It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day as a married couple, and forget to have fun together, especially when you’ve got all these obligations (like debt!) that you must fulfill.  The spouse and I want to try to keep things fun and relaxed (he’s better at it than I am), but we don’t want to spend too much doing it.

I was originally going to call this post “No Money Date Night Ideas” until I remembered that we live in the suburbs of California, which means unless we want to trespass on the golf course near our house for walks, we’re driving places.  I’ve tried to include things we’ve actually done and that have worked for us.  One thing my spouse did at one point was put a bunch of ideas in a box, along with a bunch of “food” ideas and mixed it all up.  On date night/day, we would pick a paper, and whatever we picked would be our date.

Beach Day

During summer months this is by far our favorite.  We live near-ish the coast, and have a nice beach about 45 minutes away.  The waves aren’t too big, so I can go bodysurfing without feeling like I’m going to drown, there’s plenty of nice flat beach space, and it’s not too crowded, although a boogie-boarder did nearly knock me in the head last week.  We haven’t spent any money on “beach stuff” other than making sure we have sunscreen.  We’re using old beach towels the spouse found at his mom’s house, and I have a couple of sarongs from various previous trips.  We usually go after lunch, since the spouse usually has overnights on the weekend, so he’ll sleep until about 12 or 1, we’ll have lunch, go to the beach for a few hours, come back and have dinner.  Then, all we need to pack is water.  Lots and lots of water.  We use Hydroflasks, and love them.

Hiking

I want to be the kind of person that just wanders into the wilderness for long hikes.  I’m still in the development process.  Fortunately, where we are has a good variety of walks/hikes that can be pretty short and do-able for afternoon or day hikes.  This is another one we’ll tend to do between meals – either just after breakfast or just after lunch so that we don’t have to eat out.  We’re not going for super long or hard hikes, so we don’t have any specific hiking gear, just sneakers and exercise clothes.  The spouse has a small backpack for water and snacks, if we need them, as well as sunscreen and jackets, just in case.

Zoo

This one is cheating a little bit.  We used to have year passes to a really nice zoo near our house, and would go at least twice a month.  It was good exercise because the zoo itself is built pretty much into the hill overlooking a valley, so there’s lots of up and down walking.  We’d pack a snack (sandwiches, rice balls, etc.) and drinks, walk to the top-most point and eat our lunches looking out over the valley before heading back to look at the rest of the animals.  Because we lived so close and went so often, we could do the zoo in a few hours, and didn’t have to make a full day of it.  Sometimes we’d go early to catch the bird show.  We’ve since let the membership lapse, but it’s definitely something we’ll pick up again when we have kids to take to the zoo.  As long as you go more than 3 times a year, the passes pay for themselves.

Ocean Walks

Where we are has some very interesting places to walk.  Pretty oceans, nice rock formations, good beaches, and piers where you can watch people fishing.  Lots of people fishing.  We’ve done this a few times after dinner, eat something quickly then head out to wander along the beach and people watch.

Burritos!

Ok, honestly, our favorite thing to combine with any of these activities is to go be active, and then split a burrito after.  We try not to very often, but burritos are delicious, and you can get them for like $7 around here.  Nice big ones that are reasonable to split between two hungry adults.  So if we really want to make a big day of it and stay out longer, we’ll just decide before going which burrito place we want for lunch, and plan our there and back route around it.  We’re not obsessed.  Really.

Any other ideas?  What do you and your significant other(s) do to maintain your connection, get out of the house, and have some fun without breaking the bank?