The Lucky One #CBias @BlockbusterExp #CouchCritics Date Night on a Budget

Ever since the first few weeks of 2012, my husband and I have buckled down and stuck to a budget. We plan our finances in advance and have made a large dent in our debt because of our newfound frugal ways.

One thing we don't skimp out on is date night.

For the past year we have gone on at least one date night each month. We reconnect, enjoy our time together, and spend a few kid-free hours alone. It has done wonders for our relationship and is something we enjoy very much.

Sometimes our date nights end up costing a bit more than we planned. With dinner, activities, and childcare, date nights can be expensive. And the cost of seeing a movie in the theaters has dramatically risen in upwards of $12 for each ticket!

But with a little creativity I was able to create a date night on a budget. For only $25 my husband and I enjoyed dinner, dessert, and a movie and didn't skimp on anything! Here's how:

Blockbuster Express
Since having kids, my husband and I have found it sometimes difficult to get out to see movies in the theaters. We've started to rent movies instead of going out and Blockbuster Express is not only affordable at $2 each movie for hte first night, it's also convenient.

Not only are there Blockbuster Express kiosks all around town, we don't have to return our movie to the same kiosk we rented it from. So if we're out running errands in a different part of town we can simply return our DVD to the closest kiosk.

Since I went online to find out what kiosk in my area had the movie, I decided to sign up for a Blockbuster Express account and opted to have New Release emails sent to my inbox. Shortly after signing up I received a free movie rental code in my email. I as able to use the code to rent our movie and our movie went from $2 to free!

And each additional night is only $1. No more service charges, late fees, and endless choices! Plus when you reserve your selection online in advance, you are guaranteed the movie you've chosen. No more getting to the video store to find out your selection is already rented out.

Once I got to the kiosk it took less than a minute to swipe my credit card and retrieve my DVD. I was in and out and on my way to the grocery store! 

Find out more and follow the latest on Blockbuster movies by following Blockbuster Express on Facebook and on Twitter at @blockbusterexp.

Dinner for less than $20
Since we already planned on watching our movie at home, I decided to plan dinner at home as well. For $20 I was able to get the ingredients to make a delicious, restaurant-style meal. Here what I purchased:
  •  Barefoot Chardonnay - $5.40
  • Athenos Feta Cheese - $3.99
  • Barilla Whole Grain Linguine - $0.99
  • Aidells artichoke & garlic sausage - $4.99
  • Red leaf lettuce - $0.99
  • Alexia garlic bread - $2
  • Cascadian Farms green beans - $2
  • Ghiradelli dark chocolate - $3.69
Without including the chocolate, I spent $20 on dinner. And since I was only cooking for 2, I only used 1/2 of the pasta, sausage, and garlic bread! So our meal actually cost less than $20.

I served salad, garlic bread, and a delicious sausage and feta linguine. Because every dish is better with a little wine, I paired the meal with a delicious Barefoot chardonnay.For the first time in a long time we set the table and ate together without having to stop every few minutes to take care of our children.

The dinner was absolutely amazing and I made more than enough for the both of us. For $20 I could easily have served a party of 6!

To see how I kept my costs low and under budget, check out my shopping trip in my The Lucky One #CouchCritics Google + album here

Dessert for Under $5
After dinner I baked up some chocolate souffles. I picked up a bar of dark chocolate from the grocery store while shopping for the ingredients for our dinner and had all of the other ingredients in our pantry and fridge at home. Since it was my first time baking souffles I was a bit worried but everything turned out perfectly!

We paired this chocolaty treat with some salty stove-top popcorn. The delicious dessert and popcorn were a perfect snack to enjoy while we enjoyed our DVD rental. With a romantic movie like The Lucky One, it was nice to be able to curl up on the couch together and enjoy our dessert.

The Lucky One
Most movies my husband and I see are action-packed thrillers that leave you on the edge of your seat. These types of movies don't leave much for hand-holding and snuggling while the movie plays.

The Lucky One is a romantic love story that follows the life of a marine after he returns home from the war and peruses an unidentified woman. As we followed the story and became more enwrapped in the lives of these two people we found ourselves growing closer to one another.

It was so refreshing to see a romantic movie. And the love scenes weren't bad either! But the main focus of the movie and the story that unfolded definitely made date night a special one for my husband and I.

To read more about how I created a date night on a budget check out my G+ story here. And to hear more about my review of The Lucky One, keep an eye out on Couch Critics!

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias All stories and opinions are my own.

9 comment(s) with love:

Mariah @ said... Reply To This Comment

I am always looking for date night ideas. You're right about the movie theater getting expensive! Renting a movie and making a meal together sounds like a great way to reconnect!

Maria Briggs said... Reply To This Comment

I love having date nights at home, especially with all the out of house running around we have been doing lately. Accomplishing them on a budget is even better!

The Frugal Greenish Mama said... Reply To This Comment

Hubby and I are trying to get back to date night (which is hard to do with toddlers). Sometimes though it is hard to get motivated to get out when you are on a tight budget so great idea on doing date night in!

Signing Mama said... Reply To This Comment

Date nights are so important! I should try to make a soufle!

Darcy said... Reply To This Comment

We love date nights in! We no longer have the Blockbuster kiosks around our area, but we make use of Redbox and Netflix :)

LOVE MELISSA:) said... Reply To This Comment

What a fun date night! We love the Blockbuster kiosks!!

Kari said... Reply To This Comment

Danielle- you did a fabulous job with this date night. You know I am always on the lookout for great and inexpensive date night ideas. Maybe we should do a $40 date night- double date style?



Danielle Simmons said... Reply To This Comment

Yes, Kari! That sounds like so much fun :)

Queentob said... Reply To This Comment

Love date night, looks like a lot of fun and it is so good to stop and enjoy a little couple's time