The season of love is upon us, and I thought this would be the perfect time to share some very inexpensive date ideas! My husband and I live on a fixed budget, but that doesn't mean we don't have a blast with each other. All. The. Time! Some people may wonder what we do for fun because we really don't spend money going out to eat, or shopping, or going to movies, or any of those things that seem to cost a fortune to do these days. We do love to do those things, too, but they are generally saved for a special occasion. These ideas may seem like kind of basic, common sense ideas, but its easy to get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life that we simply forget about these kinds of things! I hope these inspire some creative sparks in your relationship!
1. Go for a bike ride! I love to put stuff in my basket when we go (obsessed with Wizard of Oz, much? My freakin' bikes name is Dorothy. Yes, I named it.) I really want to pack a picnic to carry in my basket and go for a ride to the near by park. As soon as the weather warms up!!
2. Plant a garden! We got started doing this a few years ago when we were so sick of winter. We bought a light and some seeds to help us beat the winter blues, and since then, we've found that its become a passion! We love going out to check on the plants everyday as they grow, its really exciting to see their progress, and a fun tradition to do together!
3. Have cocktails in the garden! We love to take herbs that we've grown and invent new cocktails with them, and then enjoy them in the garden. That's probably one of my most favorite things to do in the summer! (Dang groundhog, when will this winter ever end?) We love being surrounded by every thing that we have grown: it looks bountiful, it smells beautiful, it tastes amazing, and we did it together!
4. Check out local entertainment! The local college in our town brings in tons of great acts to their auditorium and usually for a very reasonable price. This was a Michael Jackson impersonator that we saw, and since I've been obsessed with Michael since before I could talk, we had to go. And we HAD to dress up. Duh. It adds to the experience! P.S. Our first dance at our wedding was to "Thriller". The full dance. In a wedding dress and suit. Oh yeah!!
5. Make fondue at home! The Melting Pot is one of our favorite restaurants, but it comes with a hefty price tag. We love it so much! Its dipping stuff...in cheese and chocolate!! We like to put together all of the same kinds of things you would find at a real fondue place, and then just take our sweet time. We are usually stuffed when its all over with, but man is it good!!
6. Take the pets on a walk! This may seem like a no brainer, but what if you hopped in the car and found a new place to explore? Our pets are like our kids, so seeing them get excited is a blast, its good for the soul, and its fun to explore new places together!
7. Pretend your are on a tropical vacation! We have some cheap tiki torches we light up on the back patio, have a cocktail, and prop your feet up. There's really something to be said for just stopping and relaxing for awhile. It allows you to turn inward, and toward each other...and forget about everything else for just a little bit.
8. Work on a project together! Now, I know this one may be a little controversial. Some people, *uh-hum* (don't ask me how I know this), don't get along when working on projects together. We have completely redone our entire house together. That adds up to be a lot of projects together. A lot. But we finally figured out that one of us is better with details, and one is better with big picture type stuff. The work is hard, but the payoff is so rewarding! These projects give you something to be very proud of and to have even more appreciation for because of the blood, sweat, and tears you put into it.
9. Go for a field day! Our local organic community has a foundation that sets up free visits to organic farms in the midwest. We were able to visit a local organic farm and see all of its inner workings from their crop production, to their livestock, to bees, and a whole segment on their wild prairie and tips for selling at a farmers market. It was a blast! We learned so much, made some great connections, and it was completely free!
10. Play tennis! This is a great activity for two! Once you have a racket and balls (we just bought cheap ones from Wal-Mart), its free! There are tennis courts all over, and its fun to work up a sweat and get a little healthy competition going.
11. Go to a butterfly house! This was AMAZING! Unless you are afraid of butterflies. In that case, please don't go to a butterfly house. This was almost like walking through a dream. There were hundreds of different kinds of butterflies, all over the place, and they would land on you like it was their job. It was just ethereal. I think we payed less than $5 a piece to get in. We felt like little children, light hearted, excited, and in awe... Experiencing those feelings together are reason enough to go with your hunny bunny.
12. Go to a local dance! Last year we went to a Valentine's Day dance at a local community center. It was a blast!! Granted, we were the youngest people there by about 15-20 years, but that made no difference! They had a nice dinner, we made friends with all of the people at our table (one was my principal from grade school who was at least in her 70's back then.) They had an awesome band that played music from the 50's and 60's (my fave!! eeek!!) and we danced the night away!! It was fun to be out of the comfort zone of our peer group, which makes you really feel close, and just cut loose!! Aaaaaand... I had an excuse to wear my fluffy pink and purple dress. We would do it again in a heartbeat!
13. Get shaved ice! Its cheap, its good, and you can pretend like you are in high school again (if you are, of course, not in high school). Its the little things, really. As long as you are present, (AKA not buried in your technological devices) and really enjoying each other, you can turn anything into a fun date!
We really just entertain the crap out of each other. I think if someone were to secretly video our conversations, and made up songs and voices that we use for our pets (and accidentally in public sometimes, *note to self: really gotta watch that*) we may be taken away to the looney bin. But that's fine by us!! We wouldn't have it any other way! What kind of dates do you like to go on??