When Michael and I first started out, money didn’t come easy. He wasn’t earning all that much at the time, and I was picking up jobs here and there. The budget was tight with little room to maneuver. If I remember correctly, our spending allowance (after bills, groceries, mortgage, tithes, and car payment) was about $10.00 each–possibly $20.00 at the most. Divide that by 7 days and we had about 2-3 dollars of spending money each day.
A woman at work approached me about buying raffle tickets that her boyfriend was selling. “They’re only $3.00 each,” she said, like it was nothing to her, “and it’s for a good cause.”
Whether the cause was good or it wasn’t, $3.00 was too costly to me. It seemed like everywhere we turned people were asking for $3.00 here and $4.00 there. I had to say no, because I couldn’t afford it.
She didn’t take that well. I know because she brought it up again about three months later, reminding me how I didn’t support her boyfriend like I should have.
As difficult as it was, I’m grateful for that time in my life because I understand what it’s like to pinch pennies. I saved up loose change for months hoping to buy a new sheet set at Walmart. I counted out 75 pennies for bus fare because I didn’t have any quarters to spare. I cut my own bangs (quite badly I’ll add) because I couldn’t afford a new hair cut. Times were tough, but they were good!
And so for those who are on a tight budget, and others who prefer to save than to spend I’d like to offer you fifteen date night (or day) ideas that won’t break the bank. Some of these are weather depending of course, but here’s the good news: spring is just around the corner!
1. Go on a picnic. Take dinner outside in the spring. Grab a blanket, pack up your dinner and head out to the park.
2. Play restaurant with another couple. Plan ahead with a friend and swap favors. Make dinner for a couple you know and serve them by candlelight. Make it a special night for them. Then have your friends take their turn the next week.
3. Drive out to the lake. Hop in the car after dinner and drive out to the lake for an evening. Walk hand in hand on the beach. Experience the beauty of a dark starry night.
4. Go to a carnival. Share a bag of popcorn, hop on a couple of rides and and enjoy each others company! This can be pricey if you don’t watch how you spend, but it can be affordable if you’re simply grabbing an ice cream and taking in one ride or two.
5. Play a Board Game. If you buy a new board game, it’s a one time purchase that might cost you a bit the first time, but you’ll have it for years to come. One idea a reader shared is checking out thrift stores for games, but make sure you check inside the box for the pieces. 🙂
6. Go out for dessert. You don’t have to go out for dinner in order to have a night out–unless you want to of course. You can enjoy each others company at a coffee shop enjoying a tea and dessert for a fraction of the cost.
7. Browse a used bookstore. Spend an hour at a used bookstore, then take your books to the park and relax–together.
8. Go see a great speaker. People are always coming through town to speak at this church or that one. Keep an eye out for them and attend when you can.
9. Relax by the fire. Depending on the weather, you can either get cozy inside with a cup of hot chocolate or enjoy a bonfire outside.
10. Go bowling. This can be an affordable way to spend a night out. It’s actually a lot of fun, especially if you double date with some friends. Call and ask about specials. We have $6.00 nights and $10.00 nights!
11. Drive about 15 minutes out of town to star gaze. We’ve done this a few times, and it’s always a night to remember. We go just far enough to where the lights of the city are dim so we can see the stars at their brightest. This is especially awesome during a meteor shower!
12. Watch fireworks. Go early enough so that you get a great spot. We try to get right under them if we can, but it means getting our spot about two hours before they start. It’s definitely worth the extra effort we take.
13. Walk in the forest. Enjoy a walk hand-in-hand through the riverbanks. This is a peaceful way to enjoy each others company.
14. Get Cooking. Plan a menu and cook something together. Try a new recipe that you haven’t cooked before.
15. Sing like a star. If you have a Playstation, you might want to try a night of SingStar. It’s competitive Karaoke, and it’s fun! If you don’t have a Playstation, you can still sing like a star with an old Karaoke machine or an acoustic guitar.
You are loved by an almighty God,