Date Nights Out, but Rural & Frugal

by GfG on October 29, 2012 · 6 comments

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Paul and I have reinstated date nights here in our home.  This will take some extra work now that we do not have family around and no young adults to babysit for us, but we really believe it is something we need.  Funny how we didn’t have regular date nights when we had grandparents around, huh?  Ha ha ha. Ha.  Ahem.

Lots of people talk about date nights “in”.  I’m really glad so many couples are seeing the importance of not going into debt and are making changes to deal with that and are being frugal.  Very smart.  I also appreciate that for some, this is the only way to have a date.

It’s just that… date nights “in” do not work for me.

We’ve tried.  Really.  It’s just that it doesn’t feel like a date for me.

Maybe it’s because I am here almost all the time anyway.  Maybe it’s because we could get interrupted at any time (even though my kids would be good about this and most likely only interrupt for emergencies), I don’t “feel” off because I know they could technically come in.  Maybe it’s because I don’t feel like we are alone… because we aren’t. Maybe it’s because I want to know we can focus only on each other.

Whatever it is, date nights in aren’t my thing.

BUT going out to eat in the big city, or even going to the big city (it’s a thirty minute drive), or even eating out every time are not options either.  We need to be frugal and smart with our money.

Here’s the deal.  I had to be honest with hubby and tell him that staying home wasn’t working as a date for me.  Maybe it will some day, but for now, it doesn’t.  Since dates are supposed to be times where we connect to just each other, I have to feel that is happening.

I decided that we could enjoy the benefits of having a fifteen year old daughter and thirteen year old son for our date nights, as long as we stay close.

The part that adds an advanced attitude to the adventure is that we live in a very small town, with very little options.  Rural dates are different than city dates.

So… here are some options for our “out but not totally out date nights”:

  1. Grab a tea & Diet Coke or a hot canteen of tea and go- sit at a park, walk a trail, take a short scenic drive, sit at our favorite scenic view area.
  2. Have Paul bring home something fun from Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Chick-Fil-A or any place we like and do one of #1.
  3. Have Paul bring home one special dessert from someplace and we can leave after eating dinner with the kiddos.  Take the dessert and do one of #1.
  4. Go for a bike ride alone and then sit and talk at a park.
  5. Go to a friend’s house and visit with them after their kiddos are in bed.  Enjoy coffee/tea together.
  6. Have drinks at one of the little restaurants near us and warn our waiter we’re just hanging out, tipping nicely for the atmosphere.
  7. See if the kiddos can stay with friends for a couple of hours and we can watch a movie here at home, with popcorn and chocolate almonds, or we can just hang out.
  8. Go to a little park and make out in the back seat.  Kidding.  Mostly.        😉

It doesn’t have to be really a really long date, just a couple of hours.

I don’t even want weekly dates, just once or twice a month.

This list will work well until the winter weather starts (which it mostly has, for this wimpy Southern transplant).  I’m going to have to come up with some more ideas.

Have any to share?

So, how do you do date nights and do you have any ideas on how to do date nights out on cheap?  


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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer October 29, 2012 at 7:41 am

Dan and I like to hang out at coffee shops (except I don’t drink coffee). It’s cheap and there’s no rush to get you out of there.

Good ideas. We need to get back to that. We are currently at the one date every 3-4 months stage of life. It should get easier soon.


Jan Tessier October 29, 2012 at 9:14 am

I love “window shopping,” this includes “window shopping” within a store…and by store I mean…Home Depot, Lowes, any book store, resale shops, Target (of course), Michaels, Whole Foods (I love looking at interesting foods…weird?). One time Phil and I went to Good Will and picked out outfits for each other…waaay fun. I would think you and Paul could do something creative and fun with your photography skills.

Have fun!


The Reader October 29, 2012 at 10:43 am

Right now our “date nights” are usually Saturday morning grocery/errand runs. Not romantic, but we get time to talk w/o being interrupted, and about things little ears shouldn’t overhear. Since no one here really speaks English, it feels more private than it would in the US.

We’ve also done dessert, etc. We prefer a weekend lunch if we’ll be gone long, since we are using kids as sitters the way you are. Daytime dates are a big plus in the “help mom not worry about the ones at home” category, at least for me. But then, we don’t do bedtime, so…..

Your ideas sound great! Are there any indoor places you guys can hang out when the weather changes? Or sit in the parking lot of the park — get out, have hot chocolate, when you are too cold to stand it, sit in the car, heater on? Or take extra blankets…?


Jan October 29, 2012 at 11:45 am

Oh yes, I forgot…create a fun jar with Paul. Write a fun, daring, silly idea on a strip of paper. Think camp-like fun…the more outlandish, the bettah! When a strip of paper is drawn, you MUST do whatever is on the paper…so make sure you both agree on activities before dropping them in the jar!


Liz Crawford January 6, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Some of our best date nights are during hunting season. Every Thursday night going out to the lease and putting out corn and checking trail cameras. Just riding on our Polaris through the woods enjoying something we both like to do. Just costs a little gas money and $8 bag of corn, helps us get “groceries” when we hunt so we recoup cost.


GfG January 6, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Liz- You win the most unique date night award! 😉
What a great idea for those who hunt, actually. Time alone. Quiet. Common interest.

Thanks for sharing!


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