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DH and I rarely get an evening to ourselves mainly because we feel strongly about paying our babysitter well and that adds up (family is not an option), but we try to get out 3, maybe 4 times a year. Problem is, we never know what to do with ourselves! After spending $40 on the babysitter, we don't really want to drop $40 on dinner because, before you know it, it's nearly a $100 evening. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/yikes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="EEK!"> So, what do you all do when you go out? Any ideas for us? The only criteria we have is that we do actually go out by ourselves -- no staying home and no friends' houses because this is our only alone time together -- and that it doesn't cost too much.
 

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I love free concert and shows in the park. Are there activities you like to do together? Skating, bowling? Picnics are fun, relatively cheap and very romantic.
 

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Maybe feed the whole fam early before the babysitter comes? That would save some. We do that occasionally. We also enjoy going to our local bookstore (sort of like Barnes and Noble) and finding some good mags and sitting for coffee in the cafe or just reading at a bench together. We even wander the mall people watching and holding hands. You guys could even pack a picnic and hang at a local park some evening. HTH! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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Our neighborhood and another nearby area has all kinds of free activities over the summer. Movies on big screens outside, free concerts, an antique market and farmer's market. Do you know if your neighborhood offers any free activities that you could take advantage of?<br><br>
I think the PP's had great ideas. Coffee and a bookstore, or just a walk around a lake or a trail. Picnics are definitely romantic!<br><br>
We live not too far away from some really cute mountain towns, and I love to take a drive to them and just walk around the town and explore the shops and get a coffee or ice cream cone.<br><br>
The library might even make a fun date! Dh and I were just chuckling the other night about how we used to go to the library as teens to "study" (translation: make out in a corner). <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/ROTFLMAO.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rotflmao">
 

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We hit up the $1 theater (now $3) and then the late night happy hour at a place with small plates during happy hour for $3. 2 plates, 2 drinks and the movie total $18, plus a tip so say $25 after tax and tip.<br><br>
Also flying kites on the beach and then spliting a nighttime picnic.<br><br>
Browsing the 99 cent racks at the CD store and each spending a few bucks on crazy, random CDs and then grabbing coffee and dessert.<br><br>
Going out to dinner (someplace not busy) and spliting a dinner (say $20 vs $40, drink water!)
 

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We go to the park and take a meal with us.<br><br>
We really like going to the library together also. We pick a topic we both like and go exploring. Well, we like it anyway!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>krisnic</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8124698"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Go to the beach to watch the sunset!</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:<br><br>
With a pint of ice cream and two spoons.
 

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have you googled Free things to do LA? Most museums have one night a month/week where they stay open later and are free so check that out. Some museums even do a movie night that is very inexpensive and then a talk afterward. When DP and I are broke and it's date night, we walk down and get a burrito, or ice cream. The walk part is the nice part, the food is optional.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>msjd123</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8123639"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">DH and I rarely get an evening to ourselves mainly because we feel strongly about paying our babysitter well and that adds up (family is not an option), but we try to get out 3, maybe 4 times a year. Problem is, we never know what to do with ourselves! After spending $40 on the babysitter, we don't really want to drop $40 on dinner because, before you know it, it's nearly a $100 evening. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/yikes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="EEK!"> So, what do you all do when you go out? Any ideas for us? The only criteria we have is that we do actually go out by ourselves -- no staying home and no friends' houses because this is our only alone time together -- and that it doesn't cost too much.</div>
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Well...during the summer months DH's income drops so our dates are *very* frugal.<br><br>
DS is our sitter, so we don't have to pay a sitter (one of the perks of spacing your kids 13 years apart). <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
We go to a local coffee shop that has live music. For the cost of a cup of coffee for DH and a cup of tea for me, we have an evening out to talk and listen to music. I think it usually runs under $5, unless we decide to eat dessert there, too. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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Sometimes I will feed the kids early and get them off to bed and then we can have a romantic dinner alone later on. We are usually quiet and the kids are asleep so its like we have "gone out to dinner" Since we are not paying a huge dinner bill, we can have a bottle of good wine or something else...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the great ideas! I've written them down so I can refer to them because I just know I'll forget a lot of these. I especially love the idea of watching the sunset with a pint of ice cream; our first kiss (many, many years ago, LOL!) was at the beach watching the sunset. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/innocent.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shy">
 

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Dh and I do our date "night" on Saterday afternoons. We almost always have a hike and a picknick. Some times a little woodland nookie.<br><br>
It's all free but the sitter.
 

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Can your babysitter watch the kid(s) at her place? Then you could...um...re-enact your honeymoon for a couple of hours. That's pretty frugal! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/duck.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Duck">: <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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This is a bit off topic, but could you look into starting a babysitting co-op? A friend of mine is in one, and you basically trade 1 night of watching some other family for one night out. I'm not sure of the exact details, but I'm sure if you googled "babysitting co-op" something would come up.<br><br>
As for date suggestions - DH and I enjoy evening concerts in the park in the summer. We can pack a picnic - it's fun!
 

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Back when Dh and I were both students, we'd:<br>
-Go for walks around the park<br>
-Catch a matinee movie (sneak our own snacks in)<br>
-Go for a hike around some local mountains<br>
-Take a drive to some exclusive ice-cream place<br>
-Go window shopping in the "rich" part of town<br>
-Go kite flying and bring a picnic lunch<br>
-Check out farmer's markets and craft fairs (this was totally my thing though)
 

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Our major cost-saver for dates is childcare swapping. We don't like the complications of an official coop, so found 1 other family that parents similar to us, as well as has the same aged kids. We drop kids off at 6:30 (already fed - or bringing food with), include a bag with jammies and toothbrushes. Come pick them up at 9:30 or 10:00 pm. Usually the kids are not asleep yet - but they do in the car <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> The kids also all have similar bedtimes, so around their actual bedtime (8:00), we get everyone in jammies, teeth brushed, etc. and put in a movie, spread sleeping bags and blankets and pillows all over the floor, turn the lights off, and watch the movie until the parents come <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
There ya go - free babysitting! We usually swap once a month.<br><br>
We have a dollar movie theater here that is in a pizza joint. So, we can go and watch a movie and drink a beer <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Good stuff!<br><br>
And, like a PP mentioned, sending the kids to someone else's house also has it's benefits - in that you've got the house to yourself!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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Happy hours with free food! I bet there are some around if you get to checking. We used to go to one at a Mexican place, the margaritas were $3, the designated driver got free soda, and there were free chips, queso, and salsa. There was another place that had free quesadillas.
 

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Not sure where you live (someone mentioned LA) or if this is even something you like, but we will look up wineries in the area and head out and wine taste. Sometimes there is a fee, but it's usually cheap and you can generally find places that taste for free. It's fun and you can pack a picnic and just hang out and talk.<br><br>
Also, and this is really really dorky, BevMo does wine tastings on weekends for free. It's silly and usually you end up buying something, but it's free entertainment.<br><br>
Dd is still pretty young so most of our dates are at home after she's asleep. Dinner in kind of thing. We like to have leisurely dinners, so we'll put on music and have cocktails and have a wonderful dinner. Sometimes it's expensive, but probably cheaper than a sitter and dinner out.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>maybemom05</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8142480"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">This is a bit off topic, but could you look into starting a babysitting co-op? A friend of mine is in one, and you basically trade 1 night of watching some other family for one night out. I'm not sure of the exact details, but I'm sure if you googled "babysitting co-op" something would come up.<br><br>
As for date suggestions - DH and I enjoy evening concerts in the park in the summer. We can pack a picnic - it's fun!</div>
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This was what I was thinking. Or, do you have a neighbor you could do favors for (shop, mow, etc)? We swap bbsitting on Sundays with our nextdoor neighbor. It works well.<br>
As for dates, dh and I love to go for just dessert at a little place that specializes in chocolate in a nearby town. We sit and enjoy a totally rich dessert (mmm, chocolate cheesecake...) and a couple of good javas...or, a bike ride or walk are great, too. Does it have to the evening? Weekends at the nearby farmer's market could be great, too. Ours has breakfast stuff, music, etc, and is loads of fun--very relaxing.<br>
For us, being able to talk or just look at eachother <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/loveeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Loveeyes">: is key--no movies for us...
 
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