It’s Tuesday night again in the Lees household…do you know what that means? Date Night!
Every week my wife and I try to set aside two nights specifically for spending time together. If it’s Tuesday, you can bet that we’re probably not available to talk – because we’re out on a date!
Over the course of the past four years, a lot has changed in our budget and in the economy. Have you noticed that everything is more expensive lately? Well, we’re not about to let those hurdles keep us from enjoying a nice time together. After four years of consistently dating my beautiful wife, I thought it was about time to share with others some of our secrets for a budget-friendly, yet very entertaining date. That’s why we’ve titled this blog post, “Five Dates for $15”. We’ll begin with some basic tips for creating budget-friendly dates and finish by listing our personal top five.
Find those Deals!
Essential to any budget-friendly date is knowledge of your town’s daily/weekly deals. Tippecanoe County is full of restaurants that serve up specials on different days/nights of the week. We have saved many a dollar by visiting BW3s for their wing specials on Tues/Weds or meeting up for the B1G1 lunch special at Java Roasters on Thursday. These are just two of many specials you can find in our local community. (Please share your local “deals” in the comments section below!)
Another tip is to find the places where the portion sizes are out of control! Many American restaurants are serving enough food to feed two people from a single entrée. For example, we love to head over to Spaghetti’s for their delicious “family-size” Papa’s salad. For roughly $9 we can eat as much Italian bread as we want and finish it off with this amazing salad. Keep reading for even more examples of these types of deals!
Finally, skip the drinks! Free water is better for you and will save you a ton of money that is typically spent on overpriced soft drinks.
Think outside the Box
There is more to a date than food! While we’re always interested in finding great food for a really low price, we also want our dates to be romantic and fun. Some of the inexpensive ways we’ve been able to facilitate this are below.
- Rent a movie. Most of you are probably saying “No duh!” Well, Smarty-pants, did you know that you could probably be renting movies for FREE? Let me share the tip with you. For every unique credit/debit card that you or your significant-other own, you are able to take advantage of two free rental codes at your nearest Redbox. These codes are DVDONME and BREAKROOM. They’ve been in the system for years and continue to work. So if you each have two unique cards, then you’re looking at eight free rentals! Pretty neat right? Well it’s hard to beat free, but we’ve also recently stumbled upon Family Video. If you’re a new customer, they offer 50% off your rentals for the first thirty days and that’s not mentioning their already low rate of $2.59 for five nights (for current releases; older releases are much less, often 2/$1).
- Enjoy God’s creation. Maybe you’re tired of staying indoors. Consider coming out to Faith Community Center! The pond out back is very romantic and full of wildlife. There is a walking path and several seating areas, including a gazebo! The sunsets are to die for and the free disc golf is great too! Or how about visiting Lafayette’s own Columbian Park and Zoo? Did you know both are free to the public? They’ve got swing sets, a playground, and a pond with lots of wildlife, as well as pavilions for a nice picnic or BBQ.
- Go local. One of the neatest things our community is known for is its appreciation of the fine arts. Not only is there a local theater, but there are many public festivals happening each season. Hop onto the Tippecanoe County visitors/recreation website to see what’s coming to town next. Since most of these things happen downtown, it’s a perfect opportunity to begin the evening with a visit to a local coffee shop like Greyhouse on the West side of the river and then take a short stroll across the John T. Myers Pedestrian Bridge to the festivities.
Now that you’ve heard most of our secrets let’s get to what you’ve all been waiting for…
Five Dates for $15 or less
(cost includes a 20% tip and ordering water as the beverage)
Location: 9 Irish Brothers
Typical Cost: $15
Order: Tiger Mike’s Fish & Chips
Comments: One order with enough food for two! This is some of the best fish in town too!
Typical Cost: $10-12
Order: Family-size Papa’s Salad
Comments: This single order is enough for two! You’ll love their free Italian bread and oil/garlic dip. If you get it “to-go” you’ll get even larger portions!
Location: Red Seven
Typical Cost: $12-15
Order: Any of their pizzas
Comments: Another single order large enough for two! The toppings are flavorful and unique, and the atmosphere is great! Walk around downtown or across the pedestrian bridge afterwards!
Location: Subway & Culver’s
Typical Cost: $10-12
Order: 12” sub / 2x Mini Concrete Mixers
Comments: Most of Subway’s 12” subs are around $6 and the ice cream (with 2 toppings) is around $5. This combination works great for a date night at the park or a nice stroll around the Faith Community Center Pond!
Location: Local Mexican Restaurants (Our favorite is El Meson)
Typical Cost: $15
Order: Varies; the prices are always low at these places!
Comments: Check out the appetizer or side dish menus! If you’re a lighter eater, they will typically have the food you need without all the extras. And free chips & salsa never hurt anyone!