V-Day Dinner and Entertainment Ideas for Parents on a Financial (and Time!) Budget

Being parents, especially to a younger child (or children!), is a constant battle of fighting mutual exhaustion, struggling to enjoy free time together, and managing to end each month with that magical phenomenon known as “expendable income.”

You have surely heard that age-old saying, “Children change everything!” Whether it was older family members continually spouting it off to you during the pregnancy stage, or something you read in one of those parenting books that was forced on you, one thing is for sure: from the day you brought that little bundle home, you soon realized just how true that statement is.

However, one of the biggest mistakes couple can make is to forget about setting aside time for each other. Yes, your children come first (and sometimes they snag those second, third, and fourth spots as well), but it’s important, for their sakes and yours, to make time for your partner.

This Valentine’s Day, don’t feel pressured to fall into the tradition of spending enormous amounts of money on one dinner. There are plenty of date night ideas that don’t break the bank, and some might even be considered more meaningful and romantic than the traditional fancy dinner out.

Group Date Game Night

pWho said Valentine’s Day has to be just for two people? Nothing brings you and your significant other closer than a little friendly competition against other couples. A couples’-themed quiz game to prove who knows their partner best could be just the activity for a laid-back evening. It’s also a great way to discover new facts about your partner, no matter how long you’ve known each other. The best part? Each couple can bring a small dish, meaning less food preparation and expense for any individual couple.


Mini Meals for Two

meaEverybody has an all-time favorite meal, and often times, your partner’s favorite isn’t your own. Neither of you should have to settle, and there’s no need to make two huge meals that require an entire grocery list of ingredients. Both of you can make this Valentine’s Day dinner extra special by each preparing a miniature version of each other’s favorite meal. Check out Delish for great ideas on small but delicious meal options. You’ll spend less money on ingredients, and you’ll each have a perfect way to show each other how much you both care.


Five-Star Dining at Home

fAfter the kids have been dropped off at granny’s house–or at least put to bed for the night–throw a fancy tablecloth over the dining table, light a couple of candles, and pop a nice homemade dinner (ideally prepared earlier in the day) into the oven. Enjoy a couple glasses of wine and easy appetizers while the main course cooks, and present the finished entrée on your finest dishes. There’s something romantic about eating off of your finest china, and at least this way, there’s no need to tip.


Themed Dinner-and-a-Movie Night

thWhether you are a Netflix/Hulu/Amazon subscriber, or you prefer the old school method of jumping in your car and actually traveling to a video store, a themed movie night offers relaxation and entertainment with minimal hassle. Pop in a DVD, sit back with a big bowl of popcorn to share, and snuggle under a blanket. If you appetite calls for more than the typical movie-going snacks, prepare an entrée based on the theme of your movie, such as the Princess Bride or Chocolat dinner pictured above.


Bookstore Pizza Date

jpIf you and your partner both enjoy books, take a quick trip to the local bookstore to find a favorite classic or a new interest. Then head home, order a pizza, and snuggle up with your partner on the couch to enjoy some quality quiet time together. Why pizza? Because it’s easy, you can eat it with one hand (better to turn pages), and it’s an affordable delivery food that requires little to no extra work from you.



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