Posts where I tell you to spend lots of money are few and far between, but this is one of them, so you will probably want to read to find out what inspires me to relax my vice-like grip over our money.
One of my budgeting victories was figuring out how to allocate money for a “date night” for the ProvidinaTOR and me. I don’t mean a “budget date” where we have to lower our expectations although realistic expectations are huge. (Please note that the linked post was written prior to our real foods brainwashing, so we were happy eating at McDonald’s. Now, I might feel differently. Maybe. Depending.)
Despite our savvy with cheap dating, I found that there were many months when the prospect of yet another free or cheap date did not excite either of us. Faced with couponing my way through another mediocre date, I often opted for staying home. Since I manage our finances, my husband hated having to ask me if there was money to take me out, only to find out that it was already mostly spent on groceries or a bill. It wasn’t fun. We ended up skipping dates and then getting irritated at each other and the kids when we could just NEVER afford to go out. It stunk. It deflated us. It made us discontent and resentful. It made me want to snarl at the rich-folk who had a weekly date night. Grrrr.
Then I thought about how we tithe at least 10% of our gross income back to God through ministries because we believe that all money is HIS. Giving first to Him really establishes our relationship and our stewardship around Him.
It occurred to me that second to God, the money He gives us should establish our relationship and stewardship around a thriving marriage and family. Since we always managed to scrounge up enough when we made tithing a first priority, I decided that I would “tithe” to us, albeit in a secondary way. I would Tithe to the Relationship.
- Get paycheck
- Tithe on gross income to God by way of church, missionaries, Compassion child, Letter Verses, etc.
- Deduct all bills and regularly recurring expenses.
- Take 10% of the remainder for Tithe to the Relationship.
- PLAN a date for the weekend immediately after payday.
- Use the remaining money for variable expenses like groceries, gas, and household items.
Let me just tell you, Tithe to the Relationship IS AWESOME! Both of us agree that it has been a game changer in terms of our relationship and our budgeting. For one thing, it makes payday fun instead of a bill paying drag. It makes dating fun, instead of a lamo-fast food drag. My husband enjoys taking me out and spending money on me since I have a hard time overcoming my guilt about spending it on myself. I like being treated like . . . . a girl on an expensive DATE–not a tired out mom cheapin’ it at MickeyDs.
Most months, tithing to our relationship gives about $100 for one monthly date. That IS HUGE for us!!
We found a delicious Indian restaurant through a coupon at Restaurant.com (which I always shop at through Ebates.com to get money back!) Now, I get a monthly coupon for “our place,” so we can order whatever we want and not even share. We sit outside, relax, and pretend for one glorious evening that it is just the two of us. Thankfully our parents are both in town and babysit for free, so we are a bit spoiled in this regard, but even if we had to pay a babysitter, we could still go to a really nice dinner.
It’s not just awesome because of the Indian food, however. Tithe to the Relationship means we start off the month connecting, sharing, and dare I say, investing in our marriage as a priority to BOTH of us. After God, our marriage is number one. Additionally, I think we both find it a lot easier to resist our need to splurge or eat out during the month if we’ve had a nice solid date night. Forgetting TTtR, I suspect, was actually one of our downfalls during the Not-so-$500 month because we didn’t get our usual date night, and the rest of our consumables budget suffers when I feel like I have to make it up in fancy groceries.
What do you think? How do you afford date night? Do you think I’m being wildly indulgent?