Date On A Budget: Creative Childcare

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[UPDATE: I assumed when I wrote this that you would do your due diligence to check out the people who are taking care of your children. It goes without saying that you should be extremely careful about who you leave them with.]

Date On A Budget: Creative Childcare

Date nights are so important to keep a marriage strong and healthy, but it can be a challenge to date on a regular basis when you have a tight budget. We are at a nice stage in life when our older children can babysit our younger ones, but if you have “littles”, here are a couple of ideas for making date nights happen:

*Date Night “In”–Put the kids to bed and have a special candlelight dinner.

*Trade Kids–Find another couple with children and take turns going out. This can work especially well if one family has children who are a little older. It can be daunting to keep six kids who are six and under!

*Find “Grandparents”— Sometimes couples without children or with older children may be willing to keep your children occasionally. You could offer to cook them dinner, do yardwork or run errands in exchange. This usually works best if the “grandparents” come to your home that is already child-proofed, and make sure that you have a few social events with them beforehand to let your kids get to know them.

*Barter-When our children were younger I traded tutoring a homeschooled high schooler for babysitting. You could also work out a trade with a college student who babysits in exchange for dinner and the ability to do her laundry at your house.

*Take Advantage of Cheaper Childcare– Some churches have very affordable Mother’s Morning Out programs where you can drop your children off one morning a week. Instead of running errands during that time, why not have a date every few weeks?


If you make dating your spouse a priority and you think outside the “box” of traditional babysitting arrangements, you can be surprised how affordable it can be.


What creative ways do you have for spending less on childcare for dates?


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  1. Bethany says

    I remember one night as a child my parents had a fancy dinner at home and bribed my brother and I with a trip to the pool to be waiters/cooks! We made dinner and a fake menu, set up candles, and served just like it was a real restaurant. They had a really fun time and so did we! We stayed out of the way while they were eating with our own meal and then did cleanup afterwords. This would be a great idea if you have older kids who are responsible and competent in the kitchen and who understand their parents need for a night to themselves!

  2. says

    We are VERY picky about who we allow to watch our children. We were blessed for the past almost 5 years that my mother watched them for a couple of hours a week, since she didn’t see them a lot otherwise. However, now that we live 5 hours away from my family and 2 hours away from his, it will be more after-bedtime dates for us…sitting out on the porch, playing board games or card games, eating desert by candle light, having a movie night, etc.

    • says

      I agree, you have to be very careful with who watches your children. I guess I should have said that, but I assumed everyone is as picky as we are. :)

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