We go on a weekly date night and I know it can be expensive and challenging to find sitters. But I also don’t think it should be an excuse for not dating your spouse.
Here are my suggestions for making date night babysitters more affordable:
1. Do a swap. Find someone with similar numbers and ages of kids, and see if you can trade babysitting for date night. Swapping has helped us several times to afford a date night when we couldn’t have otherwise.
2. Ask family or friends. It is not always easy to ask, and they may not be an option, but if they are, ask. It is worth it to keep your marriage strong. And, you could still pay them, just maybe less than you would a typical sitter, saving you money, but helping them feel like they aren’t being taken advantage of.
3. Trade skills or services. My sister is a stylist, and she trades haircuts and services for her babysitters. This benefits both without hurting her bottom line. If you have a skill you could trade, consider that instead of cash.
4. Stay at home. If you really can’t afford to go out, stay in. Just put those kids to bed, and don’t make any exceptions. Time together is vital, but dates do not have to be outside the home, they just need to be one-on-one. Want some fun ideas for things to do at home? Check back for two posts 5 Ways to Have Fun At Home and 5 More Ways to Have Fun at Home. We will be sharing these soon.
5. Budget for it and have a standing sitter. When you include date nights in your budget, they don’t feel as impossible to manage. Set an amount you can afford to spend total (babysitting and date), then stick to it. Try to balance it out, if you know you will be paying a sitter on a week because friends or family can’t help you out, try going on a cheaper date. Reserve the costly dates for the weeks you have free/cheap babysitting. Also, I know that finding a sitter can be hard, so I suggest having a set, standing, scheduled, date night. And then ask your sitter of choice to put it on their calendar as well. Every (Insert Day) at (Insert Time) you will be going on a date. Ask them to give you advance notice if they ever can’t babysit that day and time so you have ample time to find someone else. This can really help and in some ways it forces you to actually go!
How do you make date nights affordable? Join the conversation here in the comments, or on Facebook!