When Michael and I first started out, money didn't come easy. He wasn't earning all that much at the time, and I was picking up jobs here and there. The budget was tight with little room to maneuver. If I remember correctly, our spending allowance (after bills, groceries, mortgage, tithes, and car payment) was about $10.00 each -- possibly $20.00 at the most. Divide that by 7 days and we had about 2-3 dollars of spending money each day. A woman at work approached me about buying raffle tickets that her boyfriend was selling. "They're only $3.00 each," she said, like it was nothing to her, "and it's for a good cause."
Whether the cause was good or it wasn't, $3.00 was too costly to me. It seemed like everywhere we turned people were asking for $3.00 here and $4.00 there. I had to say no, because I couldn't afford it.
She didn't take that well. I know because she brought it up again about three months later, reminding me how I didn't support her boyfriend like I should have.
As difficult as it was, I'm grateful for that time in my life because I understand what it's like to pinch pennies. I saved up loose change for months hoping to buy a new sheet set at Walmart. I counted out 75 pennies for bus fare because I didn't have any quarters to spare. I cut my own bangs (quite badly I'll add) because I couldn't afford a new hair cut. Times were tough, but they were good!
And so for those who are on a tight budget, and others who prefer to save than to spend I'd like to offer you fifteen date night (or day) ideas that won't break the bank. Some of these are weather depending of course, but here's the good news: spring is just around the corner!
1. Go on a picnic.
Take dinner outside in the spring. Grab a blanket, pack up your dinner and head out to the park.
2. Play restaurant with another couple.
Plan ahead with a friend and swap favors. Make dinner for a couple you know and serve them by candlelight. Make it a special night for them. Then have your friends take their turn the next week.
3. Drive out to the lake.
Hop in the car after dinner and drive out to the lake for an evening. Walk hand in hand on the beach. Experience the beauty of a dark starry night.