Frugal Planning: $10 Date Night

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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:

February:

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).

March:

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.

April:

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:

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?