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This spring I approached my husband with a some what radical idea for us. I suggested we give up our $20 a week date money that we generally spend on a meal together and instead start walking, biking, hiking, and kayaking together instead.
These are activities we all have the equipment for, but we don’t go out and do as often as we would like.
I suggested these things for two main reasons. Reason number one, we have both reached our 40’s and the over sized portions served in restaurants are starting to show on our frames and we would like to at least slow the process some. Reason number two, the $20 a week we save adds up to $80 a month and we have had some larger than average bills come up lately with fewer than average overtime hours to pay them with.
My husband and I plan to do these “zero price tag” dates as long as the good weather last, which around here will probably mean until late October. We started our free dates in April so all together that will save us 7 months of dating money at $80 a month that will save us $560, which is a significant amount of cash for a family on a tight budget.
Perhaps, you want to do some free dating over the summer too, but you don’t have bikes and kayaks, don’t worry all 10 ideas for summer dates that cost zero that I am giving you today don’t require you to have any fancy equipment, but you might want to brainstorm ways to use what you have, just as we are. These ideas also are not exclusive to summer but can all be done outdoors.
Please note, my husband and I have older children so we don’t need a babysitter to get out any more, but these ideas would work for those of you with younger children, you would just have to put a bit of thought and creativity into when and how. A babysitting swap night with friends worked well for us when our children were little, and we wanted to do something out of the house. For dates we could do at home we made sure to make it a priority to do these things regularly after the children went to bed or before they got up or during nap time on the days my husband was off work.
10 Summer Dates That Cost Zero
1. Walk & Talk
Walking cost nothing, and it is a great time for one on one talking. You don’t have to have a destination, and you don’t have to power walk. Hold each others hands. Talk about your days.
2. Play a Board Games, Free Apps, or Crossword puzzles together on your front porch
My husband and I have developed a habit of passing the iPad back and forth to each other playing word games as we sit side by side on our front porch swing enjoying the evening breeze. If you don’t own a iPad or similar tablet though you can still enjoy playing games together. Drag a table out on your front porch and play a board game, or print out a crossword and figure out the answers together.
3. Watch a Sunset or a Sunrise together from your front or back porch
If you have older children like we do, you are probably going to pick the sunrise option, because the children are still up at sunset.
In the baby and toddler years though, sunsets tend to work best for one on one time because the little ones have you up well before sunrise.
Grab blankets and a mug or glass of whatever you fancy and sit snuggled up together watching God paint the sky.
4. Have a reading date
However you get your free books reading together can be great connection time. I know it sounds weird but I love it when my husband and I hold a reading date.
Throw a blanket on the lawn during the children’s nap time and grab your books. You can read to each other, or each read your own book, which is what my husband and I do. Snuggle up, read and enjoy the sunshine, and sneak in a few kisses here and there too.
5. Dreamstorm together
This idea comes from the pages of Rhinestone Jesus. Grab a pen and a pad of paper, sit side by side on the porch swing and list all the things you dream of doing together over the next 10 years or so.
6. Take over A backyard pool
My husband and I had the most relaxing free date ever about 2 summers ago when our friends told us we were more than welcome to use their pool while they were on vacation. We left our children with an easy dinner to prepare (remember I have teenagers) and then left with a picnic basket full of food for our friends house. We ate in peace on our friends backyard patio and then spent hours floating around on big inflatable loungers chatting, dreaming and relaxing.
7. Borrow a movie from the library to watch together inside or outside
Our library has a great collection of movies new and old, but if yours doesn’t you could try grabbing a free red box code (Money Saving Mom lists them often).
Grab pillows and blankets and cuddle upside by side indoors in front of the TV if it is a “got to have air conditioning” sort of evening. Or for fun you could zip two sleeping bags together into one big one, grab your pillows, grab your laptop and head outside to snuggle up together under the stars in your backyard and watch the show (hint trampolines , if you have one, make a great comfy spots for this).
8. Take in a free summer community event
A concert in the park. A classic car show. A street festival. All great free activities to enjoy together for free. Newspaper websites, bulletin boards at coffee houses, and a shout out on Facebook are all great ways to find out about these types of activities in your area.
9. Do outdoor chores together
Chores can make for a great date. Paint the playhouse together. Garden together. Stain the fence together. As long as you are together and the children are not under foot it counts as a date. I love chore dates as I find my husband tends to open up and talk more during them.
10. Take full advantage of point earning programs
Sometimes you just want to get out of the house alone and eat a good meal enjoyed on the patio of your favorite restaurant or beat the heat and take in a movie. With a little bit of creative thinking these activities don’t have to eat into your budget. Point programs are a great way to fund date night; here are a few of my favorites.
- Swagbucks (here is a tutorial on how to make $30 a month with little effort on Swagbucks)
- Bing Rewards
- ibotta ( here is a tutorial on how to use ibotta to earn rebates in the form of gift cards for items you buy)
For a list of 52 different websites, apps, and stores our thrifty family uses to help us keep our expenses low, click here to visit our Thrifty Tools Resource Page.
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