Aaahhhh, remember when we all started dating and every date was a well-planned event? Do you ever think about how much money you spent to go on those dates? Scary, right? In hindsight, some of my favorite dates were the cheapest. No fancy restaurants and expensive movie theaters. My favorite dates included walking in the park, feeding birds in the river, and going for a hike in the woods.
So, I thought I would put together a list of my favorite cheap (and free) date night ideas. Add more in the comments!
Free Date Ideas
Let’s start out with freebies! We all love those and there is no real reason to spend much (or any) money on a memorable date.
- Have a movie marathon in your home! Pop popcorn, drink what you have in the house, and open up those DVDs you haven’t seen in years, or check out the classic movies on Netflix or Amazon Prime, if you have already paid for the subscriptions. Challenge yourself to not buy anything extra. It’s all good. Water is free if you are out of soda or wine!
- Play those board games stuck away in your closet. Here is a list of my favorite cooperative board games. Play some music on Pandora or Apple Music and make it a fun night. Seriously, when is the last time you played board games?
- Learn to play a new game together. Is there one that your friends will let you borrow or is there one that you haven’t had time to play yet?
- Go for a hike. Yes, this is always on the list but being out in nature is so healthy. It is also my favorite cheap date idea! Challenge yourself and go somewhere that you haven’t been before. Look on the map of your area and go check out a park that you drive by or never noticed was there. I like to scour AllTrails to find someplace new and fun to explore.
- Pack a picnic and go watch the sunset. Find a nice, peaceful spot and pack up some snacks from home. Go relax, talk, enjoy spending time with each other and watch the sun go down.
- Check for free events in your local newspaper. Concerts, lectures-anything at all that is free and could be interesting to check out.
- Volunteer. Give back to your community and spend time with your date.
- Look at opportunities to help at your church. Sometimes they need adults to help out with youth programs, small groups, or even helping with projects.
- In the winter, build a snowman or have a snowball fight. Snuggle up on the couch afterward under warm blankets and read or watch a movie by the fire.
Frugal Outdoor Date Ideas
- Go canoeing, camping, kayaking. We rent the boats on our local lake for a few dollars and gives us a great reason to get out into nature!
- Splurge for a wine tasting at a local winery. Many can run under $10/person and you can draw it out to make it a sweet evening. I really enjoy the trend to bring a blanket and hang out. Check out groupon.com to see if there are any specials going on.
- Check out a local microbrew. For under $12 total, you should each be able to try a 10-16 oz beer and enjoy the ambiance. Several of our local breweries have bands playing on the weekends. Sit back, try a new beer and enjoy the local music! If you want to pull that number down and have a designated driver, it can come in at about $8-10 for a beer and a water or soda. Look for microbrews that have outdoor seating so you can bring your own chairs and extend the event even longer.
- Check out some local attractions that you don’t normally think about. Did you visit all the museums in your town? Many of them are free, but even if it costs a couple of bucks, go check them out. You never know what you might just learn.
- Sign up for a Free Walking Tour of your town. Free Tours By Foot is one of my favorites.
Cheap Date Ideas
If you are able to spend a couple of bucks, here are some ideas that will create memorable dates without breaking the bank!
- Rent a movie from iTunes or Amazon. Sometimes, there is a newly released show that hasn’t made it to Netflix. Spending a few bucks for an online rental beats spending a lot more going out to the theater. Pop your popcorn and you’ve got a date!
- If you have an ice cream maker, make homemade ice cream. For just a couple of dollars of supplies, you can make delicious ice cream, watch a movie and have a great night.
- Pick up a couple of bottles of inexpensive wine from Trader Joe’s, Aldi or Lidl or any local grocery store and have a homemade wine tasting. Challenge yourself to not spend over $10/bottle. Test a couple of new bottles out and see if they are worth it. Mix it with the movies or games and you have a great night!
- Check out day dates instead of going out at night. Menus are cheaper and you get similar offerings. Not to be too cheap, but one of our local restaurants has ½ price burgers on Wednesdays. We try to take advantage of that to save a few bucks.
- Go get a couple of lattes and catch up on those books you are reading or just talk with each other about your week. This should be under $10 and who doesn’t love a nice coffee shop?
- Check out matinee prices at the theater. We have one that is only $5 for the first showing of the day. We have a discounted theater about 30 minutes from us that has $2 movies.
- Go out to eat but just share a plate nachos and drinks. The bill should come in under $25. Aren’t we all always complaining that we didn’t need dinner after that huge plate of nachos anyways? Don’t feel pressured to buy a meal.
- Eat dinner at home, but go out for just dessert. There are a lot of fun places that have incredible desserts. If you feel strange doing that, just tell the hostess or the server right away so they know what you are looking at. There are no rules that say you have to have a full meal to enjoy their dessert menu.
- Buy a salmon or nice steak and grill them. One person grills and the other one prepares the sides. No matter the price of the meat, it will always be cheaper than eating out. Plus, you’ll find out just how talented your date is in the kitchen. No pressure!
- Check out Groupon for anything that might be near your area that is cheap!
- Check out the local high schools or community theater to see what is playing. Tickets are cheap!
This is only the beginning and should be used as a springboard for ideas! What have you done to keep the fun between your relationship without blowing the checkbook?