As mentioned previously, one of the toughest things to do on a budget is doing something fun on the weekend, especially with your significant other. Many couples go out to dinner, go to movies, travel...but when money's tight, those things aren't great options. Plus, dinners in and rented movies can become boring. Here are some things I love to do (or plan to do) with my husband that brings us closer together without breaking the bank:
- Go out for happy hour. Duh, I know. But my husband and I do this once every week or two, and don't feel deprived. There are a lot of places that have drinks and food on special. One Seattle favorite: Talarico's. Talarico's is a pizza joint that my born-in-NY husband says is the best pizza west of the Mississippi. Slices are bigger than your head for $3 and one is plenty for dinner, and they have Chianti for $5. Dinner always costs us less than $20, including tax and tips.
- Watch "The Soup" on E! It does keep you in the house, but it is the one of the funniest shows on TV and laughing with your partner is the key to a happy relationship. And it's free!
- Play card/board games. Minimal purchase required for endless hours of entertainment. I recently brought out the deck of cards for a heated game of Gin. And I'll never turn down a game of Scrabble - just don't get in fights when SOMEBODY adds "s" or "y" to all of your creative words and gets more points for them (I won't name names).
- For a day date, go for a hike. I found this website (www.localhikes.com) that lists hikes in many U.S. metropolitan areas, but check out your local guidebooks or state websites for other ideas.
- After your hike, have a picnic. Pack some fresh fruit, a baguette, some cheese and maybe some sparkling water/wine (if possible) for a "Parisian lunch".
- Rent a dance video and learn to salsa, samba or waltz! There's some sites online that teach you basic steps (like www.learntodance.com), but there are hundreds of instructional dance videos. If you have digital cable, you can even find them for free OnDemand (usually under "exercise").
- Make dessert together. I personally love making chocolate covered fruit or fondue, but even cut-and-bake cookies are fun when you're in the kitchen with someone special.
- Explore your local festivals. With summer coming up, there are so many things going on in your community. One of my personal favorites happens in Portland, Oregon - the Festa-Italiana (www.festa-italiana.org). Free to get in, great vendors, music, dancing and people watching. This year's festa is happening the week of August 22nd, and you should definitely check it out if you're in the Northwest.
- Go bowling. I challenge you to have a bad time bowling. Funky shoes, cheap beer and dances after a good (or bad) bowl. I have a strike and a spare dance (not that they are very often seen).
- Try something new. Go to a rock climbing wall ($7-$15 depending on where you go), go kayaking ($15-$18/hr for a double), go see a foreign film. The options are endless, and getting out of your comfort zone is fun!
What are some things you do on the cheap to have fun with your significant other? I would love to hear new ideas!