roller skating and bowling. Sometimes feeling like a kid again can make you forget about the kids, for just a little while.
Check out the local attractions
Look around for free or affordable outings or day trips. Most cities have a Facebook page, which often list fun events around town. Ideas could include visiting a local museum, zoo or exhibit. Minor league sports games are also a fun and affordable idea. Community theater or high school theater is a great way to see a play without having to pay the high prices. Or try relaxing at a local beach or pool without the kids in tow.