This is a guest post from Katie White of DIY Mother. I thought she had some really fun ideas for an inexpensive night out (or in). Enjoy!
Couples who set aside weekly time to be alone together report better marital satisfaction and a lower rate of divorce; but budgeting for dinner-and-a-movie four times a week is expensive (not to mention a little unoriginal). Here are some ideas you may not have thought of, to help you connect without breaking the bank.
- Support local music by checking out a show at a nearby bar or club. While big-name concert tickets can run in the hundreds of dollars, a local show won’t cost you more than $5 apiece, which is cheaper than a fast food meal (and a lot classier). Make sure you go to a well-known, well-maintained club; they generally filter talent pretty well, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the caliber of your local scene.
- Geo-makeout – This idea comes courtesy of XKCD: if you have a smartphone app that can access your GPS coordinates (there are lots of free apps that will do this), add your birthdays after the decimal, then “go to that spot and make out”.
- Volunteering at a shelter or soup kitchen is a great way to remember what matters to you, and what you really like about each other. There are loads of low-stress options—you can walk dogs at the animal shelter, stock shelves and serve food at a homeless shelter, or work a community garden to provide cheap produce for those less fortunate.
- Have a “tasting” of various foods or drinks around a certain theme. Drive around town in search of ethnic grocers, and pick up some sodas, fruits, or candies that you’ve never heard of before. You can also do it with protein bars, salad dressings (on salads, of course), or any other category you can think of. It’s all right if some of them turn out to be horrendous—that’s part of the fun. You might even find yourself heading back to your Mexican grocer with a new addiction to Chupa-Chups (look it up, it’ll change your life).
- Museums are a great way to get your mind off kids, work, and finances, and talk about what really inspires you. You can learn a lot about a person by what they see in art; and even if you’ve been married a long time, you might find a few surprises. Many museums offer free admission, but if you can find an art opening in your area, you might even score free food and drinks, too.
- Start a project around the house; it might not sound like fun, but if you give yourself an open deadline and a little creative freedom, you might be surprised how liberating it can be to shake up your living environment, especially if you get to use loud, angry-sounding tools. Smash down a wall, take a chainsaw to something, paint your living room mauve—go nuts.
- At-home movie night is a good option if you pick a theme for the night—my hubby and I like to do a double feature, where we each pick one movie on a certain theme, like “historical fiction” or “weirdest movie from your childhood”. If you have Netflix and a DVI cable, you stream thousands of free movies straight from your laptop to your TV.
- Attend an amateur sporting event—something low-pressure and fun that you can enjoy each other first of all, with the game as a fun diversion. Little League works for this, as long as you don’t have a kid in the game; Seniors’ Bowling Night can also be a fun one to spectate, if you can believe it. All you need to buy is some snacks and drinks, pick a team, and watch the fireworks.
Katie White is a writer and handywoman from DIY Mother who is passionate about self-reliance and conservation. She takes pride in making her home a more sustainable and comfortable place for her husband and two kids. She lives in Dallas.