Tag Archives: Saving Money

Play Dates on a Dime

Sometimes it’s actually fun to try and figure out how to stretch a dollar.

This summer the girls in our community group brainstormed some affordable and fun  date night ideas. And after reading THIS blog, I am inspired to put some great date ideas into practice!

*I would also like to say, as a disclaimer, this might be a fun idea to do with a neighbor, a best friend, an old friend or even with a new friend! Why limit the fun of play dates?*

Here’s what we’ve come up with so far.

FRO-YO– These little self-serve yogurt places are cropping up all over the place. We have 3 here in Columbia!

Our favorite of the 3 (because we’ve tried them ALL!!) is Yummilicious in Forest Acres. A few weeks ago Groupon had a get $15 for $5 deal so we teamed up with the Davis‘ for a yummilicious treat.

It’s super-modern and actually feels like you’re walking into a night club or something. When we went with our friends the Sorrells, a few weeks prior, we decided they needed a disco ball, black lights and smoke. :)

Of course, Joel loves the free samples…and I love the gajillion toppings!

Their flavors really make you feel like you’re being healthy. Here’s their best seller…

And I’m guessing their worst seller?

So, we highly recommend a fro-yo date night. Maybe even make it a double-date if you can find a great coupon like we did!

RESTAURANT.COM–Have you heard of Restaurant.com? I don’t know that we’d eat out without it! Basically, they almost always run 80% off sales on their “$25 gift certificates” that you can end up getting for around $4 or so. You do sometimes have to spend a minimum purchase, but we’ve had some pretty nice meals on a tight budget!

Last time we used Restaurant.com we were at Hennessy’s, a really nice restaurant (mind you, only spending about $20–the same as 1.5 trips to Chick-fil-a), and as we looked out over the window, we were  burdened to see a TON of homeless people surrounding the restaurant. It was in that instant, that we decided to create a date each month where we eat at home and put the money we would have spent on going out, toward doing some sort of non-college student ministry opportunity together. Maybe serve at Oliver Gospel, or do something missional through our church.

We haven’t followed-through on this yet, and when we DO, I won’t blog about it, but it was a really good challenge to us to keep focused on what we are married and placed on this earth for anyhow…and it’s not to just go out and eat nice meals, even though that’s our favorite hobby! :)

BOOKSTORE-Joel and I love  heading over to Books-a-Million or Barnes and Noble, grabbing a warm drink and a tall stack of magazines or books and browsing topics that peak our interested. Me: healthy living/clean eating, french country decor, blogging, anything creative, etc. and Joel: anything handy. My friend Danielle made a very fun and elaborate date out of going to a bookstore one time, but I can’t find the post…she got the idea from DatingDiva’s I think…

CUPCAKE in the Vista!!!

This may seem like a girlie date (and my girls out there know that I’ll drop everything and go with them to Cupcake at any given moment) but Joel really enjoys this sweet treat too!

I will say, it’s completely over-priced. (Sorry, Grayson!) If you are near campus, swing in and grab the free yearly coupon books and snag some free ones!

And now that you’ve gained 5 pounds just by reading this post…here are a few more active date ideas.

COLUMBIA’S (or any city for that matter) RIVERWALK– When we had a dog, we loved to go down to the River and stroll! It truly made Columbia go up about 10 points in my book. We need to get over there more this spring!

HIT GOLF BALLS TOGETHER–Any golfers out there? I’m hoping my rotator cuff will hold up well enough to join Joel on improving his golf game sometime this year.

GEOCACHING-This is a date that I hadn’t ever heard of until the wonderful Newlyweds Class at our old church gave it a whirl (also can’t find THAT post, sorry!). Geocaching is kind of like a worldwide scavenger hunt…you look up the coordinates of where you live and where there is “treasure” when you find the treasure you re-place it with something of equal or greater value. It sounds crazy, but would be sooo fun with a big group of people!

FREE MOVIE NIGHT -Lately, SouthernSavers has offered promo codes that give you free rentals at the Blockbuster kiosks. Until the 18th you can use ESU11B and it’s free!

BE A DESERT CONOSURE-Okay, back to food. Joel and I have loved saving money by splitting dessert at various restaurants in town. We decided we would go on a mission to find “Columbia’s Best Dessert”. We rated the ambiance, service, presentation and taste. We decided Goatfeathers, in 5 points took the cake. Pun def intended. But recently, (as in last night with Kelly Deweil!) I’ve loved the Triple Chocolate Cake from Chocolate Nirvana!

Hope that will get you started in thinking of cheap ways to creatively utilize the fun in YOUR town!

Treasures, Treasures, Everywhere!

On our way to work Thursday morning I spied a very antique-looking piece of junk on the side of the road. Of course, the Hurdles were running late for work, therefore, no time to rescue. Joel rolled his eyes at me and told me it looked like a piece of junk and not to worry about it.

My friend Merideth and I were driving back and forth from work later that afternoon and I could resist the urge no longer. I made a sharp right turn and pulled my car over behind a big landscaping truck. Merideth, unaware of the adventure to ensue, laughed knowing that we must be about to rescue something from the side of the road.

We hopped out of the car to find a VERY water-damaged little desk/vanity. The landscapers told us there had been a fire in the house and the sprinkler system had ruined the desk. I didn’t care. It seemed to have good bones, so Mer and I tried to fit it into the back of Joel’s Honda Civic. There was NO way it was going to fit and the landscapers at this point have stopped there work and are laughing at us. They offer to help, they try to fit it in the car, but to no avail. After mentions of our husbands and flashes of our rings Merideth and I graciously accept their kind offer to deliver it to my house! (JOEL NOT HAPPY that I gave our address to random strangers…but they weren’t creepers!)

When I got home from work later that evening I was pleased to find…


Joel couldn’t believe I wanted to salvage this piece…but, if you know my husband, you know that HE quickly became the one with the vision for turning this piece of trash into a treasure.

I took care of the demolition…


And Joel rebuilt…


Unfortunately his rebuilding mostly took place INDOORS b/c of the rain…but he was determined to complete the project! I won’t complain.


So, after the new sides were installed we got to painting!


We painted and distressed using “Golden Yellow” and “Pure Gold”.


We kept the original hardware–which I am in love with!


And did a little “staging”–clearly we’ve been watching too much HGTV! But don’t worry, it was just for the picture. We didn’t keep the $10 mirror on the front porch.


And TA-DA! There you have it! A fun new/old treasure.

Does anyone  have any  idea how old this little vanity/desk is? The only clue we have about the age is that it’s old enough to have wooden wheels! We are curious to know… :)