Revamping Date Nights Saved Us a Small Fortune


It had been a minute since my husband and I had a “real” date night—you know, the kind where you scramble to find a sitter, get dressed up, and eat fancy food. He’d been traveling a bunch for work and we were both just swamped. But we finally found a free Saturday and got to work.

First, we had to find a babysitter. Sure, there’s an app for that but we’ve had more luck going the personal route. We luckily secured one of the three people in our posse, which is no easy feat.

We grabbed a Lyft to Hayes Valley where we’d planned to go to A Mano since, you know, we’d left the house at 5:45 PM and figured that was early enough to be the crowd. It was jammed already so we headed to our favorite wine bar to make a new plan.

As we were paying our tab, I started mentally adding up how much this night had already cost…

Babysitter = $25/hour

Round trip Lyft = $50

Pre-dinner drinks + a snack = $74

We’d already spent $224 and hadn’t even had dinner yet. By the time we finished dinner at Monsieur Benjamin, returned home and paid the sitter, we were not only tired but also broke. Our three hour date night had cost us close to $400. Sure it was fun to get dressed up, have someone else put the kids to bed, and eat a meal that we didn’t have to clean up, but was it really worth $400?

Many people will say, “Well, you live in an expensive city!” or “That’s life with kids!” but I’m not willing to settle. Instead, we’ve tried to revamp “date night.” For our birthdays this year, we ordered food in from fancy restaurants and enjoyed homemade cocktails or wine at non-marked up prices. We’re also starting to incorporate breakfast dates after we drop off the kids at daycare. We’re already paying for the childcare, and breakfast on a weekday is certainly cheaper than a Saturday night out.

I feel really strongly that as parents we should continue to date our partners just like we did back in the day. It’s going to ultimately look a little different, but it doesn’t have to be less fun, and it doesn’t have to cost a small fortune. I’d encourage you to be creative with the time and resources that you have. We don’t have any family close by but whenever the grandparents are in town, we make sure to take full advantage and schedule some time away from the kids. We’ve had a lot of fun on these types of day dates just exploring San Francisco and playing tourist.

What are your favorite dates in the city?



  1. Couple of ideas here for others. Why not do a swap and help take care of another friend’s kids in exchange for their taking care of yours another day? (We actually take care of other friends kids without the need for an exchange because we have lots of family in the city already who help us for free, so it’s more of a pay it forward thing for us.) I bet there are other couples in the same sitch, who’d love to do a swap. If you live in SF and close enough to restaurants, Why not walk instead of Uber? Unless you’re in one of those extreme residential areas of SF, which would be unfortunate… so if you have to drive, just go to a cheaper meal! Monsieur Benjamin is like an anniversary dinner for us. But we’re Asian, and a lot of Asian restaurants are much cheaper. I think I took out our 10-person extended family out for $200 and we even had leftovers! Lots of other great bites in SF that won’t break the bank. Try doing something in the daytime on a weekend so you can have lunch instead and a nice walk maybe..?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here