Date Your Spouse on a Budget
One piece of marriage advice that you'll hear at every marriage conference is that it is important to date your spouse. It can become too easy to fall into a rut with day-to-day married life, so mixing in "dates" - those plans that take you out of your normal routine - are necessary. Sometimes that means getting dressed up and trying a new trendy restaurant in town or maybe going to a concert or even doing a staycation at a local hotel. But sometimes the budget simply doesn't have room for a fancy, expensive date... and that's okay!
Dustin and I can certainly relate. We have tried to be very intentional with date nights (or even date days) the past couple of years. Some months that means a nice dinner out. But here recently we have been choosing to allocate money toward a few bigger ticket purchases, which leaves a little less for dates... but that doesn't mean our dates need to stop! Here are some of our favorite ways to "date" on a budget:
1. Game Night
I don't know about you guys, but we love to play games. Our normal go-to is Monopoly, though we also enjoy Yahtzee and plugging in the Wii to bowl or play Mario Kart. Pick a game (or two) you enjoy, break out a bottle of wine, and enjoy a night in. Also, if you're both competitive, be careful about rubbing in a victory... if game night ends in a fight instead of a celebration, then was it a good date?
2. Get Outdoors
There is something refreshing, both individually and as a couple, about interacting with nature. Go for a hike, walk a trail, climb to a nearby summit, or even just take a stroll around your neighborhood. Put your phones in a backpack and enjoy each other's company. Here in Birmingham, Dustin and I like to head up to King's Chair at Oak Mountain. The view is amazing and it's neat to share a sense of accomplishment with your spouse. If you have a dog, take him along - make it a family affair! Or maybe you could simply go to a nearby park and have a picnic. The key is getting outside!
3. Take Advantage of Local Events
Be on the lookout for farmer's markets, art walks, free concerts in the park, etc. that are available in your area. We love to go to the neighborhood farmer's market that happens on Fridays during the summer. We make an evening of it, eating from a food truck and visiting with local vendors. We also enjoy buying $9 tickets to Birmingham Barons games during the summer for Thirsty Thursday. Other options are free movies at the Botanical Gardens or Symphony in the Park. There are always local events happening that don't cost an arm and a leg - you just need to watch for them!
4. Find a Non-Expensive Hobby
Some hobbies can tend to tug on the wallet - whether you like to golf or you're like us and enjoy scuba diving. But it is completely possible to find hobbies that cost very little, or even nothing at all. For example, Dustin and I love to find neighborhoods that are under construction with homes we can walk through. We have walked through homes in probably 4 or 5 different neighborhoods in and around Birmingham. We absolutely loved building our own house, so it's fun to see other floor plans and get inspiration for things we may eventually want to do in our own home. Find something random you can enjoy together and make a day of it with your spouse.