Being a military couple has its challenges. There has been many times when my husband has been on missions or deployed when he has missed important dates. So had to get creative when it comes to spending time together. One of our love languages is Quality time, so we are always looking for fun and budget friendly ideas for date night. In this blog post I''ll share some of our favorite ideas that won't break the bank and still have fun!!
We always set time apart for quality time. Even a trip to the grocery store we consider it a "date". This also coincides with my main love language: Acts of Service. My husband pushing the cart and helping me put the groceries away it's one of my favorite things. All it matter is how YOU as a couple decide to spend your time together.
You see, we are givers of experiences kinda couple. I love when we plan trips, where we are going to eat and we make it all happen without breaking our budget. We are saving and planning for our retirement so we make a conscientious effort to have fun without blowing up all our money.
Dates doesn't have to be formal and expensive. We have been together for 12 years and we still make sure to have fun with each other. I love being comfortable and relaxed. I look forward to these dates because it is time set away for ourselves that we share without being interrupted. Every couple needs that.
Here are my 20 Fun and budget friendly ideas for all year round:
1. Cook a meal together
There is nothing more intimate than choosing your ingredients and spend time together in the kitchen. I love to cook, so sharing that space with my husband is special to me. For Valentine's day, we made T bone steak. truffle butter lobsters and bake potatoes, including Prosecco and dessert. Total Cost about $30
2. Spend an afternoon at a winery
In Texas there are so many wineries. You can really spend all day visiting the most beautiful wineries and tasting all their delicious wines. Some wineries offer military discounts on tastings while some offer complimentary tasting with military ID. We love to support those wineries that support our service members. Becker Vineyards is one of the few that offers the complimentary tasting for military on 6 samples per person. If you buy a wine bottle you will get a military discount as well.
3. Build a Charcuterie Board
Remember the wine bottle you picked up at the winery? It's time to pair it with your best meat and cheeses. I love building Charcuterie boards.Check these boards I have created! Aldi has the best priced cheeses and meats as well as Trader Joe's. Include Brie, Camembert, Halloumi, Fontina, Gruyere, Smoked Gouda, Capicola, Salami, Prosciutto, Iberico and smoked salmon. Add honey, grapes, good crackers and you will have created the most scrumptious board, then enjoy while sippin' on that wine!
4. Go on a coffee date
I love a good cup of Joe. Coffee is relatively inexpensive. Now that we live in Washington, there are coffee shops in every corner. We love exploring the coffee scene here and always stop somewhere new. Coffee and conversation its one of our favorite things to do.
5. Go to a Sip and Paint Class
Groupon always has discounts on Painting classes. Many Paint Salons offer couple classes and it's bring your own wine and a snack (maybe some leftover cheese and meats?). I Heart Painting a women operated location here in WA, it is budget friendly, offers discounts and has fun theme classes. We have gone to many sip and paint classes and we always have so much fun.
6. Read a book
We have our own "book club" where we choose a book, read it and then discuss it. We love using Overdrive , we connect the ARMY library and our local library. You can borrow, put on hold pretty much any book as long as it is available in those libraries. You can even request a book to be added when it's not available at your library. I believe it is a great app if you love to read. We then use our Kindle to read the books. Fun idea for a rainy day too!
7. Go out for brunch
Brunch is one of our favorites. We love to visit new restaurants and plan our dates on food we want to try. We usually do this in threes. One for the main course, one for dessert and one for cocktails. We also share the food to make it budget friendly and we get to try a few dishes.
8. Go watch a sports game at a brewery
We love sports and exploring craft breweries. Well, why not combine both?Football season is my favorite ( I love the New Orleans Saints) and recently I discovered a Nola native owned brewery in Auburn, WA. They offer NOLA brews and food with Nola Flair as well as beignets on Sundays from 10am-12pm. Check your local brewery for game times and specials.
9. Make it a game night
We love game night, we have bought a lot of board and card games at the thrift store. We love Trivia Pursuit, Cards Against Humanity or Scrabble. Our ultimate favorite is Rumi or Black Jack. It's always fun times!
10. Take a Hike
We love the outdoors and hiking is a great way to get our cardio in. Since we live in the Pacific North West there is always somewhere to hike and end up with a beautiful view. Also as a military family we get free entrance to almost all Parks with the National Parks ID that you can obtain at your local Park's office, by presenting your Military or Government ID.
11. Go Thrifting
We like a good deal. We are always trying to recycle and reuse doing our part for the planet. I love thrifting and antique shopping. It's exciting when we score board games, jackets and props for my photos. My husband loves to find vintage sport jerseys.
12. Binge watch a show
We have an endless list of shows we want to watch. My husband schedule is pretty hectic so we try not to spend our quality time just watching TV but sometimes that's all we need. We are currently watching 911 Lonestar, Mad Men and Virgin River.
13. Go Bowling or Putt Putt
Bowling or Putt Putt have deals during the week. Sometimes Groupon has deals. It is a great way to spend an afternoon together.
14. Go to a Museum Free Night
Most Museums have a free night or Military night. Check your local museums for the schedule. We love art museums and using this benefit we have visited so many throughout the country. When we travel it is a must to include a free museum day.
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15. Do Karaoke at home
We got a Karaoke machine for Xmas a few years ago and we use it a lot. It so much fun doing duets and singing our hearts out at the comfort of our home. Add some cocktails and snacks and its like you are at the karaoke bar but on a budget.
16. Go to a Movie Matinee
Matinee is the best way to save money and catch a good flick. Sometimes the military discount is cheaper than the matinee price. Share a popcorn and soda for major savings.
17. Go to a concert or music festival
We love going to concerts and we have been lucky that we have been able to attend and get extremely cheap tickets thanks to Vet Tix. Vet Tix provides tickets to all branches of currently-serving Military and Veterans, including immediate family of troops KIA. Visit their website for more details on how to apply. Another place to score great deals is at Groupon. We take a cooler with drinks and snacks and drink and eat in the parking lot, I don't like paying for overpriced mediocre venue food.
18. Experience Shabu Shabu
This is probably one of the best experiences you can have as a couple. Shabu-shabu is a Japanese nabemono hotpot dish of thinly sliced meat and vegetables boiled in water and served with dipping sauces. Its so interactive and makes it for a fun date. Most places charge between $22 to $35 per person which is fair. Want to make it at home? Hmart or Paldo World Market have every thing you need to make a successful Shabu.
19. Go to IKEA
Say What? Yes! This one is one of our favorite things to do! Have you seen Ikea's showrooms? It's fun and also you can spend some time together, planning for furniture and decor. Once you are done with your Ikea tour, stop at the cafe and reward yourselves with a dollar ice cream cone.
20. Go back to the place where you had your first date
Before we moved to WA we went to the place where we had our first "official" date. After we moved, the place closed down so we are glad we had the chance to go back to reminisce on that special memory. Recreate your first date. It's fun to look back and remember how and when you got together.
There you have it. These are my top favorite fun and cheap date ideas. How do you like to spend time together? Let me know below!!