Last Updated October 12th, 2018

How To Get Out Without The Kids For Cheap

How To Get Out Without The Kids For Cheap

One of the challenges of being parents is getting out of the house without the kids for a date. It just doesn’t happen as often as many parents would like. Even once a month can be a challenge.

And of course, it gets worse when you don’t want to spend a lot of money. Babysitters cost a lot of money, and it can seem like it’s just flat out too expensive to go out without the kids.

Getting out without the kids doesn’t have to break the bank. You have options.

Get Someone To Watch The Kids

The first challenge is finding someone to watch the kids for you. As I said above, babysitters are expensive. But they are not the only option.

Can Family Help?

If you have family in the area, they may be an obvious choice for watching the kids. That’s how my husband and I got out much of the time when our kids were little. We lived close enough that his parents or my mother could watch them.

Other family members can help as well. My sisters and I have been known to do kid trades. Sometimes it’s to balance out the age spread and let the kids have a weekend with cousins in the same age range. Other times it’s to give one set of parents some time off.

One of the things I love about sending the kids off for time with other family members has nothing to do with getting out with my husband. It’s that they get different experiences with different people.

who will watch the baby

Who Else Can Help?

But if you don’t have local family willing to help, it’s time to start asking friends.

Talk to your friends and see if any of them want to watch your kids. This is easiest if the friends have kids as well and you can return the favor. This way everyone gets the chance to get out without the kids. You may even be able to make it a semi-regular thing.

This can be as simple as setting up a playdate for the kids. Make sure the other parents know you won’t be at home, and to call your cell phone if there’s an emergency. So long as you reciprocate, you should be able to find a parent willing to have your kids over.

Someday Your Kids Can Help

All of this gets easier, of course, as your oldest kid becomes old enough to watch the younger. What age this is depends on state law in your area and your own comfort level. One child may be ready for responsibility by age 12, while another needs another year or two.

The first time or two that you have the oldest watch the younger kids, you may want to only be gone for a short time or be within easy phone reach. This allows both you and your kids to become comfortable with them being on their own.

What If No One Can Watch The Kids?

You say you don’t have anyone who can help watch the kids? That’s more difficult, but you aren’t completely out of luck.

You can have something of a date at home if you have no other options. It’s not quite as much fun as going out, but you can make it work.

The best is when you’re sure the kids are asleep so that they don’t interrupt you. This may be difficult if you’re dealing with a baby – those little ones can be unpredictable! But when you think baby will stay asleep long enough, make some time for each other.

Figure Out What To Do

Dates don’t have to cost a lot of money to be memorable or romantic. It’s less what you spend than what you do. Have fun together. Consider these ideas to get out without the kids for cheap.

Some of these dates are easily done at home, as you may not always be able to get out when the kids are little. Don’t feel bad if you can’t get out. It’s not always that simple to get time away from home.

walking date

Relive An Old Date

When you’ve been married a while it can be fun to go back to do something you haven’t done since you were dating. Many couples have all kinds of fun memories from when they were dating that didn’t cost all that much to do.

Go On A Picnic

There are plenty of wonderful places in most cities for a picnic. It could be a beach, a particularly lovely park, or even somewhere you have to hike a while to reach. Pack some favorite foods from home that you can eat cold.

picnic

Go Hiking

Hiking is a wonderfully cheap way to get out and do something together during the day. You can find a fairly local hike or even drive an hour or two to get to someplace a little more special.

Go To A Street Fair

Check your local newspaper for local street or craft fairs and wander around. This one can add up pretty fast if you get too much into shopping or trying the food, but it’s a lot of fun and some are free to enter.

Go Stargazing

Just head out away from city lights (mountains are ideal if they’re in your area), and enjoy the view. This is particularly fun if there’s a meteor shower going on. The fewer lights in the area, the better, and unless you’re wanting to focus on the moon, stargazing when the moon is in a crescent phase or won’t have risen yet will give you the best view.

There are some great apps out there that can help you figure out which constellations you can see. You may also be able to see some interesting things in the night sky with some binoculars if you don’t have access to a telescope.

Don’t forget to keep an eye out for meteor showers. These can be impressive sometimes, and make a great excuse to lie out on a blanket outdoors together for hours.

stargazing

Wander The Farmer’s Market

The Farmer’s Market is a whole lot more fun for adults than for kids, as a general rule. Not only can it make a pleasant date, but you get to explore the whole thing without the kids complaining of boredom.

Visit A Museum

Most museums don’t cost too much and can be very interesting to visit. Pick one that will interest you both.

Attend A Free Concert

Pay attention to when there are free concerts in your area and make plans to attend when possible. Summer is the best time for these in most areas.

Cook A Special Dinner Or Dessert At Home Together

Once the kids are out of the way you can make something special just for the two of you. This idea has the advantage of being something you can do after the kids are in bed if you just can’t find any other way to spend quiet time together without them. Plan a special dinner or even a particularly decadent dessert and make it together.

Plan A Game Night

Game nights can be fun if it’s just the two of you, but they also work if you’re with friends. Play games that you grownups enjoy – it can be a nice break from playing children’s games.

Just make sure the kids really are asleep before you pull out something like Cards Against Humanity.

Watch A Movie At Home

If you don’t want to pay movie theater prices, pick out a movie and watch it at home. You can stream from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or any other service you subscribe to, or buy or rent something. It’s nice taking the time to watch something without worrying about whether the kids will enjoy it.

binge watch

Binge Watch Together

Do you have a mutual favorite show? Time to binge watch as much as you can together. This is especially fun if you’re waiting for the next season to start.

And yes, Netflix, we really are still watching that!

Go On A Winery Tour

Many wineries offer free tours. Many will offer free samples as well.

Drive Somewhere Beautiful

Hop in the car together and go on one of the most scenic drives in your area. Mountains, beach, or farm, it doesn’t really matter – you just have to enjoy the view and the time together.

Check Out Local Garage Sales

So long as the weather is nice, you can probably find a lot of garage sales in your area on weekend mornings. If you don’t need to bring the kids along, this can be a lot of fun. You might even find something you need for an incredible price – just don’t go overboard. Too much garage sale fun can lead to having to hold your own garage sale.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated September 27th, 2017

Money Mistakes That Can Mess Up Your Marriage

Money Mistakes That Can Mess Up Your Marriage

Dealing with financial issues can be one of the most difficult things you do in a marriage. It’s common to have different financial priorities. They aren’t always easy to talk about. Money problems are often cited in divorces. Financial issues have to be discussed in a relationship, yet it’s a topic many would as soon avoid. That’s why there are so many money mistakes that can mess up your marriage.

Not Discussing Debts

Many families have debts to deal with, from paying off college loans to credit card debts to your mortgage. Paying on these debts can take up a major chunk of your income, and limit the things you can do. Failing to discuss what this means to your finances and your marriage is one of the easiest money mistakes to make.

This can be especially difficult when dealing with debt that one spouse held before the marriage. Sometimes there’s disagreement on whose responsibility it is, or if the responsibility is shared. There may be resentment that one person’s debt is making finances difficult for the entire family.

When you marry, everything about that person comes with it. That includes debts. It’s important to know what debts are being brought into the marriage before it happens, and more important to deal well with them during the marriage. No blaming the other person for them, especially if the debts paid for a college degree that helped them into a better job. You need to be partners in handling debts, regardless of how they happened.

Of course, if debts are due to the poor spending habits of one spouse, that’s another discussion. And it’s important. Spending too much is one of those money mistakes that makes problems worse.

Not Making A Budget

Having a budget can cut down arguments over finances. They are often difficult to agree upon. It’s vital to sit down and take a look at your expenses and what you can afford to spend on non-necessities.

Once you know where you have to spend money and what it comes out to, you can consider the places each of you would like to spend money. Some couples give each person a monthly allowance. Some have a price limit after which they need to check with their partner for approval. As a couple, you need to decide what works for you together. How much freedom you can give each person in spending will depend on how much extra room you have in your budget.

Do your best to have room for savings toward retirement, big purchases and vacations, as well as for emergencies. This may not be possible if your budget is tight, but it’s a huge help when you can manage it. There are a lot of ways to save money, just make sure that they’re worth it.

Not Sticking To A Budget

If one or both partners fails to stick to a budget, having a budget has very little benefit. Poor spending habits can increase credit card debt, which gets expensive fast.

If one or both partners in a relationship constantly ignores the budget, you’ll have problems. It will be much like you have no budget at all. Knowing what you can afford to spend and keeping to those limits is a huge help in avoiding financial stress in your relationship.

Paying Too Much Attention To Income Differences

It’s rare that a couple brings equal incomes to the family. Sometimes they let this be a point of contention. The higher income spouse may argue that they should have more personal spending money because they earn more. The one who earns less or nothing at all may find it difficult to speak up when he or she needs more money for something.

The vital thing to remember is that both partners bring different things to the family. The spouse who earns less may work just as many hours as the one who earns more. One might be a stay at home mom or dad, and that’s their contribution to the family.

Some jobs may require spending more in terms of wardrobe or other things. In most ways, however, both spouses should have equal opportunities to spend money on themselves. The money either person earns should belong to the family more than to that person. Who earns the most shouldn’t be an issue.

Failing To Assign Responsibility For Bills

Even with the auto pay option most bills have these days, couples should know who is going to pay which bill, and when it is due. This helps you to avoid unpaid bills.

The simplest thing to do is have a joint account for all household bills. This includes rent or mortgage, utilities and other necessities for the family. Many couples choose to have separate accounts for personal spending if they can afford it. Having shared bills paid from the joint account makes it easier to be certain that the money is available for those bills. If times are tight, money from individual accounts may have to go to the shared account to help out. Keeping on top of regular bills is far more important than having fun money.

Some bills you still have to remember to pay on time. I just had to send in the registration payment for my husband’s car, for example. I handle most of the bills that aren’t on auto pay here because my husband and I both know I’m more likely to remember them.

Failing To Compromise

You aren’t always going to agree with each other right away. Sometimes you will have to compromise on financial issues. Don’t make this too difficult, so long as the compromise requested is reasonable for your financial situation. Talk to each other about why you see things differently. Most times you should be able to come to an agreement that works.

Failing To Work As A Team: One Of The Biggest Money Mistakes

If you’re in a marriage or other long term relationship, you need to work as a team toward your short and long term financial goals. Talk out your disagreements about money. Plan for your financial future.

If one partner makes a mistake and goes off budget, talk about what happened and how to avoid the same problem in the future. Don’t keep dragging it up forever once the problem has been resolved. Reminding someone that they’ve caused the family financial distress isn’t productive for long. It’s certainly not productive if their habits have since improved and your budget is in good shape again.

Don’t let money mistakes mess up your marriage without trying to talk them out. You can make things work if both spouses are willing.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated May 22nd, 2013

Are You Being Supportive of Your Work Outside the Home Spouse?

I’ve written often enough about how much support an at home parent needs, whether you have a work at home job or not. It’s vital. Today I’d like you to think about how much support your spouse needs. Working outside the home isn’t all easy either.

Some of the issues depend on if you have a home based job or business yourself or if your focus is solely on caring for your family and home. Having your own income means there is less stress on your spouse to be the sole breadwinner. Being the only source of income, or even just the main one, can be hugely stressful. Think about how your family would cope if that income and any benefits were lost. That’s something many families have to consider when one parent stays home.

Are You Being Supportive of Your Work Outside the Home Spouse?My family has been there. My business hasn’t always earned enough to pay our rent and other expenses on its own, and of course it doesn’t provide benefits such as health insurance. When my husband was laid off a few years ago, it was tough. We scraped by, but only with the help of credit cards, some of which aren’t yet paid off. Getting closer all the time now, though. It was not a good situation, and I know my husband often felt guilty for not supporting his family well enough. All I could do was support him in his job search and do my best to bring in more money myself. He has a much better job these days, although it gets stressful too.

Recognize His/Her Stress

Be willing to talk about the problems your spouse has at work. My husband and I often talk about how each of our days went. His work can be stressful at times. Recently, for example, he was faced with the possibility of having to take a training session in another office, far enough that he’d have to leave at least an hour early to take a train there, but no so far that his employer would provide a hotel room. I told him that if it would make things less stressful, he could call his friend who lives in the area, and stay out there. Fortunately, his training was switched back to his office, so the problem went away, but he much appreciated that I wanted him to minimize the stress of it, and even have some fun with a friend he rarely sees.

Support His/Her Ambitions

One of things I love about working from home is that I earn money how I choose. I have a lot more freedom in that way than my husband does. That’s why I’ve always told him that if he ever wants to pursue his dream career, I’ll do what I can to help him get there. After all, his work has given me this opportunity.

I know that being at home isn’t the dream for every at home mom or dad. It’s tough, and some days you may wish you could get away for a little. Even working at home isn’t always the best. But that’s no reason to ignore what your spouse wants in a career.

There will be times when you can work only toward one person’s ambitions. When you have a family, having enough money to get by has to be the first priority. But there’s often a way to take steps toward a better lifestyle for at least one of you, and sometimes both. It takes time and mutual support.

Make Sure You Both Get a Break

You may often want a break from the kids when your spouse comes home. It’s tiring being the one they always ask to do everything. Just remember that your spouse wants a break after work too.

Don’t demand help when your spouse gets home every day. If on a particular day you need a break right away, that’s fine, that’s life, but don’t ignore the fact that your spouse is probably tired too.

I believe that both responsibilities and opportunities to relax should be shared when you’re both at home. You’ll probably find that some responsibilities go better for one person than another. My husband, for example, prefers yard work to housework, and so he does more outside and less inside (although certain jobs are taken by the kids as they learn how).

Most work around the house I’m not too picky about when they get done, so my husband can take a solid break first if he wants. Most days there’s enough time for that. If it’s all that urgent, odds are I’ve already done it anyhow, having the most time and opportunity to handle such things.

Talk

Sometimes, just talking is enough. Talk about work, your day, current events, total nonsense, whatever. Just make time to talk to each other.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated June 30th, 2009

Having My Husband Gone Makes Me Appreciate Him More

Here I go along week 2 of having my husband gone all week. It’s rough being the only one home with the kids 24 hours a day from Sunday night through Friday evening, but for now that’s what it takes.

It really makes me appreciate how much my husband does around here.

It’s not like the days are all that different in some ways. After all, I’ve always been the primary caregiver, and at home all the time anyhow. But now there’s no relief, not first thing in the morning or in the evening. It’s allllllll me!

Brent’s always been a great daddy. Up with the kids in the morning, especially now that we have a baby still getting me up at night. Up in the middle of the night if either of the other kids needs a parent. A lousy housekeeper, but good at working in the yard and getting the kids out of my hair when I need a break.

I don’t have that right now for 5 days a week. I am so ready to get this move done and over with!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated May 16th, 2008

Male Pattern Blindness

That’s right, male pattern blindness. It’s the only explanation I can come up with.

Don’t get me wrong. My husband’s wonderful. But if something doesn’t particularly interest him, he just won’t see it. On the other hand he’s a wonderful husband and excellent father.

Then there are times like this morning. He decided to go to the grocery store after taking our son to speech therapy. I mentioned he’s a good husband and father, right? He wanted to get a couple things there and I told him we were out of milk.

He couldn’t find the milk I usually get, which has a discount if you buy two gallons. He’s quite certain it wasn’t there, even though I’ve shown him it before, and it’s always in the same place. But hey, he bought milk, so the complaint is minimal.

He also decided to clean the kitchen today. Well, more precisely he loaded the dishwasher. I don’t think he has wiped down the countertops ever without being asked. Honestly. Not once.

Yes, I know it can be impressive that he sees the dishes in the sink, since some don’t even do that much. My tactic is simple. I let them pile up. Eventually he will want to use the sink, realize he can’t, and voila! I have a dishwasher being loaded by my husband.

I try not to let things get that bad too often. It’s not a situation I like. Good thing I know how to ask him to help out too.

I think he does better than average in some areas. He doesn’t too often ask me where something is when it’s right where it belongs, where it always is. But then it’s generally something he wants.

If it doesn’t particularly interest him, on comes the blindness! It ensures that I do most of the shopping so I know we’ll have enough food (and that it’s healthy!) and handle most of the cleaning unless I ask otherwise or company’s coming. Dirt and clutter are all but invisible any other time.

We’re fortunate in that I’ve always been good at finding things. It probably helps that I look behind and under stuff as necessary. If neither of us can find it, well, it’s time to blame the house gnomes.

As of yet, there is no cure for male pattern blindness, but any researchers out there would have the encouragement of millions of wives.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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