Guys Guide To Cheap Dates For New Parents

Dads Guide Cheap Date Ideas

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is the “Guys Guide To Cheap Dates For New Parents”. If you are not the guy in your particular relationship, you should forward this to the man who is, and then you can just move along to the Ladies Guide.

Are you a new parent who needs to go on a date? Here is how to tell if you are:

  • Do you have kids?
  • Are you short on cash?
  • Are you even shorter on time?
  • Are you unaware of any song currently trending, yet VERY aware of Netflix’s extensive catalog?
  • Are there Cheerios in your back seat right now?
  • Have you recently tasted a squeezy pouch?

If you answered yes to three or more of those questions, then congrats on the new(ish) baby! ThriftSmart has brought me in to assist you on keeping the romance alive, despite your children actively trying to murder it.

What makes me such an authority, you ask? Good question! I am a married father with two (2) children born roughly nine months after Valentine’s Day. That means I am VERY good at Valentine’s Day and date night ideas.

Valentine’s Day Is A Sucker’s Game

But it doesn’t have to be! Sure, Valentine’s Day got you into this mess, but it can get you out of it too! We all know that Valentine’s Day is a holiday made up to make money, but we should all learn from Hallmark and seize an opportunity when we see one! Traditional Valentine’s Day traps can all be avoided with some simple planning. You don’t have to spend a fortune to have a great date and make your wife and the mother of your children feel like the special woman that she is.

Step one in avoiding the hassle is timing. Have your Valentine’s date after Valentine’s Day! The day itself rarely falls on a convenient day, so people typically go out on the weekend before or after. If you go before, your wife is going to be slightly disappointed that you aren’t doing something else on the day itself. But if you go after then there is still something to look forward to. This strategy also works for birthdays. And if you go the extra step and get her some candy or flowers on the day itself, then you’re all set. If everything goes according to plan, you should ALSO be celebrating V-day on or before the actual day anyway. (Be sure to share the Ladies Guide with your favorite lady.)

Planning Ahead

The first step to a good date is getting rid of your sticky little cherubs. If you have parents in the area, let them know that you’ll be dropping their favorite grandkids off. But if you are like many of the new transplants to the Nashville area then you might not have family available. So why not consider a babysitter swap? Find a friend with kids and offer to babysit their kids so they can go out on or prior to Valentine’s Day in exchange for them doing the same for you. This is a great free way to get a babysitter, and having friends over can be a fun way to entertain your own kids for a night.

Next, plan a good playlist for the evening! This is important because if you are like most parents, your current “Recently Listened To” tab is mostly songs featuring animal sounds. Find something that your wife is going to like. Something that is mostly her favorites with a few new songs that you think she might like. Those extra additions are important for making her feel like she is still keeping up with current trends. But make sure there are plenty of old hits just in case the new songs fall flat.

Plan out your conversation! This basically consists of asking good questions. Flirting is all about making your wife feel like the most special person in the room. So ask good questions and be interested! Make eye contact (except for when you’re driving). Follow up with more questions and pepper with dad jokes where applicable. (Hint: dad jokes are always applicable).

The Date Itself

Your date should include two different events – 1) eating and 2) something else. Doing just one thing is neat but also a little depressing. Your goal is to feel like you did before you had kids. Carefree and with less fingerprints on your stuff. So do two things. But I advise only two. Any more will absolutely remind you that you are not as young as you were before you had kids, and that you can’t just run around all night and not regret it the next morning when your child is up and singing in your face at 6am.

Before you go, it is very important to hype up the date a little bit. If your wife is looking forward to it, then that excitement is going to spill over into the evening. But if you overhype and under-deliver then disappointment is the only thing you’ll be spilling. And that’s going to leave a stain. You can build the proper amount of hype by telling her important info, but ONLY what she needs to know. What to wear (fancy but you’re not going to a wedding), when you’re leaving and coming back (for the babysitters), etc. The mystery of the rest will work in your favor.

cool restaurants

Where To Eat

If you actually are new parents and not just parents who haven’t realized that they lost track of the last 12 years due to sleep deprivation, then it’s important to remember that hangry is a real emotion for nursing mothers who have to wait to eat. So don’t go someplace fancy that is going to have long waits and an overpriced menu. Instead go for something cool.

Finding a hip new hole in the wall is a great way to save money, avoid lines, and make your wife feel young and cool. Check out Eater’s guide to the hottest spots in Nashville. And if nothing on there jumps out at you, check out their “openings” page for the newest spots. Find someplace that fits your budget and timeline. But make sure it is someplace she can Instagram and brag to her friends about.

What’s Next

After the first portion of your evening, you’re going to be tempted to do something lame like go to a movie. Don’t. You have a big tv and a comfy couch at home. You can watch a movie anytime. This is supposed to be a special night. Now that your first plan was just shot down, you are planning on something outdoorsy… maybe go on a hike or something. Another bad idea. Hiking is Nashville’s default date when people can’t think of anything else to do. The weather could be anywhere between 70 and -7 degrees. It could be sunny, raining, snowing, or a tornado. Don’t try planning for the weather.

Museum date night

Instead, do something that shows some planning. Find a night at the museum event, or one of Nashville’s many, many free concerts. Spend a little bit of time on Google ahead of time to come up with a great cheap/free idea. But if you totally strike out in the brainstorming department, then at the very least, go someplace conversational. A fancy new bar or coffee shop is a great place to gaze into each other’s eyes. Or you could find one of those board game nights that are growing in popularity and show up all dressed up. That will really impress the rest of the nerds!

Wrapping Up

Keep it flirty all night. As previously mentioned, the goal is to make her feel like the most special person in the room no matter where you are. If you accomplish that, whatever you actually do is irrelevant.

Don’t get too crazy and stay out all night. Leave her wanting more, and with time to either get some rest or, you know, whatever. If things go well, you may want to make this a monthly tradition. Not every date night is going to be a big hit, but your wife will definitely appreciate the pursuit.

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