Friday, December 30, 2011

Cheap or Free Dates

As a college student, everyone I knew would diligently seek out cheap or free dates, when my husband and I got married, we continued that trend.  However, nine months and one week after we got married, the entire aspect of dating shifted.  Yes, that's when our first child was born.  At first we'd just take her with us.  She was small and portable and was perfectly content to be held all the time.  As she got bigger, this got more and more difficult, and we couldn't just go out as easily anymore.  Luckily, many of the cheap dates we'd done before could be done at home.  We still go out together, but have also found ways to still spend time together at home.  Here are a few ideas:

-board games with just the two of you or another couple
-make something.  When my husband worked construction he'd sometimes bring home some of the scrap lumber that would have been in the trash (he asked his boss first) and we used it to make signs for our house, or a little bookshelf and we'd sand, paint and finish it together. It was a lot of fun!
-watch a movie
-make a treat
-do laundry by hand.  Okay, this wasn't the most exciting date, but we didn't have money to go to the laundry mat and we had a lot of laundry so we did it together in the bathtub, and since that was such a great workout, we'd do things like sit ups and jumping jacks while the water was draining.  What a workout!

Out of the house ideas:
Finding a babysitter
-find a free babysitter.  In our last ward (congregation) we knew a lady whose children were all grown up and grandchildren we really far away and she LOVES kids, so she not only watched our kids for free, but if it had been a while she would find us a church and ask how soon she could babysit them.  I guess it helps to teach your kids manners and respect so people WANT to watch them!
-exchange babysitting, there are lots of families with kids that would be more than willing to watch your kids one week so you could watch theirs the next.  Talk to friends, especially if they have children close to your children's age(s) because then they all entertain themselves and it's a lot less work!
-grandparents (we used sparingly when we lived with them since they were already helping us so much, but if you don't like with them, they would likely love the chance to spoil their grand-babies!)

 Cheap or free activities:
-coupons in phone book and other places.  You can find a lot of buy one get one free deals to things like miniature golf, rock climbing, go kart racing, and other fun things that are easier (and cheaper) with just the two of you
-window shop.  This can be fun shortly before birthdays, Christmas, Mother's/Father's Day, anniversary or any other time when you need an idea of what kind of present your spouse likes.  Plus it sometimes leads to interesting conversations.
-free samples.  Costco is the best one for this, if you go at lunch time, but other large stores like Walmart and some grocery stores will have several free samples, and it's fun to walk around and see what they have and get some food that you likely wouldn't pay money for.
-drive in the country.  This may not be fun for everyone, but my husband and I were raised in rural areas, and living in a big metropolitan area has us feeling claustrophobic and busting at the seams!  It's nice to escape that every once in a while, plus we like to see if there are areas that we'd like to live whenever we buy a house.  It's good to share a dream with your spouse.
-walk around mall and laugh at novelty t-shirts and all the bogus stuff they have there.  We only do this on rare occasions because we're not big on malls (too expensive!) but it can be really fun when you don't spend money!
-cannery. It's not only good for food storage, it's fun to see each other in hair nets!  Plus the long drive gives us lots of time to talk.
-walk or hike.  There aren't too many uphill hikes around here (go figure) but there are a lot of trails and outdoor areas that are fun to go for a nice long walk in!

What other free or cheap dates do you do with your spouse?