Afforable Date Nights

Hello there,

My hubby and I strive to be frugal.

Today’s post is about dates on a budget. I should also say that since getting chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia over two years ago, I no longer stay up late at night if possible. So all our preferred activities are during the day, and even if we do go out, we then go home and go straight to sleep following the outing. Most later evening outings mean I will struggle to sleep that night, and often have to take things easier the next day.

Meals at Home

I consider every meal we eat together as a date. No I don’t always dress up and he doesn’t get me flowers every time, but we do try to make our conversations meaningful.

One thing to add though, I married an engineer. He is constantly creating, designing and prototyping some sort of mechanical thing in his head. That being said, if I ask him what he’s thinking, it’s often about the measurements or gears or intricacies of something he’s thinking about making. That can lead to some interesting discussions or table talk, but that’s okay. đŸ™‚

We sometimes put together a tray of food and eat outside on our veranda. It provides a different setting for our meal and we can enjoy my garden plants and sit in the warm sunshine.

Movie nights

We will sometimes eat our meal from the couch and enjoy a movie together. We take turns picking what we will watch. This may be again something to elaborate on in a future post, but we take what we watch seriously. We don’t want to be putting rubbish in front of our eyes, or minds so we look for wholesome and clean movies and shows to watch.

Also I should add we don’t own a television so we are limited to what’s on DVD or the what’s on the internet through our computer.


Earlier this year we went to an outdoor viewing of the movie Babe. It was in the park, with live orchestra. We packed a picnic and it was a wonderful free outing and we had such a lovely time- nibbling and talking then enjoying the music and movie.

I noticed that the Carillon (Bell Chimes) in the city plays concerts on a few set days in May. Steven arranged to take an afternoon off, I packed a lunch and we enjoyed the music and the fresh air, surrounded by national galleries, museums and important buildings and our city’s grand lake. It made for a very romantic setting. That too was free. We were then able to get a few errands done during the rest of the afternoon.

Drives in the country

There is the cost of fuel, but we do enjoy driving in the mountains around our city. We also sometimes try back roads on our way home from church. We have a bit of fun exploring and seeing new places, without spending too much.


We love taking walks in our neighbourhood. We’ll wander and take a little different path each time. We look at houses, discuss yards and designs. We’ll notice boats, cars and other things in driveways. We enjoy the fresh air and the time we can just hold hands and talk.

Around the time of my birthday, my husband suggested that we go see the Canberra Botanical gardens. We’ve been there many times before, but there are always different flowers blossoming so we decided to go for a few hours one afternoon. We picked up the “flowering this week” booklet and we wandered all over the gardens enjoying the flowers, the lizards and birds. The picture below is from that walk.

Sturt’s Desert Pea

Out to Eat

We do sometimes get take away (take out) or go to a restaurant for a meal. Like when my spousal visa was approved, we went out to eat to our favourite local place. But on a whole we prefer to eat at home. Reason? Cost, and well, I don’t like the atmosphere at restaurants. They’re often noisy, sometimes smelly, and I normally have a headache by the time we sit down to a table, and that detracts from our meal.

Lunch at Work

A few times I’ve brought our lunch or we buy lunch in the cafeteria in my husband’s work building. I’ll drive over and meet him and we get 40 minutes or so of time together before I do errands or go home, and he goes back to doing his work. It’s a fun reprieve to the day and it means I get to see him again. We both look forward to those little meetings.

Just this week we did this, and enjoyed a short Defence choir concert following our lunch.

Breakfast together

I often don’t get up when he does, so he just kisses me when he leaves. But sometimes I’m awake enough to get up and see my husband off to work. I sometimes make breakfast for both of us, or just his, but it’s fun to have a few minutes together at the start of the day. Sometimes he makes breakfast for us both if I’m trying to get ready as well.

Early Pick-up

Sometimes Steven will arrange to leave work early, and since we have only one car, he takes the bus or rides his recumbent tricycle to work. So sometimes I meet him out front and we go do some shopping or errands together. I consider those events as dates since we are spending time together and enjoying each other’s company.

Projects around Home

We are renting so we can’t really do much to change the look of our home, but we do little projects together. The most recent is something Steven is designing that needed sewing. That meant either hurting his finger doing it by hand, or asking me to do it on my machine. It was bulky with a lot of material, so he held it over my shoulder while I sewed up the seams he needed. It was fun to work on it together.

Another project was his Christmas gift to me- a frame for a full length mirror. Once he had it built it sat in our room for many months, but just recently I got it painted and so it’s back in our room all completed. I wasn’t nearby as he built it, he did that in secret, but once he showed it to me, we finished it together.

We can have a great time just being near each other. Sometimes while he’s researching or designing something in CAD, I’ll try to hand sew or read or do something near him. We’re spending time with each other, and enjoying each other’s company. Isn’t that what people do when they go on dates?

Local Passes/Attractions

When we were engaged we bought a yearly pass to a local gardens called Cockington Green. It was cheaper to buy the pass than go just once. So we bought the pass, then proceeded to go once before we were married, then a few times more before it expired.

Often if a local place has a pass like that, it will be cheaper to buy the pass, so we sometimes consider that. That pass provided some discounted entries to other local attractions. One that was memorable was the zoo. We thought it would give a 10% discount, but the lady at the reception gave us free entry. We weren’t going to argue with her on that. We loved our visit. Especially the penguins.

There are hundreds of places in our city that have free entry, most have pay-parking though. Every so often we go to one of those or pay the fee to visit.

Special Events

On long-week-ends or special events we try to do things that we both enjoy. Most recently it was just do stuff at home. Steven always has something to read or design on the computer, and I often have house work (folding laundry… cooking, sewing or other creating projects.)

I mentioned this in another post that we went to see the inflating and flying of many hot air balloons. That was a very fun morning date.

A while back we stopped by our farmer’s market to pick up some items, and there was a man handing out free double passes to a circus. Once we looked at the fine print, there was a five dollar booking fee, but we didn’t mind that. The music got loud and I used earplugs for that, but all in all we enjoyed the performance of the “circus” and we were very pleased with the price.

Almost every week has a new expo at our local exhibition park. We only go occasionally, but those expos provide a fun outings as well.

Church Events

Our weekly drive to church and then to special meetings provides us with time to talk and opportunity to spend time together.

Double Dates

We haven’t been able to do this often, but occasionally we’ve gone somewhere with another couple, and just have a time of sharing and enjoying the company and outing.

On our recent trip to the states we had a “double date” with some friends. It was a great way to catch up with them. đŸ™‚

Gatherings with family

We get to spend time with each other when we go to family gatherings or events. We had a recent wedding and some parties, so those events provide us with time together.

We’ve also hosted his family a few times and Steven is a great help in preparing for visitors. He takes care of the floors, vacuuming and mopping for me and he also does other jobs to help out.

This may be a bit rambling, but my point is that everything I do with my husband, I consider that to be a special (date) time. Each is a moment to enjoy his company and strengthen our marriage. He is such a fun, amazing and talented person, that I really enjoy whatever we can do together.

Hope you are well, and there may have been an idea or two that you can use to make times with your spouse more special.


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