"Wait! Did we budget for Date Night??"
Wednesday night is Date Night at our house. It's been that way for a LONG time! And we didn't want retirement to do away with our weekly fun. So today, I'm going to cover some good ways to keep that fun coming and be able to pay for it with slightly reduced funds.
- Put some money in the budget. Analyze what you can afford and how many times you will be going out during the month. If you get paid twice a month, budget for two date nights. If you get paid weekly, you only need to budget it in for the week. For us, we are getting paid once a month so we will budget for 4 to 5 nights out. We set aside about $20 to $25 per week for date night
- Remember, it's about spending time together not how fancy the dining is. You can make a picnic one week and then spend double the following week at a nice place. You can make dinner at home and go to see a play or movie. In our case we could go to the beach with some hot dogs, potato chips and soda and make a nice bonfire
- Use gift cards to supplement. We get them for different occasions and kind of "hoard" them until needed. If there is a Birthday or Anniversary, we actually tell our kids that we would like gift cards. In this way we have been able to go to eat and the movies for free that week. You can also buy discounted gift cards online at Giftcard Zen, or use part of your budget to buy cards when the stores offer deals such as buy 4 cards and get 1 for free
- Use coupons that have been mailed to your house. Many of them will have reduced prices on certain meals, two for one combo prices or free desserts or appetizers
- Go to dinner on nights or to places that offer Senior Citizen discounts, Veterans discounts, AARP discounts, etc.
- Pay for just the meal and ask for water rather than a fountain or alcoholic drink
- Use the receipts to file surveys online and get a discount on your next food purchase
- Have a meal out and come home for the entertainment. Rent a move online or at Redbox. Watch something on Hulu or Netflix or a movie you haven't seen for a while that's in your collection.
- Dine out during "early bird" dining times and save money
- Eat meals off the 55 and over menu. These meals can be slightly smaller and a lot more economical
- Use online sources such as Groupon.com to buy two for one price deals
- Make a special meal at home complete with fine china, candle light and restaurant style food. Soft music in the background. You may think you are actually dining out!
We've done dates watching our local baseball team with dogs and cokes, biked for a picnic style dinner to local parks and had some really nice meals out. Date night is about the relationship not the money. It's about making special time to be together and nurture your relationship. I'd love to hear all the ways you go about making Date Night special. Leave a comment and give us some good ideas!