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18 Creative & Cheap Date Night Ideas for Busy Parents

Just For Fun

Here’s the Valentine’s Day paradox: When you’re young and single, you dread V-Day because you don’t have a date. Now that you’re married with kids, you have a permanent date, but no time or money to go out. Let’s try and solve that, shall we? Here are 18 creative and cheap date ideas for Valentine’s Day.

1     Build a snowman, then come inside to snuggle by the fire with hot cocoa.
It’s February. If you live in a northern state, that usually means snow. So why not take advantage of the perfect excuse to get cozy! (And if you wait until the kids are in bed, you can trade the cocoa for a bottle of wine.)

2     Go for a hike.
No snow? No problem! You can still have plenty of fun outside. Lace up your hiking boots and hit the road! It doesn’t have to be a strenuous hike if you’re not into that. Just head to your closest state park or walking trail and go for a stroll together. (Hand-holding strongly encouraged.)

3     Cook for each other.
Who needs a restaurant when you have a kitchen? OK, OK, the restaurant does have its advantages. But if you’re short on cash, you can make a delicious, romantic meal at home. Serve it on your best dishes, light some candles, and put on some music.

4     Play a “kissing game.”
This may sound a little cheesy, but isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is all about? The kissing game is kind of like a drinking game, but with kisses instead of shots. Choose a catalyst--something you’re likely to see a lot of in your neighborhood or city. It could be stop signs, blue cars, people with mustaches, or really anything. Then take a walk and kiss every time you see that thing.

5     Take a free museum tour.
Most cities, and even many suburbs, are home to free or cheap museums. So why not see some art and culture with the one you love?

6     Go to open houses.
Even if you’re not in the market for a new house, it can be fun to look through other people’s homes. Maybe you’ll get some design inspiration for your next remodeling project. Or you might just enjoy the free coffee and a tour through a clean house.

7     Hit up some yard sales.
Check your local newspaper for yard sales in your community this weekend and go to as many as you have time for. Those things can be a treasure trove of interesting tchotchkes and cheap housewares.

8     Window shop.
Just because you can’t afford to buy anything doesn’t mean you can’t afford to shop for stuff. Head downtown or to the closest shopping mall and do a little browsing. You can stop for coffee, too.

9     Go to a high school sporting event.
Forget about getting tickets to a professional or college team. Those can cost a fortune. But you can see a high school game for the price of a couple cans of soda at the concession stand.

10    See a community theatre or high school play.
You don’t need to go to Broadway to enjoy theatre. Most areas have some sort of community theatre program. You might find a good play at your local high school, too. These plays average about $10-$25 per ticket.

11    Go dancing.
A lot of local bars have DJ’s and a dance floor. Do a little research and find one close by. You can each order one drink and dance the night away!

12    Have a living room movie marathon.
As a bonus, you can go on this date after the kids are in bed. No sitter needed!

13    Have an indoor or outdoor picnic.
You can choose to pack a lunch or pick up sandwiches at your local sub shop. If it’s nice out, head to the park. Otherwise, spread your picnic blanket right there in your living room. It’s a fun change of pace from the kitchen table.

14    Enjoy a program at your public library.
Most public libraries have free programs all the time. Check their schedule and find something that interests you. Options often include lectures, book signings, classes, clubs, and shows.

15    Browse the stacks at the library.
You don’t have to attend a formal program. Many people love just looking at books and choosing a few titles to take home. Hey, it’s free! Why not?

16    Start a husband-wife book club.
Either choose a novel that you’d both enjoy, or take turns reading each other’s picks. Then schedule a “meeting night” with snacks and drinks at home.

17    Try a yoga class at your local community center.
Many cities and counties have community centers with low priced fitness options. You might be able to find a drop-in yoga class for around $5 per person.

18    Take a drive.
Check out your local scenery, and look out for things you’ve never noticed before.

We hope you find something on this list that you and your hubby would love to do. Do you have any other ideas for cheap and creative date nights? We’d love to hear from you!

Need some inspiration to keep the kids occupied this winter? Check out these 25 fun activities to get kids to play outdoors (even when it's cold!).

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