$20 Date Night Challenge – Nailed It!

Elle Martinez of Couple Money and Couple Money Podcast issued an interesting challenge. Coordinate a date night/girl’s night out/family fun day, but only spend $20.

I first heard the idea during her Money Smart Week presentation (available in the Master Your Money Recap) as she laid out practical tips for couples working to fix their finances and build wealth.

Often, the belt tightening associated with redirecting excess funds toward debt repayment or savings can put a crimp in socializing. It doesn’t have to.

This challenge encourages us to use a little planning and a smidgen of creativity to come up with budget-friendly ways to rock an outing.

Challenge accepted!

I definitely have the the spirit of spontaneity. My husband sees it as a penchant for procrastination. Either way, good ideas come to me moments before I like to implement them.

Such was the case today.

I had planned to spend the day at home catching up on languishing projects because I had a full day of kid-coverage. However, I had a productive morning and the storm clouds deciding to seek other skies. Why not give Elle’s challenge a good college try.

I love to find ways to enjoy life that don’t cost a lot of money. I honed this skill when working through our debt free journey. I will admit, it’s fairly easy living in such a fabulous city. However, I’ve lived all over and know that you can make a good time without breaking the bank with a little mental energy.

Our date night was more of a family fun outing. I forgot to mention the challenge specifics to WonderMan, but he’s generally a good sport and down for whatever.

I picked up another 3 year old and we all headed to the Lincoln Park Zoo.

The zoo is about 20 minutes north and we travel along the picturesque Lake Shore Drive. So the commute is calm and scenic. The zoo is free (the best part) and if you opt for street parking, you can skip the $20 parking fee. We opted for street parking.

Parking in Lincoln Park can be a hassle. Lincoln Park is extremely congested, but a little patience will pay off.

This zoo also allows outside food and drinks. We fed the kids before leaving, but I packed my travel cooler with snacks and drinks which came in handy when we took a timeout to refuel.

All together, we spent $6.00 at the zoo (WonderMan wasn’t feeling my snacks) and another $10.00 (give or take) on snacks at the grocery store before leaving. $16 for an afternoon out with my husbands and 3 kids. Not bad.

This spur of the moment outing really worked well. Everyone enjoyed themselves. I saw a camel – in person – for the first in my life…ever. I will say, I feel a bit sad for the animals. Who enjoys being cooped up with strangers gawking?

The zoo really is one activity that you can repeat because each time is a different experience. A zoo that is free.99 is my kind of outing.

Will you join this challenge?

If so, tag us with #20dollardatenight so we can share the ideas. Happy planning!

 

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