Go Out to Eat for Free (or almost)

We've been in a date night slump for, oh, about the last nine years! Since we've had children we have had a hard time working in a regular time for just the two of us. Our slump is partly do to money. Though there have been good years and bad years financially during that time, we've never had a huge amount of disposable income to work with. There are lots of things we enjoy that do not cost money, but we both really do enjoy going out for a nice dinner alone.

Then there is the childcare factor. During that time we've had free child care ( grandparents) available some of the time. We try not to overuse that resource, and tend to save it for time we need to go somewhere. We sometimes do a "date night" at home by watching a movie or something after the kids go to bed, but frankly by that time we both are to tired to engage in much meaningful conversation. We just veg together.

We may have found the solution; mystery shopping. We've signed up for several mystery shopping companies. We've taken restaurant and retail assignments, and are having fun with it. The restaurants are the favorite though. Some have been fast food, and others casual dining. All have given a decent reimbursement allowance, and some have even paid cash beyond that. For more information, Amy at Mom Advice has a wonderful article about mystery shopping; Mystery Shopping - Mom Advice.

Last night we went to a local chain BBQ restaurant. Our reimbursement allowance was $30. Had we chosen some of the less expensive items we could have stayed within that $30 budget, but we decided to order what we really wanted. We had a couple drinks, two entrees and shared a dessert. After the tip, our cost was $14.34. I spent about an hour before and after the dinner familiarizing myself with the shop, and completing the questionnaire. Not bad for a nice dinner out.

These shops have made our date nights more regular because they are free (or almost depending on how we order.) They also are scheduled. Getting it on the calendar makes it happen. It is also an assignment so I don't feel like I'm using our free babysitting resource frivolously. It is nice to spend a relaxing evening together and nice dinner together without worrying that we are spending money that we shouldn't.

Frugal Fridays

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Go Out to Eat for Free (or almost) + work