Frugal Planning: $10 Date Night (1)

We have busy schedules, but Mr Thrifty and I try to have a date night at least once a month. My mother lives an hour away, so we don’t often ask her to babysit on Saturday nights when we go out, and have to hire a babysitter.

We are foodies and like to try unique local restaurants rather than chains. Our monthly budget until now has been $100 to cover babysitter and dinner at a foodie joint.

Because my work is spotty, we have a lot of projects for the home, and want to save for retirements and next year’s Disney trip, we have decided to clamp down on this monthly treat.

Our plan for the next 6 months is to keep the cost of a monthly date night to $10 or less.

I love cooking and baking, so our strategy is to do in-home date nights, with me trying a fantastic new main dish and dessert, and renting a movie or finding one from the library.

Once it warms up, we might try watching something a little more kid inappropriate (we still have’t seen the new Mad Max) on the laptop on the deck while the kids watch a kiddie movie inside.

We do have our 10th wedding anniversary in May, and I have $50 in Olive Garden gift cards I am saving for then. Grandma might be willing to do an overnight that weekend, meaning babysitting will be free.

I am already plotting the next few months and have been scrolling through my Pinterest boards for new things to try. You can probably tell by my boards that I am happily obsessed with food. I plan to keep whatever I make within my grocery budget so I am not spending extra.

Here’s my plan for the next few months:


Our 5 year old daughter got a fancy tea set from Grandma for Christmas, and has liked having tea parties. For February, I have been thinking of trying a few things from my Downton Abbey board, like scones, cucumber sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, and a touch of downstairs Ploughman’s lunch (cheese, homemade crusty bread, fruit slices, refrigerator pickles, mustard, tomatoes).


In March, my husband and I have birthdays, and I plan on making his family pierogies from scratch, with lots of sauteed onions, sour cream, some fried kielbasa, and Tuxedo Cake, which resembles an amazing Hoho Cake at one of our favorite restaurants.


In April, I’d like to use some local spring honey to make this Bee Sting Cake from Smitten Kitchen and a Jamie Oliver Royal Wedding Beef Pie with Peas.


May is our wedding anniversary. We may use those Olive Garden coupons or we may have me cook again. There is plenty of time to plan! I think we will only use our gift cards if we can get free babysitting.

How much do you spend on date nights? What do you do for cheap dates?


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2 thoughts on “Frugal Planning: $10 Date Night

  • First, let me introduce myself, I’m Sarah Jane. I recently discovered your blog on another blog (just how these things go) and I’m loving it. It’s very practical and realistic. I feel that many bloggers get to the point where they aren’t actually walking amongst mortals any more…. And about the date nights… when the kids were very little we saw family frequently enough (about every other month or so) and we could always convince them to take the boys for several hours. When they were pushing into grade school and out of preschool we moved far away and we used an expensive sitter until we moved to a community with a fabulous drop in facility. Then we kinda just let go of the “date night” importance as my older son turned 9-10.. that was about the time we realized we could just leave them at home, together with a cell phone, for up to an hour at a time… not long enough for a movie, but certainly the coffee shop half mile down the road or picking up something from Home Depot. We’re fortunate to live in a very beautiful community full of trails andd vistas of the sun setting over the mountains. The routine during the summer months is to just go on a walk, leaving the boys at home (12 and 9, with one of our phones).. we will take one of the trails and a few of them pass our local shopping center with several restaurants and a few coffee shops… we’ll check in with the boys before decided to sit down and have coffee, or on rare occasions.. split a plate. There have been a few times where the boys have been invited to the same sleepover and we’ve used that opportunity to see a movie. We also this last fall waited until they were asleep (we let the 12 year old know ahead of time) and went to see a movie I had been wanting to see. Our movie theater is in the same shopping center, about a half mile from our home. We’re also on a smaller budget right now so we’re not going out as much. Now the routine is to make sure the house is super clean by Friday evening and to have at least a few dishes in the fridge and snacks in the pantry. This new routine allows for a lot of flexibility while minimizing our chore obligations. I think I got the idea from fly lady about ten years ago. In any case, it’s been vitally important to do in order to get that fun, stress-free ambiance required for doing anything particular with my husband (or kids).

    • Thank you Sarah Jane! Our community has a great walking path. Your plan sounds like a great one once our children are a little older. Our oldest turns 8 this year, and we’ll have a few years before he gets to watch his sisters.

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