December 03, 2010

Do you ever skip out on date night because of your budget? Let’s face it, many couples are up against hard times and one of the first expenses cut probably is dining out. However, having time away to recharge together is vital to your relationship.

To stay within your budget and have a great night out with your spouse or friends, look for low cost entertainment or menu specials. A great local place to start is the events calendar at Columbia is a great place to see a local play, or go to a restaurant for a night of jazz music. There are also the community calendars in the Columbia Missourian (, Columbia Daily Tribune ( and Fulton Sun ( to spark some inspiration.

Understandably, it might just be too cold to have a night out. Instead, have a night in. Make homemade pizzas or calzones, and pick up a movie to enjoy after you eat. Be sure to treat it like a real date and shut off the computers and cell phones. For affordable movie rentals, there are 17 Redbox locations in Columbia, where you can rent DVDs for $1. Visit to find the one nearest to you.

Sometimes, the biggest expense is not dining out or seeing a play. If you have kids, it might be paying for a babysitter. The best way to cut this cost is to offer to watch your friends’ or neighbors’ children for a night while they go out if they do the same for you in return. You will save money, and know that your kids are safe and having fun with friends.

Do you have any tips or tricks for couples working to keep the flame alive on a budget?