Living on a Budget

Cheap and Creative Date Nights

Having a budget is hard.

#firstworldproblems

But seriously. We all get caught up in the day-to-day of work, kids, routines, puppies, etc. Everyone has a routine. We all know I do. I have a hard time not having a routine. With that, I sometimes “forget” to go on dates with my boyfriend. Everything becomes monotonous. I know what to expect.

I enjoy doing our regularly scheduled programming. They involve activities that are ours. However, a change of pace is nice too. To do something new with your significant other. To remember why you started dating in the first place. It is so easy to get into a relationship and forget to date your boyfriend. It seemed silly to me before, but now that we have been living together the past year, I see how it happens. Since our significant other is always around, we don’t feel the need to set aside time for them.

It is necessary. It is so important to set aside a date to focus on spending time with that one person. It is good for the relationship, and reminds us to live in the moment. And enjoy ourselves. Life doesn’t always have to be stressful. If we forget to enjoy the moments, what is the point of living? We are here to have experiences that are great.

So today is another rainy day in Seattle. Typical, but still one of the firsts for this fall. So I have been researching ideas of things to do at home for a date. And I came across all of the same stuff. Alas, I must put my own creative brain to work.

1. Hiking/Walking

I love hiking because its a) free and b) often dog-friendly. It is a great way to get out of the city, smell some fresh air and spend time with another person. You are able to explore, have time for conversation, enjoy a picnic, take some great photos and get some exercise! All things I love. Last week, I compiled a list of hikes we would like to do, and since I also adore organizing, I categorized them by distance from the house, area of location and length of hike. That way, I have a list to choose from for short hikes we can do on weekday afternoons, and others that we can spend the day doing. Just last night we drove 20 minutes, hiked for an hour and enjoyed a picnic supper by a local lake. Creative. And totally free. (sans cost of gas)

2. Wine, Cheese and Puzzles/Games 

We really like puzzle. And wine. Why not pick up a bottle at the store, make your own charcuterie tray and pick out a puzzle to do for the evening? Or a board game? You could even buy a few wines and go “wine tasting” in the living room. It still allows for great conversation and intimate time together. Sometimes it is nice to just stay in. Plus, it is far cheaper than spending the evening at a restaurant for the same thing….although…I really enjoy that too….but for more expensive date nights.

3. Late Night Coffee Date

No, all coffee shops are not open in the evening. But several are. And coffee is cheap. You can have a date for less that $10. Plan a vacation. Just talk (what? we’re suppose to talk to each other?). We spent one of our very first dates planning an incredibly long and involved road trip on a napkin…which I still have…over coffee. We’ve also planned several weekend trips this way. Its fun!

4. Craft Night

Hit up the local Michael’s pick out a project. Check out Pinterest for ideas too. It could be a new furniture item you build together. Or, something as simple as painting coffee mugs. There are also several pottery studios with pieces costing as little as $10. Non-traditional and super fun.

5. Relive your Childhood

I have always wanted to go roller-skating. But we haven’t done it yet. It was the place to be when I was a teenager. And it costs about $10/ person.

6. Farmer’s Market

love the farmer’s market. It is a great way to spend a Saturday morning. It is the perfect excuse for a warm cup of coffee and a slow walk. There are often samples. You can challenge each other to buy groceries there and make dinner only from items purchased at the market. We did this when we first started dating and ended up with a ton of food. It was very fun.

7. Drive to a Nearby Town

This is dependent on the area you live in, but it is a great day trip. It may make me sound like an elderly woman, but I really enjoy this. Many towns have really cute areas with unique shops to walk around. I rarely buy anything, but it is an enjoyable way to spend the day. And also, a great opportunity for coffee. My 2nd best friend.

I’m sure there are many more. We do a lot of variations of these. And we are big fans of wine and beer festivals, when they are in season and the entrance fee isn’t too bad. Tonight, it is #2 for us.

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