Steve and I have never crossed that line from barely-squeaking-by to living comfortably. That said, we almost never get out for an evening at the movies or dinner in town. Such luxuries come along only once in a blue moon. (Honestly, when's the last time you saw a truly blue moon? Me....well, I'm still looking!)
Anyway, that doesn't mean a "date night" is absolutely impossible. Here are a few cheap dates we've enjoyed over our 26+ years together:
*Doughnuts and coffee. One raspberry jelly doughnut with powdered sugar for each, coffee with free refills, and our tab totals a couple of bucks. Hey, it's the time out together that counts! Under $5.
*Breakfast at your local Greasy Spoon. Cheaper than eating out for lunch or dinner - you just have to be willing to get up early, as opposed to staying up late. More expensive than coffee and doughnuts, but still under $10.
*A trip to a nearby park. When we lived in California, our apartment was adjacent to a beautiful park that included a walking trail. At least once a week, we would head over to toss a softball or walk the trail. Free.
*Art exhibits/music recitals at a nearby university. Attend a staff or senior recital at a local college or university and you're going to hear some awesome music. We've checked out a couple of student and staff art exhibits at UTM - some fantastic, some truly horrible. But who knows, maybe one of those artists will be world-famous some day! Free.
*Open mic night at a local coffee shop. Poetry readings. Prose. Music. Some bad stuff, some good stuff, but lots of fun. Cost of a couple cups of specialty coffee.
*Movie night. Rent a movie, pop some popcorn, snuggle into the couch, and dim the lights. Or, for an occasional splurge, open a bottle of wine and pull out the bread and cheese. $5-$15
But what about childcare? That gets expensive fast, especially if you have seven or ten or fourteen children. If you have grandparents handy, don't always be taking advantage of them...but do let them keep the kids for you occasionally. Do you know other parents with children your kids' ages? I bet Other Mom would love to arrange a baby-sitting swap for once or twice a month. She really wants a night out, too - trust me. Older siblings, if they're mature and responsible, make great baby-sitters. When your teenage daughter asks, "What do you want for your birthday this year?", you can answer, "Babysitting services!"
Okay, Readers, what are your ideas? Share some fun "cheap dates" you and your sweetie have enjoyed. How do you handle child care?
2 days ago