Date Night Expectations

$131

That’s how much is left. 9 days to go. If you subtract the $30 copay for baby’s check-up, that leaves $101, $11 a day.

I could probably stop the e-mail there for accountability purposes, but as you know, I must elaborate.

Here’s what we spent this week.

$55.99 Harris Teeter Check out my post on this awesome Super Doubles trip.

$17.45 Harris Teeter   More super doubles

$7.67 Pull-ups from HT. I weep to pay this much, but it had to be done. Also, Dylan will never be potty trained. I am now sure of it.

$45  Gas

$2.16  CVS  (The newspaper)

$4 Tickets to see Prince of Persia at the $2 movies for datenight

$3.28 McDonalds for date night:  2 Mcdoubles and 2 apple pies. We were going to get water, but as they now charge .25 for a cup, we didn’t have enough.

Total spent for the week: $135.50.

However, $45 of that money (gas) was earned this week by J’s sales of various electronic stuff on Craig’s List, so in celebration and desperation, we went on a date.

Now, I must speak about this date because we actually discussed how you, the readers, would react to this cheap date. Was it lame? Is it sad to eat at McDonald’s and see a $2 movie that we may or may not have actually wanted to see just because we are so insanely eager to get out of the house and away from our children?

No. It is not sad at all. Because . . . we have low expectations, which were not only met, they were exceeded.  Not “Oh- poor- us- and- our-sad-life” expectations.   Just generally lower expectations.  Our expectation is that our fun will not come from what we spend, or eat, or do, but that our fun will come from something else–our own fundamental awesomeness. :)  We don’t just have low expectations this summer, but in general.  This is one of the key elements of the frugal philosophy that is essential to truly making it work.  We focus, or try to focus, on the true point of the evening. Escape. And pie.

Pie, which is actually quite good for $0.50.  Moreover, it is pie which is definitely not $5-$7 worse than slow food pie.

After the expensive $.50 tap water thing at McDonald’s, we joked about going over and holding the soda fountain water button for each other while the other held our face under the nozzle and drank.  Honestly, we got quite a chortle out of that.  It quite made the evening.  J even said, “Don’t you have something in your purse we could use?” As if I carry around a cup?  But then, I remembered, my Gram B., heroine of frugality, used to have this collapsible cup that she carried around in her purse, and dang it, if that didn’t seem like a great idea right about then.  But we got to really giggling and laughing about that, whipping out the imaginary cup and uncollapsing it with a shake of the hand, like a light saber or something.

Then we watched another couple come in with their two small children and struggle through the drill of feeding them at McDonalds. And we did not envy them. We laughed at them.

And then we took a short walk through a local park and saw a teen couple. The boy, I guess in punk-style, was wearing tight rolled jeans and white girly looking Keds. Since that was my eight grade outfit of choice, we had a good laugh about that too. (Laughing at others is really the foundation, I’m starting to realize.)

We asked ourselves on the way home, did we have a lot more fun on dates where we spent $30-$50 on dinner?  Sure, the food at atmosphere may have been better at that type of place, but after smuggling in popcorn and skittles from home to eat in the movie, we weren’t that hungry anyway.  I don’t have a picture of our date at McDonalds, but I will show you another one to illustrate the point.

Date night for our 5th anniversary, 3 years ago


Now looking at that picture, you might think that this anniversary date was infinitely better than our McDonald’s date last night.  After all, we are at a nice restaurant eating expensive food during a getaway to Hot Springs, NC in the beautiful mountains during October.

HA HA! Little do you know that J had a wretched sinus infection and was so cracked out on sinus meds, he can hardly recall this vacation at all.  I forced him out of the cabin to this restaurant after spending the whole day watching St.Elmos Fire and Say Anything on the movie channel.  I was horribly, terribly uncomfortable because Dylan, only 4.5 months at the time, was left with my parents, and the pump wasn’t cutting it.  For those of you who don’t know me, I may look perfectly normal, but as friends are clearly able to distinguish, I am on the border of explosion, jeopardizing the entire valley with a flood of breastmilk.  Hence, our smiles are fake, the curry I am about to consume was not spicy enough (though the coffee was good), and the meal was, let’s see, I will unearth the info from Quicken, $53.94.

In contrast, after McDonald’s, we were healthy, happy, satisfied, and most importantly, in budget.

And when we came home the kids were asleep.  Kudos to the grandparents! It was a beautiful thing.  It’s all about the expectations . . .


I should add, for those who are hardened snobs against fast food, that I have a special place in my heart for McDonald’s and I always will.  (No, it is not my inordinately high cholesterol!  Someday I will write a post about why I love McD’s. And someday I will write a post about why I don’t believe in cholesterol either.)


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10 Responses to Date Night Expectations

  1. Katrina Ryder August 15, 2010 at 10:47 pm #

    Due to desperation, I am transferring the comments from my Facebook page to here on the blog since I thrive on them . . . I love Ashlea’s story.

    Stephanie Noel Lovejoy Street I enjoy your blog posts so much! :D. We enjoyed a date tonight. $20 for an awful movie that gave me giggles (expendables) and $9 for dinner at arby’s. We splurged.

    Ashlea Cheek Dalik Katrina, your blog is hysterical! I love reading it as I can really relate as I try to be as frugal as you. I had an encounter with McD’s new charging for water policy not long ago also. I think you will appreciate how excessively cheap …I was (yes, I crossed the line from frugal to flat-out cheap on this one). After taking my 2 boys & niece & nephew to the Children’s Museum for $1 Family Night, I decided to splurge and take them to McD’s for apple dippers. I ordered 4 apples and asked for 4 courtesy cups of water. They informed they charge (get ready for this . . . ) $1 per cup!!!! I was not happy at all and asked for the manager who confirmed it was true. After being appalled for a moment, but polite as I know it was not my cashier’s policy – I had an idea. I asked for an ice cream lid for the kids to use as a cup with the apples. She gladly gave me 2. I filled them with ice & water and had each sibling set share a 2 oz. water cup. I know I crossed the line to cheap, but I saved
    $4+tax and got a funny story. :). Thanks for sharing your stories through the blog. I am not good at commenting, but enjoy reading.

  2. Ashlea August 15, 2010 at 11:06 pm #

    Glad you liked my story – you’ll have to use the ice cream lid trick for your next date night. :)

  3. Kristi August 16, 2010 at 9:50 am #

    oh Katrina…seriously you are one of the funniest people i know and you are extremely smart. i can actually hear your voice i think as i read this. quite uncanny really…sort of creepy too. but mostly just down right funny and amazing that you save so much money. i am truly impressed. i also feel i should say that any of my wit was learned from you and you were the one that helped me out of my shell and set me up on my own two feet starting with that singin’ in the rain song our first day in the dorms back in ’96.

  4. Megan August 16, 2010 at 1:03 pm #

    Your post made me want to go to the closest McDonald’s this morning and buy something just so I could ask for water and see if they charged me. I didn’t, but I will try sometime soon. Have you ever gotten their holiday coupon books for kids? I think it can be hit or miss as to what stores participate, and for which holidays, but often for $1 you can get a book of 12 coupons for free items (hamburgers, juice or milk, ice cream cones, apple dippers, fried). It’s an amazing deal when they have them, and I’ve often taken Nathaniel for a special treat and only gotten our free item and free water. =) Halloween is the holiday I’ve most often found them selling them, but they do often sell out so you have to catch it. I’ve also seen them for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and I think once it was in the spring around Easter. Last year around Christmas we were in MA at my in-laws and they had them but they were $2 a book, but I got one anyway because they didn’t expire for over a year rather than the usual couple of months.

  5. erin August 17, 2010 at 12:35 am #

    I love the budget dates… our favorite place to eat is…(drum roll) — taco bell! ohh nothing beats a bean burrito baby! nothing!
    love ya
    erin a

  6. Jenny from Mommin' It Up August 17, 2010 at 8:46 am #

    One of the great inconveniences of my current pregnancy is that I cannot stomach McDonald’s right now and it was formerly one of my favorite treats! I can still do the fries, hallelujah, but I can’t wait ’til a McD’s cheeseburger tastes like a McD’s cheeseburger again. :)
    I think you guys did great for a date night!

  7. Megan September 30, 2010 at 8:41 am #

    Ok, so I know this conversation is really old, but I just wanted to let you know about my McDonald’s water experiences of late. We have eaten much more often at McDonald’s in the last month due to some traveling, and I pretty much always asked for a cup of water. Never once was I charged anything for it–this was at McDonald’s in PA, NJ, and somewhere between here and MA–NY I think? So it must not be a nation-wide thing, maybe just in the southeast? Although driving all the way up here to get free water wouldn’t save you anything. =)

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