My husband and I have been married for 11 years, and we’ve filled those years with many, many dates. Can I recommend something? Never stop dating each other.
One of our favorite things to do is go for a drive. We have the best conversations when in the car or on a walk together, with or without kids. It’s inexpensive yet it makes for great opportunities for connection.
When walking and talking, dreams, goals, plans so effortlessly come up. We can chew on them together. And without the deterrent of looking at one another (psychologically why is that a deterrent sometimes?), yet being so close by to one another and giving each other our entire attention, this can be priceless.
When we were first married, had just two kids, one night we put them to bed, Jeff lit a small candle on our dining room table, made us some boxed chai tea, and here I am all these years later able to easily remember that special in-home, practically free date – it felt like we were dating at a coffee shop.
Dates don’t have to be fancy to connect you to each other. Dates can be free and yet magical and powerful and really really good.
- Go for a walk.
- Drive somewhere together
- Pack a picnic. It doesn’t have to be Instagram worthy. It doesn’t need to be shared with others; just a simple sandwiches and a snack and a thermos of water or a bottle of wine.
- Go hiking, especially if you can find trails in your area you’ve not been to before (just remember to check if there’s an entrance fee or parking fee)
- Go biking – even just to your local library or to the grocery store and get some ice cream on a stick (it’ll be cheaper than most anywhere you can get ice cream treats from a shop)
- Have a patio fire, turn on some music, pour some cheap wine (Carlo Rossi jug wine isn’t horrid to the taste, and it’s less than .02/ml even before coupons and rebates, which aren’t too hard to come by)
- Go pretty much anywhere at sunset – I love going to a nearby peak or the beach or even just sitting on the curb by our driveway as the sun goes down
- Wake early and go for a walk before the rest of the world is awake (this one will likely not be implemented by us anytime soon as my husband is not a morning person, but for some couples, it might be a great idea)
Bonus Free Date Idea – Visit the library and get books and DVDs about the things that interest each other most.
Take turns even on the themes that are exciting to the one or the other of you, focus on it, learn it together, share in that time. Remember your dream spending list? Get books on those topics!
Bonus tip: put your smart phone down. Any time you can, but especially if you can dedicate even 15 minutes an evening to not having an electronic screen in your face, the chance for connection, for bringing up ideas, budgeting goals, dream vacations, etc. can connect you to each other and further motivate you both in pursuit of a debt free life.
Budgets and connection don’t stand much of a chance unless there are times together without electronics always a hand’s reach away. Budget together now, yes, but be together now as well. Otherwise, you might have all the budget in the world down the road, but not each other. Tackle this thing together, stay connected, and you can have the budget and life of your dreams and most importantly you’ll be enjoying it all together!