I think the important thing is to be intentional about breaking out of the normal routine of life and taking a day/evening to focus on your marriage and your family. Whether that is done at home, or in a deli or in a fancy restaurant. Work to find what works for your family and make whatever that is special!
Here are some extra tips to help make date night happen for you!
Share you meal – Meals in restaurants are usually big enough to share. If you know how to look at a menu and what to order you can usually find a large meal to share anywhere!
Order water – ordering water instead of sodas or alcohol can save a LOT per date. It is a bit of a sacrifice, but it is better than eliminating date night all together!
Earn free gift cards – A few years ago money was TIGHT and I found out about swagbucks. Use the site to earn points by searching the internet, watching videos, playing games and more. They are by far the easiest of these types of sites that I’ve found to use, and you can rack up points to exchange for date night gift cards! There are several restaurants to choose from and it’s definitely doable to earn a gift card every month! Then, you’ll only have to pay the babysitter, because your date will always be free! You start with 150 swagbucks if you sign up for free swagbucks! This is my third year using them and they are still just as easy as they were on day one!
Put it in the budget – Making sure you have the $ for it, and holding that money aside specifically for date night encourages you to find the time to go. Even if it’s just a small date, getting out of the house with the family or your hubby for an evening is such a wonderful thing! Every month I budget $50 for dates. Just $50 for the entire month, but we are able to do it! For 3 of the 4 dates we do cheap places like a pizza buffet or dinner at a local deli (Jason’s Deli is our favorite). At the deli we are able to share a large meal, and the buffet ends up being $5 a person so each time we make it in and out for somewhere between $7-$11, even if we take the baby! We save the rest of our budgeted date money for our once a month fancy date, this time we definitely leave baby with his grandparents and we get all dressed up to go to a nicer restaurant.
Save for nicer dates – If you are in a position where you have to find and pay a sitter date night can be much more expensive, and not at all do-able weekly. But by putting aside $5 or $10 here and there (maybe sacrificing your morning coffee run, or some other little treat during the week) you could save enough for a nice dinner for you and your man AND enough for a babysitter once a month or so.
Swap babysitting – Another option for a babysitter is finding a friend with kids and switching weeks. For example, every first and third Saturday they keep your kids while you and your man have a date. Every second and fourth Saturday you keep theirs and they can go out! This could be a simple way to have “free babysitting” and still get in a date night once or twice a month!
If you have to take babies/toddlers – Look for places that offer free stuff! Either free food for kids under age 3 (most buffets offer that) or free things like corn bread or muffins. If you have small kids this could be a work-able option.
If you have not money to go out, or can’t because of babysitting issues I’ve written another post with fabulous home-date-night ideas. Things that go beyond a movie night on the couch and actually help you connect with your spouse from home! You can make an evening at home with your hubby every bit as special as a night out! It just takes a bit of planning!
What about you? What are you date night obstacles? and how are you/have you over come them? I would love to hear your stories!
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Kate @ Teaching What Is Good says
GREAT! We started going on weekly dates when our oldest was 6 months old (she’s 25). It was SO VITAL for the health of our marriage.
Because we were in married student housing (he was in grad school) and lived on a stipend of $650/month, we had little money for dates. We would (on an expensive date) to to Burger King and buy a $.69 soda to split with free refills. Most of our dates were just walking and talking.
We didn’t live near family but were blessed with our church family. The college students would sit for free for the couples!!
I’m hosting a linkup Loving Our Children. Come on over and join in with me!
wow Kate that is a fabulous story! :) thank you so much for sharing! Walking and talking does make a great date too! we love going on walks!!!
I agree that date nights have been really vital to our marriage health as well. It seems like such a small unimportant thing, but I really think it is a lot more important than people give it credit for!
I just joined your link up with a different post (one about parenting) thanks for telling me about it! I will add your button to my side bar tomorrow, and I look forward to exploring your blog!!!
thanks for commenting! :D
Treasures Evermore says
Oh boy…this post sure got me to thinking. Dh and I hardly ever go out. We have seven children and there never is enough time or funds for this. And if there is funds, it’s always spent on other things.
It’s great you are doing this. The first time we went on a date after our first child was born (she was born in 1986)…we went without her and siblings in 1998 to Thailand for our adopted son.
Yes, you read right…that’s how bad. But we are married almost 28 years….so I guess we are doing okay. But now that the kids are older, it is easier to leave for an hour. Our oldest daughter is Autistic, so we don’t leave for very long when we do.
Keep doing what you are doing…it’s important (note to self LOL).
wow! sounds like your plates are very full! but I would encourage you to start going out. Even if you can only go for an hour to a local deli or ice cream shop. an hour away together can do SO MUCH. the two of you and about with no other responsibilities looming for that period of time is absolutely priceless! and I would imagine it gets even more priceless as the number of children and responsibilities grows!
I hope you and your hubby are able to figure out a way to make it work soon <3
thank you for commenting and for the encouragement too!
We haven’t done regular “date” nights. I used to wish we did something special each week and then realized I just need to learn to enjoy the time we do have together. Cuddling while watching a movie, laughing and talking together, playing games…sure it may not be planned a head of time. But they still count as dates! :-)
For Valentine’s Day this year I made a (yummy!) dinner at home. I was so surprised at how good it tasted and how inexpensive it was to make a nice meal. So I’m hoping to do that again sometime soon.
We didn’t have babysitters in the early days, and were not good about carving out date nights, but eventually we raised up our very own babysitters! :) then, it was easier to sneak away for dinner out, which usually included the nursing baby! :)
Nowadays, busyness is often the major obstacle! One thing we’ve found is that having a Starbucks or similar place nearby is priceless. We can go out for a simple cup of coffee and have UNINTERRUPTED CONVERSATION! The coffee may be expensive but talking without everyone needing us is priceless!
Paula, its wonderful you and your husband are intentional on making time to love on your union. My Love and I think its important to make time to nurture your marriage. Thanks for sharing your post at What Joy Is Mine.
Great tips on keeping date night budget friendly. I especially liked the one on saving up for a babysitter in small amounts throughout the month. My parents live 45 miles away and are sometimes able to watch the kids but these last few months have been so busy that my husband and I haven’t gone on a date since November!
I really do notice how much more we connect when we have that time to go out together…thank you for the reminder of how important this is!! Thanks for linking up too :)
Anna @ Feminine Adventures says
What a great post. We definitely need to make date nights more of a priority.
Almost all of our date nights are at home. We live far from family and hiring a babysitter for three children tacks about $30 on to an evening. We used to trade babysitting, but can’t anymore.
A few weeks ago a sweet friend offered to watch the kids. My husband and I laughed when we realized that was our first date night out in over six months.
Thankfully, I’m a homebody and the kids go to bed early. We have at least two “date nights” at home each week. When our kids get older, I’m sure we’ll need night’s out more (and we should make it more of a priority!)
Thanks so much for linking up at Thrifty Thursday!
Anna @ Feminine Adventures says
I was exploring your site some more and checking out some link-ups I hadn’t seen before. I noticed there was one button that wasn’t working… and it’s mine. Sorry. How embarrassing! (Guess that’s what I get for trying to do technical stuff!) I think I fixed the grab box on my site, but the comment filter won’t let me copy the code here.
Thanks SO much for sharing our button. Sorry the code I had before didn’t work!
I believe sharing meals at a restaurant and drinking water are great ways to be able to eat out without breaking the bank! Date night also does not have to be expensive- you could get creative and have a lot of fun for little or no money! Thanks for spurring on our creativity :) -Nicole at Working Kansas Homemaker
College Dating says
These are great date ideas! Dates don’t have to be always dinner outs but must be fun as well. Great post you got here. Thanks for the information that you’ve shared with your readers. :)
LOVE the idea to swap babysitting and to share meals. :)
I like the part about ordering water, because water is good for you. Also, restaurant’s will not tell you this, but they make most of their money on the soda pops.
I’m a big believer in ordering water! I’m so thankful that my oldest is old enough to babysit his brothers now, it makes going out so much easier. Our challenge is making the time to do it!