Over the past year, we haven't really had a set budget every month because so many things have come up with our house and a new baby. We finally sat down last month and set a new working budget that will help us build our savings, pay off our house early and save for some bigger purchases that we have planned later down the road. In our budget, we've set aside a decent amount of money for date nights and eating out. I've always felt like it was reasonable to want to have a good fund for getting out of the house and spending time together, but last week I read Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck: Entertainment on Don't Waste the Crumbs and decided that we could get creative with our date nights, cut that fun money budget at least in half and have that much more saved up for a rainy day, put toward our mortgage or maybe put toward a trip together in the future. These are just a few of my ideas for budget friendly date night activities that don't require any money out of pocket other than maybe the cost of groceries that we buy for dinner.
Movies in the Park
In our area, there are multiple movies in the park programs going throughout the summer so this is a date night possibility almost every weekend. It's also the perfect date night to take our baby with us because he loves to be outside and if he gets fussy, I can walk to the back of the park with him, away from anyone that he might bother with his crying, and still be able to watch and hopefully enjoy the movie myself.
Rotisserie Chicken Picnic
Pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store along with a bag of rolls and salad from the deli and you have the perfect meal for a picnic in the park! Costco or Sam's Club has great chicken as well or you could even pick up an already baked pizza and a green salad instead. After dinner, you can lay on your picnic blanket and look for shapes in the clouds while having some quality conversation. End the night playing on the playground or having a game of tag.
Barbecue and S'mores
Grilling is our favorite summer activity, we grill at least once a week and we love to try new recipes together. Kabobs are one of our new favorite things to grill, but we also had a lot of fun with our rib grill-off earlier this year. You can find so many yummy grilling recipes online for every food imaginable. Try grilling pizza, veggies or your dessert! I'm willing to bet you could make an entire meal with your grill. We also love to make s'mores and you can do that over your grill if you don't happen to have a fire-pit handy.
July is National Enjoy a Sunset with your Lover Month and enjoying a sunset together is the perfect free date night! Find a fairly short hike in your area with a great view at the end. Start early enough that you can enjoy some time together at the top and watch the sun go down. Make sure you head back before it gets dark though!
Ice Cream Sundae Night
This would make a great group date! Buy a couple gallons of vanilla ice cream and some bananas then have each couple bring two or three of their favorite ice cream toppings. Play board games inside while you eat your dessert and then head outside for a fun game of glow stick tag after it's cooled down and gets dark. To play glow stick tag: Give everyone 2 or 3 glow sticks, the kind that come with links to become jewelry, and have fun chasing each other around the yard!
What are some of your favorite cheap or free summer dates?