In today's economy, entertainment is often one of the first budget-cutting casualties. Unfortunately, when your finances have you stressed, you probably need the stress-relief of fun and relaxation more than ever. Despite what the media seems to imply, you don't have to spend a lot of money to have a good time. Just five dollars can pay for two people to have a fun hour or more together.
Go to the Dollar Theater
Most metropolitan areas have at least one second-run movie house, and in most cases, seeing a movie there only costs one or two dollars. Go see that movie you didn't feel like you could afford when it was seven bucks. You can forget the world and have fun for two hours and still have change left from your five dollar bill.
Have Ice Cream at the Park
Go through a drive-through and get two double dip cones in your favorite flavors. Take them to the local park or nature area and enjoy a lazy hour wandering in nature while you eat your ice cream and have some great conversation. There's no reason to leave when the ice cream's gone.
Have a Skee-Ball Tournament
Find your local Chuck E. Cheese or other arcade that has Skee-Ball lanes. Five dollars should buy you twenty tokens. Take ten tokens a piece, choose side-by-side lanes and have a ten-game tournament. Choose ahead of time how to decide the winner–highest points in a single game, most tickets won or most games won are all good options. Afterward, you'll probably have accumulated enough tickets to get some candy to share at the reward redemption window.
Go (Silly) Shopping
Go to your local mall and have fun finding the strangest or most unique item you can buy for five dollars. Look in stores you'd ordinarily never go in. Even if you find something right off the bat, no fair buying it right away. The point is to have fun looking. At the end of your trip, you can decide which was the best thing you saw and go back for it.
A jigsaw puzzle can provide many hours of entertainment and can have a calming, de-stress effect. Go together and choose a puzzle with a picture you both like–you might even decide to glue it together and hang it when you're done. If you haven't done many jigsaw puzzles before, go for one with bold colors and a mid-range number of pieces. You don't want your stress relief to turn into frustration.