ThreeJars Daily: Date Nights!

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Date Nights!

Next time you and your husband go out, skip the expensive dinner and opt for one of these great ideas instead.

By Leslie Barrie

When you factor in dinner, a movie, popcorn, and a babysitter, the price tag for date nights could almost be the GDP of a small nation. You might do it once in a while, but not every week. Yet investing in your relationship is crucial, and alone time together is key, says Ian Kerner, PhD, relationship expert and author of Love in the Time of Colic: The New Parents Guide to Getting It On Again. Here, Kerner shares five date night plans that won’t break the bank.

Walk the Walk
Fall’s crisp-but-not-too-cold weather is ideal for strolling hand-in-hand. And what could be more romantic than the brilliant show of fall foliage in the background? Go to a nearby park, or check online for what’s going on in town. For instance, art gallery open houses that are within walking distance of each other make a great evening out— and the galleries might serve free hors d'oeuvres!

Do Dessert in Bed
So your babysitter couldn’t make it after all? No worries. Pick up a bottle of wine and a decadent dessert (think chocolate) on your way home from work. Have dinner with your family, but once you put the kids to bed, pop open the bottle and take the sweets back to your room for an inexpensive and intimate date. “There’s something really romantic about eating dessert in bed together,” says Kerner, “and chocolate is known to be an aphrodisiac.”

BYOW (Bring Your Own Wine)
Eating out on a budget doesn’t have to equal five-dollar foot-longs – it’s all about picking your dinner destination wisely, like choosing spots with low or no corkage fees. “Bringing your own wine to a restaurant can cut your bill by 30 to 40 percent,” says Kerner, “and you’d be surprised which restaurants will let you do it.” So call around or check the restaurant’s Web site beforehand.

Listen Up
You and your partner can’t get enough of [insert your favorite author’s name here]? Pop into your local book shop every now and then and check out the schedule for book readings. “It’s entertainment at no cost, and it gets you out of the house for a shared interest,” says Kerner. Then make dinner together after – continue the evening’s theme by making food associated with the book (like Southern food if the story was a based in New Orleans).

Day Date
While Friday and Saturday night are “traditional” date times, mixing things up and having a daytime outing can add spontaneity and fun. Take the day to do something seasonal-yet-inexpensive together, whether it’s picking apples, taking a long drive, or picnicking at a local scenic spot. “Think of it as a mini staycation,” says Kerner.

Leslie Barrie is a writer and editor in New York City.


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