One of the hardest, most unavoidable realities of quitting your job is, of course, losing your salary. We've been living on one salary to mentally and financially prepare for the transition for a bit now. Chris is a little bit (read: A LOT) better at budgeting than me and, as he's taught me his ways, I'm finding it's a lot more fun than I remember it being.
Why? Because it's a challenge AND I end up feeling so superly proud of us when we actually meet our goals. Budgeting ain't sexy but it's part of our new norm.
I want to be candid here: it was not fun at first.
The first time we went grocery shopping on our new budget, I cried in front of the quinoa. I stood there, tears streaming, over tricolor quinoa. Chris hugged me in aisle 5 while I laughed through tears and told him budgeting was dumb.
But! I like to think I've grown up a little bit as we've learned to budget together. One of the ways we've had the most fun doing it is by getting creative with dating. The first weekend we were on a budget, I felt a little panicked that we were never going to be able to go out to dinner again. For real. Why I allowed myself to feel panicked when we once did an entire month of free Atlanta dates is beyond me. But, again, it can feel overwhelming at first.
Without further ado, here's what we've been up to lately!
1. Host friends instead of making reservations // We've learned to master the: how about we have you over for dinner? instead of the yes! let's go out to eat. Because we quickly learned that even hosting friends is generally more affordable than eating out.
2. Find a BYOB // We have a new love for the BYOB restaurant. I hadn't been to Atlanta's Little Italy since it was finished. There are now two restaurants that are BYOBs. We went to Gio's and it was delicious. The entire meal was less than $40. Not bad for a night out! (Local friends, check out these Atlanta BYOBs!)
3. Date at home // We have at-home date nights. This has been essential to our success. We both put on real clothes and I wear makeup and do my hair. Then, we make something we wouldn't normally have on a weeknight. Perhaps it takes a little extra effort or is on the more expensive end of the grocery list. This isn't just a regular Wednesday dinner!
Then, we pour a glass of wine, put on music and eat dinner together - no business talk, no tasking. Just eating together and being best friends. And then, heck, sometimes we even rent a movie if we're feeling wild! :)
4. Get outside // We are playing outside more. My favorite place in the world is outside. Why do we spend so much money being inside? We recently checked out Cascade Springs and Kennesaw Mountain. We have also been playing frisbee more. We are finding that more time outside = more simplicity = more connectivity.
5. Drink slow coffee together // We are having at-home coffee dates. If you've been around this blog for more than 30 seconds, you know coffee is my love language and one of my favorite ways to play. We started sitting in our sunroom, drinking unlimited-no-caffeine-cap cups of coffee and talking. Our chairs aren't as comfortable as Chattahoochee Coffee Company and my latte isn't quite as delicious, but, I've been surprised by how indulgent it feels.
What are your affordable dating tips? Would love to hear :)