Happy Valentine’s Day!
I actually love Valentine’s Day lol, I know so many people hate it! I loved it when I was single, and I love it now being married. The entire day is filled flowers and chocolate, I mean can it get any better?
In all seriousness though, I’m spending Valentine’s Day mostly alone. Bran is on an away rotation and will be getting in super late tonight, so it’s just me (and really just me, I’m dropping Tira off at camp for the weekend). Even though I’m alone, this day has me thinking about a tradition Brandon and I have had for a while – date nights!
Before I dive in with a little date night inspo, let’s chat about why date nights are so important for our medical marriage, and why I think they’re important for any marriage.
Brandon and I have made an effort to go on one really nice date night a month since he started medical school. We make a really big deal out of it! We do the whole shabang – we look forward to it all week, make reservations, have plenty of time to get ready with a glass of wine, then have dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. It’s something that is planned out in advance and we guard that time carefully. With Bran in medical school, we don’t get a lot of quality time together, and date nights are our way of building that time in. We reconnect, talk about whatever is going on in our lives, and talk about what we have going on in the next few months (usually medical school related: away rotations, boards, etc). It’s our time and we both love it! Whether you’re in a medical marriage, have a ton of kids, or have demanding jobs – date nights are super important no matter what you have going on!
For us, a really nice dinner that we look forward to all week is our favorite type of date night. BUT it’s also expensive and it’s quite time consuming. So we have made an effort to try and do budget friendly, quick date nights when we are able to fit them in.
Here’s our 15 favorite budget friendly date night ideas:
1. Watch a Meteor Shower and Drink Hot Chocolate
This has got to be one of my all-time favorite date nights! Bran was in post-bacc and I was working in a city about 3 hours away. I was visiting for the weekend when he read there was a meteor shower that night. I had never seen a meteor – ever! So we went out around 2am, took hot chocolate to go, and watched the meteor shower from his car in the middle of no where. The best date, and it was free!
2. Breakfast Dates
We love breakfast dates when we have a big day and know we can’t fit in dinner. We really like trying out local spots where they also use farm-to-table ingredients and local coffee products. There’s just something about breakfast that makes me the happiest girl in the world.
3. Farmers Market
We love to hit the farmers market after breakfast. Not only do we do this in our hometown, but if we are traveling and near a farmer’s market, we’ll do this on the road too. So many good local finds!
4. Try a New Healthy Recipe and Cook at Home Together
We just did this a couple of weeks ago if you saw us making the F-Factor Thai Shrimp Summer Rolls (click HERE for the recipe). We like to try more time intensive recipes since there’s two of us and we can divide the work and try something we normally don’t have time to make. It’s also really fun to do a themed cuisine (Thai, Indian, Italian, etc). Super fun and affordable!
5. Walk a New Trail for a Looooong Time
We just did this a few weeks ago and it was incredibly refreshing. We walked for hours, explored new trails near our house, and talked about life. Good for your health and your relationship! And it’s free!
6. Wine and Design at Home
We’ve participated in Wine and Design classes before, but we actually like doing them at home better. It’s cheaper and you aren’t limited to two glasses of wine lol. We just get a couple canvases from Michaels, use the acrylic paints I have collected over the years, pour ourselves a glass of wine and paint whatever we want. If you’re having a painter’s block, youtube has several easy tutorials online.
7. Red Robin & the Movie Theater
LOL okay so we have a thing for Red Robin because it’s right next to the movie theater lol (and they have healthy options with the lettuce bun and bottomless broccoli). But we like to go to an affordable dinner before a movie, so we actually talk! Just going to the movies doesn’t end up in any quality conversation, and I’m all about the conversation people.
8. Hiking + Pack a Lunch
We love to hike when it’s a little warmer. We’ve learned it’s definitely better when you’re prepared for a long hike though. Don’t forget to pack water, snacks, and lunch! Another great date that’s good for your health.
9. DIY Home Projects Together
We are newbies at DIY home projects since we’re renting and can’t do crazy projects. But we love to tackle a smaller project here and there. It usually ends up in Brandon doing all of the heavy lifting and me just watching from afar until it looks “just” right, but we both have fun working together lol.
10. Eat Dinner Out and Watch a Movie at Home
Basic date but we do this one a lot so had to include it! Sometimes the movies can cost just as much as dinner, so we’ll go out to eat and then watch a Netflix movie at home. Or spend two hours deciding what to watch before putting on an episode of Game of Thrones…
11. Chocolate Fondue
We registered for a fondue pot (may have been a bit extra of us, but it was worth it) and we got it as a wedding gift!! We love some chocolate fondue with a variety of fruit. But we’re a bit complicated. Half of our fondue pot is dark chocolate, while the other half is white chocolate. So worth the extra effort though.
12. Wineries + Pack your own Picnic
We have a couple of local wineries that are our favorite to visit with Tira. There’s one in particular that is near a local bakery (the bet sandwiches on the planet, seriously). We usually stop and buy sandwiches on the way to the winery, then have ourselves a picnic with a bottle of wine. It’s perfect and much more affordable than if we bought lunch from the winery’s restaurant.
Always a classic. It’s also a bonus that our bowling ally sells snacks!
14. Antiquing + Thrifting
This is so fun for us because usually we don’t buy a ton of items and just have a good time browsing! We look for unique, vintage items that could be repurposed or just need a fresh coat of paint!
15. Boat + Dinner
This is the last idea because it’s not exactly the most feasible date night idea. We are spoiled in that both of our families have their own pontoon boats. This date night may not be realistic for everyone, but if are able to, this one is fun. We love packing dinner, taking the boat out, and eating on the boat. Don’t forget a bottle of wine and a blanket! Again, saving money by not eating out, but it is just so romantic and cozy! One of our favorite things to do in the summer.
And there you have it! If you’re like us and always looking for date night ideas that won’t break the bank, I hope you found this blog post helpful!
Happy Valentine’s Day friends!! So thankful that each of you take the time to support my blog!