Love your Honey, For Less Money

by Shaunna Privratsky

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5 Frugal Date Nights

Don't Penny Pinch the Romance out of Your Marriage

Soft candlelight glows romantically in the cozy bedroom, but the couple has eyes only for each other. They kiss ardently and melt into each other's embrace. Newlyweds? No, the couple has been married for twelve years. Early in our marriage, my husband and I learned the simple secrets of keeping our love life sizzling hot without spending a fortune.

How do we keep that spark burning white-hot after twelve years, two children, various jobs, a mortgage and an endless parade of everyday worries? First of all, we plan a "date" at least once a month. It doesn't have to be expensive or even very imaginative, just an hour or more alone.

We did this even when our daughter was very young, despite our fatigue and strained budget. Just getting out of the house made us focus on each other again, instead of solely on our daughter. We often went to a movie at the discount theatre or out for an inexpensive dinner.

At that time, I was winning a lot of free tickets on various radio stations and we'd use them for our date. Some were for free meals at various restaurants, others were for movie tickets or a show at the Fargo Auditorium. We once attended an ice show that left us chilly on the outside, but warm and cuddly together that evening.

A date can be as simple as scheduling a lunch date or as spontaneous as a long walk together. It doesn't have to empty your wallet, either. Spending time with each other is the key, and re-igniting the sparks of interest that brought you together.

Couples often take up a hobby together. Friends of ours go hunting together and bond over the excitement of the chase. Others take a class together, play cards once a week, or practice a favorite sport as a pair.

To truly rev up your relationship, practice the three C's. Be considerate, caring and curious. True intimacy starts way before you head up to the bedroom. It happens in your daily life, when you're talking over breakfast, when you phone each other from work, when you connect after a busy day or when the kids are finally in bed and you have a quiet moment.

Treat your spouse with all the consideration you would like. Offer to do something he dislikes or can't do, such as pick up the dry-cleaning or take Fifi in for her shots. Show him you care in a quick kiss, a compliment or maybe a note tucked into his pants pocket as he's leaving. Pack her a lunch with her favorite desert. Offer to massage his neck after a stressful day. Be curious about her day. A simple question "How was your day?" can open up the discussion. Being able to share the ups and downs of daily life is one of the perks of marriage. Venting gets it off your chest and sharing makes the triumphs sweeter.

Do whatever you can to keep that flame roaring. You wouldn't expect a plant to grow without water, nutrients and sunlight. Likewise, your relationship needs care, nurturing and a little bit of ingenuity to thrive. Rev up your relationship with whatever it takes to add spice to your delicious life together.

It doesn't take a fortune or a magical formula to keep the marriage fires blazing, just simple everyday gestures that anyone can do. Remember that a single unexpected "I love you" can be more effective than an expensive present. You just have to make couple time a priority and put a little thought into making your love life spectacular. Keep trying new things, sharing with your spouse and mixing it up and your marriage will still be sizzling sixty years down the road.

Shaunna Privratsky became an expert in personal finance out of necessity. Between writing, reading and gardening, she is always on the lookout for bargains. Please sign up for the free newsletters at The Discount Diva. You can also visit Shaunna on Google+.

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