Mrs. DebtAnatomy here! Who doesn’t love the occasional classic dinner and a movie date? I know we definitely enjoy a night out for such a purpose (Especially when its cold, snowy, and a little hard to find something a bit more adventurous to do). However enjoyable this classic date can be, it can also get pretty pricey, pretty quick. I took a break from researching evidence-based practice nursing topics to research just how much one could spend on such a date. I present two different scenarios of the the dinner/movie date- The Classic date and the Mr. & Mrs. DA style date.
Let’s start with dinner. I used The Cheesecake Factory, one of our favorites, as an example of a mid price level restaurant and used their menu to calculate an average price of drinks, an appetizer, two entrees and two desserts. The waiter comes to your table and asks you what you would like to drink. You each select a soft drink. $6. My estimates include soft drinks as the beverage of choice because, well, we don’t drink, and I have no idea what the average price of any alcoholic beverage is. The waiter brings you your drinks and the amazing warm sourdough and brown honey wheat bread. You place your order for an appetizer to share. $10. I highly recommend the avocado egg rolls. They are divine! You have finished off the bread and the appetizer and place your orders for your entrees. $16 x 2 = $32. Mr. DA would tell you that it is ludicrous to order anything but the factory burrito because on top of being amazing, it is the best amount of food for your money. Meanwhile, I think with such a gigantic menu as the Cheesecake Factory, you have to try something different every time. Your waiter brings your entrees, refills your drinks and leaves you to have a great meal. When you finish he brings you the dessert menu full of tantalizing cheesecake selections and asks if you’ve saved room for dessert, and you decide it’s too good to pass up. $8 x 2 = $16. You finish your meal, pay the check and head off to the movie theater. So here is a summary of what you’ve spent so far:
Mid-price level restaurant dinner:
Drinks: $3 x 2 = $6
Entree: $16 x 2 = $32
Dessert: $8 x 2= $16
Total (Not including taxes or tips): $64
(The health conscious side of me doesn’t even want to know the calorie content estimate of this meal.)
Next phase of the date, you pull up to the movie theater and walk to the ticket counter. You purchase two adult weekend evening tickets. $11 x 2= $22. Walking through the theater your senses are barraged by the irresistible smell of buttery movie theater popcorn. It’s clearly the best deal to get the large because you can get a free refill. If you eat popcorn, you will get thirsty, so of course you need a couple of drinks to go with it. And let’s face it, you need something sweet to offset the saltiness of the popcorn. They offered you a combo deal and told you that buying all three items saves you a dollar. Wow, how much did you just shell out at the movie theater?
Adult Movie Ticket: $11 x 2= $22
Large Popcorn: $7
Large Drinks: $5 x 2= $10
Theater Box Candy: $4
The movie ends. You laughed, you cried, and hopefully got to cuddle or hold hands with your date. You drive home feeling very full while your wallet feels very… well, empty. The grand total of your classic dinner and a movie date is $107! And note: this didn’t include tips, taxes, or gas money. Going on a date like this 2-3 times a month adds up quick. It adds up even quicker when you realize that you put everything on your credit card which will have to be payed off with loan money. $107 with interest turns into a lot more. I don’t know about you, but I would rather go out every weekend and have just as much fun at a fraction of the cost. Here is how that is possible.
Dinner and a Movie Mr. & Mrs. DA Style
I get home from school Friday afternoon and Mr. DA surprises me by telling me he has made reservations at the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. (Technically, I don’t think Cheesecake factory takes reservations for two, but I can dream right?) We change, freshen up and head out. The hostess shows us to our table, and our waiter comes shortly thereafter to ask us what we would like to drink. We both order water. $0 x 0 = $0. Tip #1: Drink Water! Not only is it a great way to cut down on your check at the end of the night, it’s also the healthiest option. There are so many empty calories and so much sugar in soft drinks. We place an order for our favorite appetizer (avocado egg rolls) and munch on the amazing complementary warm bread. $10. We share the egg rolls and place an order for an entree. $16. Tip #2: Order one entree and ask for two plates. At most restaurants, we order one appetizer and one entree. Portion sizes at restaurants these days are gigantic. There’s always more than enough food for two people. By ordering one appetizer and one entree we are cutting down on our check and our calories. We can’t pass up a chance to have our favorite white chocolate raspberry cheesecake, so we share a slice. $8. Tip#3: Share dessert. It gives you an excuse to sit close and allows you to not leave the restaurant uncomfortably full. After we finish our dinner, we ask for the check and leave hand in hand. Check out how we’ve done thus far:
Mid-price level restaurant:
Total (Not including taxes or tips): $34
For the next phase of our date we head over to a nearby RedBox! I truly believe that RedBox is one of the greatest inventions of all time. We pick a movie and head home to watch it in the comfort of our own home. No lines, no sticky movie theater floors, and you can save $20.38 for your date for next week! Are you not sold on RedBox yet? Here are 10 reasons why you should be:
10 Reasons Redbox is better (besides the unbeatable price of $1.62)
1. Watching a movie on your couch or in bed is way more comfortable.
2. You can pause it when you need to use the bathroom.
3. You can sit close without the awkward/uncomfortable armrest between you.
4. You can eat your own treats instead of paying for the outrageously movie treat counter prices.
5. You don’t have to sneak in food because you don’t want to pay the prices.
6. If you tend to fall asleep in movies (like I do) you can always rewind or watch it again.
7. You can shamelessly watch it in your favorite ratty sweats or pajamas.
8. You can talk out loud about the movie.
9. You won’t get any dirty looks or be asked to leave if your cell phone goes off. (Although this is still discouraged on any date!)
10. You can fast forward through the credits to the infamous “after credit scenes”.
Before we start our movie, Mr. DA makes his famous homemade olive oil popcorn. It’s incredible and ten times better than the fake movie theater stuff. We settle onto the couch for a great night of comfortable move watching pleasure. When the movie ends we head to bed happy and content. What did our night out cost? $35.62. Sounds pretty good compared to $107, right? We really do love eating out and going on fun dates. We include a restaurants and entertainment category in our budget every month. It is important to look at these to see how far we can stretch it instead of just wishing and wanting for more.
The point of this post isn’t to tell you can’t ever eat out or go to the movies, it is just to help you start thinking about where exactly you are spending your money. Could you be going on three dates for the price of one?