If you're going to spend money on drinks and food out, get it for half off.

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A while back my husband and I finished work early. He called on his way home saying: “Let’s go somewhere.” The kids were still in school, which made it all the more tempting. Going somewhere without having to schlep two children with you and keep an eye on them? I was in.

But where were we going to go? Where we live, a lot of places are open for lunch, then close and open again for dinner at 5 p.m. It was 4 o’clock and we had one hour before pickup time.

So we found a nearby bar

It was so refreshing to have a cold beer and some nachos without having to worry about someone spilling a glass of water all over the floor or throwing a tantrum. And an added bonus? It was happy hour, so drinks and food were half off! We wound up spending $15 for some much needed quality time before picking up the kids.

Unfortunately, schedules don’t always line up, and my husband and I haven’t been back to happy hour in months. But as luck would have it, a friend of mine wanted to meet up in the middle of the day last week. I suggested coffee, the go-to option for most of us. But she suggested a drink. “Happy hour, perhaps?”

How had I once again forgotten happy hour?

In New York, happy hour was a staple. You’d work a long day, then go with co-workers or meet up with friends for a beer and a nosh before heading home. Maybe it was because of the readily available public transit options?

Either way, she and I were able to sit and have a drink with complementary chips and salsa, while her little one played in the open area by our table. All for $12! That’s close to what we would have spent at a coffee shop once we got a treat, and because it wasn’t bustling, her child was able to play and we didn’t have to worry about chasing her down.

I’m now trying to work a weekly happy hour into my busy life. A place with a quiet happy hour can even be good for kids. You can give them a snack before heading home, or you could make a meal out of the menu for them. Either way, it shouldn’t cost you nearly as much as going out to dinner would if you went after the 6 p.m. cutoff.

So my takeaway tip is this: Parents, if you can’t afford a sitter but would still like a bit of calm adult time to talk uninterrupted, try a happy hour with your significant other if you can find time before picking up your child. If you can’t make that work, take the kids for a cheap, casual dinner option.

NOTE: Please drink responsibly. Drinking and driving can at the least cost you hefty fines, court dates and a suspended license — at the most it can cost you your life and possibly the lives of others.

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Meet the Author

Jessica Patel

Jessica Patel

Author

Jessica Patel is an award-winning editor and writer living in Los Angeles. She previously served as deputy editorial director of T Brand Studio at The New York Times and as Senior Editor and Analyst of Bankrate.com.

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Article last modified on June 20, 2018. Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Happy Hour Makes For a Cheap Date - AMP.