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Happy Friday: Frugal Date Night in a Box

7:48 PM MST
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Sent from reader, Stacey:

I just wanted to share a picture of an inexpensive gift that I put together for my parents and in-laws. I made them a “Date Night in a Box” that had things for before, during and after the date.

The before was some body wash and body spray that I had gotten with some good coupon deals at Bath & Body works and some Listerine strips that I got for free at CVS. The during was a gift certificate that I got when they were $2, but it is worth $25. The after has some of their favorite snacks and candy to go with a free movie from Red Box. (The gift certificate that you see contains the code for their free movie.) All in all, the box came to $15 or less but was worth so much more!


Do you have a funny, “Hip”, or unique photo to share?! Email us at happyfriday@hip2save(dot)com. Every Friday, I will post one photo, submitted by you and/or another Hip2Save reader, that gives us a glimpse into your frugal lifestyle or simply makes us smile. If your photo is published on Hip2Save, we’ll email you a $10 Amazon e-card!

** Check out all of the previous Happy Friday pictures here.

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  • Tricia says:

    That is such a cute idea!

  • Holly Marie says:

    This is cute, I need to do this for my parentals.

  • Jennifer says:

    Very cute idea

  • Jimayra Garcia says:

    This is SOOOOO Cute! I have been trying to think of how to gift some of the items I have gotten without just throwing it in a bag…..

    • Debra Blackwell says:

      I do couponing all year long and then at Christmas I make my own basket out of things from my stock pile. My mom gave me her basket back to refill this year. LOL People loved them better than other gifts. You can buy baskets at Goodwill for as little as 95 cent so in total most of the baskets are worth 150.00 but only cost 50.00. I cut my Christmas bill by over half last year and the same this year.

  • kristin says:

    kinda creepy to give the inlaws body wash to use before their “date”… like “here use this before you do it…”

  • Katrina says:

    This would be great for a couple with a new baby. Include a voucher for a night of baby sitting :)

  • Tera says:

    I love this idea!!!

  • Dee says:

    Don’t forget the free Astroglide samples for “after” too! ;) Well, maybe not for your in-laws, but maybe as a funny gift for a friend or something. LOL.

  • swati says:

    super cute :D

  • tracy says:

    this would be a great idea for a couple,i would like to do this with my bf,but every little sample,freebie or pretty cheap item gets used up right away lol,i could never just save it for later

  • michelle says:

    I have seen lots of mention about using gift certificates as gifts. I’ve never used one but I was under the impression that most have a limit you have to meet before the certificate is taken off, leaving them an out of pocket cost. Is this true? Just wondering if it is something i should look into.

    • Melissa says:

      Usually I think they are $25 for a minimum purchase of $35 and that’s before tax, tip and doesn’t include alcohol.

    • Camila says:

      Yes they are normally $25 out of a $50 purchase, or $25 out of a $37.50 purchase.. I think those are the most common value I see. Plus, they throw in 18 – 20% gratuity out of the full price of the meal before the discounts, and taxes of course… So it certainly is NOT a giftcard, but rather a coupon. Most of the times I’ve used a certificate for $25, I still had to pay at least $30-$40.

    • Mel says:

      You’re right. I would never give a gift card as a gift because the person still has to pay out of pocket to use it. (unless you give them $ to cover the extra $30) I bought my in-laws a 2 night stay at a great resort but it doesn’t inlcude the resort fee so I am putting $50 in their Christmas card along w/ the groupon.

    • Katie says:

      Yes, I think that giving a gift card is really like a coupon, not that there is anything wrong with that, but some people aren’t that fond of coupons or might not understand how it works. And if they do know how it works, then they likely know you got it free or paid very little for it. Once again, it just depends on who you are giving it to or what your present spending quota is. Unfortunately, most of my family knows from my deal bragging that most toiletries and things like that don’t cost me that much, so they are not as grateful for gift baskets and things I could make them :( I guess I should keep my mouth shut:)

    • Jenn says:

      I gave my sister a certificate a few years ago, along with the cash to cover the rest of her bill, tax, and tip. I liked the variety available on their website, and I found a cool place I thought she’d love. Since then, I would much rather give a groupon, since it is all paid for. I gave a friend a groupon to a local children’s consignment shop as a baby gift. It stretched my dollars, for sure, without putting a burden on her to spend money on something she might not have chosen to spend money on.

  • Heather Nicosia says:

    What a great idea! I’m going to do this for my sister in law and her husband! Gonna mix it up a little bit but definitely using the Date Night in a box idea!

  • Camila says:

    Awesome idea! The only thing is that the giftcards are so misleading to someone not used to them. Its not really a full package date night if they still have to pay for a big amount of their dinner and feel like they need to order other things just to reach a total. Its a great idea but if you can get real restaurant giftcards in there, I think it would be nicer! Although it might get a little more pricey.. but we all know there are tons of ways to get free giftcards through deals out there. :)

  • Renee says:

    I love this idea. I am going to do this for my mom and her parnter. How did you get the redbox gift certificate?

  • Bologna says:

    I need teacher gift ideas that won’t blow my budget!??

    • Erin says:

      Honestly, most teachers would be thrilled with a small denomination gift card rather than tchochkes that collect dust. My neighbor felt “too cheap” giving a $5 gift card, so she spent it on what I considered junk instead, but think about it: A $5 gift card times 20-some students is $100–not too bad! I know my son’s teacher loves coffee, so I’m getting her a bag of Starbucks at Target along with a gift card.

    • Tilla Ham says:

      stay away from candies, coffee mugs and apple figurines as they have hundreds, nice ink pens, or supplies the class is low on might be a great addition…i like to add books to the classroom library. if you are crafty, knitting, sewing…make them something

    • Sara says:

      I am a teacher, and I have to say that I really, really enjoy all those Christmas ornaments my students have given me throughout the years. I always put their name and year on it and hang each and every one on my tree. It’s a nice walk down memory lane every Christmas as I decorate my tree, and it’s a way for me to reminisce about all those years of students. The gift cards are nice, but they can add up quickly if you are used to giving them to lots of people (teachers, the mailman, hairdressers, etc.) I’d much rather have a little token of my students that will last much longer!

    • Sandy says:

      The best teacher “gifts” I receive are handwritten notes of thanks. No material item is necessary.

    • Meg says:

      I am a high school teacher and I would suggest a little bag or basket with anything she can use in the room. By this time of the year our cabinets are empty. Hand sanitizer, tissues, Clorox wipes, or school supplies. I love the idea of a $5 target card and coffee from Erin.

    • Andrea says:

      My cousin is a teacher and she loved a bottle of soap from a student that had a handmade tag reading, “soapin you have a merry Christmas.” Affordable, crafty, and practical.

  • amyr says:

    For some of our friends this year we’re giving them a simple gift — box of movie candy, pack of microwave popcorn, and a RedBox code for a free rental. You can order codes on their website. It’s like giving them a date night at home.

  • Michelle says:

    Cute idea!

  • Susie says:

    Cute idea…sorry some pick it apart. We are all here to save and get ideas from each other. I am glad you come from a family that showers and gets “gussied up” before going on a date. I am sure your cute gift will be appreciated and received well…it is a gift from the heart…for those you love to enjoy. :)

  • Lyn says:

    This is the coolest idea!! I think I’m going to do this for my daycare parents!! For the “during” I’ll get them a $25 gift card to one of our local restaurants and a coupon for a free daycare evening. Thanks for the awesome idea!!!

  • Lynda H says:

    Great idea. I could give a box to my husband, add a little more to it, Lol. But, the whole movie box is flexible, I am making one for my 11yr old niece. I just ordered the 2 set Dvd of Parent Trap (she has not seen the original), popcorn, Dr pepper, maybe add something sweet. You could even make a “chic flick box”. Great idea.

    • Natalie says:

      I agree with you. I ,personally, wouldn’t give it to my parents-in-law… depends on the type you have and your relationship with them, I guess. However, I love the idea and that it could be adapted to lots of different situations. I especially like the idea of parents with a new baby or little kids.

  • Sarah says:

    Cute idea and you could include a certificate for free babysitting if the couple has kids.

  • Rome Anderson says:

    really cool and inexpensive gift!!!!especially for friends n family who dont get out much

  • Barb says:

    I married an orphan the second time around so I have no in-laws to worry about. Hubby was 35, never married and no kids when I married him and his parents had died at least 15 prior to us even meeting. I figured I paid my duty with my first mother-in-law. Oh, the stories I could tell!!

  • Jen says:

    After seeing this I just made one for my parents as a thank you for watching my kids so much this past week. They gave up their date night last week for us, so now I’m giving them one back. :)

  • Marissa says:

    I am coming back to this post to say thank you! I was unsure what to get my parents, boyfriend’s parents, and boyfriend’s brother and girlfriend. I don’t think those items are weird at all – like some other people said above. I think it’s cute that they can get ready and have a nice night out together. Oh and I used dollar store baskets instead of boxes, and to separate the three sections I used ribbon. Some items I included were Victoria’s Secret mints (free with my secret reward card), Bath & Body works travel body spray (free with coupon), movie theater-like boxed candy from dollar store, and other freebie items from cvs that were collecting dust on my stockpile – like body wash, razors, hand sanitizer and gum!

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