In honor of February (the loooooove month), I thought I would give you all my best dating advice! Especially when the wallet is lookin’ a little thin. Here are some creative ways to date the one you love, and maybe even help you like him again, without breaking the bank. Enjoy!
1. Go to your local 99Cent/Dollar Store. You and your significant other each get $5. You have 20-30 minutes to browse around and buy each other a little care package of random things you think the other would like/enjoy/get a kick out of. Meet back at the car at the end and hangout on the trunk (or tailgate if you have one) and give the gifts. Explain why you picked each item and let the hilarity and love ensue!
2. Go to McDonald’s….yes you heard that right! But only buy for each of you a $1 soft serve ice cream cone. Sit down. Each time you take a lick of the cone you tell the other about something you love or admire about them, or a great memory. Be prepared to see your cones melt and get messy because after the first few licks it starts to get a bit more sappy and real (the convo that is!). P.S. if you are cray-cray broke, you can always get the itty-bitty 25 cent cone. Yes, that’s a thing.
3. Stay at home. If you have kiddos pawn them off to a neighbor or family member or the cheapest 14-year-old baby sitter you can find. Take 30 minutes to find 3 things in your house and then actually wrap them for your significant other. Meet for “Impromptu Christmas” in the living room. This is a fun way to re-introduce an old gift that hasn’t had a lot of use yet. Be sentimental or just down right ornery, your choice!
4. Drive to a movie theater parking lot. Don’t go in. Bring your own iPad or computer, or if you are like me, the built-in DVD player in your car. Sit in the backseat together and watch a movie or show! Bring a blanket to cuddle and if you have some sitting around the pantry at home, grab a bag of pre-popped microwave popcorn. After the movie is done be sure to stand outside the car together, one leaned up against the passenger side door and give a good ole round of PDA to everyone around. Just like high school/college days!
5. Create a memory scavenger hunt. First date. First place you held hands or kissed. Engagement spot. Favorite beach. You get the point. If things aren’t local, find something that is like a replica or at least has some sort of connection to the original place. If you are a real planner – put a little album of pictures together of the original memories and look and reminisce at each spot. Retell the stories. A fun add-on here is to replay the moment acting as the other person. Reenact your engagement from the other person’s perspective!
6. Go on a hike. A walk. A stroll around a duck pond. This is the Captain Obvious choice. Yet it can be one of the best dates ever. Play “eye-spy”, as if you were seven-years-old again. Just enjoy being together in nature. End up at a park and go on the swings together. So fun.
7. Go to downtown Disney. DO NOT GO IN! Hahaha. Just sit outside and people watch. This actually could be in any hot-spot that has a large amount of people at any given time. Make up life stories of the people you observe. Take turns coming up with plot lines and scenarios of all the passersby. It can get real fun, real quick. Take hot cocoa or coffee in a thermos from home so you don’t have to buy coffee or tea while you’re out!
8. Go to Costco. Take $5 cash and each buy either one slice of pizza, or the hot dog/drink combo for a buck-fitty! Yes, I meant to say fitty! I prefer the polish dog myself. No it’s not gluten-free. No, it’s not good for you. No it’s not in the Daniel 30 diet. Just freaking do it this once and enjoy it! Part B of this date is to find any nearby department store (‘cuz Costco is usually near a mall and whatnot). Go to a section of the store where you can sit down together and chat. A faux living room or patio furniture setup. If there is a sporting goods store you can sometimes find a camping tent already set up! Go in there and just chat….or make out if you dare! The possibilities with this date are endless!
9. Go to Target, or Walmart, or Ross/Michaels/TJ Max….you get the point. Take a small notepad and write a fashion show list of categories with things like “Fancy Company Party”, “A Day At The Lake”, “Throw Back to Jr High”, “Red Carpet Oscar Night”, “PE Gym Teacher From 1977″….be creative and make as many categories as you want. But don’t tell them to your significant other. Then both of you put all the papers in a hat (that you borrow from the accessories section of course). Each person draws a paper out. Then you have ten minutes each round to go become that person. Meet back at the fitting rooms for the fashion show. Draw a new category, rinse, repeat. Endless hours of fun right there!
10. Go to Barnes and Noble, or any other local bookstore (if the library is open, go there!!). Together find a title of a book that intrigues you. You can pick two or three if you’d like. Go sit in the comfy chairs, most bookstores have ’em. Read out loud the first chapter of the book and discuss! If you are brave you will pick a book with a controversial or sassy subject matter! Read as many chapters as you have time for…keep discussing. When you are “over it” simply put the book back and “wallah”, no cost date night!
I hope these fun, simple and silly ideas inspire you. It is vital to any relationship that you spend quality time together! My hubby and I will be celebrating our tenth anniversary this year. About two years ago, we started dating each other again. Every Wednesday night our routine is to hire a sitter and go to dinner….which adds up real quick these days. I would say our average month looks like this:
Date 1: Huge fight (unfortunately I don’t mean us watching the UFC together kind either), this is the type of night that usually ends with car doors being shut a little too hard, one pays the sitter, one goes straight upstairs to bed. Ouch.
Date 2: All business baby. Discuss bills, make plans, set calendars, catch up on life, work and kid’s events/obligations. Boring, but necessary.
Date 3: Too tired to do anything but stare at a movie screen….an escape from reality, but together.
Date 4: An actual fun, connected, meaningful experience together. One where we remembered why we like each other in the first place. Includes funny moments, memories, engaging conversation with no topic off-limits and the night ends with….well you know…sexy time (highly recommended! Ummm- for you married folks, of course).
I recently realized that one in four really great date nights is totally worth it. Surprisingly, those dates were usually connected to the “it’s the end of the month, we are shorter on funds, let’s do something cheap”, kind of date night. So why not create those fun, silly, simple dates all throughout the month? Then the focus becomes each other and not just a routine of dining out and spending too much money. I encourage you to date the person you love! It is absolutely crucial to your relationship being healthy. And now you can’t use the “we can’t afford it” excuse. You’re welcome!
Let me know your fun, cheap, date night ideas in the comments… or if you try any of mine out, let me know how it goes!