Mr G and I often take it turns to plan a weekly date night. Occasionally we’ve had times where it falls by the wayside for a period, sometimes due to life just getting a bit busy, or when we were in a baby-induced fog.
We’ve always managed to get back on track as we take date night seriously. Even if what we do for date night isn’t the slightest bit serious! Marriages fail all the time, and we see date nights as an investment in our relationship, and as an important tool to help keep us connected.
When we lived in Whanganui, Mr G’s mum was always volunteering to babysit so we could go out on a date – I think because her marriage to Mr G’s dad didn’t make it – and we found it hard to get her to understand that we didn’t always need to go out and spend money to have a great date. We’ve had loads of great dates that didn’t require us to spend a cent, or even leave the house. You can read about some of our ideas here.
When you take turns to plan dates, something rather magical happens. Especially if you’re trying to save money, or it’s just difficult for you to get a babysitter, you are forced to be creative. My husband has gone to extraordinary lengths to wow me or put a smile on my face. We’ve stargazed, he’s made up songs for me, found a hard-to-get movie I’d really wanted to watch, reminisced with me over our wedding photos and we’ve sung karaoke for hours. I’ve made him his favourite treats, filmed him telling his life history, and we’ve danced the night away in the lounge. We’ve made cakes together for our children’s birthdays as a date night activity. It’s more fun than it sounds, I swear.
My husband would absolutely not describe himself as romantic or even overly creative, but he often surprises me with the thought and care and love that’s he put into our evening together.
Don’t get me wrong, many times our date nights involve watching Netflix because we’re so darned tired after a busy week! (We totally recommend Fallet, it’s hilarious.)
My point is, you don’t have to spend megabucks to have a meaningful date – our date this week (below) was no exception. A few minutes time spent on google looking for ideas is time well spent.
On to this week’s frugal happenings:
- We sold our bike trailer. I had big plans for this bike trailer, but thanks to a back injury a few months after we bought it, the trailer ended up seldom being used, and gathering dust in the garage. Our children can ride their own bikes now, so we have zero need for it. We sold it to a someone who doesn’t drive, who is stoked to be able to transport their kiddos around. We wasted money on the darn thing, but we weren’t to know it at the time we purchased it, and at least we were able to sell it for a fair price.
- The kids had friends over again, so free fun!
- I had a very frugal outing with D, where we took a packed lunch with us while we played in the great outdoors, and I spent .20c on a toy from an op-shop. Contrast this with the mummy-daughter date I took E on. She had a definite idea of what she wanted to do, which involved going to a cafe, and then a (free) playground. I spent $25 on lunch for the two of us at the cafe, but it was a planned expense. E doesn’t get treats like that too often, and it was good for this mama’s soul to spend one-on-one time with her. Now she’s at school, I have to be very intentional about this. Still, not all our mummy-daughter dates will require any money changing hands, but that’s a post for another time.
- It was my turn to organise date night, so I made a quick dinner for the kids, sent the kids off with Mr G for their bath and bedtime routine, while I made a special dinner for Mr G and I. On the menu was chicken tikka masala, rice, naan, and veggies, with flutes of champagne. The dinner cost maybe $10 to make, and the champagne was a gift from a friend. I lit candles, put on some music, and laid out a fancy dinner setting. And by fancy, I mean our totally mismatched set of crockery. We had a lovely night – it was just as good as a swanky restaurant, and we solved the problems of the world as we ate our dinner in peace. For parents, you can reclaim the bliss of a peaceful dinner!
- I made another batch of bean and cheese burritos. Inspired by this post, I’ve tweaked the recipe to my liking, and can make these burritos for about .75c each. They freeze beautifully, and make for a quick and easy lunch.