Before you roll your eyes in disbelief, a girls' night out is completely possible. Not only is it possible, it's necessary to function as a well-adjusted wife and mother. The trick is doing it frugally and functionally without derailing your normal routine (and budget). Here are proactive tips to make sure your girls' night goes off without a hitch.
Swap Child Rearing
You want to get the kids taken care of without spending cash, so you don't suffer from any "mommy guilt" about blowing the grocery budget on your sitter. The key lies within the trade. If you don't have grandparents around, talk to your husband. See if you can work out a girls' night in exchange for a guys' night out. If that doesn't work, grab a couple moms and offer to watch their kids in exchange. And if that doesn't work, say your husband won't do it and you want to hang out with all the moms you know on the same night, swap another service. Offer to clean for someone or cook dinners for a working mom a couple nights. There's nothing I'm too proud to do to get some free babysitting.
Organize a Date
It works best if you do this on a schedule. For example, try it on the first Tuesday of every month. Then your husband can get the second Tuesday. This way, you won't blink and watch it become six months since the last girls' night out. If you make it a priority, it will work.
Scout the Deals
Research your local restaurants to find out what kind of deals they have going on. Just sit down and make phone calls. There's always happy hour, but some restaurants offer mid-week specials. My favorite place offers two-fer Tuesdays. It's twenty bucks for two complete meals on Tuesday nights.
If you want to do a movie night, check out Costco. A lot of times, movie gift cards are cheaper than you would pay for a full-price ticket.
If you haven't already, sign up for Groupon. The emails they send you are local to your area and run deals on everything from restaurants to day spas. I've gotten emails for limousine wine tours, zip lines, boat tours and bike rentals. The best thing is, it gets you to think outside the box for your girls' night out. You don't have to do typical happy hour — you can take a bike tour around the city.
Try Something New
Being away from the kids is a great time to try things you couldn't normally do because they cry and poop and break stuff. (Let's be real, here.) Go walk through antique shops or take a Zumba class. (See if your local YMCA has a deal.) Go for a hike. Take a beekeeping class. (I really want to take the one-day seminar my local college offers.) Work on scrapbooks or quilts or a garden. Go horseback riding or go to a museum. Go see a live band. The point is, dust off that bucket list and start crossing things off with your closest friends.
Don't Do Anything
I'll be honest. As much as I love a great night out, nothing beats staying home, watching a movie, and eating brownies with my closest friend. Just do a chick flick night at someone's house (no kids!) and enjoy Pride and Prejudice without listening to your husband's mocking tone towards Mr. Darcy. Add popcorn and some movie treats, and you've got a cheap night out that will rejuvenate you.
Take these tips and have a blast. I'll leave you with a guilt-free brownie recipe, so you won't be paying too much for your night out.
Black Bean Brownies
- 1 can black beans
- 1 box brownie mix
Take the can of beans and rinse them with cold water in a strainer. Put the beans back in the can. Fill the can of beans with water until it's full. Blend the beans and water until fully blended. Mix in a bowl with the brownie mix. Bake as directed on the package. Enjoy!