After having children, date nights are important. They’re also rare and the cost associated with sitters and the date can be prohibitive. Here are some fun ways to mix up your dates without spending a lot of money.

Seaside at Twilight – Head to your closest beach or lakeside with your beach chairs, sweaters, and some wine and snacks. Even if the drive is over an hour, make it part of the experience. Maybe even grab some boardwalk cheese fries for the drive home.

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Change Jar Chow – Every day, instead of spending the coins you find in your wallet or couch cushions, drop them into a change jar. At the end of the month, bring your change to a coin counter and use as your date-night dinner money. You might be surprised how much you will have collected and it will feel like “found” money.

Fairs or Festivals – Tis the season for street fairs and music festivals. Hold hands while you ride the ferris wheel and share some cotton candy.

Community/College Playhouse or Concert – It may not be Broadway but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a fun night out!

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(photo credit Gordana Sermek / Shutterstock.com)

Mini Golf and Ice Cream – Pretend like you are 16 again on this throwback date! Put a wager on the game to make things a little more interesting.

Drinks and Dessert – You don’t have to go to a restaurant and order expensive entrees. Eat dinner home before visiting your favorite BYO with a bottle of dessert wine. Order desserts to share. A variation of this could be to bring a bottle of red and order an Italian cheese plate.

DIY Drive-Thru Movie – Charge your laptop, queue up the Netflix, pop a bag of popcorn (and dump a bag of M&Ms into it- that’s how I like to do it) and drive to the closest scenic overlook. Sometimes all you need to make a night special is another set of four walls, or doors in this case.

Game Night – Stay in, but instead of falling asleep on the couch in front of the TV, play a board game. Blend some margaritas and cook up some nachos to make this a truly special night.

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Reverse Morning – Go out for breakfast food (it’s cheaper than dinner!) and then go back to bed!

What are your favorite inexpensive date nights? We’d love to hear from you!