Author Topic: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money  (Read 7940 times)

FarmFam

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Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« on: January 21, 2015, 12:18:58 PM »
I want to say thank you to those who replied to my other post about the TV.  I am have cut down my TV watching considerably.  Down to about 1 hour a week now, if that.  Don't miss it either.

But my DH and I both realized we weren't spending time with each other.  We are now trying, but getting out of the house to get away from our lovely kids is expensive.  We don't pay for babysitting, as the oldest is a teenager.  But we need some ideas.

What do you do for cheap dates or time out/alone?

mtn

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2015, 12:50:51 PM »
We used to go to the bar down the street that had $3 pitchers. Buy a pitcher and some cheese curds, watch the game, out of there with a $3 tip for about $12. Once a week, not bad. Cut the curds and you'd be at $5.
Ice skating in the winter, but we have skates and like to do that. 
Walks. Seems silly, but nice time spent together. Places to walk to, if you need a destination: Library, bar (see above), ice cream ($6 for a cheap date idea again), park, whatever.
Play music, or just dance in the house or find a dancing club.
Send the kids out, and cook and have a date in.

falcondisruptor

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2015, 12:56:10 PM »
For Christmas last year we gave each other 52 mini dates, one a week.  Something special we could do together after the Little Miss is asleep without spending much money or needed a babysitter.  Just doing something together besides watching tv was awesome.  I found I liked our competitions the best: paper airplanes, NHL 2014, board games.  There was also a lot of food/planning/you tube classing.  You don't need to spend a lot of money to get quality time together.

galliver

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2015, 01:42:35 PM »
My parents used to leave us at home and leave at 5AM to do at 20 mile hike out and back to some  hot springs! We also went hiking as a family, but we would not have made/enjoyed that one (even now, I look forward to doing that trail with my bf...as an overnight trip!)

Basically if you leave the (whiny) kids at home you can tackle a much more substantial physical challenge, of whatever variety you prefer: hiking, biking, skiing, running, etc. Even if it's not free, starting a class or other regular activity might be worth it: ballroom or latin dance, rock climbing, martial arts, yoga, zumba...your local park district or community college might have some on the cheap!

You could also keep an eye out for free days at art museum(s), cheap theater tickets (the big theaters/shows will be expensive but community theaters, high school or college shows, and improv groups are cheaper). Colleges might also have events open to the general public (I grew up near Stanford and they had pipe organ concerts. The campus I'm grad-student-ing at now routinely hosts a number of shows/events in the auditorium; some are world-famous groups at a steep discount, even to the public). I was going to add discount/indie movie theaters, but if you're avoiding TV-watching, that's probably not the best idea!

2ndTimer

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2015, 01:46:05 PM »
Our favorite is pack some sandwiches, make a thermos of coffee and get on the bikes.

sunshine

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2015, 01:53:15 PM »
We have lots of free musical and cultural events in the area. We fish, we used to hike. We camp. We hit the $3 movie theatre. We rent a redbox and hide out. We have a membership to the museum. We hit the beach in warm weather. If you really start looking there are usually lots of free or cheap events to attend.

MrsGreenPear

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2015, 02:12:11 PM »
We also do a lot of hiking, walking, and in the winter we go snowshoeing (not free unless you already have shoes though). There are a lot of trails, parks, and water near us so we are lucky to have access to a lot of free places to be in nature. There are free Fridays at some of our local museums and art galleries. We also play board and card games a lot (either ourselves or with some other people).

ysette9

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2015, 02:59:52 PM »
I'm thinking about what my husband and I most enjoy doing together, and most of them are pretty close to free:
Board games (good ones like Catan, Dominion, etc. not Monopoly)
Hiking
Walking around the neighborhood
Hanging out at the beach (walking/surfing)

We love being outside but we also live in a part of the country where it is almost perfect out weather-wise year-round. Depending on where you live you may need to look into more indoor options.

Retired To Win

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2015, 06:15:32 AM »
My avatar is a big hint that hiking is one of our shared activities.  Other no-cost or low-cost activities we share include watching favorite movies and shows on DVDs borrowed from the library, attending free or low-cost concerts and plays at local college and community theatres, going for country road drives, doing DIY home projects, cooking special meals, and participating in volunteer projects and clubs.

When you take all of those together, we do at least 3 or 4 shared activities each week.

(Now that I've written all of this down, it doesn't sound too bad.  Thanks for getting me to think about it!)

cjottawa

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2015, 06:31:40 AM »
Tabletop (aka "board") games!
Picnic lunch/dinner within walking distance. (if you have a park nearby - obviously doesn't work well in winter)

These do cost money but not a lot:
Thrift shops.
Classes (photography, pottery, painting/drawing, woodworking...whatever suits you).
Museums! Find one that interests you. Rochester has something called "The Museum of Play" I've heard good things about, even for adults. (not that you're in Rochester, just pointing out a more unconventional museum)
Cultural exhibits (pottery, art, design, antique shows)
Antiquing - don't need to buy anything but get ideas for design and decor. I've seen some wacky old design items that gave me ideas for my home.

lifejoy

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2015, 06:32:22 AM »
-have a cup of tea and share a New Yorker article
-go out for dinner but share just one appetizer or dessert
-rent books or movies from the library
-cook a new recipe together
-do a gym free trial


RunHappy

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2015, 07:06:15 AM »
Hike/Snowshoe
Movies
Workout
Puzzles (I like this more than my SO)
Go for drives
We both like carpentry (although we are currently in a rental).

Skipper

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2015, 07:44:10 AM »
My boyfriend and I are prop spinners. Once you've got a prop - and you can make your own pretty cheaply - the entertainment is all free, all the time. Do a YouTube search for "contact staff" or "poi spinning" to see what I mean. It's good for your body and your mind, too!

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2015, 07:56:26 AM »
We walk our dogs together for quality time. If you don't have dogs you could just walk yourselves :) It's nice to get out of the house and have nothing to do but talk to each other.

Bob W

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2015, 08:20:59 AM »
According to Willard Harley in "His Needs Her Needs"  a couple needs at least 20 hours per week of uninterrupted time together to be in love.  That means no kids.   He refers to it as putting deposits in the "love bank."

With that in mind map out your week maybe something like this --

5:30 - 7:00 weekdays -  exercise time -  walk,  bike,  workout videos,  yoga,  taichi etc...
Weeknights -  Kids must be in bed lights out no later that 8:30 (hard with a teen, so maybe quiet time for study in room, no texting allowed?).   So from 8:30 to 10:00 is fun time -- massages,  read together,  games,  budget, plan,  watch movies,  etc..

So that is 15 hours of together time.   On weekends block out at least 3-4 hours of together time.  If you maintain the rise at 5:30 schedule the kids will probably sleep in.   

As far as cheap dates -- we do a Mexican restaurant a couple of times per month while our kiddo is in church group.   We always have a coupon so with tip it is $10.

I also concur with thrift store shopping.   We also win movie passes on the radio.   We also have a date night almost every Saturday or Friday where we have a few cheap drinks at home and listen to the radio.  Often we do this on the back deck with the fire pit going.   Sometimes we dance and get silly.   So maybe we spend $5 on drinks.

You could also enroll in classes together or if you have skills to share start a class to instruct others. 

The most important thing is the time factor.  It must be a minimum of 20 hours.  Check out Harley's marriage builders web site at http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi6020_needs.html.

I think most Mustachians will like his "Love Bank" concept and how making planned and regular deposits without making withdrawals can lead to a lifetime of marital bliss.  Very MMM concept.   Love bank deposits are free generally. 

RapmasterD

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2015, 06:36:32 PM »
Disgusting and awful sex between two consenting adults.

FarmFam

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2015, 10:40:47 AM »
Thank you everyone for your suggestions.  They are all great, especially RapmasterD's!!!

We are actually following Willard Harley in "His Needs Her Needs" to help improve our relationship.  It has been difficult to find the hours to make our 20.  Bob's schedule was very helpful in giving us ideas on how we can achieve it.

We used to do a lot of fishing and hiking when we dated but haven't really done it since we have been married.  I would love to start doing it again.

Thanks!!!


Dee18

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2015, 10:59:24 AM »
My SO and I have begun volunteering to help with events to go for free. A couple examples:work a theatre ticket booth for 6 hours together in exchange for a weekend pass to a city wide film festival (and 2 tshirts and a canvas tote bag) and "house sit" a loft on a home tour for two hours in exchange for $20 passes to do the tour ourselves.  Also volunteered to usher for the symphony but decided one season of that was enough; I prefer the "one shot" volunteer slots.

These may require more time than you can squeeze in with the kids right now!

RapmasterD

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2015, 03:05:17 PM »
Our therapist just told us we need to spend 20 hours per week with Bob W.

Could get a bit creepy.

LucyBIT

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2015, 04:51:45 PM »
My husband and I don't have kids, so we're way ahead of the 20-hrs/week, but we're working on the cheap thing. We cook dinner together a lot and play cribbage while it's cooking. We have a lot of other board games, too, like Ticket to Ride, Dominion, Pandemic, etc. We also have an expansion for Settlers of Catan that allows a 2-player game.

Sometimes we just sit on the couch and talk with kitties on our laps.

We started going to our local community rec center for basketball, raquetball, speed bag, running, etc. This fall we went to a few high school football games, it's only $6/adult for live sports! Probably going to hit up a few basketball games at the high school down the street soon.

Lately we've been going for walks in the evening, just around our neighborhood. It's cold, but that's half the fun--we're walking around in the cold like badasses, without a dog (I've never seen anyone else on these walks that wasn't walking a dog), and we pass all the houses with flickering blue TV lights and feel superior :D MMM wrote about this a while ago, can't recall which post it was though. Cold air gets your blood going and makes you feel alive.

This weekend we're going to a local botanic gardens with free admission. I've just started looking around online for community calendars, it can be a little bit hard if you don't know what you're looking for, but if you just keep googling "free activities + [city]" or some variation thereof, sites will start popping up and you can dig deeper from there.

MBot

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #20 on: January 23, 2015, 09:39:45 PM »
A new cheap date night we like - we live on the upper Michigan/Canada border, and golf is cheap during the summer.

Our local sports shop (Sport Chek) has a "Nevada Bob's Golf" section with a golf simulator. Basically a 20x40 room you can book to yourself. You hit their practice balls into a net and it tracks your swing angle, speed, etc. You can use their clubs, but if you damage them you buy them.

So we just bring a few of ours and hit balls for an hour for $10. But they usually charge for just a half hour, which is even better. $5 and exercise and skill development in the winter!

Zamboni

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2015, 09:56:10 PM »
Disgusting and awful sex between two consenting adults.

This, except make it fantabulous and Earth shattering sex.  In the car, if necessary.  Or the back of the van!  best reason ever to own a non-mustachian vehicle!

amyable

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2015, 07:24:32 AM »
Cheap, but not free, ideas:
-Have a picnic in the park
-Frozen Yogurt (about $6 at our place)
-Coffee and a walk in the park
-Cook something adventurous together
-Go camping / hiking
-Happy hour
-Walk around the farmer's market with a coffee

And, because I'm from Texas:
-High school football game - pretty much the biggest community event we have where I live.  Bring coffee and a blanket.
-Tacos - this is actually my favorite.  A meal of tacos and cervezas mexicanas for two should not cost more than $10.  Best cheap date ever!


CU Tiger

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2015, 08:19:08 AM »
Thank you everyone for your suggestions.  They are all great, especially RapmasterD's!!!

We are actually following Willard Harley in "His Needs Her Needs" to help improve our relationship.  It has been difficult to find the hours to make our 20.  Bob's schedule was very helpful in giving us ideas on how we can achieve it.

We used to do a lot of fishing and hiking when we dated but haven't really done it since we have been married.  I would love to start doing it again.

Thanks!!!

I'd make the effort to start fishing and hiking together then! If those were things you did when you were falling in love, I think they will be things that automatically feel closer, help you get back in touch with that couple that was experiencing those wonderful liminal feelings of "wow, I really like being with this person!"

Sounds like you like outdoor activities, so why not do something together like learn a new physical skill, like skating, or kayaking, or training for a race? Fitness and togetherness!

mm1970

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2015, 05:12:36 PM »
According to Willard Harley in "His Needs Her Needs"  a couple needs at least 20 hours per week of uninterrupted time together to be in love.  That means no kids.   He refers to it as putting deposits in the "love bank."

With that in mind map out your week maybe something like this --

5:30 - 7:00 weekdays -  exercise time -  walk,  bike,  workout videos,  yoga,  taichi etc...
Weeknights -  Kids must be in bed lights out no later that 8:30 (hard with a teen, so maybe quiet time for study in room, no texting allowed?).   So from 8:30 to 10:00 is fun time -- massages,  read together,  games,  budget, plan,  watch movies,  etc..

So that is 15 hours of together time.   On weekends block out at least 3-4 hours of together time.  If you maintain the rise at 5:30 schedule the kids will probably sleep in.   

As far as cheap dates -- we do a Mexican restaurant a couple of times per month while our kiddo is in church group.   We always have a coupon so with tip it is $10.

I also concur with thrift store shopping.   We also win movie passes on the radio.   We also have a date night almost every Saturday or Friday where we have a few cheap drinks at home and listen to the radio.  Often we do this on the back deck with the fire pit going.   Sometimes we dance and get silly.   So maybe we spend $5 on drinks.

You could also enroll in classes together or if you have skills to share start a class to instruct others. 

The most important thing is the time factor.  It must be a minimum of 20 hours.  Check out Harley's marriage builders web site at http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi6020_needs.html.

I think most Mustachians will like his "Love Bank" concept and how making planned and regular deposits without making withdrawals can lead to a lifetime of marital bliss.  Very MMM concept.   Love bank deposits are free generally.
I think we get 20 minutes.  But hey, maybe we front-loaded in the 10 years before kids and we can back-load when they are out?

RichWard

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #25 on: January 24, 2015, 09:26:45 PM »
We play a competitive card game (a version of two player solitaire) that keeps us entertained quite often. We're both competitive so some times it gets a bit heated, but we laugh it off when we're done. Board games/card games are likely the cheapest way to hang out while getting a mental exercise. Additionally, you can always invite over others to participate rather than going out for drinks/dinner.

Bike rides, walking the neighborhood, and hiking at state parks are our more seasonal activities.


rocksinmyhead

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #26 on: January 26, 2015, 08:25:45 AM »
My SO and I have begun volunteering to help with events to go for free. A couple examples:work a theatre ticket booth for 6 hours together in exchange for a weekend pass to a city wide film festival (and 2 tshirts and a canvas tote bag) and "house sit" a loft on a home tour for two hours in exchange for $20 passes to do the tour ourselves.  Also volunteered to usher for the symphony but decided one season of that was enough; I prefer the "one shot" volunteer slots.

These may require more time than you can squeeze in with the kids right now!

oh yeah, this is an awesome idea. we volunteered to pour beer for a local brewery at our city's Oktoberfest this year. in exchange we got free admission for the rest of the night (our shift was 3-7), a free sandwich, and a free beer. and it was fun!

Happy Little Chipmunk

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #27 on: January 26, 2015, 08:41:15 AM »
For Christmas, I bought some Thai Massage lessons for us. So there's an upfront price, but the long term dividends are excellent. And the "homework" is pretty fun too!

Massage is great for the aging body! And Thai is easier on the "giver" than many other styles.

We also love biking together to do errands; somehow that always makes running errands more of an adventure! New things done together = enhanced appreciation for each other.

onemorebike

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Re: Ideas for Spending Time with Spouse without Spending Money
« Reply #28 on: January 26, 2015, 09:32:34 AM »
We also love biking together to do errands; somehow that always makes running errands more of an adventure! New things done together = enhanced appreciation for each other.

+1 on bike adventures. This past weekend my wife and I were riding to a party across town, got a little lost and ended up all over the place. She commented that she thought it was awesome that we were 38 and were totally comfortable with getting lost on our bikes. It hadn't even occurred to me, but it was a grand mini-adventure that cost nothing but a little humble pie. :)