Date Night (or Day) on a Budget

dating on a budget

I’ve lived in India for the last 4 years, a country that makes it incredibly simple to save money (so long as you have a bit of discipline – not my strong point, but I’ve managed to save some!) In 3.5 weeks, we leave India and start our journey back to Manhattan (via England and Cape Cod – because, why not??) Manhattan is, hands down, my favorite city but a SERIOUSLY expensive one! Every time I’ve gone back to visit in the last 4 years, I twinge when I pay nearly $5 for a latte or when Jeremy and I order a pizza and pasta takeaway and it comes to nearly $50.  But that’s life in Manhattan and we need to get used to it again.  It doesn’t mean we need to unnecessarily throw money out the window though, which brings me to date night.

I love dating my husband. I always tell him we need to keep dating (just because we’re married doesn’t mean the romance takes a permanent back seat!). Every time we go on a date, I’m reminded how lucky I am to have landed such a stud. He does all the things a gentleman should do and I am so blessed to have him 😉 But my stud & I have serious expenses now.  The first expense is named Molly and the second expense is being called Nugget for the time being (he or she will have a more human name come November!) We will also have the expense of a 2 or 3 bedroom apartment, and regardless of whether that is via rent or a mortgage, I’m pretty sure I’ll be fighting back tears when the money come out of our bank accounts each month. All that said, having expenses doesn’t mean I’m willing to cut out important things, like dating my husband, to save cash. But it does mean we need to be a bit more creative with our dates to make sure we aren’t spending silly money (babysitter aside, because let’s face it, they cost just as much as a night out… unless I enlist my brother :-))

1. Coffee & a walk. I can’t tell you the last time I made a cup of coffee and actually drank it while it was hot. I also can’t remember the last time I was able to enjoy a coffee and a conversation with my husband at the same time. One of us is usually juggling our 8 month old while the other is making breakfast, cleaning up, showering, etc. For $10, we can get 2 takeaway coffees and enjoy each others company walking along the street, in a park, etc.

2. Homemade pizza (or anything!) and a rented movie. Why pay $25 for a pizza, $50 for a bottle of wine and another $40 on 2 movie tickets when you can pay $25 for all of it and enjoy it at home? Get yourself some store-bought pizza crust, throw on some tomato sauce, your favorite toppings and some cheese and pop it in the oven. Buy an inexpensive bottle of wine (yes – you CAN get a decent tasting bottle for under $15) and rent a movie on iTunes. Combine it all with comfy sweats, a cozy blanket and cuddle time on the couch and it sounds like a perfect (money saving) evening to me.

3. Picnic in the park. We’re moving back to NY in the heart of the summer and cannot wait to spend some extended time outside.  There’s nothing easier than putting a few sandwiches or finger food snacks in a basket with a bottle of wine and enjoying it sat on a blanket in the park. If you have any kind of outside space near your house, you can do this too.  For those of you in the city, you can take that picnic to one of the “Movie in the Park” nights where you’ll see a movie shown via a projector screen for FREE in one of the parks throughout the city.

4. Wine tasting. Depending where you go, this can be an incredibly inexpensive and fun date.  Many vineyards offer tastings for $5-$8.  Yes, you’ll need to get yourself there, but if you join a public tour, you pay a lot less than you would do if you hired a driver to personally take you around for the day. I’ve also seen some places in NYC that have wine tasting, eliminating the transport outside of the city. Be careful though – too many of those tasters can get you tipsy enough to drop big bucks on multiple bottles 😉

5. Brewery tours. Continuing on with the alcohol theme for another minute, many breweries offer complimentary (or very inexpensive) tours of their facility.  For those charging a small fee, they often throw in a coupon or two for a pint of their locally brewed draft beer to try afterwards. We’ve done a couple of these and they were really fun (and actually very interesting!)

6. Exercise and a smoothie. It’s amazing how many people you see running, walking, cycling, roller-blading, etc. in the city. Jeremy and I enjoy exercising together. We can obviously run, bike, hike, etc. without spending a dime, but to make sure we actually have time to talk to each other (it is a date, after all), we can take a break midway through or reward ourselves at the end with a fruit smoothie for under $5 each. Healthy, delicious and fun.

7. Museums. I have to admit, neither Jeremy or I are museum people. BUT, Manhattan has so many of them which offer free admission, and I’m fairly confident we would be able to find one to enjoy together for a couple hours one afternoon.

So there you have it – 7 date ideas on a budget. I’d love to hear any other suggestions you have for budget-friendly date. Please leave them in the comment section 🙂 Our bank accounts will thank you!

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