A survival guide to everyday motherhood

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cheap Affordable Dates

With money being really tight with us now and with the economy making more than a few people nervous I figured it was the right time to start busting out my best money saving tips; and since there is nothing more than I love than date night... I figured I would start with that. Especially since between paying for babysitting, going to the movies, and out to dinner; a couple could easily drop at least $60. And I'm not even talking about you East Coasters out there, that have to fork out $10-$15 bucks per movie ticket and $20 a plate easy for dinner! Rumor has it that you even have to put a kidney down as collateral!

But, Curtis and I have always tried and to go out on one date a week....okay, I should rephrase that....we WANT to go out once a week, but then reality sets in and we realize that once-a-week-date-nights are probably going to happen once we can pay cash for a new car!

So since the only way we can start dropping $180-$240 a month on date nights are unless we start feeling that certain necessities like.....toilet paper and food are beneath us and don't need them anymore; I am pretty sure we are going to have to start making some adjustments. And I not talking about getting crafty enough to make homemade toilet paper. I don't know if I would want to go down THAT road!
So here are some fun, silly, serious, goofy date nights that we have planned in mind...
Split Meals - Okay, before you turn this idea down I will admit something. I am not a sharer when it comes to food. It is like Joey, for all you "Friends" fans out there. "JOEY DOESN'T SHARE FOOD".

I order what I like and I want to eat what I ordered. I don't mind letting you try my food to see if maybe next time you want it, but I don't want to give up my yummy pasta for some yucky fish. No no, that is a no go. But, what Curtis and I do, is that we go to restaurants that have a free never-ending bread basket, salad, or chips and we can eat those all we want. Then, we order a meal to share. We save money, have better portions, and yet we still walk away stuffed. The best restaurant for this is Olive Garden. They have that wonderful salad and bread sticks....ohhhh soooo good. Oh wait...I now need to go clean the drool off my keyboard. :)

House Hunting - Curtis and I love driving around and looking at houses in the Daddy Warbucks neighborhoods. Even though we can't afford a house right now, we love looking. We take mental notes on why we like that house, what's good in a yard, we will even grab the fliers sometimes to see prices and what the inside of the house has. We have a lot of fun talking in the car, making plans, and just imagining what the our first family house might be.

Museums/Imaginariums - These places might seem more of a fit for the kids, but when you take children to see a museum/imaginarium/planetarium you don't really get the spent the kind of time you want looking and reading about everything. My husband and I are going to go to the imaginarium here in Anchorage and take out time doing everything and reading all the facts. Plus, learning about things like this will give you hours of things to talk about later. And a nice bonus is that you are supporting your cities way of providing culture to the public.

Borders Book or Barnes & Noble - We love books, craft books, "learn how to", biographies, fiction...everything. It is fun to go into a book store and find a few books, sit down with each other and read through them. Maybe even pick up a coffee, hot coco, or muffin and just talk and read. But, instead of buying the book, just go home afterwards with a list of the ones you liked. Then if you really want them buy them on http://www.amazon.com/ and save yourself some serious money. We just love that relaxing, quiet environment. I don't know about all of you guys, but we could spend hours there.

Dollar Theaters - Not all cities have these, but you would be surprised how many cheap theaters there are out there. I love these theaters because they show the newly released movies, just a little bit later. Most discounted theaters cost anywhere from $1 - $4. Here in Anchorage, there is this fun place called "The Bear Tooth" and it is a restaurant/theater. You pay 2 bucks to get in and get to keep your kidney, plus then you can go and order food from their kitchen, they will then bring it to you in the theater. So, you get to watch your movie and eat, I love it! You can go see a movie and eat dinner totaling $16. Not to shabby ehh? Alaska doesn't sound too bad of a place to live now, does it?

Afternoon Dates - If none of these things are ringin' your bell then just have you and your honey go on a afternoon date. The movies are at matinee prices, restaurants have lunch menus, and then you also get to have your nights alone. What do I mean by that? Well, I love our daughter, but we already get a nice break every night. Lucy goes down at 8 so we always have 8-12ish to hang out and do our thing. But, we never get to go out and do stuff in the afternoons. So go get your self a sitter and head out on an afternoon date. Lunch, movie, maybe some errands and head home for dinner. Then a little after dinner , your sweet ones are down for the night and you get to have more alone time. I look at it like more bang for your buck! Pay a sitter for 4-5 hours, but really get 11!

Romantic Laptop - If you are more romantic and cuddly, you might like this one. Curtis and I use to go get a movie, a laptop, and then drive out to somewhere romantic. We would then climb in the back seat and......ohhh don't worry, this post is "G" rated......... but we would put down the seats and watch a movie under a big fluffy blanket. We loved this because it was sooo pretty, really cuddly, and if you are watching a scary movie, man, being out there in the middle of no-where REALLY adds to the suspense. Plus, being in the back of the car does make a nice little setting for a pecking party ....hee hee.

Game Night - Plan a date where you get to play all the good games you love. We love Scrabble, Catan, card games, really....just all games. Crack open some good soda, get some chips, and have a bunch of fun. If you are looking for some social company, get some friends over and teach them a new game! Skip-Bo is a good one for having people over and so is Bohnanza and Scene-It.

Prank Your Friends - There is nothing like being a kid again... well, just once in a while. But who didn't love toilet papering. We use to do it to our friends always. It was practically a sign of love! The bigger and better the job, the more you cared for them. It is like a giant three-ply hug! And the best part is, you don't have to worry about getting caught as much. There are no parents at home that can receive a call about kids running around causing chaos.

Shopping - I just love to look and wonder around the mall. Stepping into new stores and checking everything out. Especially since having a kid, I don't really get to just mosey on through a store and take my sweet time. So, you guys can go out and take turns with which stores you want to pop in and each get to pick one thing. Or set your selves a spending limit and get what you guys would like. Hungry!? Just pick up a snack at the mall. I am a sucker for Pretzels with good ol' fake nacho cheese. Call me sick, but I could drink that stuff.

Make a Fancy Meal Together or Have a Cook-Off - Find a good fancy recipe and both of you make dinner. It will give you guys nice time to chat and goof off. Then after dinner, make dessert! A fun chocolate fondue is great cause it is low maintenance and you can slowly snack on it while watching a movie. Just get some strawberries, pretzels, marshmallows, bananas....anything you love to smother in chocolate. If you guys are a little more competitive....have a cook-off! You each pick a dessert or meal and see who makes the best one. Not only is it fun, but you get loads of delicious food. Loser does dishes....or maybe gives a foot rub! Being a winner can be tiring and you will need your relaxation!

Mini Road Trip - Pick a city that is far enough you don't normally go to, but within an easy driving distance. Go there and try to find a "new spot" for you guys. Enjoy the nice drive out, make a traveling CD, have good music, enjoy some chatting, and get to know the city more. Find a cute little cafe', a good mall, maybe some fun events that are going on. Just a chance to get out and see new things, plus I love a good drive with my sweetie!

Library - Now, this one isn't a dreary as it sounds. I am not suggesting a library research date, to make you feel like you both are back in college cramming for that exam. But simply, go through and pick out some good Cd's and movies. Most public libraries have a fairly good selection of media. You might have to use the waiting list, so go check out the library before you plan anything. But, this one is great if you are really in a jam for money. You can't get much better than free, can ya?


  1. I love afternoon dates - it seems like they work well for us because I can put my daughter down for a nap on Saturday and have the sitter come shortly after. Hubby and I can leave the house without my little girl freaking out and when she wakes up, the sitter plays with her and feeds her lunch. It gives us a nice big chunk of time to go out and do whatever we want. I wish we actually made the time to do it more often!

  2. My hubby and I love dates and have gotten quite creative as well. Redbox is a favorite... $1 per night... after the kids are in bed.
    I even filled out a credit card application to get a $25 gift card to Olive Garden... I never finished it past the filling out the application, and they didn't require anything but filling out the application...the food was great!

  3. Great Ideas. I really like the cook-off idea. I think it would also be fun to have a fancy cheese and bread night. Go get some crazy fancy cheese and crusty bread and good crackers and then sample and chat after the kids go to bed. Even better to invite friends over and bring their cheeses to share too.

  4. prank your friends! practically like a hug! Oh, I'm rolling here... LOL!

    I loved a lot of those suggestions. Dan and I were just talking the other day that between three kids and their activities, his work schedule, household chores, meal and sleep times, he and I really haven't gotten to do any connecting lately (G rated or the other). We've discussed a set date night each month, but babysitter charge you a kidney for three kids, and then there's nothing leftoever to spend on the date... you get my drift. But you've suggested some realistic things and I can't wait to give them a shot!

  5. These are wonderful ideas! Thanks for sharing. I soooo wish we had one of those dollar theaters like you were talking about. What a good idea! Hmmm...wonder if I could open one up myself? ;oD

  6. A lot of great ideas! I like the boardgames and museum ideas best.

  7. Ooo, I like the cooking face off idea! The friends clip was a gut busting halarious!
    Oh, today I posted a post that you can do with you Lucy Loo, especially cause you starting signing with her yo!

  8. As a rider to your amazon advice, I'd say always click on the "new and used" option because you can buy books for as little as one penny that way.

  9. Or you could just make sure your child sleeps through the entire meal like Gregory did today and then you don't need a babysitter.


  10. These are superb ideas! I think I needed inspiration. Seems like dinner and a movie, or shopping is getting routine. These sound fun!