Cheap date night ideas - $20 dollar date night

Cheap date night ideas! Join Christy Pessemier, and her willing guinea pig husband – as they scour King & Snohomish Counties in the Seattle area to prove you can go out as a couple and have a great time for under 20 Dollars.

Old Theatre. Old Classic. Great Time!

Last weekend’s date won as the best ever in all categories: Budget Friendly, romantic, unique, good food and memorable. And…I didn’t even think this one up. It was Hubby’s idea.


At first I didn’t realize what exactly it was we were going to do. My fault. I was busy, busy and it didn’t sink in. He mentioned something about pre-ordered tickets from Living for watching It’s a Wonderful Life. I thought he was talking about a play. In the car on our way to the theatre, through asking a few questions, I realized it was a showing of the movie in the theatre, not a play.

“And guess what?” Hubby said. “Zuzu, the real Zuzu from the movie is going to be there!”

I have to say, this was so sweet of my husband to think of this. What a cool idea. And, I’m ashamed to admit, I didn’t even realize how cool till after we arrived. I felt like we’d stepped back in time. We walked in on crowds of smiling people standing in line for popcorn, and talking-actually talking to each other, not staring at cell phones. I noticed a long line of folks expectantly waiting to get autographs.

“Who’s that?” I asked Hubby. And there she was: Zuzu! Though much more mature than her appearance way back in 1946, I instantly recognized the face of actress Karolyn Grimes. Patiently, she scrawled her autograph on multiple memorabilia items from the classic movie. The line went out to the hallway. I was spellbound. The real Zuzu!

We made ourselves comfortable and grabbed a seat on the main floor. I learned that the original Everett Theatre was built in 1901, and is the oldest operating theatre in Washington State. It had to be rebuilt after a fire in 1925.
My husband, the history buff leaned over and whispered to me, “Did you know that Helen Keller spoke here once?”
Wow. Graced by the presence of Zuzu and Helen Keller. Amazing! And I hadn’t even seen the movie yet. The elaborate décor with its elegant curtains and scroll work gave me a sense of being in the theatre version of the Titanic. All I needed was red lipstick and a ballroom dress to make myself fit the scenery.

Once Zuzu was finished signing autographs, she came onstage and shared little known facts about the movie, as well as her career. We learned that she hadn’t really watched the movie until the 80’s when it was a regular production on TV, that Jimmy Stewart was really a nice guy in person, and was embarrassed to admit that she didn’t know the words to the song “Auld Lang Syne” at the end of the movie. These little tidbits of information made the movie feel like new again when we watched it on the big screen. I noticed Stewart brushing “Jimmy” the raven aside in one scene, after Grimes shared that Director Frank Capra liked to have him as a regular star in his movies. It was part of his signature. I also realized that Mr. Gower really did look drunk in the scene that he was supposed to be drunk in with young George Bailey…because he really was! According to Grimes, that was the way they did movies back then.
Even though this was probably the 40th time I’ve seen It’s a Wonderful Life, it was fascinating to watch it after hearing Karolyn Grimes talk about the background of the movie. I also loved watching it on the big screen. My favorite scene is when George Bailey realizes that his life really did matter and that he wants it all back, even the bad stuff and the imperfections.

“Please God, let me live again.” He says, and then it starts snowing, and he realizes his lip is bleeding – and shouts for joy just to be alive. I love how he runs through the town and screams “Merry Christmas!” even to grumpy old Potter.

Here it is 2011, and nearly 1,200 people showed up to fill the theatre to watch a timeless classic. I saw smiles and hope in people’s eyes. Couples of all ages walked out holding hands and laughing. Talk about a feel-good movie. That was a shot in the arm. Not bad for $5 per admission, thanks to the buy one get one free coupon.

Along with a small tub of popcorn and Junior Mints, (which we finished before the movie even started) a cup of coffee for Hubby and tea for me, our total came to $18. Under budget – and I say one of the best dates so far. See, you can be a cheapskate, and have a great time. We proved it.

So, don’t give me any excuses for why you and your sweetie can’t go out this weekend. Look how little cash it took for us to have a great time.

See you in a few days with a preview of the next $20 date night!

  • Rating of this date: 1-5 (5 being the best)
  • Atmosphere (Romantic Appeal) 5
  • Food 5 (at the movies, what’s better than candy and popcorn?)
  • Budget Friendly 5+!
  • Fun and Unique 5+
  • Memorable 5

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