On a Budget

Date Night Ideas and Tips

Guys! I love Date Night!  And having Valentine's Day this week really has strengthening marriages on my mind. ❤️


Getting that precious time, one on one, to talk about adult things and to reconnect and have fun together is so important! Kyler and I are the biggest believers in making your marriage as strong and awesome as possible, and regular date nights absolutely help with that.

We definitely understand how hard it can be to make them happen though, especially if you have tight finances or young children at home, but don't give up hope! Date nights are still possible, even in those situations! 

So, here is a list of some of our favorite date nights that we've done in the past, split up into several different financial/situational categories to apply to the different stage of life you may be in. I've also got some advice and tips through out and at the end for how to get the most out of your date nights and how to make them as regular as possible. :) We definitely aren't perfect in our marriage (like, not even close 😂) but we do love date nights and have felt a huge benefit within our relationship when we prioritize them! I'd love to hear your date night ideas and tips as well so comment at the end if you have any! :) 


Free or Cheap Date Nights

- Go play at the park! Sounds silly, but the playground can be pretty dang fun with the love of your life  

Cheesey, yes, but I love this picture all the same :)  

Cheesey, yes, but I love this picture all the same :)  

- Grab a camera and take "couple pictures" with the timer setting. Call us crazy but doing this has been one of our favorite date nights because we have fun thinking of good and dorky poses and just goofing off together :)  

- Get some ice cream! Even just getting out of the house for an hour or two for a small little ice cream cone and some good conversation can make all the difference in your relationship 

- Go thrifting! (Pretending that's a word if it's not🙊) Somehow we end up at DI (a thrift store in Utah) at the end of at least half of our dates ha! We love finding good deals and if you check regularly enough you can find some pretty neat stuff. :)

- If tight on money, eat dinner at home and then go out to a nicer place just for dessert! Still feels like you went out but you only had to pay for the cheaper part of the evening! 

Hello windy night ha ha  

Hello windy night ha ha  

- (if LDS) Go the temple together! ❤️ 

- Go for a walk or hike in nature and watch the sunset together 




At Home Date Nights

 - Play board games! We have a lot of fun being teasingly (okay, sometimes seriously😅)  competitive with each other. 

- Have a fancy dinner date at your own kitchen table! Make a favorite meal or order take out, break out the fine china, light some candles and dress up all fancy. 

- Ask each other questions about your childhood, time during school, favorite memories while growing up etc. Kyler and I talk about pretty much everything and it always amazes me that we still have so much new information to share with each other. I once heard that you should seek an education in your spouse. Example- maybe when you are married you have a high school diploma or maybe even an associates degree in regard to how well you know each other- well keep continuing the education! Keep learning and growing and get as many "degrees" in each other as you can. :) 


- Watch a show or movie together. Now this one I share with caution though. I personally don't think that Netflix and Redbox should be your date night every week. It becomes really easy, especially as young parents with babies who go to bed early, to just go on auto pilot and watch a ton of TV and to never actually talk to each other or deepen your relationship with one another because you're tired and you just want to zone out. I get it! As a woman who needs 9 hours of sleep at night to be a happy human (and who rarely gets that amount every night because #pregnancyinsomnia,) I really get it! But I've learned that marriages don't stay at one level all the time. They are constant work. 😬 I often think of the analogy of marriage as an escalator heading downwards and that we are walking upwards with our spouse. If you stop putting effort into your relationship by no longer taking steps upward (symbolizing effort and progress) and just do whatever is easiest all of the time, your awesome marriage won't stay awesome! Your relationship will start to lower on the escalator. Although movies and TV shows can be a really fun way to bond with each other, I highly suggest you don't let that be the only way you bond. And while watching, I suggest you put away your phones, cuddle right up next to each other or hold hands and make sure you really CONNECT. Don't put your marriage into the hands of your television. :) When we were poor and in college we totally would watch movies together frequently, but I dare you to at least limit it to only one, maybe two weekends a month. Force yourself to get creative and avoid the easy idea every time! :) 

- If you have kiddos asleep, have one person go pick up dinner or some delicious special treat and eat it together on the porch on couch 

- If it's warm enough, lay out on a blanket in your backyard and look at the stars and talk together.  

-Make a list of meaningful songs you both love and spend time cuddling and listening to them together  

- Have a theme night! Dress up as a cowboy and girl, watch a western movie and order some KFC! Or wear kimonos, learn how to fold origami and watch The Karate Kid. I once decorated our house with candy and dressed up like Willy Wonka and we watched Charlie and the Chocolate factory 😂 This concept is fun because you can mix it up in a million different ways and it's just fun being ridiculous and goofy together! 

- Make a treat together: cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, some fancy cake you've never tried before etc 


Out on the Town Date Nights  

- The classic dinner and a movie  

- Try a new restaurant every time  

- Laser tag

- Play at an arcade  

-  Go buy a new outfit for each other 

- Check out a comedy show  

- Get tickets for local theater performances   

- Attend a concert  


- Do a seasonal activity like walking around Christmas lights, go sledding, attend an outside concert, go swimming, try snowboarding or skiing, go to a Pumpkin Patch, walk around a park with all of the new flowers blooming, play on the sidewalk with chalk etc 

 - Go to a foreign market and buy a bunch of different types of candies and treats and do a taste night! 


Random Tips  

-If money is so scarce and there is no room in the budget at all for baby sitters, try doing a date night swap with other couples that have kids! Take turns babysitting for one another so the other couple can have a kid free night.  

One of the best triple date nights ever!  

One of the best triple date nights ever!  

- Double dates can be so fun, but make sure you're still getting one on one date nights most of the time! You are strengthening the relationship of the people you are spending time with, so if you are on a double date you are strengthening your relationship most with the other couple right? And that's not bad at all! But make sure you still get that time in that is 100% focused on just you and your spouse, because that prioritized time alone is what makes strong marriages! But also, occasional double (or triple) dates can be a super fun way to mix things up and create fun memories with friends! ❤️

- Set a monthly Babysitter and Date night budget! When life got busier for us with Kyler's job and church responsibilities, we decided to make Date Nights with a babysitter a top priority so our marriage wouldn't get lost amongst the chaos. We decided on a set amount to put in each budget (and we do cash budgets where we literally get cash out and put it in envelopes) and if there is any left over at the end of the month, we roll it over to the next month! By budgeting for it, it's made it 100% easier to get Date Nights in! We're also lucky to live in a neighborhood with a lot of cute, responsible teenage girls we can hire as cheaper sitters so that's been super lucky for us as well! I love the monthly cash budget concept for this though because you could put aside as little as $5 a month for each budget and save it up and go out once it's big enough for something you two want to do. (Or even just save all of your pocket change and see how quickly you can build it up for a night out!) No matter the amount you set, it's just nice knowing you have a date night coming up. And if it's budgeted for you don't have to worry that a date night will blow all your money either! Win win! 


- Don't be afraid to get vulnerable on date night! Some of our best talks about how our relationship is doing have been over dinner or in our car eating a treat together. Dates are meant to strengthen our marriages, not solely to have fun (although that's definitely a plus!) Ask each other if you are truly happy. Talk about how needs are being met (or not.) If you'd prefer not to have serious conversations during a date night, set aside a time to have these talks regularly. I've been so grateful for these deep, meaningful talks Kyler and I have shared together and I think they've always made our bond stronger. They can be uncomfortable at first and sometimes we just want to avoid any issues or sweep them under the rug, but the closeness you feel in your marriage as you bridge those gaps is irreplaceble! (We're totally not perfect at this, but we're trying to get in a lot of practice with our communication so that maybe one day we will be! Ha ha!) 

- Before marriage, I was always told to make sure my date and I had a plan before going out. I think that was smart advice for that time of my life, but in marriage I think the most important thing you can do is just GET OUT and make Date night happen. If you get a sitter and you pull away from the driveway and say "okay.. now what?" kudos to you for taking the first step and just making the date even possible! Start out with dinner and then you can decide what to do from there. I mean, yes, planned dates are also awesome and I highly suggest those. All I'm saying is don't let the lack of a plan or some huge exciting activity stop you from even trying. Some of our best date nights have begun without a plan! Just get out of the house and celebrate that freedom and alone time together! 

- When in doubt, remember that the goal of date night is to strengthen your relationship with one another! If the date night isn't doing that, it's not a date night.


Apparently we take 9 million close up selfies like this on our dates 😂 

Apparently we take 9 million close up selfies like this on our dates 😂 

I hope this was helpful for some of you! :) Marriage can be so hard but it can also be such a blast, and I know regular date nights have helped keep our relationship positive and close despite the craziness that life brings! Any other awesome tips or ideas we're missing out on? Tell me below! ❤️👇🏻 

On a Budget - New York City

I wanted to share some tips and tricks we discovered (and some we wish we had known beforehand!) about New York so you could get the most bang for you buck if you are traveling on a budget! 


1- Airbnb baby!  

I said this in one of my posts about our Paris trip, but we just love Airbnb. People who don't know much about it often think it means you're sharing an apartment with random people but that's not the case (unless you choose it to be.) If you set your search settings to "entire house," it will only show you options of homes/apartments that are completely private with no other humans. We haven't had anyone bug us or be there for 99% of the Airbnbs we stayed at. (When we stayed in Paris, our "host" (as they call them at Airbnb) met us to help us find the apartment but that was mainly because we were new to the country. We could have turned him down and found it on our own.)

Also, Airbnb doesn't mean you are staying in someone's actual home that they currently live in. Almost all of the Airbnbs we have stayed in are furnished apartments that are used specifically for Airbnb purposes and are not where the host lives. You can usually tell if it's their live-in home or an extra residence they own in their reviews/apartment description, so if it weirds you out to stay where someone actively lives (even though they won't be there,) you can easily avoid a place like that.

✳️Always always always read the reviews and the apartment description in its entirety before you book a place. Anytime I've been bugged by something, I'll realize afterward that people totally pointed it out in the reviews and it was my fault for missing it. So pay attention, do your research and you should be just fine! 

We love the Airbnb option because you have more space, a kitchen, and as many bedrooms as you need for your purpose. (Which with children is AWESOME.) You are not expected to clean up after yourself, but it is nice to take off the bedsheets and put dirty linens all in one place, do dishes and take out the trash. Not a big deal and all of those things only take like 5 minutes to do but are super appreciated by the hosts. (Which, PS, you rate the hosts and the apartment afterwards but the host also rates how you were as a guest. If you are a considerate human being, you don't even have to sweat this. Just be aware that it happens so that future hosts can make sure they aren't renting a room to a total messy jerk. Honest and fair reviews help everyone out on Airbnb.) Anyway, everything about Airbnb has been totally worth it to us for the cheaper price and added space! 

⚠️ Here's a warning though- with airbnb generally being cheaper than nicer hotels, don't assume that just because you book with them you are automatically saving money. Pay attention to the location of the apartment and where you'll mainly be wanting to spend your time while on vacation. Just because the Airbnb price is lower outside of the city doesn't mean you'll save money overall. We wish we had stopped and thought about that a little better because we got a cheaper Airbnb outside of the city yes, but with the traveling fees of getting in and out the city, it definitely added up! We would have been better off paying $30-40 more a night and staying in Manhattan (instead of Jersey City) and saved a little more in that regard. Lesson learned! 

2- Subway and Lyft  

So many places to view the beautiful sky line view of Manhattan. This picture is taken at Liberty State Park in Jersey City. We got here by taking a Lyft! 

So many places to view the beautiful sky line view of Manhattan. This picture is taken at Liberty State Park in Jersey City. We got here by taking a Lyft! 

Whenever we are in big cities, we love traveling by subway! It's cheaper, fast, and everywhere which is awesome. We always pay for a 5 day pass. Whenever there were times where we were in a time crunch or had a long distance to go that wasn't as close to the subway, we used the Lyft app (as opposed to Uber) to get us there. (Drivers come and pick you up. Basically a cheaper version of a taxi that tells you upfront how much things will cost.) We found their prices to always be a little cheaper than Uber and were perfectly happy with how their app and system worked and how polite their drivers were.  

3- Discounted Broadway tickets 

I am a huge musician lover so Broadway was something I definitely wanted to try and see, but I didn't want to get my hopes up that we'd for sure see a show because those ticket prices are so high! Thankfully, there are some great options out there for lower ticket prices so cheap skates like me can still enjoy the arts. :)

The best discount ticket option I found was the app Broadway Lottery, but it's also the most risky. And by saying that I just mean it's not promised that you'll win. Essentially you go into the app every day (the lottery tickets are for the day of or the following day so you can't do this months or weeks in advance) and enter the lottery for each show you are interested in seeing. You'll get an email confirmation letting you know you entered correctly. Then each Lottery closes at a certain time (that is listed within the app.) When it closes, you'll receive an email telling you if you won discount tickets or not. Kyler and I both had the app and tried it for a bunch of shows every day but didn't have any luck until our very last day. I woke up, checked my email and yay! I won tickets to Lion King for only $30 each which is pretty darn amazing for Broadway! You only have one hour to pay after the lottery closes so you'll want to pay attention to that if you've entered. It'd be a bummer to win but then be too late to actually get the tickets! 

Lion King tickets thanks to Broadway Lottery! 

Lion King tickets thanks to Broadway Lottery! 

Another way to get discounted tickets is to use the TKTS booths in several locations throughout Manhattan. (One main place is  under the Red Stairs in Times Square.) Every day the TKTS booths open for certain hours and if you get there early enough, it's pretty likely you'll be able to get tickets to the show you want. They have an app that will tell you on the day of what shows they have tickets for and how much the discount will be. These prices aren't always super low but it's still a great option to see Broadway without footing the whole bill!  

4- 911 memorial museum Free Day  

The 911 Memorial (next to the museum.)  

The 911 Memorial (next to the museum.)  

On Tuesdays from 5pm to close you can get FREE museum tickets (which are normally $24 each for adults) but they are first come first serve starting at 4pm. (You'll definitely want to get in line before then.) Kyler and I got there about 4:15 and all of the free tickets were completely gone, so definitely plan ahead if that's what you're shooting for! Also, just as an FYI if you've missed out on the free tickets, you will likely have to come back another day because all other tickets for purchase will be sold out by that time. (At least that's what one of the employees there told us.) I didn't realize I needed to buy them online beforehand, so just so you know- you'll need to do that!  (✳️Also, I found out after our trip that quite a few museums have a free day and time so you may want to look into that before you head to each one!) 

5- The Met Museum

Inside the Met with the famous Thinking Man statue. Pardon my weird face and the odd angle of this picture ha ha Extra points if you know the artists name! 

Inside the Met with the famous Thinking Man statue. Pardon my weird face and the odd angle of this picture ha ha Extra points if you know the artists name! 

The tickets for this amazing museum are only a donation, so you get to choose how much you pay! They suggest a donation of $20 per person but it is completely up to you. We heard people paying as low as $5 so it just depends on what you're comfortable with, but it is nice to have an option to pay a little less if you are trying to stick to a budget! 

6- List of FREE NYC attractions

Inside Trinity Church ❤️ 

Inside Trinity Church ❤️ 

Many of the big main attractions cost money (the Ferry to the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island, the 911 museum, the Empire State Building, Broadway, eating out, The American Museum of Natural History etc) but there are many fun and exciting places to see that are for free! (Some have options to purchase food or activities, but you otherwise can get in for 0 dollah, woohoo!) I recieved many of these recommendations from friends and from FB groups so I'm just gonna list em all out! 

Taking awkward pictures with a self timer in Central Park :) no one knows why we are both hunched forward 😂

Taking awkward pictures with a self timer in Central Park :) no one knows why we are both hunched forward 😂

Times Square  

The Manhattan Temple  

Central Park  

Conservatory Garden (within Central Park) 

The Rockefeller Center 

Little Italy (a yummy place to get food but it's a fun atmosphere to walk around in) 

South Street Seaport (activities/restaurants within but fun place to walk around)  

Bryant Park (fun place to walk around, activists/food within)  

Chelsea Market (shopping mall) 

Trinity Church  

New York Public Library  

(and many others you can find with some help from google! I just listed ones we saw or heard a lot about from friends!) 

Outside the Manhattan Temple

Outside the Manhattan Temple


Yay for so many options to save while exploring such a magical and fun place! If you have any other free or cheap attraction additions or money saving tips, please add them in the comments! :)  

Even just walking around at night is so pretty in the city! PS I look like a bandit with that scarf over my face and dressed all in black but it was cold people! 

Even just walking around at night is so pretty in the city! PS I look like a bandit with that scarf over my face and dressed all in black but it was cold people!