The government might think they were on to something when they deduced that couples needed more money to start producing more kids. But giving married couples monetary incentives to have kids isn’t necessarily the key to this problem, as the birthrate has remained dismal.
Instead, giving single people and couples the time and money to date and enjoy some… personal time might be the other part of the equation. Overworked, unromantic and unsexy-feeling citizens wouldn’t exactly be running to get into the sack, so to speak.
Here are five almost-free date night ideas couples can use to rekindle the flame without ever leaving the house.
1. Themed movie and dinner
If you’ve ever lived with a partner for any amount of time, you should be familiar with the fact that evenings spent at home often turn into movie-watching sessions, with both of you sprawled on your backs in bed, the laptop balanced on the belly of the fatter of the two.
If you’re bored with the tired whole da-bao-from-the-hawker-centre-downstairs-and-then-watch-movie-in-bed routine, fear not—turn the evening into a themed movie and dinner, and you score major brownie points from your partner for putting in planning effort—while essentially doing the same thing.
Plan the night’s menu based on the movie you’re watching. Some ideas:
- If you’re seeing Roman Holiday, prepare pasta and buy a nice glass of vino, playing Fabrizio De André music in the background.
- A screening of Slumdog Millionaire can be accompanied by pan puri (or just nasi briyani if your only source of food is the neighbourhood hawker centre) and a Bollywood soundtrack.
- Seeing the new Minions movie? Then you have to have bananas on the menu, whether in the form of banana chips or goreng pisang. Dress the part in yellow and blue.
2. Games night
We tend to think of game-playing only when we’re in a big bunch of people. Poker night is strictly reserved for guys’ nights in, you need exactly four people for mahjong while Twister requires a morass of inebriated people.
If you’re the competitive sort of couple, games night can turn the bedroom into a battlefield, which I guess appeals to some people.
Instead of playing for coins, inject an extra dose of excitement by choosing what to bet on for maximum impact. Here are some ideas:
- List your household chores for the coming week and compete to decide who has to do which ones.
- Create a list of treats, which might include massages, foot-rubs or a home cooked meal, and then play to win them.
3. Karaoke night
Why bother booking into K-box and paying through your nose for every hour you spend there when you can caterwaul away in the comfort of your own home? All you need is a microphone you can plug into your computer and an Internet connection.
The karaoke version of most popular songs can be found on YouTube, and if you have computer speakers the sound quality is likely to be even better than the super echo-y acoustics of many actual karaoke joints.
Brew your own honey lemon concoction (or buy a few cans of Tiger beer), buy some Tong Garden snacks at the supermarket, and you’d be forgiven for thinking you were actually at Partyworld… minus the filthy toilets.
4. Spa night
Why pay hundreds of dollars for a couple spa session when you can have one at home? Sure, you’ll have to put in a lot effort (after all, that back isn’t going to massage itself), but that might actually put a little spark back into the relationship, if you know what I mean.
All you need is some massage oil (The Body Shop carries very nice lavender-scented ones) and perhaps some face masks or a foot scrub.
Run a search on YouTube for “relaxing”, “new age” or “yoga” music and you’ll find many sound files that run on and on for hours.
Candles also add a nice tough; just make sure you don’t burn the house down or the evening could end up becoming a little more expensive than anticipated.
5. Sunset watching
If you’re lucky enough to get home from work before the sun sets, scout out a good sunset-watching location close to where you live. Many HDB blocks (such as those in the Bras Basah and Chinatown area) have rooftop spaces with nice views. Sometimes these spaces are located on a lower floor in between two blocks.
Lay out a picnic blanket (Daiso sells decent groundsheets for $2), pop open a nice bottle of wine and watch the sunset together.
This is a super low budget date idea that isn’t overly time-consuming, meaning you can both hit the sack in time for work the next day. And we daresay the evening can be a rather high-impact one, as few people are hard-hearted enough to resist the allure of a nice sunset.
What are some cheap dates you’ve been on that you would consider a success? Tell us in the comments!