Hubby and I pulled off an excellent date night earlier this week, despite our sorry economic state, and it was lovely. The best part: we spent less than $20 out of pocket!
For Mothers' Day my adorable little sister sent me "babysitting coupons" that might be one of the nicest gifts I've ever gotten. I hate asking people to babysit. I feel all kinds of awkward about it, and we simply cannot afford to pay a babysitter, so we just rarely go out. Little sis picked up on this, and sent heartfelt and adorable "guilt free" cards for me to cash in :) Thanks so much!
Then we had to decide what to do. And how to pay for it. Luckily, I'd been hoarding a GIFT CARD STASH! My husband likes to spend gift cards IMMEDIATELY, but I like to hide them away for when I really need them. I get joy just from knowing I have the possibility of a dinner or activity squirrelled away almost as much as when I actually use them. My pile is pretty thin these days, but we did have 2 Parasole gift cards we had saved from Christmas, so we decided to have dinner at Muffeletta.
Dinner was wonderful! We got a nice bread basket and popcorn before the meal, so I was full after the beer cheese soup (which was good, but a bit spicy for me & my finicky heartburn) but I appreciated the few bites of my tortellini I could stuff myself with, and hubby polished off the rest for lunch today. I kicked myself for not saving room for the bete noire which would be reason enough to go out! We each had soup, soda, and an entree and we only paid about $16 after our gift cards for the amazing spread, most of which was a generous tip.
Then we headed over to our local AMC, for which I also had a gift card hidden away. I rarely go to movies, and when I do it's almost never a full price showing, but the gift card made it manageable. We saw The Avengers, and liked it quite a bit (you didn't expect that after Battleship, right? The difference: humor. Acknowledging the absurdities somehow made them acceptable. Plus I appreciate the clever way all the individual story lines were woven together :) We even had enough for Reese's Pieces (at absurd movie price) and a large soda to split. Cost out of pocket: nothing!
I stress about money, and if we had decided to do a night like this without the gift cards, I would probably have been uptight and regretful and not enjoyed it at all, so I'm really glad it all worked out so well. Knowing this about myself, it makes sense if we ever do have a little extra float to sometimes pack away some gift cards instead of just cash, since gift cards "have" to be spent on their more indulgent purposes, whereas I'd always come up with something more practical we should be spending cash on. Spending gift cards on entertainment somehow feels more justified :)