Today’s Hint: Do a “Date Afternoon”

This past holiday weekend, my husband and I finally went on a date. While our daughter was asleep, we went to see a movie in a theater for the first time in a year, and enjoyed a few hours away from our little one.

Even more importantly, we saved on movie tickets because we weren’t on a “date night.” While our daughter was napping, we were on a “date afternoon,” a strategy for a cheaper special time with your significant other that is today’s hint.

When you have a child, going out on a date can be an expensive proposition, involving the cost of childcare on top of movie, meal or other activity prices. But by moving a date up a few hours to daylight hours, you can go out for a little less.

For instance, by seeing a 1:30 p.m. movie, we paid cheaper matinee prices. And though my husband and I chose to spend our few free hours seeing a show, it’s not just movies that tend to be cheaper during the day. Lunch and brunch are generally less expensive than dinner at most restaurants. In addition, by going out while our daughter was taking her afternoon nap, we didn’t miss much of her awake time.

To be sure, I’m not the only one advocating this trick. I first learned about the strategy from a more experienced mom I know (one of my “mentor moms”) who goes to see cheaper early evening matinee shows with her husband.

Meanwhile, moms chatting over at The Bump are also fans of afternoon dates, with one mom noting that an afternoon movie and early dinner allows her and her husband to be home in time to do the bedtime routines, saving them from the hassle of having to explain the routines to a sitter.

Elsewhere, Carolyn Castiglia covered the concept over at about a year ago, calling it “the daytime date ‘night,’” and Andrea Woroch, consumer advisor for Kinoli Inc., also suggested afternoon dates in a piece on amotherworld.

But what if you don’t want to go on an afternoon date? There are other ways you can save money on date nights. Heather Flett over at Rookie Moms has some fun ideas for at-home date nights that don’t require a babysitter, and Frederick J. Goodall shares some ideas for inexpensive nighttime (along with daytime) dates over at

What are your favorite cheap date ideas?

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  1. Karen says

    When your kids are older, you can leave them in Smaland at IKEA for an hour, for free (between ages 4-10 and potty trained). Then, browse the store and daydream about things you’d like to do to your home. Or have a free cup of coffee in the cafe if you’re a member of IKEA Family, and pair it with one of their tasty and affordable desserts ( I actually feel that the quality of IKEA’s dining experience has gone down in recent years, but it’s still a good deal.


  1. […] 3. Know when you have rate bargaining power. According to UrbanSitter Chief Executive Officer Lynn Perkins, you can save money by booking babysitters for evenings when there’s not much demand from other parents. “Demand is  much lower on a Monday or Tuesday evening, so you may be able to find a babysitter at a great rate if your plans are flexible,” she says. Or, you also may be able to negotiate a lower rate if you book a sitter for a date afternoon rather than a date night. […]

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