4 Moms: How to spend time with your husband without spending money

It’s Thursday again, and today the 4 Moms have agreed to reveal the secret to spending time with the husband without spending money.


Today, my husband also agreed to let me tell you that when he’s with me, we always spend money.

Well, that hasn’t always been true, and it’s not quite true now.  Over the years we have discovered plenty of ways to enjoy each other’s company without spending money.

In-home Date Night

When all the kids were little, we used to have an in-home date night.  We would feed the kids a fun & easy dinner like chicken nuggets & fries, then haul the TV and VCR (VCR?  What’s that?) into their bedroom and put them to bed early.  Then the fun began.  We cooked together, talked, sipped drinks, played games, watched a movie of our own after the kids dozed off, and just generally enjoyed each other’s company.

Errand Dates

Now that the kids are bigger, we have built-in babysitters who delight to see us leave.  Maybe I should install a secret camera to find out why, or maybe I just shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.  These dates aren’t technically free since we have to count the cost of gas and whatever it is the kids do when we’re gone, but since we often turn an errand run into a date, we’re not burning extra gas.
 I always said I didn't believe in dating, but that day I went on not one but two blind dates. I really like the guy I went with. He was nice, funny and handsome. Oh, and he's married to me. We agreed to meet up again soon.

In-store Dates

A variation on the errand-date is the one in which we leave the kids in the van (keep in mind we have big kids) and go into a store alone together.  Does that phrase make you giggle like it does me?  As we pull into a parking lot, 3 or 4 of the kids invariably start calling out from the dim recesses of the van, “Can I go in?  Can I?  Please?  PLEASE?”  Then we give each other The Look, and one of us answers: “No.  We’re going on a date.

Exercise Dates

Our family recently took up jogging.  It’s not at all uncommon to find the kids far ahead, while Perry lags behind with me.  Call me desperate, but I consider this a date.  Any time spent alone with my hunney is quality time!

More Dates

There are a few more obvious options: we have been known to stay up insanely late after the children are in bed, just because we enjoy each other’s company.   I know what you’re thinking.  No, I’m not just talking about that. Sometimes we sit side by side in the dark living room, sending each other messages on googletalk.  Sometimes we watch a late-night movie in bed on a laptop.  We might just sit out on the deck and chat til the wee hours.  The point is that we don’t have to leave the house to enjoy some private time together.

We have also learned over the years that a co-ed shower in the morning goes a long way.  🙂  In a small house, privacy can be hard to find during daylight hours, but this is one place it’s nearly guaranteed.

See how the other 3 Moms and their respective spouses answer the question:

  • DeputyHeadmistress @ The Common Room
  • [email protected] Olives
  • Connie @ Smockity Frocks
  • What’s your secret?  How do you and your spouse spend time together without spending money?  Besides that, I mean.


    1. I wish my parents did that…

    2. We are big fans of the co-ed shower too!

    3. We have currently three little boys in foster care, the oldest is 5 – and we will adopt them before he turns 8! When they first came 8 months ago, we were quite overwhelmed. I made them soon clear that nobody is allowed to interrupt phone conversations unless someone is bleeding, so we talked a lot over the phone while my husband was on his way to work or coming back home – this was the only time when the kids were not around or we too exhausted to talk!
      We also have had “errand dates”, but our best date “in” was this summer during our vacation in Germany. We lived in a two-store apartement, so we tucked the kids into bed upstairs, dragged the chairs onto the balcony downstairs and turned the TV facing the balcony door. We even watched football just because we could! We are lucky, though – my parents live just 30 minutes from us and they take the kids quite often.

    4. I wonder if that’s why 7 month old babies can’t talk….

    5. I used to wonder if I was warping my kids because they knew my hubby and I would sometimes shower together. We would not advertise it or anything, but our house is not big, and there are 8 kids around. My one day my daughter (who was then 18, and is now 22) said, “When I was little I was always really glad when you and Papa took a shower at the same time. I knew it would be a good day.”

      • Lois,
        When one of our daughters was 5yo, she once answered the door to a friend of ours by announcing that “Mom and Dad are upstairs doing their love thing.”
        We found that our kids had a good sense of what goes on behind closed doors from a young age (not the specifics, of course!), and we’ve always been rather frank and unashamed about it. They learn enough about the mechanics from seeing animals breed, and they learn how it fits into a marriage by seeing how we cherish our time together.

    6. Great ideas! People always ask me how my husband and I stay so close with 7 kids (and a wee one on the way! Yay! We just found out. Can you tell I’m excited?) I always tell them it’s all perspective. A walk around the neighborhood while the kids ride bikes ahead of us, or a quick run to the store, or even sitting outside can all be date nights. Make the most of any time you get alone. and change your concept of a date. 🙂

    7. Heh, we also do the going in a store date while the kids stay in the van. And it happens just the same way yours do- the kids are all clamouring to go in, too, and there’s the ‘look.’=)

    8. Co-Ed showers rock! We get interrupted quite frequently too though. Our oldest is five.

      • Our showers are often interrupted by a knock at the door, but the person on the other side of the door is over the age of 6, she can probably wait.

    9. Netflix isn’t free, but it’s cheap and has given us many hours of movie night dates. We put the kids down, pop some popcorn and watch a movie. The best part is that if the movie is terrible, we just turn it off and start another. Oh Netflix, how I love thee!

    10. As a mom of 10 with the benefit of older ones, I too enjoy regular times out with my honey. But I haven’t forgotten those days of not too long ago when our children were younger and we couldn’t afford a sitter. Two delightful young ladies came at different times to stay with the children. Now that I have older daughters (the two oldest at home are 18 & 21), we encourage them to serve couples with young children by caring for the children so mom & dad can have a needed date-night.
      One at-home date night I’ll never forget is when Terry & I went to “Long Ladies Fine Dining” for dinner. The girls turned the dining room into a restaurant, complete with waitresses & chefs. There were candles, dim lighting, and even menus! It was delightful 🙂

    11. Mmmm…. ALL of those are my favorites!
      It’s getting so that a date IN, is much easier and relaxing than a date OUT.

    12. Roxie Meiske says:

      I have been married 38 years. Just 2 children, but 4 grand children…

      I admire what you do. You and your husband are setting a wonderful example for those children.

      The best gift a father can give his children is to LOVE their mother. The same is true for a mother too. If she loves her husband with all of her heart even the ‘hard’ times can seem possible.

      We used to go sit in the yard and talk and talk and drink our tea and visit….that is where we ironed out all of our differences.
      I can be honest and say that in all these years together there have been less than 5 fights between us. All caused by our ‘family’ (not the kids) Our brothers and sisters…

    13. Our dates are primarily of the errand date variety. We’ve been on one real date in the last 12 years, about 4 years ago. He was thinking we were about due the other day- so maybe this year will be a date year. By the time the next 4 years rolls around, the built in babysitter effect of large families will have kicked in. It’s pretty exciting!!

      This year we spent some alone time by getting up super early before the kids and going for a walk. But the sun ran away faster and now they’re awake about an hour before it rises 🙁

      Our most unusual alone time has definitely been spent while slopping the pigs which we do 5 months out of the year after dinner. Leaving behind both children and ultimatums regarding how much of the dishes have to be done by the time we get back ;D

    14. LOVE the co-ed shower… even if the 7mo old is sitting in the bottom sometimes 😉

    15. My husband walks a lot, so sometimes I will go with him and we can be alone and discuss parental issues uninterrupted. We will run for brief errands. One thing our family is working on right now is stargazing, and we are trying to find good, safe locations to do so. That’s another thing my husband and I will probably do together.

      With older children and a small house, late night movies are pretty much a thing of the past (we get too tired if we stay up that late!!!) so we usually have to physically leave the house.


    16. I wonder in amazement how you, with your family being larger than mine, can find time alone in the bathroom. We are a family of seven and I swear there is an alarm in our one bathroom. When someone goes in the alarm goes off so that everyone else can be reminded that they need to use it. Even “after hours”. Never fails.

    17. Our favorite date night has become the SAM’s club! You can take in a movie over at the TV isle , get some shopping done, and get a cheap dinner at the cafe (a huge piece of pizza and very large drink are only $2.50!). We stopped thinking about where we were going a long time ago and now just enjoy the time together.
      Thank you for your ideas! As always, they are great!!

    18. Going out for a date is virtually unheard of in this household. Our children (between 7yo and 1yo) all go to bed relatively early so we just spend one evening a week as dedicated “date night”, usually playing board games, or chatting or watching a DVD. No money spent, no babysitter required.

    Don't just think it: say it!

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