My husband and I  are not on our first marriages. Combined seven marriages between us, including our marriage. So, we’ve pretty much been there done the in the marriage mistake department. We are now a blended family of finances,  kids and grandkids.  We love our life, seriously, we do. We know our union was one-hundred percent ordained by God.  With knowing that we share a deep love, mutual respect, and commitment. Is our marriage argument free and perfect? Uh, absolutely not, no marriage is. But, it is full of forgiveness, understanding and centered in Christ. Which is the key to our marriage success thus far!

If you have been reading my blogs you know last year I began staying at home. I still have trouble saying “I’m a homemaker!” A decision my husband and I made together that allows me to be available to our combined children. It allows me to have to blog, podcast (coming soon), homeschooling (beginning this fall)  and be more present in our marriage. To really focus on what things matter to most to us and God. If you ever get the chance to make this change in your family, its worth it.  It took some getting used to, but it now works. With this decision came financial changes to our household. We, of course, had to cut back because with me not working it cut our income by a good forty grand. For some families that may not be much, for us it’s definitely not pocket change.

With all the financial changes and cutbacks we knew the one place we couldn’t give up was Date Night. Not, because we’re selfish or just want to get away from our kids once a week (it’s nice tho!) but because we together understand the importance of dating your spouse. We know Spousal University is a never-ending education. I don’t want to settle for associates, bachelors or even master’s degree in my husband I want the full doctorate. We know when we miss date nights it shows in our marriage.

We have two daughters left at home ages, eighteen and thirteen this summer. So, luckily going on Date Night no longer requires a babysitter (this is huge in the financial department!). My mathematician husband can figure numbers in his head and finances like a pro, me not so much. I’m old school and need a pen, paper and most of the time a calculator. I’m a little jealous of his abilities. Anyway, so when it came to figuring up how to continue our weekly Date Night aka Spousal University on a budget he was key in the process. So, today I want to share with you some ways we have discovered how to continue our date nights without draining our bank account. Because we the people agree, MARRIAGE IS HARD, if when doing it right, especially a blended marriage. But, my marriage is so worth the hardest day.


I promise no matter what city you live in, it’s is possible. Thanks to my McHot McVaule husband, We were even able to take a vacation to San Antonio and South Padre Island this last summer with a family of four for $1400 including hotels, gas, food, entertainment and an emergency cash fund (A blog at a later date). Well, let me let you in on a little secret if you do want to invest in Spousal University, tuition is a lot cheaper than you think. My husband and I have gone to the movies, dinner at various restaurants, arcades, romantic walks in the park and more without breaking our bank.

  1. Tuesdays at our local Cinemark theatre is half-price. My McValue husband had a coupon for buy one get one free. We saw a ridiculously funny comedy for the magic amount of $3 dollars for both of us.
  2. Most cities throw a small unsubscribed (free) paper in every yard or mailbox on Wednesday.  These coupons are the! They always have coupons for two can dine for $10, Taco Bueno, please,  or buy one get one coupon.  We did this combined with movie Tuesday and a full date day was $13. 
  3. Applebee’s, Chilis, TGI Fridays, O’Charleys, and Ruby Tuesday’s all have two can dine for $20 or $25 options. TGI Fridays also have a two for $14.99 option.
  4. Pizza Hut and Dominos both have the order two or more list and the price decreases to $5.
  5. Little Caesars is always hot and ready, for $5 and some change. Once on a really tight week shared a Little Caseras in the car while we just talked in the park. It was probably one of my favorite dates.
  6. Blanket, and dollar tree lanterns ($5 and reusable) and a park. Romantic, frugal and smart. One of my husband’s favorite dates. Since then my mom has gifted us a picnic basket.
  7. Groupon app, great deals ALL DAY LONG every day. Starbucks pay $5 for a $10 card. I love Starbucks he does not. But, makes for a great drink when you just want a romantic walk downtown, especially at Christmas time.
  8.  If you like tacos, most Mexican restaurants have $1 tacos on Tuesday. If we’re really tight that week, we drink water and eat for less than $10. If you’re around Fort Smith, Arkansas, La Huerta is the place or Tuesdays.
  9. Locally we have a place called Apple Barrel, We love to have dessert dates, pie and coffee for $14. Sometimes after a family dinner, we sneak out for a dessert date night. These are always some of my impromptu date nights. Usually impromptu because of we or usually he can tell we, normally I  just need some alone time.
  10. Antonelli’s, a funky somewhat fancyish pizza dive here locally has all you can eat (not a gross buffet) for $10 per person.
  11. Almost all Convenience stores in most cities have discounted summer or winter drinks. Winter, I get coffee for a buck twenty. Walk hand in hand downtown beautiful lights, and delicious smells. Summer get a soda or water bottle and walk through a park.
  12. This is free, we make it a point to be in bed, door closed and our room off limits unless it’s truly important. He also sets an extra-early-alarm in the morning to allow for intentional cuddling, and or chatting time. It’s like a little daily romantic date, like love it don’t cost a thing (like my early 2000’s Jlo lyrics there)
Our simple free date night. Water, dollar tree lanterns, blanket. Some of the best conversation ever.

Dating your spouse doesn’t have to break the bank. It doesn’t even have to cost a thing. It’s about having alone time, investing in each other, getting to know each other. I laugh harder, I mean laugh until I snort,  with my husband than I do with anyone else in the world. I think every time we go on a date, I learn something more or my husband does or even says something that makes me fall more in love with him. Seriously, my favorite adult EVER! You can never invest enough time with the person you are going to grow old with. When the kids are gone and living their own lives, it’s your spouse you are left with. So, it’s important to keep learning, investing in and growing in love with your spouse.  I promise you with all our years combined of failed marriages this is mandatory for a happy, romantic, healthy, successful marriage and makes it easy to earn your doctorate at Spousal University.

Rember, keep your coffee hot and your prayers hotter,

Hollie McCalip