What are Some Affordable, Original Date Night Ideas?

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Answered by: Patrick, An Expert in the Building a Strong Marriage Category
It is often said that to keep your marriage strong, you should keep going out--especially once the kids are born. But once you have kids, going out means that you have to keep it wallet-friendly and rigidly timed, all without looking like a jerk to your significant other. So let's move beyond the movie theater. Here are five solid, affordable date night ideas that you can pull off close to (or at) home.

Idea #1: Browse Festivals

Cost: $40 or less

If you live in a city with harsh winters or otherwise poor weather, it is a fair bet that the good months--a.k.a May to November--are chock full of festivals. Some are music fests, some are food related (Restaurant Olympics, Chili Cook-Offs), some feature races like a 5K (Insane Inflatable 5K) or car shows. But the most expensive part is usually getting in. Beyond that, the two of you can hold hands and drift through the different acts and displays. And if you live in a college town, there is the extra benefit of having festivals or displays celebrating other cultures with food, music, and dancing.

Idea #2: Go Sample Local Spirits

Cost: $50 or less

Lots of people go to the bar. Or they go to wine tasting. Or to breweries. But the distillery is often overlooked. Yet this is the backbone of all those cocktails you or your partner always order, and distillery tours can be more intimate than wine tasting because you're looking at five other customers rather than 50. And the distillers love to show off, so brace yourself for gratuitous cocktails.

Idea #3: Go Watch Horrible Baseball

Cost: $50 or less

Going to see minor league baseball games is generally more fun than the big leagues. While the game may not be played as well, watching the game is maybe 10% of why someone is at the game in the first place. Tickets tend to be way more affordable--as little as $8 per person--and because the stadium is smaller, the view is usually better. Add in a hot dog cannon, strange and fun promotional evenings (bring your dog night, thirsty Thursday, etc.), and in-stadium gimmicks, a minor league ball game gives you and your partner three glorious, child-free hours to relax.

Idea #4: Paints and Wine

Cost: $70 or less

It's not easy getting through a date night without spending triple digits, let alone an original one. But Painting with a Twist offers that exact opportunity. It's a one-time art class, where you can paint with a glass of wine in one hand and a brush in the other. The company has studios in most states, and classes run an average of $35 per person. This makes it a convenient, affordable way to make fresh, fun memories with your partner.

Idea #5: The Romantic Dinner, Re-imagined

Cost: $40 or less

Send your significant other off to the in-laws (or the sitter) with the kids. While they're gone, spruce up the house a little bit. Sign up for a meal delivery service like Home Chef or Blue Apron--their first deliveries are usually free or deeply discounted. The best part? They come with all the ingredients perfectly measured and step-by-step instructions in how to cook. Either cook it while your partner is out or cook it together. Go to YouTube for the mood music and break out a good bottle of wine.

No one wants a stale relationship. However, these date night ideas can help you keep your marriage fresh and your social life more interesting. You don't have to spend big to win big on your date night.

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