10 Ways to Save on Date Night
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
After paying the babysitter, getting dinner and seeing a movie, date night can quickly add up to $100 or more. That’s just not feasible for any young family. But, we still need to make time for each other…because, let’s face it, a few dollars spent on a romantic night could very well prevent a bigger expense we all know as divorce. Here are a few tips to take the sting out of date night:
1. Day Time Dating – Average parent Alison Kenney says she and her husband move their dates to the daytime to change things up and save a bit of money. With the kids in school, they can catch a light lunch or enjoy a movie at the matinee rate. The advantage is that they don’t have to pay for a sitter and can often check out a hot new restaurant without paying the full price for a dinner entrée.
2. Save on babysitter fees by setting up a swap with friends or your local moms group. If that doesn’t work for you, many local churches and community organizations offer a parents’ night out certain nights during the month. For around $5-10 a child, you can drop the little ones off with a sack dinner and they can enjoy an evening of games, movies and other fun activities.
3. Sign up for e-mail alerts from your favorite restaurants to get regular coupons and promos sent straight to your inbox. Most places will give you something just for signing up, so I recommend spacing them out so you always have a coupon. Click here for a list of restaurants worth signing up for.
4. Score discounted meal deals from sites like Groupon, Eversave, Plum District and Restaurant.com. Groupon, Eversave and Plum District are a daily deal sites that give a new local deal every day. Restaurant.com provides certificates for thousands of restaurants across the country at significant discounts. Typically, a $25 certificate sells for just $10. But, if you sign up for their email reminder program, you can reap even higher discounts. It’s a great way to visit an old favorite, or try a new restaurant for little financial investment. However, there are some things to remember:
• You can only use one certificate per month, per restaurant.
• The certificates cannot be combined with any other offer.
• Only one certificate per party can be use even if there are separate checks.
• The Certificate usually does not include alcohol.
• A minimum purchase must be made and an 18% gratuity is typically added to the pre-discounted check amount.
• Typically your bill must equal at least $50, and many of the restaurants featured are higher end. So, while you can save $25, your out of pocket expense will still total at least $25 and could end up being much higher.
6. The Entertainment book is a great source for restaurant and attraction tickets. For a low price ranging from $30-45, the book gives you premium 50% off and 2-for-1 coupons for just about anything you can imagine. My favorites are the coupons for museums, the opera and other major attractions because those events often suck your wallet dry. *Note these books are usually marked down at least 50% by March and if you shop through Ebates, you can get as much as 15% cash back*
7. Find theater discounts – Lots of movie theaters are offering discounts just to get people in the door. I make it a rule to never pay more than $6 for a movie ticket. Click here for a complete list of movie deals.
8. Take advantage of museum memberships. If you’re like me, on more than one occasion, your kids have forced you to move from an exhibit you wanted to check out at the children’s museum, the zoo or other local attraction. On your next date night, take advantage of your membership to check out all the things you can see with kids in tow.
9. Set up an inexpensive date night with one of these idea:
• take in a local art exhibit (college campuses are a great option)
• visit a local park and take a long stroll together
• hit up your local dive for a few beers and a game of pool
• shop a flea market
• visit a street fair
• tour a winery, brewery or chocolatier
• take a class together (check out a community college or adult education department at a local university)
• visit a local museum (Almost all museums have one day a week/month where you can get in for free or for a small suggested donation.)
• partake in campus events
• site see in your own city
• take in a play or musical performance at your local community theater, high school or college.
• hit up an amateur night or open mic performance
• for more ideas, just Google “cheap date ideas”
10. Score free drinks – John Buchanan, Co-Founder of Signpost, the Community-Powered Deals Site, suggests looking for a lounge, wine shop, brewery or winery that offers complimentary tastings to start your night.
11. Stay in – When all else fails, plan a fun evening at home. Cook dinner together, play cards, watch a movie or sample a new wine. Whatever you do, just make sure to do it together.