How to enjoy Valentine’s Day on a budget

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couple having a romantic meal

couple having a romantic mealOne of our biggest worries is how much stress family life puts on the relationship we have with our partner. Having children puts pressure on core issues, like time and money. So it’s no wonder our relationships need a little TLC now and then!

Here are some tips to help you carve out some “us time” without having to spend more.

Money matters

Set aside an “us” budget. How much you put into it is down to you. You might even want to agree an amount that is put in – or you could just regularly empty your change into the pot.

But whether you contribute randomly or regularly, this money is for enjoying time together. It’ll make sure that you don’t spend too much, or dip into money allocated to other important things. Plus this way you won’t feel guilty for spending money on things you do together as a treat.

Childcare

Babysitting can really add to the cost of an evening. So take it in turns to babysit for friends, so you have a pool of people you can ask to return the favour when you need it.

If you’re finding that some are going out more than they’re sitting, set up a “counter” plan between a group of you: each of you gets ten bottletop lids with a value of one hour written on them. You can only have a babysitter if you have enough lids to pay for the number of hours you need babysat!

Grab a bargain

Keep hold of vouchers and offers for restaurants and evenings out. Join websites that issue reductions and scout out special deals. Have a look around your area and read the local paper to a look for offers. Going out doesn’t have to be expensive if you shop carefully.

House swaps

If you want to avoid the cost of going out altogether, do a house swap evening with close friends or family. The first time you look after their kids as well as yours; the second time your brood go to theirs. Cook dinner for each other, so that each couple eats a meal that they’ve not had to cook. Let the kids sleep over, so you take it in turns as a couple to have a romantic evening and lie in together.

Healthy competition

Take it in turns to plan the date. Build in some healthy competition to make it more fun and give it an edge. Then let whoever planned the date surprise the other with what they have arranged. You’re sure to have some more romantic evenings out of this, too!

Cunning clothing

Forking out for new outfits adds up – but wearing something he’s seen several times before can stop things feeling romantic. So instead, borrow outfits from friends and swap clothes between you. He’ll never notice you’re wearing your mate’s dress for the night, but you’ll feel dressed up and special for the occasion.

Torn for time

It can be really difficult to find an evening when you’re both free and you’re not also ferrying the kids off to their latest social invite! So agree a date in the diary as you would with a friend, and then make sure you both guard it. If it absolutely has to move, make sure you reschedule it instead of losing it in the sea of family activities.

By arranging it in advance it’ll give you both something to look forward to – and add to your anticipation!