3 Frugal Dates for Those With Kids

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3 frugal dates for those with kids.

So, I’ll be honest. I went on a date this month with my husband, and it was not very frugal. Do you want to know why? It’s because we went to a movie. At night. Like, in the dark.

This is notable because my husband and I were sitting there trying to remember the last time we actually went to a full-priced movie. We always go to matinees and when we lived out of the country in Grenada, movies were $2/each. (It was always an experience there!)

We saw the Hundred Foot Journey which was great because my husband loves cooking and India in general (he traveled there last year) so it was a nice way for me to convince him to see a chick flick.

Still, by the time we paid for the movie, dinner, and two babysitters (because the twins really do need two people in case you know what hits the fan), we spent a pretty penny.

It was worth it, but if we have any dates from now until Christmas, they have to be frugal dates so we don’t break our budget. Here are some ideas:

1. Apple Picking


Apple picking with your spouse should only run your $20.00 or less for the whole experience. It’s a great activity to do during the fall because the weather is so, so nice and crisp.

Apple picking really doesn’t have to be an extensive adventure either. I went with my whole little family last weekend, and we were only there 30 minutes!

Think of it as a quick trip just for fun with your spouse. Since it doesn’t take that long, you won’t have to pay a lot for a babysitter. If you live close to family, you can always get those coveted free babysitters too. 😉

2. Living Room Picnic


If you are looking for more ideas for frugal dates and don’t want to pay for a babysitter at all, try having a picnic right on your living room floor. You can put on a movie, have some wine, and enjoy cuddling up with pillows and eating right there on the floor. There are a variety of options to watch a movie that are relatively frugal.

You can, of course, pick one up at Redbox or you can use the Amazon Fire TV Stick or Google Chromecast to check out a movie from Netflix or one of the other channel options they offer.

If you have young kids, you better believe that someone is going to “need” water or end up right there in your pillow pile but I bet if you try hard and really wear your kids out that day, you could probably get 1-2 hours of blissful solitude with your spouse.

3. Cooking Something New


A tried and true idea for cheap date night ideas involves your friends. Good friends. Ask them to watch your kids and then offer to watch theirs in return someday in the future. Once they agree, find a recipe to make with your spouse.

It should be one you’ve never made before. Take your time and enjoy the process and the fact that no one is asking you questions or crying during your dinner time.

*Related: Looking for something fun to do tonight? Read our exhaustive guide of fun things for couples to do that don’t cost a lot of money.*

It’s frugal because you’re cooking at home which means you don’t have to tip a waiter. It’s also nice to be able to set the table and make things really pretty and romantic since it’s not like you regularly bust out the china and cloth napkins when you have children.

Frugal dates are essential when you have kids - after all, you most likely already have to pay for a babysitter. Here are 3 ideas on how to have a frugal date!

All in all, I’m excited to try out some more frugal date night ideas. My husband and I really don’t spend that much time together due to his work schedule, so it’s nice to actually sit down and plan out some frugal dates for the future!


Do you have any more frugal date ideas to share? How do you keep costs down when you want to go out on a date? What’s the best movie you’ve seen lately? 

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Catherine Alford is the go to personal finance expert for parents who want to better their finances and take on a more active financial role in their families.


  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde says:

    Hubby and I do date nights in bed which sound more sexy than they are. He makes popcorn, we bring a bottle of wine up to bed and watch a movie on Amazon Prime. If we are feeling rebellious, we will rent a new movie for $4.99. Our bed is WAY more comfortable than a movie theater and we love the together time. A big goal of mine is to not fall asleep before the end of the movie, but I usually don’t accomplish this.

  • Genevieve says:

    I love apple picking! In the fall, our area has lots of fall festivals we can go to as dates.

  • Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way says:

    My hubs is a great cook, he made sure that every weekend he will cook a special recipe for us. And during at night, we will have a movie marathon until midnight. I just watched the movie Moms’ Night Out and it was really worth it to watch!

  • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer says:

    We used to do lots of living room picnics when the kids were little, Cat. 🙂 Our most recent frugal date was brunch at a fancy restaurant, courtesy of a gift certificate from Rick’s mom – fancy, and FREE. Woohoo!

  • Robin @ The Thrifty Peach says:

    We live close to a big city so we do our best to find all the free local entertainment. We also just like to stroll around downtown on pretty evenings since that’s free and we get to enjoy our time together.

  • Anne @ Money Propeller says:

    The idea of apple picking… and apple cider, sounds absolutely delightful! Usually when I am apple picking, it is cleaning up deadfall to take care of a relative’s tree. Going out on purpose and making a date of it sounds much better.

  • Ben Luthi says:

    Hmm never been apple picking. Sounds fun! I’m currently bracing myself for no dates for a while once our baby comes in February. Date nights have been our favorite, so I’m sad to see it go temporarily.

  • Gretchen says:

    Cat, you’re everywhere today! I totally feel your pain! The last time we went out was, well, I don’t know when! Even if it was full-priced, good for you getting away for a bit – and these are great ideas, too!

  • Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank says:

    I and my friends watched Annabelle and the Hundred Foot Journey. Both movies are great! We actually had popcorn and drinks just to spend less. Then, we just eat at a Japanese restaurant. We do this once a month because we are kinda busy with work and so that we can have so much to talk about.

  • How to Save Money says:

    Just to add something on the cooking date..
    You and your husband can start a contest on who gets to cook the best meal. The kids will vote. The loser will wash the dishes!

  • Elisabeth says:

    We are all about cheap dates– in fact, we’ve challenged ourselves to take 52 Cheap Dates over the course of this year. Most of them happen at home. Our favorite date was the Lego date we “took” in January, but we also love to cook together.

  • Kim says:

    If we have the chance, we usually go on a bike ride. Wouldn’t work at night, but it’s cheap for a day date. Our first date was a mountain bike ride, so it’s kind of nostalgic too.

  • Melanie @ My Alternate Life says:

    I love picnics, walks at night, happy hours, watching travel shows on Amazon, or going to a free art walk. I think there is a time to splurge, but in general, dates can add up, so these are great ideas.

  • Brenda says:

    When hubs and I moved to Orlando FL from Rochester NY, we wanted to have some us time. I was (still am over 2 years later) terribly homesick. So we had date Saturday morning. My oldest was old enough to watch my youngest. So I would pack a picnic breakfast of yogurt, fresh fruit and granola. We would brew a cup of coffee (our thing) for on the way OR stop at a new favorite shop (Barney’s Coffee Kitchen) for a pour over. Then head to a nearby park. Just Orlando has over 100 parks (not to mention Winter Park, Apopka, Altamonte Springs…you get the idea). I would Google the park areas for what they offer (play grounds, bathroom, hike/bike/walk trails, etc) the week before. Was a great morning escape AND gave us something new and free/cheap to return in the future with our kids. If you have children that can’t watch themselves and a sitter isn’t possible, a park with a playground may just give you some much needed you time. :).

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