Dating on a budget, whether you are married or not, can be tough. My husband and I got in the rut of believing that date = dinner at a nice restaurant or getting take-out. That ate up (excuse the pun) our entertainment budget quickly each month, leaving us frustrated that we weren’t spending enough time together. Then came the light bulb moment:
A date does not have to just be dinner at a restaurant!
The primary goal of a date is to spend quality time together, right? Well, if that’s the case, why does it necessarily have to cost a lot of money? As long as you are together and you are having fun, that’s all that matters. You might have to get creative. You might still want to drop some change to eat an awesome meal. But a tight budget shouldn’t preclude you from spending time with your honey.
Thus, I present you with a list of 15 miscellaneous budget-friendly date ideas. I’m hungry as I’m writing this, so many of them are food-focused:
- Wine & cheese night: Get a nice bottle of wine. By “nice,” I mean “not Franzia”. Get a hunk of cheese and some crackers. Voila. Date night for under $15, plus you can tell everyone how classy you are.
- Farmer’s market: Chances are good that wherever you live, there is a farmer’s market near you. Get up early on a Saturday, don’t shower, grab some coffee and head out. Get some flowers and some yummy veggies. Try the samples. ALL of the samples.
- Outdoor movies: There are several venues in our area that hold free outdoor movies during the summer. There are also a few drive-in movie theaters. Stash some candy, sodas, a blanket, and a couple of sweatshirts in a bag, and you’re set.
- Go for a walk: Find a local state park, a stream, some woods, a quiet neighborhood–wherever. We have some of our best talks while we’re walking.
- Bowling: It’s cheap, it’s fun, and you get to wear gross shoes that hundreds of other people have worn. Score!
- Food festivals: There’s a weekly food festival near us called “Food Truck Tuesday.” There’s live music, and between the two of us, it costs less than $15 for dinner. There are also a few bigger festivals during the summer months–the Greek festival, the Italian festival, and a giant festival with a lot of local restaurants. All of the food is cheaper than eating at a restaurant. I am so hungry right now.
- Gift card night: We always seem to have gift cards laying around–Starbucks, restaurants, etc. A coffee date it is!
- Outdoor music: We lived in Pittsburgh a few years ago, and during the summer, there was free music downtown at lunchtime. A lot of cities and towns do the same type of event, either during lunchtime or in the early evening.
- Movie night: Pick a theme, pop some popcorn, and snuggle in. Possible themes include: “Will Ferrell,” “a multi-decade Batman retrospective,” and my personal favorite, “let’s scare ourselves so that we can’t sleep for 3 days.”
- Groupon/Living Social/Restaurants.com: Depending on what you want to do, check one of these deal sites to see if you can save any money. We went to a local climbing gym a few years ago, which I LOVED, and with a Groupon deal, we were able to save 50% (I think it only ended up being $15-$20 for the two of us).
- Make a restaurant meal at home: Pick your favorite restaurant, pick your favorite meal, and use Pinterest to figure out how to make something similar.
- Game night: Invite a few other couples over and bust out the board games. Crowd-pleasing favorites are Cards Against Humanity, Balderdash, and Telestrations. If it’s just the two of you, play Scrabble, Boggle, or learn a new card game together.
- Museums: Most local art, history, and science museums have free or discounted rates and certain points during the month. Some of them combine the special rates with free hors d’oeuvres and drinks.
- Coffee and dessert: Make reservations at the best restaurant in your area, but instead of dinner, just get coffee and dessert.
- Brewery tour/wine tasting: If you have local breweries or wineries, you can usually take a short tour and try their samples for $10 and under.
There you have it. I’d love to hear your budget-friendly date ideas!