Once upon a time an unseasonably warm spring day would hit and I’d text my husband the name of some trendy bar with a fabulous patio and we’d meet for after-work drinks.
These days. drinks are more likely to include chocolate milk and a booster seat at a restaurant loud enough that a tantrum could go unnoticed. And with a babysitter costing $10-$15 an hour, finding kid-free time that doesn’t break the bank requires a little creativity.
Our favorite solution is a selection from a build-your-own 6-pack on the back porch after the kids are in bed—with a little help from a baby monitor. If you’re looking for a post-bedtime escape, give one of these low-cost at-home dates a try.
Hold a movie night
Break out the popcorn and the candy bars and re-watch that movie or TV series you couldn’t get enough of back when you had a scrunchie to match every outfit. If you can’t agree on what to watch, you can always work your way through a best-of movie list like those from IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes.
Plan your dream vacation
A two-week vacation to Bora Bora probably isn’t in the budget, but don’t let that stop you from planning. Daydream about where you would go and what you would do, then pretend-plan your dream vacation.
Give the kids mac and cheese for dinner and make something gourmet for yourselves later in the evening. If cooking a whole meal is too intimidating, just whip up something decadent to share for a late dessert.
Experience a blast from the past
Scroll to the very beginning of your Facebook profile, break out the box of photos, or dig out your high school yearbook and take a walk down memory lane.
Start a book club
Read a book and share what you loved or hated about it. Not ready to commit to anything much longer than The Cat in the Hat? Try an online article instead. Websites like Longreads and Longform might be a good starting point.
Learn something new
Give anything you’ve always been interested in a try—like yoga, meditation, or dancing. You can always prepare for the aforementioned Bora Bora trip by learning a few key Tahitian phrases. Search YouTube as a source for free instructional videos.
Play a game
Break out the Guitar Hero that’s been collecting dust in the basement and prove you’ve still got it. Or show why you’re sure to someday win the World Series of Poker and why your family calls you the Scrabble king of the western slope.
Ignore the business of your day-to-day life and have a conversation that’s not about bills, work, or kids. The Internet has a plethora of starters if you need some help, from “What’s the best birthday present you ever got” to “How did you meet your oldest friend.”
This post was written by Lisa Fedak, Creative Services Manager at Colorado PERA. If you’d like to submit a guest post, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.