Who says a special outing with the hubby has to empty your wallet? These fresh, fun activities require no cash at all, so work your way down the list. By Laura Li, REDBOOK.
Catch a Frisbee dog contest
Are you both dog people? If so, you'll love watching one of the many disc dog competitions hosted around the U.S. These adorable canines and their trainers perform a series of impressive tricks and routines set to music. Check out Skyhoundz.com or AshleyWhippet.com to get started.
Discover new music
Besides major festivals like Lollapalooza, Coachella and Electric Zoo, many cities offer free concerts during the warmer months. "Check your newspaper and visit the websites of local colleges," says Mary Hunt, author of 7 Money Rules for Life. Undergraduate music majors are often required to give public recitals during the year as well; who knows, you might spot the next Yo-Yo Ma!
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Take a bubble bath
What's the point of having a big bathtub if you're not going to use it? Light some candles, turn on soft music and take a dip in your own bathroom. Not only will a bath relax you and your hubby, it's also an excellent time to catch up on intimate conversation in your otherwise busy lives. As the weather warms up, a mild bath is also the perfect way to soothe summer skin problems, such as sun rash, bug bites and dry skin.
Learn a magic trick
You don't have to be as skilled an illusionist as Steve Carell and Jim Carrey in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, but with so many free tutorials available online, you and your honey can learn enough sleight of hand to entertain your friends or kids. Bonus points if you get him to dress up as your beautiful assistant!
Continue your education
Intelligence is sexy, and you and your dude can bond over a love of learning with free lectures at your local college. If you'd prefer to avoid the undergrads, Hunt recommends searching for video lectures online and taking advantage of the flurry of mass open online courses. Start your return to higher ed at ocw.mit.edu. Then, take turns choosing which subject to delve into, and quiz each other afterward.
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Indulge in partner massages
It might be an occasionally illicit occupation for Jennifer Love Hewitt's character on The Client List, but there's nothing wrong with the two of you dimming the lights and pampering each other with a well-deserved back rub, especially at the end of a stressful week. The experience will build trust and heighten intimacy, and your body is sure to appreciate the TLC - research has found that massages boost your immune system while stimulating levels of oxytocin, the love hormone.
Watch an eating competition
Summer is the season of competitive eating, so if you think your husband and kids eat a lot, prepare to be impressed by the amount of food shoveled down by the hungry contestants. Some of these events, such as the Duck Wing Eating Contest in Chicago, even have free cocktails and finger food. Go to EatFeats.com to find one near you.
Play games online
Got a competitive spirit? Challenge your man to one of thousands of games online at AddictingGames.com or FreeArcade.com. "Test your dexterity with Sketch a Match, do a jigsaw puzzle with Daily Jigsaw or relive your old Tetris days with a similar version called Phit," suggests Hunt. Studies have shown a positive correlation between adrenaline and attraction - the harder you play, the sweeter the romance.
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Attend a cultural festival
From spirited Chinese New Year parades to colorful Hindu Holi festivals, cultural celebrations usually take place in public areas and offer an eyeful of traditional costumes and dances that are sure to be memorable. This May, look out for Cinco De Mayo celebrations in your area.
Tour a flower show
You love it when he buys you flowers, so maximize the experience by seeking out the flora in bulk. If there aren't any shows near you, check out your nearest botanical garden, greenhouse or even forest preserve for a fresh and fragrant date. If it sounds too girly for your hubby, remind him that looking at the color green is particularly beneficial for tired retinas - thanks, desk job - and the fresh air won't hurt either. Plus, the two of you might stumble across some inspiration to spruce up your lawn.
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