12 Days: 6 Cheapskates Dating

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It’s the holidays. We are all strapped for cash. Here’s some great (although slightly ghetto) ideas of how to feel like you are having a date night while saving that whopping babysitter fee. On the sixth day of Christmas I bring you:

6 Cheap Date Night Ideas:

1. Movie Night. We don’t have a TV in our room so we set up DVDs on our laptop and Parker snuggles in on our bed and watches his own movies on these special nights. While he does that, we can watch our own show/movie (current obsession is Breaking Bad). We are fortunate in that he doesn’t move a muscle while these movies are on and is not seen again until the credits are rolling and he comes peeking out of the bedroom, “I had a good movie.” “You did? Well, now it’s bedtime!” Your own movie night gets only slightly interrupted by stories and sippy cups, but can resume as soon as the kiddos are snuggled in bed. And, you get to go to bed at a respectable hour as well.

2. Happy Hour Meetup. Since Mike and I first met and hit it off at a teacher happy hour (that’s a story for another day I think!), I love getting out for a drink with him after work. We do this sometime mid-week and pick the kids up from day care a little later. It’s not costly and is a great check in and rejuvenates you for the night ahead. (Read: You usually end up quoting the kids and laughing about things they do so you just end up getting excited to pick them up!)

3. Babysitter Exchange. Have a friend with kids? Pick nights for a babysitter switch off. Maybe even a sleepover if the kids are old enough. It’s a great way for free babysitting and for kids to play with their friends at length. Plan months ahead for that party or wedding. Splurge on your night out instead of on the babysitter.

4. Naptime. If you are not taking your own nap, use naptime for having a nice meal together and enjoying your favorite television show or movie. It’s a time we usually leave to chores and other busy work, but you can capitalize on it as good together time.

5. Gym Date. Okay, this one is laughable. But, since having kids, an hour on the elliptical by myself sounds kind of luxurious. Also the pool and the Jacuzzi at the gym? Yes, please. The care at our YMCA is much cheaper than any home babysitter. Live it up, baby! It’s a health spa!

6. Date with Yourself. Over Thanksgiving we went to Boston. My husband and sister-in-law took the kids to the aquarium and I was left with time to myself. Time. To. Myself. I kind of freaked out trying to figure out what to do first. But here’s what I did. Got a latte. Got my book. Read my book in the lobby of the hotel. It was glorious. I was rejuvenated for the evening and for the whole rest of the weekend. Just a little me time can go a long way.

Any way you slice it, the holidays can be uber-stressful and the stress of finding the cash for a babysitter even more. Try any one of these tricks to give you a little peace of mind and of pocketbook.