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Inspired Relationships

Why $30 Date Night?


Den and I had our first date together … oh, let’s see… around 8 months into our actual relationship! Because what we had was something that evolved naturally from a friendship to a friendship with benefits to a proper, grown-up relationship, it never once occurred to either of us to go on a proper date. Once I had figured this out, you can imagine how COMPLETELY OUTRAGED I decided I was about the whole situation, and so I sent him off to set things right and before I knew it, he had MADE DINNER RESERVATIONS at an ACTUAL RESTAURANT, picked me up at my front door with a box of chocolates and a single rose in hand (cheesy but still melt-worthy in any girl’s book) and whisked me off to a little Mexican restaurant that was completely charming even though it was part of a franchise operation – hey, major points for trying and I didn’t want to discourage the efforts in case they never happened again. Which, come to think of it… Den, when was the last time you pre-booked a lovely dinner and turned up bearing gifts?

You see, we just aren’t a going-out-to-a-fancy-dinner couple. Which is kind of part of the reason $30 date night was borne… Once we had moved in together, we found ourselves night after night on the couches (yes, we have one each) in front of the television being complete sloths. I would get home from a big day of work, we would get takeaway or cook something relatively simple and then dump ourselves in front of the TV and watch mindless programming for hours until someone fell asleep. The romance must have gotten thrown out along with some old pizza boxes one night, because it was nowhere to be seen.

So in a whirl of I’m-just-not-feeling-the-love frustration, I instigated date night once a week in an effort to rekindle some semblance of a spark. Once a week, I told him, we were GOING TO HAVE DATE NIGHT and it was going to SOLVE ALL OUR PROBLEMS because the rule was we must GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. And so, lo and behold every Wednesday, date night came, and every Wednesday night we left the house and headed a block away to a little Japanese cafe that we loved. I would order the Vegetable Udon Soup, he would order the Beef Udon Soup, we would share some Gyoza and sometimes even splash out and get a mango juice. The bill would every week come to $23.10, and Den (God love him) would always remember to bring that 10c coin with him for ease of payment.

We didn’t know why, but it just didn’t seem to be WORKING! Date night is supposed to be THE ANSWER to every couple’s RUT. Where were the butterflies, where was the passionate sex? (granted, the gyoza was probably what got in the way of the passionate sex…)

Back to the drawing board. The rules clearly had to change. Late last year, I announced $30 Dollar Date Night to an unimpressed Denis. Because, really, when you say it out loud it does sound kinda lame. There was a $30 budget, each week we would take it in turns to PLAN the date and execute it. If we ate dinner at home, then there was $30 to spend on an activity. If we ate out, that was taken out of the $30 budget. The $30 came into it partly to try and induce some creativity and partly because we’re in the midst of saving for a wedding and thought it thrifty of ourselves to implement a budget.

Honestly, it’s more fun than we thought it would be. And it’s great for us just to haul our arses out of the house (when you work and live in the one confined space, it’s easy to get cabin fever and start to hate each other sometimes) and be in a new environment, chatting and laughing and remembering why we fell in love in the first place… and yes, the butterflies are back!

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Writer, dating columnist, wife, coffee addict, foodie, fashionista... Melburnian through and through. Muser, dancer, blogger, tweeter. Likes to get her head on telly now and again. Sleeper, dreamer, a sucker for romance. And of course... a cheap date.


One comment for “Why $30 Date Night?”

  1. Posted by CK queen | July 28, 2008, 8:33 pm

    The first date~ha! Cost my man way more than $30 but that was is the woo-ing stages i suppose. I love the $30 idea – its tough – Id find this to be quite a competitive little adventure week on week. My first spot would be Pause in Carlisle, wine and dips…buy extra bread to fill you up. v. funky. Also my dream is to m ake a cubby in the lounge (zero cost), dress up in saris (zero cost use a sheet) and have in the tee pee (made with sheets- no cost) and spend $30 on indian food (worth the cost) hehe

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