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We’re living on $3,400 a month with $18,000 of debt. How much should we set aside for a monthly date night?

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Dear Dave,

We’re trying to get control of our finances by living on a budget. We also have about $18,000 in debt we are trying to pay off. My husband brings home $3,400 a month, and I am currently taking care of our eight-month-old baby. We would like to have a date night once a month, and he thinks we should set aside $200 for this. Under the current circumstances, I feel like this is too much. What do you think?

Carolyne

Dear Carolyne,

If you’d told me you guys make $150,000 a year, I’d say go have a great time. But with your income and a lot of debt on top, I’d put the brakes on that amount. It sounds like he’s looking for an outlet to unwind and have a little fun, without giving a lot of thought to the big picture. The good thing, though, is you’re working together and beginning to take this personal finance thing seriously.

My advice would be to lower the date night amount to about $50 right now. That’s plenty for a reasonable dinner and a babysitter for a couple of hours. You might not have to figure babysitting expenses into the equation at all if you have family or friends nearby.

Going out on a date doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money. Years ago, when my wife and I were broke, we did tons of stuff that didn’t cost a dime. Things like hiking and picnics are great ways to spend quality time together, while keeping your pocketbook in your pocket. Just be creative, talk about it together and make sure you find ways to have a little us time on a regular basis.

I think you’re right on this one, Carolyne!

— Dave

Dave Ramsey

About Dave

Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored several best-selling books, including "The Total Money Makeover." The Ramsey Show is heard by more than 16 million listeners each week on 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.

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