When you are in a relationship, you probably know how crucial it is to take the time to be with just one another. There are so many things that can get in our way; jobs, family, friends, commitments. It is not easy juggling life and still giving your significant other undivided attention. It’s not easy, but it is absolutely crucial to keeping a relationship or marriage on the right track. It’s great to take time together at home (if you live together) but getting away can really make a huge difference in allowing you to connect. If you are are raising a family, like I am, you know just how easy it is to get distracted or tired when you try to do a date night by staying in. Things can quickly fall into routine and that can really put a big damper on things. But, how do you plan a night (or even a vacation) away without totally breaking the bank? Justifying a hotel stay or a fancy restaurant is hard when you’ve got a broken washing machine, daycare and only one income. Yes, yes it is. First of all, you are not investing in food or a hotel, you are investing in one another and there is nothing more important to the foundation of a marriage or relationship than that. So let’s talk about how to stick to your budget and work at your relationship. Basically, let me show you how to be a cheap date without staying home.
*This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures.
This isn’t only necessary when it comes to planning a date night, but when it comes to life together in general. You have got to loosen the reigns a little and learn to go with the flow. Life is after all consistently inconsistent. So, the best you can do is be flexible with it!
You could easily plan the best vacation getaway in your head, but if money just doesn’t allow, it’s probably not going to work. This is where your flexibility comes into play. Being flexible also allows you to do some serious discount hunting to find the least expensive (but still super fun) getaways. Maintaining flexibility also means you are more likely to try new things, branch out and experience different things together.
If you live in Minnesota, like I do, chances are you aren’t going to be spending a day at the beach for Valentine’s Day because…brrr.
You also have to look at things like time off. Do you have enough vacation days to sneak away for a weekend, or a week? Do you have a family member you can leave your kids with for long periods of time or do you have to hire a sitter?
How to work around the whole babysitter thing
One thing that put a huge damper on Tom and I getting away when the kids were young was finding a babysitter. Spending $100 on a night out becomes a lot more stressful when you have to give the sitter another $40.
Turn to your group of friends, a mommy and me group, church friends, neighbors…anyone you know with children of their own. Offer to do a “trade” date night. You’ll watch their kids for a night if they’ll watch yours sometime. This is a great way to not only build great friendships for yourself and your kids, but it’s a good way to cut back not the expenses of a night out.
Now, more than ever, before I get ideas together, I let the discount apps give me ideas. My brain is generally pretty tired as it is, so I kind of appreciate having a little removed from my plate. Plus, it makes planning that much more fun when you realize you are able to get a bigger discount off the discount. Here are some awesome ways to get ideas if you only have one night and you want to make the most of it.
If you are able to steal away for an entire weekend, I highly recommend it. It is the perfect way to recharge and really allow your brain some time to relax. I don’t know about you but the biggest buzz kill after a night out is waking up at 6 am the next morning with the kids. So let’s check out how to make the most of a weekend getaway while still keeping it cheap.
These are my personal favorite. Maybe I’m just extra tightly wound, but often times when we take week vacations it takes me 2 days just to breath easy. I’m getting better at it, I promise. When I met Tom, he was already raising his 5 year old daughter as a single parent. This means that our relationship has never been without a “baby on board.” That is why we make week away vacation crucial in our marriage. We have got to spend time away together and try to gain back those child free years we never got! I mean, if I have to sip margaritas on the beach for marriage counseling, I guess I’m ok with that. Because these getaways are super important, I’m so excited to find that my favorite go-tos have so many options to save us money here as well.
Before planning a full on getaway and shell out the money to make it happen, make sure you are budgeting for it! I can’t tell you how many times I just took money I had earned from my photography business to pay for a last minute vacation decision. While this sounds very YOLO…it’s not smart.
Don’t blow your taxes on a last minute choice for a vacation. Don’t max out your credit cards to go on a vacation! I HAVE DONE ALL THESE THINGS!! Trust me, a vacation is no longer a vacation when you spend the next year (or more) digging yourself out of the debt it created!
Instead, plan ahead for that anniversary trip. Make sure you’ve set aside enough funds to get you through your dream vacation so that you can take off with total financial peace.
If you just cannot plan for the cost of a vacation or even a night out, I get it, and I have ideas for you as well!
No matter what you do, what you can afford make sure you are having fun together. Tom and I have taken advantage of a lot of the free ideas listed above and have always made sure to just relax and enjoy one another’s company even if it’s only for an afternoon.
$5 Meal Plan – The $5 meal plan was created by a busy mother of 4 for other busy mother’s out there. Get access to healthy meal plans that take all the guess work out of what to make for your family!
BeFrugal – Be Frugal is an online resources for the best coupons around. In stores, online or in restaurants.
Dosh – Dosh is an app that links up to your credit cards (or qualifying debit cards) and gives you money back on purchases you make. It works like other cash back apps by refunding you money on qualifying purchases. Only you don’t have to keep track, it scans discounts and gives you money back automatically!
Declutter – Decluttr is a super easy online way to sell your unused things to get the maximum amount of money!
Fun Sized Budget Bundle- My very own customized budget bundle. Including your basic budgeting printouts, debt payoff sheets as well as savings and vacation planners!
IBotta – IBotta is a totally free app that pays you $10 just for signing up. With this app you can get paid for the things you already plan on buying!
Love and Money – Online courses to help couples and family get finances together in order to stay together!
Paperless Home – The paperless home guides you step by step through how to start creating a home where all of your most important information can always be in one place and always at your finger tips!
Simplify + Planner – Abby Lawson from Just a Girl and Her Blog has a great and inexpensive planner to help you get intentionally organized. Starting a blog can be very overwhelming and getting a little organized can go a long way.
Target Debit Card – If you shop at Target as much as me, you should definitely get in on the debit card if you haven’t already. All it does is remove money from your regular checking account like a regular debit card, but saves you 5% on your purchases every time you use it!
Don’t Forget to PIN This!