I remember when my husband was still my boyfriend and we used to go to the movies and dinner and mini-golf, sometimes all on the same date! Boy - those were the days! Fancy ice cream shops, day trips to Silver Dollar City, lunch and bowling...
Now, after 9 years of marriage and with 3 young kids, it takes great planning and scheduling to fit each other in between soccer games, Bible study, church, Bradley classes (I teach), Zumba and running, and various parties and fellowships. I honestly never thought we'd be THAT family, but here we are. And we still have to stick to a budget, which many people use as an excuse to skip dating after marriage.
Do a search for "cheap date ideas," and you'll turn up some really great lists. And inexpensive dates are really popular and important for a variety of couples these days. I know it is for the Defrump Me families! But we also know how important spending special one-on-one time is for all couples to maintain a healthy relationship, so that's where creativity comes in.
Many lists include great ideas like movie nights at home (where my husband or I frequently fall asleep), or trips to the Dollar Store (where we accumulate more clutter), or any number of ideas that my husband or I would be uncomfortable doing (everyone is different) — and these are all really good for many couples, but don't work as well for us. So I wanted to come up with a list of different and specific things we have done or plan to do in the near future.
Whether you are a young couple with no money, a young family that spends most of the date budget of babysitters, or just need to save money for something else, I hope you'll be inspired by this compilation of 7 dates you can do for $7 or less.
Fry-day and Sundae -
Take yourselves out for a "fancy" trip to your local dairy joint for some salty fries and a sundae to share. My husband and I can get a large fry and 2 Mixes at Braum's for less than $7. Wendy's is another option. Or most towns and cities have a local dairy-ette that would work here.
Get Malled -
Try out those massage chairs at the mall, agree to do the surveys (you may get something for free!), grab some Dippin' Dots to share, leave 4 quarters at the kiddie carousel and watch the delight on some kid's face, then toss remaining change in the fountain — don't forget to make your wishes!
Where a Kid Can be a Kid -
Warehouse Window-Shopping -
Head over to your local Sam's, Costco, or even Ikea for some window shopping and a stop at the concession stand. I've heard Ikea's cafeteria serves up some tasty grub for cheap. At Sam's and Costco, you can get a hot dog and large soft drink for $1.50 or a huge slice of pizza for less than $2!
Go grab some samples for appetizers, watch the big screen TVs, sit in some comfy chairs, imagine camping/tailgating/grilling, remodeling your home or a million other things with the stuff you can buy at these places. There's no member card requirement to shop (at least at Sam's) or visit the concession stand.
Take a Hike! -
Put on your active clothes and have an adventure together! Use your $7 for a couple bottles of water and a bag of trail mix or or some granola bars. Research has shown that couples who are active together reap the benefits of the endorphins and chemicals released by exercise that reduce tension and stress.
In addition, studies show that these hormones accompanying exercising together directly affects positive communication, working together, and even bedroom activities. Here's a good article on exercising together as a couple.
Have a Ball -
Buy a cheap football, frisbee or catch game and head to the park. See the above-mentioned article for more incentive to play together.
Fill the Cookie Jar -
Head to your grocery store, probably before your date, and pick up 2 or 3 tubes of cookie dough. (If you have extra time to prep ahead or a really patient partner, feel free to make your own! The recipe I pinned above looks like something Hubster would L-O-V-E!) This is an at-home date that can even be done with your kids or after they've gone to bed. It's simple! Bake a few of each cookie type to taste test and pick your favorites. You can even mash the different doughs together to make whole new cookie flavors!
Once you've had your fill, you have the option to refrigerate or freeze the remaining dough, bake it up and fill your cookie jar, or share with friends or neighbors!
What cheap dates do you all like to do? Have fun and enjoy each other!
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