January 22, 2011

Secrets to Dating on a Budget

Being newlyweds and with Cole in grad school, I'm sure you can guess that we're not exactly "rollin' in the dough." (Except for tonight... we had homemade pizza and I can assure you that I was rolling in the dough...)  That said, with limited disposable income, we have had to get creative with ways to "date on a budget."

Sidenote: I am blessed to have married a man who continues to woo and pursue me even though we are on the other side of "I Do." He does, indeed, treat me like a princess.

Anywho... I compiled a list for all of my newly-wedded (and oldly-wedded) friends who are, like us, trying to keep dating their spouse without breaking the bank.

1. Adjust your expectations.  While it is not necessarily acceptable for spouses to cease any form of romantic adventures once they cross the altar, it is very different than when a couple is dating. For example, I know many unmarried guys who are nearly penniless because they spare no expense on their girlfriends. They may be able to do so when they have parents paying for school, taking care of health insurance, etc. (Not that those are bad things for parents to do...) But that girl may be in for a shock when, once the couple marries and the cost of insurance is a reality, it makes an extravagant night out quite impossible.  But I digress... All I'm saying is that it should not be expected - by either spouse - that a date night must cost a fortune. And it should not be assumed that if it doesn't  cost an arm and a leg, then their spouse must not love them as much as so-and-so's husband who took his wife to the ballet last week.

2. Two Words: Happy Hour.  Though we often fail to plan ahead enough to arrive early to a restaurant, Cole and I really like to try to make it in time for Happy Hour at a given restaurant.  Not only are there excellent prices for menu items that, only an hour later, will be twice their current price, but it's the same food made in the same kitchen. And who needs to eat a full restaurant portion-size anyway? This way, you save your wallet and your waistline.  Last night, my husband surprised me and took me out to the cutest restaurant in Hillsboro, The Venetian. I had been wanting to check it out... It is your standard bistro fare, and it was delicious!  We even had a magician come up to our table and do some tricks! We highly recommend that place!

3. Movie Matinee.  If you absolutely must go to a movie in theaters - which we avoid like the plague - then aim for the matinee. It's 75% of the regular cost to see the same movie. And hey, when it's over, you're done in time to catch Happy Hour!

4. McMenamin's Grand Lodge.   Sorry, out-of-town readers, this tip is just for locals. McMenamin's Grand Lodge shows movies for free! And you can drink beer in the theater. Ok, that's just cool. We have seen Megamind, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, and last night we saw The Social Network - all without paying a thing! Well, we did pay for the popcorn.

5. Talk.   Call me crazy. Call me a starry-eyed newlywed. But after a long week of running back and forth and work and studying, I love a quite night at home just talking with my man. Asking each other random questions to learn to love each other better - ie, How did you feel loved this week? How can I love you better next week?    No TV on, laptops closed. Just talking. PS - It's free and rewarding as ever.

6. Park It!  Today was the first day of sunshine in what has seemed like eternity!  So, armed with our trusty aerobie (courtesy of Brian and Kelly Marie!), we took off to the park to toss it around.  We ran around that park for an hour... laughing until we were gasping for air.  Exercise. Laughter. Free. We think it is so important to have fun together.

There are a million other secrets that I'm sure you've dreamed up... and I'd love to hear them!  I just wanted to pass along some of the fun things that we have found to do when we want a "night out."  But then again, a night in is always nice too :)

Happy Dating!


PS - I'm working on a fun Valentine's craft and I can't wait to show you!!


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