Five Frugal Things – Date Night Edition

by Katy on November 5, 2017 · 74 comments

Now that our sons are both in college, my husband and I have a lot more time to hang out with each other. It’s still a bit odd, but we’re starting to get into a groove. My husband volunteered to teach CPR during the day, and I texted him suggesting that we “do something nice tonight.” Mind you, my idea of “something nice” is still going to be 97.2% more frugal than other people’s idea of an ideal date night. (Then again, I’ve never aspired to be like “other people.”)

Here’s what we did:

  1. I gave my husband a few options of where to go to dinner, as he’s not very good at coming up with ideas. He immediately jumped at the suggestion of a nearby brewpub, as that’s A) his favorite category of restaurant, and B) my least favorite category. After all, isn’t marriage about compromise. (I’m not a drinker and get annoyed by menus that are 90% burgers.) Because we dined early, we were able to order from the discounted happy hour menu, which pleased us both as my husband could order a plate of fish and chips and I could choose yummy fish tacos. Win-win! Even with my husband ordering a pint of porter, our bill only came to $22 with tip.

  2. Our next stop in Operation Something Nice was to treat ourselves to fancy coffees as my husband had earned a free Starbucks drink. He buys those big vats of Starbucks coffee for his CPR classes, which occasionally add up to free drinks. But first we stopped at home for travel mugs as I’m trying to hold myself to a zero waste standard whenever possible. We ordered the largest Venti size and had the barista split a mocha into our two mugs, and then sat to leisurely drink our coffees before our next activity. Photographic proof HERE.

  3. Brace yourself, as this is when things get exciting. We stopped into Trader Joe’s to buy 19¢ bananas, as it was almost next door. Of course I chose the biggest bananas, as they’re priced per unit instead of per pound. (Hey, what can I say? Going on a date with me is always going to veer towards the practical.)

  4. We then drove over to my favorite second run theater for a 6:45 showing of The Big Sick. It wasn’t my husband’s first choice, but as I’ve already clarified, marriage is about compromise. The tickets were $4 apiece, and the two of us walked right past the concession stand despite the alluring aroma of hot buttered popcorn. I normally have 2-for-1 coupons for this theater, but they wouldn’t have been valid on a Saturday night anyway. The movie was great, and I even ran into an old friend for bonus enjoyment.

  5. Our post-adventure evening featured the two of us goofing around on the internet in front of Star Trek:The Next Generation reruns. And about halfway into Darmok and Jalad at Tenagra I jumped up to make some hot buttered popcorn as I felt we deserved one last tasty treat. Dare I say it? A extremely frugal treat.

Total cost of the evening? $30, plus around 70¢ in change that I put into the tip box at Starbucks.

Now your turn. Do you and your loved one enjoy date nights that don’t break the bank? Please share in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen from California November 5, 2017 at 11:01 am

I love your date night! And the compromises! And the frugalness of it all, no waste, and the Starbucks tip as I am frugal, too, but always a good tipper. Because not tipping well is just plain cheap. My kids are 12,14, 17 and so you are a bit ahead of us with the kids all out of the house. Sometimes I wonder what we will do with them all gone so I am happy to see your dates and what you are doing with all of your ‘free’ time.


Jill November 5, 2017 at 11:07 am

We’ve been empty nesters for 2 years now and have become quite spoiled. But sometimes we have my 89 year old mom or my husband’s buddy – who is going through a divorce and is quite lonely – so we don’t always have time to ourselves. His friend was here this weekend and bought us pizza though and helps my husband with projects so it really works out well! Date nights are the best – especially frugal ones.


Jill A November 5, 2017 at 11:24 am

1. My husband’s shoes for work are wearing thin on the soles. He took them to a shoe repair to have the soles replaced. He’ll wear an old pair until they are finished.
2. My husband bought a special air purifier from a vendor at cost. It connects into the ductwork of our furnace. He installed it himself. He had to buy a special hole saw but still it is cheaper than having it installed by someone else.
3. My daughter has been missing our dogs. They passed away a few years ago. We are avoiding pet ownership at this point. Today we went to the SPCA and volunteered to walk dogs. My daughter got her dog fix and it cost us nothing.
4. I went with my Mother and some friends to a small Amish community yesterday. I drove my hybrid to save on gas and they bought my lunch. We spent most of our time in a bulk grocery store which has great prices on expired and ready to expire items. I spent about $10 on two bags of groceries.
5. I picked up bags of salt for our water softener. I used to have it delivered but it was quite a bit more expensive. I have to carry it downstairs myself or my husband does and put it into the bin but it’s good exercise.


Angela @ Tread Lightly, Retire Early November 5, 2017 at 11:58 am

I will never, ever walk past movie theater popcorn. When we lived in South Carolina, we would go to the theater just to buy some ($4 for a large!) and not stay for a movie 😉

There are also breweries around here that have free popcorn. Schooner (6oz) size for $3 each plus popcorn is my kind of date.


susanna d November 5, 2017 at 12:13 pm

We’re empty nesters too – 13 years and counting!

My favorite date is a hiking date – there are so many great trails nearby – and by nearby, I mean my ideal “date” costs a gallon of gasoline or two at the most to get there; often less. Of course, our hiking dates aren’t usually date “nights” – hiking in the woods in the dark could present too many obstacles (literally, as in obstacles to crash into) – and encounters with wildlife that I’d rather not…encounter in the dark. Most of the trails are free, although we are big supporters of our favorite nearby trails so we do spend money on donations. I consider membership /donations in the trail foundation to be money very well spent.

Another of our cheap dates is Costco. We love looking around at everything while only purchasing what we came for. If an we see interesting food samples – not all of them, but ones we really want to try – those become the “appetizers” or “desserts” for our date meal. The date meal, of course, being the $1.50 hot dog and drink meal.

Once again, the above mentioned date is usually a daytime one. We’re both natural earlybirds. Our nighttime dates usually involve sitting out on our pier on warm evenings, enjoying some sort of beverage, each others company, and pretty spectacular sunsets.


Jill A November 5, 2017 at 12:52 pm

We also go to Costco and get the cheap hot dog and drink for lunch and call it a date. You can’t beat it.


Katy November 5, 2017 at 1:16 pm

Yeah, we’ve definitely had that date before!


Jennifer November 5, 2017 at 2:20 pm

My husband and I take the kids to McDonald’s sometimes on a Friday night and order the 3 for $1 chocolate chip cookies, they are really good, and let our kids play in the germ pit they call the play place. It’s about as good a date as I can think of with kids in tow.


Bee November 5, 2017 at 3:33 pm

My Dear Husband and I had date night at the beach on Saturday evening. He brought his fishing pole and went surf fishing. He caught two large whiting (white fish) that he gave to another gentleman who was fishing with his 4 children. We watched the full moon rise over the ocean and headed home for a simple dinner. It was the perfect night after a stressful week for him. Compromise. 🙂


KJD509 November 5, 2017 at 3:12 pm

Recently caught a ride home with a coworker who said, “you don’t mind if we stop at Costco on the way, do you?” Of course not, and I had my own list so it was perfect. But . . . it also felt weirdly like infidelity to be at Costco with a guy who wasn’t my hubs. We each had our own baskets! No funny business, I swear.

So yeah, I guess Costco counts as a date, even if I hadn’t realized it until I was, um, cheating.


Alexandra November 6, 2017 at 3:46 pm



Katy November 6, 2017 at 4:31 pm

It was actually Springfield, Ohio.


Colleen pease November 5, 2017 at 3:32 pm

My husband and I joined the senior center near us. They have wonderful live music and dancing from 10:00 am to noon and a nutritious lunch for $3.00. This is on monday, Thursday and Friday so we have dates three times a week. There are often 10-14 musicians in the band playing western swing and old time rock and roll. There is a wonderful thrift shop also.
Our entire date with a band top runs 10-11 dollars. Plus we don’t have to drive in the dark and everyone there is so wonderfully accepting of others disabilities or situations. Needless to say, we both love ut


ouvickie November 7, 2017 at 9:34 am

That’s awesome. What frugal fun!!


Connie B November 6, 2017 at 4:08 am

Most of our date “days” are spent geocaching. My knees won’t really take any serious hikes, but thoughtful geocachers usually take us to new and beautiful spots. My husband is much better at actually finding the caches – I’m generally just going on and on about whatever birds or trees are around!


Mand01 November 5, 2017 at 12:14 pm

We have two kids at home still. Our youngest is fine to stay home alone but our eldest is autistic and can’t stay home alone at all. It’s hard for us to get babysitters for her. So we have started At Home Date Nights. Every Saturday night is date night. We feed the kids early. Then we either order something (rarely) or cook something special (mostly). Last weekend we cooked lamb steaks with mushrooms and sticky fig syrup, steamed asparagus and garlic bread. I bought us some nice chocolate for dessert. We usually watch a movie on Netflix or from the library- last week it was X-men Apocalypse. The kids know that once date night starts they have to make themselves scarce. Our eldest struggled with it for a while but she understands now.


Cb November 5, 2017 at 12:54 pm

Thanks for sharing. Our only child is autistic. He can stay by himself for a while, but I feel bad going on a date with my husband when our son doesn’t have friends to go out with. We need to start a date night at home!


Mand01 November 5, 2017 at 4:41 pm

Keeping your relationship together is important too.
I understand what you mean about his social life. My daughter doesn’t have that kind of social life either. Previously she didn’t mind but lately she has said she wants some friends. We have found a social group for young people with autism that we are going to try. Hopefully that might help her to connect with others.


Ruby November 5, 2017 at 12:20 pm

My workweeks used to end on Thursdays, so the Mister and I set that night as Cheap Date Night years ago. We still go out on most Thursdays and get beer and tacos for under 20 bucks. It is great to spend time talking to him without interruption from dogs or kids.


A. Marie November 5, 2017 at 12:26 pm

DH and I are no-nesters (no kids, by both choice and chance). But, thank goodness, we still enjoy each other’s company after 38 years of legal hitchitude (as of Oct. 30) and almost 40 years of total togetherness (it will be 40 as of next March 10).

Given DH’s increasing cognitive limitations, travel is pretty well out of the picture, and given my reluctance to drive anywhere after dark as old-age vision sets in, conventional movie nights are out. But our “date nights” seem to have become Saturday mornings. We generally start out with a thorough ramble through our Regional Market, and then proceed to the library book sale, rummage sale, charity chicken BBQ, or other frugal event of our choice that day. As Mand is doing in another way, we’re trying to work good times into our current limitations.


ouvickie November 7, 2017 at 11:37 am

Congratulations on 38 years of hitchitude and 40 years of togetherness. That’s an accomplishment in this day and age!


Teddie November 5, 2017 at 12:26 pm

1. Did my CVs shopping this morning ~ the only time I have been out of the house since my crash and burn last Tuesday except to go to the dr. and have x-rays. (Nothing broken ~ just a severe muscle and tissue injury.) I went alone and enjoyed just getting out of the house. With manufacturer coupons, CVS coupons, and ECBs saved 59%!!
2. This morning I baked a cake and actually made dinner ~ with ingredients I had on hand. Good to be back in the kitchen…
3. Did a phone call on Friday for Mystery Shopper. Made it while sitting in bed with my heating pad.
4. Read 2 free books on my PC using Amazon Prime. I think I am going to keep AP.
5. Staying home and shined my frugal crown.


Teddie November 5, 2017 at 12:45 pm

I forgot ~ I made my Swagbucks goals for 4 consecutive days. Woo Hoo


Bee November 5, 2017 at 3:37 pm

I am glad things we’re not serious. I hope you are back to yourself soon.


Bee November 5, 2017 at 3:41 pm

Ugh! Were not we’re. Auto correct strikes again.


Teddie November 5, 2017 at 5:13 pm

Thanks ~ feeling better today…


ouvickie November 7, 2017 at 11:44 am

I’m glad you’re doing better. OUCH!
#4 – I have Amazon Prime and I love it. So many benefits for the subscription price. I use when I order so any purchase I make automatically benefits my favorite charity.


Kelly November 5, 2017 at 12:29 pm

Empty nesters for about 9 years. Our dates are usually free. A trip to the library where we sit in the beautiful quiet room and read the most current magazines. Or a walk with our dogs. Or we make a homemade pizza and eat in front of the tv and watch a Netflix movie. Today was church together and leftovers eaten in the front room with a fire in the fireplace.


Cindi November 5, 2017 at 12:39 pm

I’m another person whose favorite dates are hiking dates — pack a picnic lunch and head to the mountains.

However, Friday night we are going out to the local theatre to see a play. $15 each tickets purchased in advance. The local community theatre puts on some great productions. It’s a small venue, so every seat in the house is a good one. We’ll eat dinner at home first and park in a free lot — so $30 total (maybe $35 if hubby has a beer.


Katy November 5, 2017 at 1:17 pm

I like hiking, but not in the rain, which is around 8 months of the year here in Portland.


Kim Davison November 5, 2017 at 1:07 pm

I am sans a loved one, but my best friends and I take part in a Team Trivia league, and for the price of a beer or some other beverage or snack, I get to have fun with my friends for a few hours. Some games, I even just ask for water. And, we are pretty good, so we win gift cards for the bars, which we redeem from time to time.


Linda @ A La Carte November 5, 2017 at 1:33 pm

My friend and I like to make a thermos of coffee and go for a drive in the mountains. We love thrift shopping and stopping somewhere with a pretty view to enjoy coffee and conversation! VERY frugal!


Marcia November 5, 2017 at 1:45 pm

We have been empty nesters for 20 years this go -around. (Daughter got separated when DGD was very young (a few months) and lived with us until she started school. It was the only way she could–financially– be a sahm which she really wanted to do.) We loved it!! When DGD was in school, DD went back to work full time and moved a whole 2 miles away, where she still lives today with her second husband. It took her about 4 years to find him. Our date nights are often a ride to a restaurant, usually an inexpensive one because husband prefers casual. Sometimes we walk around some store we’ve wanted to check out. We don’t go to movies much because the nearest one is 45 minutes each way. We do Netflix instead , or streaming. Sometimes we make popcorn, or make ice cream cones. Family outings for birthday parties and the like are good nights out too. We are in our mid-70’s and pretty content to stay home on weekends especially. We like to go out when it’s less crowded. We eat low salt so that’s why we limit our meals out to once a week, most of the time. Sometimes we meet friends at a restaurant but our friends are diminishing due to moving away to warmer places. Sometimes we meet for lunch, sometimes for dinner. It doesn’t sound too exciting when I put it down in words, but we live a full life at home with books, a smart TV, streaming and satellite TV. We could entertain ourselves 24 hours a day but have to sleep part of the time. And I enjoy cooking, so it’s ok to only eat out once a week.


Vickey November 19, 2017 at 8:02 am

Marcia, that finding contentment in relatively simple pleasures is key to frugal success. And the satisfaction is much more enduring than expensive thrills that fade as soon as the adrenaline subsides. Good on ya! 🙂


MommaL November 5, 2017 at 1:47 pm

We are fortunate that I got a job near the ocean about 9 years ago. So our date nights, when its nice weather, is to pack a cooler and sit on the beach to watch the sun go down. Some of the beach accesses are near bars that have outdoor music, so we can hear it. We used to climb the lifeguard chairs and sit, but that’s not as easy as it used to be!
One day, I looked up all of the little out of the way historical places nearby and we went to see them. DH loves history.
Yesterday, DH said, very proudly (he’s not usually a planner) that he had set u the hammock in the backyard so we could look at the stars one night soon.
We are empty nesters too…of a blended household.


Jennifer November 5, 2017 at 2:08 pm

My dh and I had our first date at Starbucks. So now we go out on a date every week to Starbucks. Costs around $5-7 depending on what we order. But pretty cheap for an hour or so away from the kids and the house.


Jennifer November 5, 2017 at 2:13 pm

1. My middle daughter got a coupon for $3 off any purchase at ToysRus for being a birthday club member. ToysRus has a shelf up front that has only $3 items so I always let her go pick out a $3 toy as part of her birthday adventures.
2. I found a small slab of quartz in a junk pile near our store. I brought it home and cleaned it up to use as a cutting board or for a cheese/cracker/fruit tray
3. The dryer that I took to my daughter’s house blew a fuse. My husband cleaned out what caused it to overheat and blow the fuse. I contacted my friend that owns an appliance repair shop and she gave me the fuse for free! She is a good friend and we trade out things pretty often. This dryer is not new so parts are becoming scarce.
4. I am continuing to slowly get my kitchen cabinets painted. I got a good deal on some subway tile with all I need to do the job to put a nice backsplash above my new faux granite countertops and the stove when I finish the cabinets, that is. I picked out a very basic subway tile. The material to do the whole job was only $54. I’ve said here before, that a friend is getting a renovation in his home that cost $55,000. I went to look at his cabinets today. While his cabinets look beautiful, mine look pretty darn good, too. I spent a lot of extra time and care making sure I cleaned and sanded them well before painting. I also scrubbed the hardware with steel wool instead of buying new and they look so nice. The reason it’s taking me so long to get them painted is I’m only doing a few cabinets at a time as opposed to doing the whole job in a weekend. I get sloppy when I try to hurry so this allows me to focus on only 2-3 cabinets doors at a time. Since they are pretty old, they need a lot of attention.
5. I stayed home last night working on the above cabinets instead of going to the local auction so no money was spent.


Bee November 6, 2017 at 2:04 am

It is wonderful that you are redoing your cabinets. I had on HGTV at the gym and the Property Brothers were redoing a kitchen on the show, Buying and Selling. I was horrified to see them destroy wood cabinets that were a modern style and in good condition. They replaced the cabinets with white ones. Meanwhile, the homeowners were concerned about costs. Ugh! So wasteful.


Jennifer November 6, 2017 at 5:27 am

I know, those shows are painful to watch for me. I literally cringe when they “demo” perfectly good, well-made cabinets. New is not always better. My cost is a $30 can of paint, primer, and lots of elbow grease, lol. The new cabinets they are putting in houses now are usually fabricated wood. Kinda sad, really.


ouvickie November 7, 2017 at 12:12 pm

That’s what I want to do – redo my cabinets by painting them and adding some hardware!
I’m trying update my kitchen the frugal way. I found some cute french country print curtains on Amazon for $8 – my old curtains were probably more than 15 years old. I’ve replaced a few of my old, small appliances with red one, so they match my kitchen colors.


Amanda S November 5, 2017 at 2:15 pm

We love playing Scrabble! Whip up a quick dinner and some hot chocolate and we can be there for hours. We love that we still get to have fun and spend time with one another while not really spending any money. We are always working so actually getting to spend together is a treat!


Sandra November 5, 2017 at 3:06 pm

1. Go play cards at our club.
2. Happy Hour + 2 drinks+2 appetizers = dinner date.
3. Have friends over to share dinner and watch a movie.
4. Pick-up Shrimp Cocktails and watch sunset at the river.
5. Special dinner at home and a board game.


Lisa W. November 5, 2017 at 3:13 pm

I remember when your dates were hitchhiking to Springfield.


Katy November 5, 2017 at 4:12 pm

Ah yes, the Springfield mall!


Alexandra November 6, 2017 at 3:52 pm

we moved to Springfield VA in 1976 when I was 11. The Springfield mall was impressive as hell! I see it went downhill the last time I was in the area. it is being torn down?


KJD509 November 5, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Favorite date is a long walk to a brewpub. Hubs brews his own beer but loves to support local brewers as well. I’m not a huge fan, but a pint sure tastes good after a long walk, so this way we’re both happy. Except that for a solid year, every time we set out toward a pub – no matter the weather when we left – it would be pouring by the time we got there. We had some good laughs.

For the past 6 years we’ve had one teenager or another at home who could pick us up, should we accidentally overdo either the walking or the after-beverage, but just now all the drivers are away at school or work and Littlest is five years away from drivers ed, alas. Plus it’s no fun for her to be left home alone. We’ve been missing that time together – will have to think of another way to fit in a few dates.


Diane November 5, 2017 at 3:30 pm

I am single, but am thinking of a free treat for my adult granddaughter’s birthday this coming week. I have a coupon for free Baskin Rabbins ice cream and I thought we could tour our new state of the art central library that just opened. It feels like a fine hotel with urban comfortable seating, a rooftop garden and of course books galore.


Jennifer November 5, 2017 at 3:41 pm

I’m hoping this isn’t a duplicate post because something weird happened when I sent it the first time.
1. My middle daughter got a coupon for $3 off any purchase at ToysRus for being a birthday club member. ToysRus has a shelf up front that has only $3 items so I always let her go pick out a $3 toy as part of her birthday adventures.
2. I found a small slab of quartz in a junk pile near our store. I brought it home and cleaned it up to use as a cutting board or for a cheese/cracker/fruit tray
3. The dryer that I took to my daughter’s house blew a fuse. My husband cleaned out what caused it to overheat and blow the fuse. I contacted my friend that owns an appliance repair shop and she gave me the fuse for free! She is a good friend and we trade out things pretty often. This dryer is not new so parts are becoming scarce.
4. I am continuing to slowly get my kitchen cabinets painted. I got a good deal on some subway tile with all I need to do the job to put a nice backsplash above my new faux granite countertops and the stove when I finish the cabinets, that is. I picked out a very basic subway tile. The material to do the whole job was only $54. I’ve said here before, that a friend is getting a renovation in his home that cost $55,000. I went to look at his cabinets today. While his cabinets look beautiful, mine look pretty darn good, too. I spent a lot of extra time and care making sure I cleaned and sanded them well before painting. I also scrubbed the hardware with steel wool instead of buying new and they look so nice. The reason it’s taking me so long to get them painted is I’m only doing a few cabinets at a time as opposed to doing the whole job in a weekend. I get sloppy when I try to hurry so this allows me to focus on only 2-3 cabinets doors at a time. Since they are pretty old, they need a lot of attention.
5. I stayed home last night working on the above cabinets instead of going to the local auction so no money was spent.


Jennifer November 5, 2017 at 7:09 pm

Whoops, yes it is a duplicate… sorry!


Bethany M November 6, 2017 at 6:11 pm

****Beware unsolicited advice**** Using granite as a cutting board will dull your knives in a hot minute, wood or plastic are much better options.


Susan November 5, 2017 at 4:19 pm

Our frugal date nights begin with a frugal sitter, the YMCA. We do not live near family, so we love the monthly “date nights” offered by our local Y. My son loves to go and we love the 4 hours for $15 dollars. They even feed the kiddos dinner. 🙂
After that, we try to use gift cards or get take out and head home to watch a movie from the library or Netflix. No matter what we do, the best part of the night is a distraction free night with my husband.


Liz B. November 11, 2017 at 6:55 am

Susan, omg, hubby and i do the Exact, Same, Thing!!! Our Y is awesome, and we loooove Kids Night Out (that’s what we call it, lol!). Our son loves going, and we get the chance to go to our favorite Indian restaurant (using a coupon), then watch a movie on netflix or Amazon prime. “Adult time” is so precious.


Rebecca November 5, 2017 at 4:33 pm

Fall leaves are beautiful here now so DH took us for a drive in the country to look at leaves this afternoon. When we came back into town we went by Sonic and picked up their special. An extra long cheese coney & onion rings to share. Total date cost a little gas and $3.33 for dinner.


kim November 5, 2017 at 4:55 pm

My husband always jokes when we go to give blood that it’s date night because when we’re done we get free juice and cookies.


Chris November 5, 2017 at 6:15 pm

I like to say donating blood is the donation that gives me Lorna Doones! We have donated at the same spot for so many years, I know where they tuck away the Lorna Doones – and we can take the bus there and back on the same bus transfer!


Laura November 5, 2017 at 5:20 pm

I got bananas for the great price of 28 cents a pound this weekend.
My husband spent most of the day fixing our water heater. It took some googling and trial and error to figure out what was wrong but avoided a call to a professional.


Isabelle November 5, 2017 at 6:50 pm

I’ll go against the grain here, but hubby and I enjoy eating out and we often splurge on fancy meals when on dates (every 2 months or so). This is our thing. We will spend 100-150$ on a meal, no regrets. We don’t do much of anything else that cost a lot of money, this is what we enjoy (the rest of the time we keep it low-isch). For me, this is what frugality is all about: to choose where and on what you want to spend your money (what makes you happy) and where you can save to make that happen. The ultimate vacation for us would be a gastronomic tour in Europe I think. Yum!!!!


Isabelle November 5, 2017 at 6:54 pm

Ps: also, note that where I live 100$ for 2 is not that much. When we go eat burgers with the 2 kids it’s easily 80$ for the 4 of us (and the kids get kids meals), so, yeah 100$ is pretty standard. I sure envy the US prices!


Mand01 November 5, 2017 at 10:33 pm

I understand- my husband was a chef and occasionally we love to go to a really good restaurant. On the few occasions we do have babysitting that is what we will choose to do. Worth it!


Sarah November 5, 2017 at 7:01 pm

1–cleaning my carpeting–hoping to make it last longer!
2–getting several bags ready for donation
3–thinking about practical gifts I can make for the holidays
4–gathering card supplies to make Christmas cards next weekend
5–trying to be more aware of everything that I bring into the house and be very
selective about what stays!


Marilyn November 5, 2017 at 8:54 pm

We are empty-nesters too. My husband and I are now taking every Friday afternoon off to do the little things we enjoy like going to the library or a coffee shop or — if we are really living it up — a museum. It works for us.


Krystal November 5, 2017 at 9:00 pm

One thing that has helped us on our Zero Waste journey is to keep a small food/shopping kit in the car. We keep reusable mugs, a water bottle, a Tupperware for leftover when we do dine out, and a couple small totes. No excuses that way!


janine November 6, 2017 at 5:44 am

We drive to Grantsburg Wisconsin . Our dogs have always loved to run in the Crex Meadows wildlife area down a wild country road – then we proceed to the Burnett Cheese Factory for some well priced cheese. After that we either picnic at their provided picnic tables with sandwiches from their snack bar or have lunch at one of the area restaurants. Sometimes we just snack on the cheese we have purchased – I usually bring picnic supplies along with us. We have been doing this ever since we sold our lake condo several years ago. It is a much welcome change of scenery from city life and it also gives us some time alone.


susanna d November 6, 2017 at 6:45 am

I live Wisconsin and I’ve never been to Crex Meadows or Grantsburg. We’re 200 or so miles east of there, but this is going to be added to our “places in Wisconsin that we want to see” list.


Mrs. Picky Pincher November 6, 2017 at 5:52 am

Sounds like a fun date night indeed! Last Friday Mr. Picky Pincher had cabin fever, but I wanted to stay home. We reached a compromise (ha!) and went out to eat at a small, new Japanese restaurant. I think we spent $40, so it was definitely a splurge for us. But at least we got leftovers. 🙂

This week we also:

1. Found giftable Christmas gifts while decluttering. I found some very nice unused colored pencils and coloring books.

2. I also found my old camera in a pile of electronics. I’m going to give it a whirl and see what the video quality is like on it. It would sure make filming much easier!

3. I pre-cooked three different freezer meals over the weekend. Our supply was running a little low.

4. I made marinara at home instead of buying it from the store. Ours is much healthier since it’s chock-full of roasted vegetables.

5. Instead of tossing the pumpkin on my porch, I roasted it and froze it for later cooking. Pumpkin pie, anyone?


Susie's Daughter November 6, 2017 at 7:02 am

While at the library with DS last week, I discovered that our library already had Wonder Woman on DVD! That was our Friday night date at home after he went to bed, complete with a piece of leftover Halloween candy for each of us.


Tracy November 6, 2017 at 7:22 am

We need to do a better job of date nights. We both have demanding jobs and still have 1 kid at home (out of our blended family of 5 kids). We usually have one evening a week where we watch a show together, right now it’s “Project Runway,” but our 13 year old DD usually joins us. We used to be much better at going for runs together, or grabbing a bite at a happy hour (we don’t drink but love the cheap food!). So — you all are inspiring me to plan some fun and inexpensive activities with my hubs, especially on those weekends when DD is at her other parent’s home.


Carmel C. November 6, 2017 at 11:05 am

Oh, Katy — you could be my bff. That’s the most beautiful episode of TNG. What a perfect date night.


Lauren November 6, 2017 at 12:15 pm

1. Work had a bunch of pallets that needed to go. They asked if they could borrow our chainsaw to cut them up and throw them out and I asked if my FIL could have them instead for his fire. They got the space they wanted and my in laws have free firewood for a while.
2. We went to IKEA- had a cheap dinner and stayed to our short list. I wanted to get some beautiful but not necessary Christmas items and husband reminded me “Remember how much useless stuff we had last time we moved? Let’s keep it simple.” Love having someone to help keep me on track!
3. Aldi had a really good small electric heater on sale for €20 and it only needs 20 minutes on to keep our bedroom toasty all night, which saves us from using the heat for the whole house.
4. Eating leftovers and making meals at home. One frugal fail when I made croutons and then forgot they were cooling in the oven overnight but it was a nice treat for the birds!
5. Wearing my heaviest sweaters and cuddling up with a blanket in the evenings to keep the heater low. We are trying to stretch our gas as far as possible to save.


Bethany M November 6, 2017 at 6:07 pm

1. Scheduled an appraisal, so we can get our PMI knocked off.

2. Bought a second hand 5 gallon bucket of white paint and mixed some dark teal paint that happened to be the same brand and sheen as the white. It made such a pretty color for our play room, and then I noticed that it was similar to my bedspread for my room. Drug it in there and it matched perfectly. So we ended up painting 2 rooms on the super cheap. I’m even thinking it would make a pretty color for the bathroom ceiling. What do you think. Is anything other than white only good with crown molding?

3. Saved on the painting by DIY.

4. Made a trip to Aldi to replenish our emergency prepared foods.

5. Made spaghetti for dinner, with a tomato paste sauce recipe. (That recipe cuts the cost of spaghetti sauce in half, even compared to the cheapy cheap sauces, and tastes so good.)


Lisa November 7, 2017 at 1:27 pm

2. congrats on your super frugal painting! I have colored ceilings with crown molding in most of the rooms in our house. I think it looks great.


ouvickie November 7, 2017 at 8:56 am

Good job!!
1) This morning I stopped and bought creamer, oatmeal and two lunch entrees on sale at Smart Saver. I ate my oatmeal and drank the free coffee provided by our department.
2) I avoided an emergency visit to the Vet ER last night, when my poor little chihuahua got an eye injury – I think our neighbor’s dog pawed her in the face and scratched her eyeball. I washed it gently & put a cold compress on it. I called the Vet’s after hours service. He told me to keep it clean & put Triple Antibiotic ointment on it, which I had at home. As long it keeps getting better I won’t have to take her in. That called saved me probably $200.
3) My free fleece jacket is coming in very handy this week. It’s in the 40s today and going to be cold until the weekend. I’m so thankful for this coat, it is just the right weight for warmth and comfort.
4) I returned an audiobook to the Library yesterday and I’m now listening to Confessions of a Shopaholic. It’s funny, but definitely hits the right notes on Impulse Buying. I’m a former impulse buyer, definitely not high-dollar items or brands, but money is money and being more frugal makes listening to this audiobook hard at times, but a good reminder of how we can get ourselves into a debt pickle.
5) I didn’t want anything heavy for dinner last night, so I ate a banana and some carrot sticks with hummus. I love dinner snack nights.


Katy Hope November 7, 2017 at 11:01 am

Love this. Our favorite date night is to:

1. Grab a bottle of wine, and drive to one of our favorite sunset spots ( Watch the sunset.

2. Go to a favorite restaurant and grab appetizers at the bar instead of the full meal. I like appetizers better and they are usually half the price of an entree.

3. Skip dessert at the restaurant and grab ice cream at the local ice cream shop, or make cookies when we get home. I like to keep cookie dough in the freezer for the random nights when you just need a fresh baked chocolate chip cookie (

4. Cuddle on the couch and watch an episode of our favorite show. We don’t have cable or netflix, but we can stream for free from our Amazon prime account.

5. Get the grandparents to babysit for it all for free!


Panthor November 7, 2017 at 2:40 pm

1) Started clearing the photos off my old iphone so I can finally wipe it and sell it.

2) Am diligently tracking my spending against my budget as I have a $200 overage from last month to make up. Am also keeping a list of known upcoming expenses so I know how much my budget has left minus those (not much). Like G.I. Joe says, knowing is half the battle. 20 more days to go.

3) Happily received a box of apples, apple cider, a steamer pot and ramekins from relatives who were visiting.

4) Put together a list of stuff to bring to work now that I have extra clothes doing Project 333 (a cardigan & extra shirts for emergencies), plus restocking my desk pantry and fridge items. Being better prepared will help me save money overall (I’ve purchased replacement clothes near work if I’m not dressed right or I ruin something or need socks plus the obvious cost of eating out).

5) Reading a library book or two.


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