Of the five love languages (1. gift giving, 2. quality time, 3. words of affirmation, 4. acts of service (devotion), and 5. physical touch, I would say Mr. FAF’s is quality time and acts of service.
Mr. FAF and I have been in a long-distance relationship for almost four years, which makes it difficult for us to go on romantic dates on a regular basis.
The only (romantic) occasion we celebrate is our anniversary. And we celebrate it by eating at our favorite restaurant. We don’t exchange birthday or Christmas gifts.
Although I wish he would buy me presents sometimes, I’m glad that we’re not too focused on the materials in our lives.
Besides eating out, Mr. FAF and I also go on dates at the following places:
1. Shopping mall
We like going for a walk at the shopping mall, but we usually don’t buy anything. We like that the mall is warm in the winter and cool in the summer thanks to the AC.
We just like walking around, looking at the fancy things that we don’t really need, and talking about our future. Sometimes we give ourselves a treat and buy a smoothie for less than $4 (Mr. FAF loves it), but it doesn’t happen often.
2. Costco and grocery stores
We usually do our grocery shopping at Costco and Great Wall (Chinese grocery store) on the weekends. We enjoy planning what to buy and talking to each other about our meal plan while walking around the grocery stores.
I particularly like going to Great Wall with Mr. FAF. I feel so at home looking at all the Asian snacks I grew up eating. But we usually just eat three main meals in a day and don’t buy any snacks which can add up to a large amount each week. For example, we can buy a pound of pork for less than $3, but it costs the same amount to buy a tiny bag of candy.
I also like trying the different samples at Costco on the weekends. Sometimes we do end up buying something we tried, but it’s usually really good and not expensive. I enjoy talking through the bakery section and looking at all the beautiful cake and bread. Just smelling the sweetness of the baker makes me happy.
However, this is the area where self-control is important. If I give in to temptations, we would have brought home a lot of sugary items at an expensive price. And more importantly, it’s not something that we really need.
While we like that the mall and grocery stores provide cooling in the summer and heating in the winter, we also like nature. We explore national parks for free together. Sometimes we pack food as a picnic or just eat at home before we go.
During our stroll at the park, we love talking about our family and our future. It’s so calming to look at the greenness of all the trees and plants and think about how we as human beings can live in harmony with the environment.
I am not an environmentalist per se, but nature always reminds me of the beauty of simplicity and frugality. We don’t need to experience something fancy or luxurious to be happy.
I won’t like and say that we don’t fancy traveling to Europe and exploring different exotic destinations. We do. In fact, we often talk about traveling when we are more financially secure and especially when we are retired.
I also wonder what it’s like to stay a nigh at a five-star hotel and getting room service. We wouldn’t have to worry what to cook or when to tidy up our room. Someone else will do that for us. I also want to try to eat at fancy restaurants, trying out French cuisine and enjoying something I only hear about or see in movies.
But we also know that while going to such fancy places can create great memories, it can also cause a lot of financial trouble and stress if we don’t plan it carefully. With a limited budget for necessities and entertainment, we need to prioritize our wants and needs.
Going on dates can strengthen our relationship if we do it right. It can also undermine our marriage if we finish each date feeling stressed out about our finances.
At the stage where we currently are, Mr. FAF and I are pleased with our frugal dates. Those dates make us closer as a couple and reminds us that happiness sometimes doesn’t cost a penny.