Photo courtesy of Rick Audet
This past weekend my wife and I enjoyed a meal out. It has been a long, long time since we celebrated a date night. My mom’s hospitalization has played a part in that for a couple reasons. One, her or my mother-in-law usually play babysitter when my wife and I have a date night. Two, traveling back and forth to visit my mom has us on the road a lot. I usually make a daily trip to visit her (roughly a 45 minute round trip). But, she has made significant improvements in just the last ten days or so, and I decided to take a night off from visiting to enjoy a dinner out with my wife. Her favorite restaurant is Olive Garden, so deciding where to eat was the easy part.
Bread and Water
Having not eaten out in a while, I was a bit shocked by the menu prices. It seemed like each item was a couple dollars higher than it was the last time we ate out. I looked over the menu in search of the cheapest item, but plain old spaghetti at $9.95 didn’t sound appealing. My wife noticed me scanning the menu. Wondering if it was the right time to be a cheapskate, I asked, “Is it alright if I order salad and breadsticks?” She had a better idea. We ordered the Tour of Italy (which looked more like the tour of Little Italy) and shared the portions. I ordered unlimited salad and bread for $2.95. We skipped a glass of wine, opting for a glass of iced tea (my only splurge–I should have ordered water), and skipped dessert. For less than $25 we enjoyed a meal at Olive Garden and were able to still leave a generous tip. Just a few months ago we would have easily spent well over $50.
It’s Nice to Have a Spouse on the Same Page
Of course, all this was possible because I am married to a “frugal wife,” who isn’t ashamed of her frugal husband. We weren’t always this way. I remember early in our marriage we enjoyed a Valentine’s Day dinner at Outback Steakhouse where the set menu was prime rib, baked potato, and a glass of wine for $60, plus gratuity. Back then we were still busy trying to impress each other, and those around us. Now, we don’t waste as much time or money trying to impress others, because we know what our goals are, and are not concerned with what others think.
Guys, don’t misunderstand–it is still a good idea to occasionally “wine and dine” your significant other. Just don’t make a habit of it, and if dating, be a little wary of someone who expects it. This is about as close to anything resembling relationship advice you will read here at Frugal Dad. After all, I’m no Dr. Phil!