Inexpensive Dating Ideas
My Story: Cheap Dates
Fun and Frugal Dates
The Summer of Fun Family Activities
I am looking for fun, frugal date ideas for myself and my husband. Also family activities. Any ideas?
My husband and I have found that we like our "cheap dates" better than we do our typical expensive ones. You didn't say where you are, but here are some of the things we've done in the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Area. I know that some of these things would transfer elsewhere.
Most importantly, have fun!
Amy F. in Alexandria, VA
I have found membership in the Eagles or Elks to be very good for cutting costs for nights out dancing, dining and a few drinks (to replenish liquids lost during hard dancing). If one has an RV, many of these clubs offer RV parking facilities for very low nightly cost. Membership privileges are good at any Eagles or Elks facility on presentation of your valid membership card.
Our favorite activity includes both a cheap date for us and a family activity for our children. We go to the closest McDonald's with a playland area on a Monday or Tuesday evening (preferably after 8:00 pm). The playland area is usually empty so the kids can play to their hearts content without competition. Meanwhile, my husband and I can sit and talk without interuptions. We usually buy a coffee/hot chocolate for ourselves while we are there & purchase some cookies for the kids to eat on the way home. It is a favorite activity for both my husband & I and the children.
We have found in the past that going to the movies cost a lot of money, you pay your way in, you purchase pop, popcorn and other goodies, and chances are if you bring little children, you miss half of the movie. We now find it cheaper to go to the store and pick out a movie that all of of agree on. Most of the time they are Walt Disney movies, and we purchase it from anywhere from $14.99 to $21.99, then we make our own popcorn, buy a case of pop, and watch it in the privacy of our own home. This way no one misses any part of the show because we can pause the movie for bathroom breaks. And then, the kids can watch them over and over. We also have started to purchase family games like Junior Monopoly, Yahtzee, and other similar games that the whole family can play, and then this way if they have a few friends over, they are never bored and they will always know that they can play the games that they learnt how to play with mom and dad.
Now, for something special for just my husband and I, well we try to split the three children up between Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles, or choose to put them early to bed one night and have a late movie night. Usually on the week-ends. Anyways, we usually buy some nice scented candles, some lotion, and some relaxing music, and we give each other massages that are much needed to recuperate from the long work week. This is how we spend quality time together. No talking about kids or bills either!!!
Deb and Rob T.
and, of course, Dustin, Porsche and Kody, too!
My husband and I like to go to Fazoli's, which is an Italian fast food place. You can only find them in certain parts of the country right now, but they are in the process of going national. For very little money, you can buy an order of bread sticks which will be replenished ad infinitum by an employee coming round to the tables with a basket of them. (And if they don't have an employee to spare for the task, you just go up yourself and ask for more breadsticks.) For $1 you can get a frozen lemonade, and for another .35 they will put strawberry topping in the bottom of it. It's not extremely romantic, but it is a good place to sit and chat (with the kids along, if necessary) and get a good quantity of food for just a couple bucks.
Isidora in Lexington, Kentucky
To the reader wanting "cheap date" ideas for husband and family, here are my favorites:
Living on a limited budget and having three children, we have thought of many inexpensive or free means of entertainment for our family. Here is a sampling:
For the family:
For the dates:
Most importantly, remember that even though you don't have a lot of money, you are rich for having your family and each other! The best and least available gift is your precious time!
Set up a schedule for an evening or perhaps a four-hour period on a weekend of "no-screen" time. That means no TV, computer or video games. Once the kids are not distracted, let them guide you in discovering what their interests are. Don't expect immediate results, and be prepared to offer some alternatives for the first few times. Depending on children's ages, some suggestions are board games, simple science experiments, team problem solving activities, simple outdoor games like four-square, hop scotch, etc.
I'm so happy to see you looking for cheap date ideas, since I am the pro at dating on a budget. Here's what I have learned. Be honest. If your date KNOWS we are working with a budget here, there won't be any confusion after the 4th or 5th date is equally non-flashy. We're compensating for a lack of moolah, not covering up. (Ran into this problem, from the opposite perspective. This poor guy is STILL paying off credit card debt he ammassed so I wouldn't know his finanial status. Yikes.) Ok, that said, let's have some fun! All the very best dates are special because they are memorable. Here are the ideas:
Toss a frisbee
Go to the beach and camp
Go for a drive
Hang out at a coffee shop poetry reading
Attend local college events.
Attend underattended community events.
Rediscover Scrabble and chess
Paint a room
Go to a Youth Hostel
Make margaritas from scratch
I could name them all day. But remember, you have to have the right company to do this stuff. Someone stuffy and pampered won't be able to get psyched about rooting on some Little Leaguers. But I swear, you can have a blast doing this stuff. ESPECIALLY CHECK OUT THE YOUTH HOSTELS. If you want to get away from it all, a youth hostel is cool and cheap. Now, see, I've gone and given away my best secrets!!
Also check out J.P. Godek's 1001 Ways to be Romantic. It has a lot of cheap ideas there too, granted many are SILLY!
Let's see, this may sound crazy but - I love to go to playgrounds and parks at night. A nice or inexpensive wine and a picnic. Believe it or not, it brings back childhood memories - leaving lots of room for good conversation - and is very stress relieving!
Depends on the ages of your kids, but for the most part, these apply to all ages. We love to collect pine cones from nature walks, add peanut butter, and you have great bird feeders. We also go sleding. We live up north, and if you don`t have money for sled, garbage bags and boxes work well.
We bought family memberships to our local zoo and science museum for $42 and $60 respectively. We live in Rochester New York. The zoo membership gets us free admission not only to our local zoo but also to the zoos in Buffalo and Syracuse (both about an hour away) and discount admission to zoos and aquariums around the country. We can visit as often as we want. Likewise with the museum membership, which also includes free admission to a nature center. These memberships are well worth the initial upfront investment. Next year we may belong to something else, if we feel like a change, but this year we will be spending a lot of time at the zoos and museum!
Here are some suggestions for Dionne, the woman looking for frugal date and family activity ideas: Going out in a rowboat on a lake for an afternoon; having a picnic in a nearby park; taking in a free or low cost play or concert given by a community theatre group; going ice- skating or bicycling or walking in your home town; going window- shopping in a town with a lot of interesting or 'different' types of shops; eating at an 'ethnic' restaurant- they tend to be less expensive than restaurants with strictly 'American' cuisine. I hope these suggestions help.
Maureen McC. in Trenton, N.J.
Someone asked about cheap dates. Well, I belong to a credit union in northern California. Credit Union members can purchase discount tickets available for local hot spots. My favorite are the 1/2 price movie tickets to some of the major theaters (UA, Cinema 9, etc.). I can see evening movies at matinee prices. One catch is that they can't be used for first-run movies--you usually have to wait until 2 weeks after a flick's been released). The discount ticket actually resembles a special pass. So, my coupon-shunning girlfriend doesn't get embarassed when I whip them out.
You don't say where you live but a little creativity can adapt them to your location. I live in Minneapolis but if you don't live in or near a city, perhaps a day trip adventure?
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