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So here you are, trying to plan your Friday, Saturday, or whatever night. It’s date night and you’re not feeling the whole “spend 3 hours at a fancy restaurant” vibe, but you still want a good dinner and an enjoyable time. You may or may not want to dress up, the babysitter is up in the air, and you’re just looking for a simple, frugal plan. This is my husband and I on almost every date night. Honestly, I’m not a fancy person and I often have trouble justifying anything expensive, seeing as we have two little guys. If ANY of this resonates with you, then, my friend, you’re in luck! I’m about to share with you some tips and ideas for a DIY date night.
In this post, you’ll find my favorite FREE or cheap date ideas, as well as my favorite no-fuss meal and beverage that I pick up at my local Jewel-Osco (it’s a lifesaver). Oh, and just so you know, most of these ideas can be done any night of the week or even during the day. Let’s face it, as a mom with a husband who works long hours, we have to fit in our quality time whenever possible, and I believe we’re not the only ones in this boat. Now, let’s got on to the good stuff!
1. Decide on sitter or no sitter.
Why is this first? Well, because this will help you decide what your date night will consist of. If there’s no sitter or family to help out, you’ll obviously want to do something at home after the kids are asleep, or something they can tag along to (which, then might not make it a date night, depending on the ages of your kiddos). If you do have a sitter, then your options have expanded!
2. Check the weather and dress accordingly!
If you’re like us and rarely leave the house for a date night, the last thing you want is to have your plans spoiled by the weather. So, for preparation’s sake, keep an eye on the weather. This will also affect your clothing choices if you’re going out, so be mindful!
3. Plan your meal!
So, if you ask my husband, food NEEDS to be planned first. This isn’t because he’s hungry, but rather because he doesn’t want to deal with my “hanger.” Since creating our own date is our favorite, I like to keep things simple. By this, I mean, I either want to cook together, or not cook at all! Lately, my go-to meal for these nights has been a signature meal deal (which is also a steal!) from Jewel-Osco. First of all, I love rotisserie chicken, and second, I can add on Gold Peak® Sweetened Iced Tea to complete our meal. My husband is from the south and sweet tea is a craving of his! It goes well with anything, so that 64oz bottle of goodness lasts him a few days! If you’re not into tea, you can do the same with Coca-Cola™, or check out some amazing meal pairings here!
Just an FYI, although I usually choose potato wedges and macaroni salad as sides, there are other options as well!
4. Choose your activity!
Or not, I mean, maybe you want to just get some grub and kick your feet up to a good movie or a tv marathon! Either way, here is a little breakdown of my favorite DIY date night ideas (divided between at home and out of the home ideas):
- The obvious movie or tv marathon: I mean, come on. Sometimes you just crave a minute to laugh over a funny show and forget your worries with your lovely significant other!
- Spa night: You two can pamper each other! Masks and massages are relaxing and hilarious with my husband. Seriously, it cracks me up to watch him get thrilled over using a mask, and he finds it pretty funny to see himself in one! Also, if you’ve ever let your significant do your nails, you should. Not because it’ll come out fantastic, but because it might come out horrible…and horribly funny.
- Cooking together, or enjoy a take home/take-out meal in comfort: Cooking a meal together can be relaxing and fun. You don’t have to love cooking, but just desire a shared activity. If either of you is a control freak in the kitchen though, then maybe grabbing something like the signature meal deal is the better plan! Either way, you get to enjoy a meal from the comfort of your own home (in sweatpants if you want)!
- Do a house project or craft: Some folks might choose a craft they found online, personally we enjoy doing something to fix up our house or building something. This isn’t for everyone, but if you’re feeling froggy, I highly recommend it. It encourages team work and for the hubby and I, allows us bonding time.
- Play a game: A little friendly competition is healthy right? It can honestly be super fun to talk a little trash to each other during a game. I prefer word games (because I usually win), but my husband prefers video games (because he usually wins). Either way, the banter is a blast!
- Get nostalgic: We like photos here. As a family who has lived in 3 places in the last 3 years, looking back at our whirlwind of a life helps us to appreciate where we are. We also get to chat about some of the greatest experiences of our lives!
Out of the home:
- Get outside!: Hiking, biking, kayaking, whatever you can think of! Even a treasure hunt outside can be fun! Before having kids, my husband and I would wander out into the woods and find trails whenever possible. We’d go on random bike rides just to explore, and kayak around if the weather was nice. Getting outdoors is free guys, and mother nature is legit! Heck, even just stargazing is romantic and relaxing!
- Workout: If you know me well, you know that I consider working out with my husband a great bonding experience. There is something to be said about suffering together, that seals that bond.
- Volunteer (or visit an animal shelter): Getting out into the community can be tough if you work a lot, or have a pretty set schedule. If you have a passion for something, why not share it with your significant other? You can bond, and do some good at the same time!
- Window shop: I know, this sounds so simple. The reason I enjoy it sometimes, is because it’s mindless. If you find that you two are always caught up talking about heavy things, lighten things up. Grab an ice cream cone or a coffee and stroll along!
5. Enjoy yourself!
The whole idea of DIY date night is to ditch elaborate plans and maximize your time together in a frugal way. It should result in less stress and more fun! Let’s put it this way, if you’re not enjoying yourselves, then you’re doing it wrong!
Let’s wrap things up!
I hope you all found some great ideas here and are looking forward to some time with your significant other. Don’t forget to check out your closest Jewel-Osco to scoop up a signature meal deal and Gold Peak tea! You can find the tea in the beverage aisle and the signature meal deals are located in the deli section. Now, let me know your favorite date night ideas in the comments!