My New Dating Adventures ;)

(*Ahem* with my wife, not a mistress ;))

For the past 3 months, I’ve slowly transformed from a Mr. Workaholic to a Mr. Casanova – and all because I’ve been paying attention.  Not at our relationship, or how my work (or her studying habits for that matter) have gotten in the way of a little romancing or anything, but because I finally caved in and forced myself to acknowledge sites like Groupon and Goldstar more ;)

Every month this year, I have taken the Mrs. out on a surprise date where all she knew was the timing of the event, and how to appropriately dress (though if you ask her she’ll say “casual” isn’t good enough ;)). And while she’s not real big on surprises, I think she’ll tell you she’s had a BLAST with everything so far.  Because unlike when I thought these deal sites were just trying to steal my money and hand over one red velvet cupcake after another, I had no idea they also offered up life experiences as well. To events I didn’t even know I really wanted! Haha… (but in a good way).

Here are the 3 dates we’ve adventured on so far:

  1. Date #1: An actual “freak” show :)  Like, where they literally swallow swords and blow fire out of their mouths and similar circus stuff like that.  And even though it was a big kid-friendly, the jokes that were thrown around were certainly for the adults too, haha… making it even better.  It was like a half comedy show, mixed with half carnival antics. It was refreshing.
  2. Date #2: A more normal magic show.  (See, all things I didn’t even know I was yearning for!).  This one I wasn’t too sure about going in, but after 15-20 mins gazing over into the Mrs.’ direction and seeing her transfixed on all the trickery, I knew it would grant me the “nicely played” card at the end of the night.  And what I loved about this one in particular was that it only made us feel even YOUNGER again (because it was another family-oriented event), and reminded us to keep trying out NEW THINGS.  Which is something we both very much enjoy in life…
  3. And then we have Date #3.  Jack Hannah’s “Into The Wild” Animal Show!  As in, THE Jack Hannah –  king of all stuff, animals (not to be confused with STUFFED animals). This was the very first date I lined up, even though it was the most recent one we actually attended, but I knew hands down it was a winner.  I mean, chicks and animals??  How can you go wrong? :)  Though we did have a few close calls when the snakes were brought out, haha… but luckily there were plenty of monkeys and other cute animals (like penguins!!) that quickly saved the day and continued the “awwww…” moments…  and I must admit it was pretty awesome seeing a cheetah in real life too!

So why should you care about all this?  Well, maybe you shouldn’t if you’re not into the “dating” scene, or you hate having fun.  But if you’re the distinct opposite of that – and I think most of you are – then consider this *one more* thing in your romantic arsenal to help woo that lucky lady/man in your life And at a discounted price at that! (Especially with Goldstar – they specialize in getting people to go out more, I think they’re my new fave.)

  1. The freak show ran me $10.50 a pop (down from $15)
  2. The magic show ran $16.50 a pop (down from $25)
  3. And the animal show cost me $18.50 a pop, down from $30ish.  And worth every last penny. (*Extra tip: If you plan these things for the day, or evening time, try and get there an extra hour early, or stay an extra hour after, and walk around the town a bit just hanging out and maybe grabbing a beer/wine.  What I’ve realized is that it can take FOREVER sometimes to even GET out on that date to begin with, so rather than just wrapping up and coming right back home afterwards, do your best to extend it as much as you can and soak it all in…. if you were anything like the old me, you’d have to wait like another year to do it again. D’oh.)

So while I still think you end up spending more money than you intend with these types of sites over time, I must admit there’s definitely some power in doing it RIGHT.  Especially when it involves being nice to your significant other and/or spicing up your lives ;)  Cuz in cases like these you not only get the rush of a new adventure out on town, but you ALSO get a similar rush back at home in the bedroom if you know what I’m saying! (Ow ow!)  And if there’s one thing you can’t put a price tag on, it’s that incredible feeling of sex love… I don’t think there’s a Groupon out for that yet ;)

Anyone else mastering the art of romance through deal sites?

PS: Our next date will be a bit more reserved, and simply involve dinner and a movie. Where I’ll redeem our $24 worth of tickets that I got for a mere $5, courtesy of Groupon ;)

(Photo by Sn00ze92. Clever placements by J$)

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  1. The Frugallery March 26, 2012 at 7:10 AM

    I purchased a hot air ballooning trip through Groupon. It was a big splurge at $250 for two, but it was my hubby’s birthday. We saved 50% and had a wonderful time. It was the perfect thing to make me commit to actually doing what we have talked about for so long!

  2. Stephanie March 26, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    I’ve done really quite the opposite of what you’re talking about here, J$!! In January, I was SUPER pumped to find out there was going to be a cast and crew reunion of The Adventures of Pete & Pete in NYC. Then super disappointed to find out it sold out in 5 minutes. Then, like a sucker, I bought tickets on StubHub for triple the face value (although to be fair, face value was only $15 each!). Totally worth it though. The husband and I were in the very first row, and I now have video on my phone of the Blowholes playing “Summerbaby.” :-)

    In more frugal date news, next month we’re seeing the New York Pops play a tribute to Jim Henson at Carnegie Hall. This time for the actual face value of $15/ticket. ;-)

  3. Modest Money March 26, 2012 at 8:38 AM

    Sounds like a good way to add some variety into a relationship. Without those coupons you might have never considered going to these events. I probably should have taken the initiative like this in my last relationship. I wasn’t taking her out and being romantic enough and our relationship grew rather stale. Something like this would’ve went a long way, but now it’s too late.

  4. Christopher @ This That and The MBA March 26, 2012 at 8:40 AM

    Damn J you are making the rest of us guys look bad, thankfully my wife doesn’t read this site. :-) I have been trying to romance her again after our 2 kids were born, it took some time after our daughters were born but now we are going out more and spending more time together one on one. We still do spend alot of time together but it is mostly driving around trying to get our girls to sleep so we can enjoy some peace and quiet. I might have to put some of this in my arsenal now. I’ll report back at a later date. :-)

  5. Daisy March 26, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    That’s so cool! The boy just bought me a spa day from Groupon, so while I won’t be going with him, it’s romantic all in itself.

  6. Well Heeled Blog March 26, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    I like the disclaimer you put at top. Bwhahaha! We love to go to weekend getaways, so I’ve had pretty good luck booking very nice hotels on Living Social Escapes. We found the B&B where he proposed for a $180/night, when it normally goes for $270 a night. So you bet we snapped that up and now are so looking forward to our two nights in a luxuriously redone Victorian mansion. :)

    It’s key to keep the romance alive… and it’s way cheaper than divorce.

  7. Marianne March 26, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    Geez I wish my husband would read this…. I’m so sick of planning all of our dates. What’s a girl got to do to get a surprise around here?! :) I love the group deal sites though I usually use Wagjag. I’ve gotten much less fun deals though – like our wills… Not quite as glamorous but certainly as necessary.

  8. Frugal Fries March 26, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    Groupon is our GOTO dating tool. We can only spend $10.00 a week on dining out, so we always try to snag a “Now! Deal” when we can.

    We don’t really have surprise dates though, our budget is a bit too strict right now. Though, we will surprise each other with free things (like notes in lunch bags, cleaning out the car, etc.)

  9. Matt March 26, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    Way to win points with the wife and show the rest of us up. :) my wife and I bought a $160 groupon for overnight stay at hotel, that included a couples massage. Let me tell you that was the best $160 I’ve spent in a long time.

  10. The Happy Homeowner March 26, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    I’m officially a new fan of these sites as well after scoring my Tanzania adventure (yep, I’m off to hike Mount Kilimanjaro in a few months!) for $2,500–including everything. I’ve researched this trip for years and the best I could find was just over $6K so I almost fell out of my chair when I found it. :D

  11. Shannyn March 26, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    All I have to say is “LOL,” You are so ridiculous sir! ;)

  12. GB @ In Budgets We Trust March 26, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    I love Groupon and Living Social deals! The most dangerous part of it is buying too many at once and not making plans to use them before they expire. As long as you watch out for that, I think these are really a great steal. It’s really sweet that you’re using them for dates with your wife!

    Some of the deals can be funny, too. My friend saw one of the pole-dancing groupons going around and realized the instructor was one of her old high school classmates. Awkward and hilarious at the same time :)

  13. bobebob March 26, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    I sift through all the Groupon offerings. Sometimes I take my girlfriend on a trip and it sure cuts down on the cost. But mostly they are for activities that enrich my life.
    For instance, on May 13th I’ll be DRIVING a racecar for 12 laps around Phoenix International Raceway. Rusty Wallace Shootout Experience for $199 (regularly $399). Cross that one off of the bucket list! :)
    I also use some of the “getaways” on Groupon for when I travel. I’m taking my sabbatical this July and August and I’m using a Groupon to stay at Benbow Inn during my motorcycle ride up Pacific Coast Highway. It gets me a really nice place to stay that is only about 20 miles away from the Avenue of the Giants (redwoods). Gotta get a pic of me riding my bike through a hollowed out redwood.
    They don’t always match up when I plan to travel (some have restrictions for weekends, ect.). But when I can use them they aren’t usually any cheaper than I could have gotten a place to stay elsewhere. And usually the quality of the lodging is much better than I would have gotten otherwise.

  14. Jen @ Master the Art of Saving March 26, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    I’ve seen some pretty tempting things from the Daily Deal sites, but haven’t tried any ‘experiences’ yet. The getaways always grab my interest and I’m hoping to do some of them down the road a bit. :-)

  15. Young Professional Finances March 26, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    My boyfriend and I take turns planning date night – and I definitely take advantage of Groupon, LivingSocial and Goldstar for those nights. Your dates sound like a lot of fun!

  16. J. Money March 26, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    This time next month, y’all will be Casanovas too! ;)

    @The Frugallery – WOW!!! Hot air ballooning? Sounds fun!! Way to go! :)
    @Stephanie – Hehe… well, at least you tried! And you really can’t help where things go on sale, or when they sell out anyways. I would have done the same thing if it was super important to me :)
    @Modest Money – Oh no! Maybe you can woo her back by snagging a good date idea? Or at least using it towards the next one :) I tend to get lazy/forgetful too, so this is a nice change of pace I’m tryin gto keep up. And I know the thought goes a long way :)
    @Christopher @ This That and The MBA – Haha… yeah man, go for it! 1 date a month – not the hardest w/ the tools we now have available to us :) I literally planned all 3 of these within 1 hour at the same time – and then didn’t do anything for the past 2+ months, haha… though now I gotta plan the next handful again… def. keep me updated!
    @Daisy – Yeah! He knows what’s up! :)
    @Well Heeled Blog – HAH! That’s true too ;) LOVE LOVE LOVE Bed and Breakfasts!! Will you email me the link to that place?? We go to a new one every anniversary, so maybe I can put that one on our list! You guys are cute :)
    @Marianne – Maybe you should send him this link ;) Never heard of Wagjag, but like the name, haha…
    @Frugal Fries – Yeah! That’s very cool too! I love notes and small surprises like that – they def. go a long way :) I was the king of passing around notes in high school too, haha… I actually still have most of them in a box too!
    @Matt – Haha, I bet! And I also bet you got a nice “thanks” for that too afterwards, didn’t you? ;)
    @The Happy Homeowner – WOAH!!!! That’s incredible!!!! Damn. Good for you, I can’t even imagine how excited you are right now!! Take lots of pictures and blog about it okay? We wanna see!! :)
    @Shannyn – Gotta keep it spicy, right? ;)
    @GB @ In Budgets We Trust – HAH! That is so random!! I love it… haha… jeez. (And yeah – I made sure we put it on the calendar before I bought them, to make sure they wouldn’t expire. I think by planning 3 months out you can do it well).
    @bobebob – YES! Most def. a good idea, that’s awesome man. I think money spent for life experiences are *always* worth it — that’s what money is for right?? Not just for paying bills all the time :) Def. take pics of that ride through the trees too – I remember going through ’em as a kid back in the day – would love to go back!
    @Jen @ Master the Art of Saving – Totally! Then you’ll have more to blog about too :)
    @Good Cents Savings – ACK! I know! Haha… unless we start doing baby-kid stuff and take ’em along :) Hehe… I can’t wait.
    @Young Professional Finances – Ooooh that’s a good idea! Maybe I should have the Mrs. plan the next 3 in a row? Haha… 3 on, 3 off ;)

  17. SavvyFinancialLatina March 26, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Yes! Nice post! Need to share this with my hubby. We went out this past Saturday to the Mall and Olive Garden. We had not been on a date in months. Not super fancy, but it was so nice. let’s just say I was extremely nice for the rest of the weekend! :)

  18. BrokeElizabeth March 26, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    Sounds like you guys had a great time. Well played, sir.

  19. Michelle March 26, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    We haven’t found too many interesting places like you have where I live, but we do use Groupons for nicer restaurants and lots of sushi places. It’s nice!

  20. Nononcentslife March 26, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    My husband and I are big fans of Groupon and Livingsocial! A good variety of options available on the cheap. Keep an eye out for Groupon coupons to make things EVEN cheaper!!! Thanks for sharing!

  21. Donna Freedman March 27, 2012 at 1:45 AM

    Go out now while you still can! Babies change the dynamic a bit.
    A reminder: If you buy your Groupon through a cash-back shopping site you will save an additional 3 to 6%. (The 6% figure was from Mr. Rebates.)

  22. J. Money March 27, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    @SavvyFinancialLatina – Haha, I bet :) I love me some Olive Garden too – wish there was one closer to me.
    @BrokeElizabeth – Thanks! Your next ;)
    @Michelle – That helps! You’re right in that I think it depends on the area you are and what not to get some of these more interesting ones (and I know they don’t hit all cities too – usually just the major ones), but good to know you can at least snag some deals here and there :)
    @Nononcentslife – For sure! I’m slowly becoming an expert on it ;)
    @Donna Freedman – You always find ways to save even MORE don’t you, young lady? Haha… love it. And yes – def. trying to get out while we’re as free as we’ll ever be!

  23. Dr Dean March 27, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    Date nights and occ. date weekends are super important. The mistress and I just got back ourselves. Groupon isn’t too good for us rural folks, so we will just have to use our imaginations!

  24. J. Money March 28, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    And I bet those imaginations are good too! Haha… we look up to you, good sir ;)

  25. GB June 22, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    I had the opposite experience. I used a Groupon to take my girlfriend to a Fondu place and she got upset at me. The Fondu place was, basically, not as good as the Melting Pot and she preferred to go to Melting Pot. So the Groupon ended up getting me in trouble because she thought I was cheap and didn’t want to take her to the nicest place. I may have screwed it up by saying the place with the Groupon was not as nice as Melting Pot, but still using the Groupon got me in trouble.

    1. J. Money June 26, 2013 at 12:43 PM

      Haha… how were you supposed to know it wouldn’t be as good? :) I’d have done the same thing really. Though I would have called it more of a “trying new places out” type of adventure like you already know the Melting Pot is awesome and wanna see if this one compares. But too late now I suppose… If she gets mad at things like that I’d be more concerned about what the future would hold. Too much drama for me.