Q: My wife tells me that relationship experts say that going on regular "dates" with your partner is the key to a long-lasting relationship. I admit that I tend to take things for granted. The trouble is the cost, so what do the financial experts say?
A: Your question brings to mind a recently released movie called Date Night which portrays a couple busy with their careers, kids and running the house. Despite their regularly scheduled "date nights," they just can't seem to get past the rhythm and routine.
People think that finances are just about dollars and cents. While money does make the world go 'round, it means that it enters the world of dating and relationships. While I don't recommend stealing a stranger's dinner reservation and getting innocently caught up in a web of mob activity to reignite the romance, I do suggest planning your money so that you and your partner can enjoy "date nights."
Surprise your partner and include it in next month's budget along with the rent, food and fuel. Then, start by setting money aside for the two biggest expenses:
- The "Event." Do your research and set aside money for things that you both like to do.
- The Sitter. Depending on your location and how many kids you have, you can expect to pay $5 per hour and up.
Inexpensive Date Ideas
Are you on a tight budget? How about:
- Planning a mid-week date—save money at restaurants and venues by going during a non-peak time;
- Saving money on childcare by trading services with other couples;
- Take a hike together—hiking is free, other than your fuel. There are many trails available for beginners and advanced hikers. Enjoy the view, the time together and don't forget lots of water and your camera;
- Date night at home. Hire a sitter for the last two hours of the evening when your kids are eating supper and going to bed. Go for a walk; grab a movie; come home only after the kids are in bed. It'll feel like a lot of alone time for the cost of two hours of babysitting.
While the money in your bank account may have a limit, the options for keeping the flame alive are as endless as your imagination.