No Date Night Budget? Keep the Romance Alive with These Budget-Friendly Ideas

Before kids, date night may have been dinner or a movie – or even dinner and a movie.  After kids, date nights can be harder to plan and the added cost of a babysitter can put a night out on the town out of reach.  Having kids doesn't have to mean the end of date night and romance.  Asking family to babysit is the obvious answer, but one that doesn't work for everyone.  If you aren't lucky enough to have Grandma on call for babysitting, don't give up. No date night budget?  There are still lots of ways to make date night happen, even on a budget.

date night budget
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  • Find a friend for a babysitter swap.  Once a month you can babysit for your friend and once a month she babysits for you. Don't have a lot of friends with kids?  Maybe one of your friends would open to babysitting in exchange for a homemade birthday cake or a couple of days worth of pet-sitting.  Think of anything you can offer in exchange and give it a try!  
  • Join or form a babysitting co-op.  This way you are not dependent on a friend for babysitting help.  
  • Think creatively.  Date nights don't have to happen only at night. Maybe you can find a more affordable sitter during the afternoon when there is less demand. Or see a matinee on Sunday morning after brunch instead of on Saturday night so that you can see that new blockbuster on the big screen.
  • Think about how you can cut costs.  Maybe you were used to going to a restaurant with table service for dates before kids, but it can be just as fun going out for burgers and shakes.  Maybe you used to see first-run movies, but the movies are just as good even if you see them at a discount theater.  Maybe you used to get dinner, drinks, and dessert.  Instead, eat dinner at home but go out for dessert or a drink.    
  • If you have existing childcare, such as daycare, think about how you can use it to sneak away with your partner.  Some parents find they can occasionally arrange their schedule to take 1/2 day off of work at a time they are already paying for childcare to spend some quality time with a partner.  
  • Have an at-home date night.  Watching a movie is always an option, but trying something different like cooking dinner together or playing a board game.
  • If you have a baby, try going out after the little one falls asleep and bring her with you.  Many babies will fall asleep in a car seat and stay asleep while their parents eat a nice dinner.
  • If your child is a little older, think about spots where your child is happy playing alone.  For example, bring a picnic with grown-up food to a park and set your child up with a game or bubbles nearby and enjoy some grown-up conversation while your child plays within view.
  • If you normally do chores or just veg in front of the TV after the kids go to bed, pick one night a week where you turn off your phones and computers and commit to spending some quality time with each other.  

What do you do when you have no date night budget? Share in the comments!

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No Date Night Budget? Keep the Romance Alive with These Budget-Friendly Ideas

Jamie is a Beltway Insider who loves channeling her pre-motherhood love of traveling into spending time exploring all D.C. has to offer with her brood of two girls and two boys ages 9, 7,5, and a baby. She is a reformed lawyer turned full-time kid wrangler who enjoys photographing her everyday chaos and anything salted caramel. Since life is never dull, she loves writing about the issues and events going on in her life at any given time, including caring for a daughter with special needs and th ... More

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