Struggling to get a date night together each week for you and your main squeeze? It can be a challenge to work date nights into the monthly budget on a regular basis. When you’ve got to spring for a pair of $20 movie tickets, a decent dinner and possibly a babysitter, you can easily shell out around $200 on one date night, and that’s assuming you don’t order dessert and drinks.
We understand the date night struggle. We also recognize just how important regular dates are to the health of your relationship. That’s why we have made this date night cheat sheet for you. It’s a list of 33 low-cost, fun date night ideas for couples. Pull one of these out of your hat the next time your sweet sugar dumplin’ says, “What do you want to do tonight?”
A Note on Child Care
A low-cost date night can end up costing a great deal if you’re paying $12 an hour, per child, at a drop-in care center. The best suggestion we have for low-cost child care to go along with your budget date night is a babysitting swap. Find another couple with kids whose ages are similar to your children. Then, offer to watch that couple’s kids on their date nights if they’ll keep an eye on your munchkins while you go out. Check with the parents of your kids’ friends first. It’s always better when the kids get to be with their besties during your date nights. You might even score a sleepover for them.
1. Have a Penny Picnic Date
A penny date night is loads of fun. You need a penny, a picnic dinner and a sense of adventure. Give your date a penny. Then, ask him or her to pick a number between 10 and 20, which is the number of times you two will flip the coin to determine your destination. Exit your driveway and go to the nearest intersection by your house. Flip the penny to decide which way to turn. If it’s heads, you turn right; tales left. At the next intersection, flip it again and turn in the direction the penny leads you. Once you’ve flipped the coin for the last time, stop driving and find a place to enjoy your picnic together.
2. Go to a High School Play
If you’re into theater productions, you might enjoy a high school play or musical. They’re normally quite inexpensive to attend. Of course, these are not professional Broadway actors you’re watching, but that’s part of the fun. Be sure to congratulate your favorite budding actor on your way out.
3. Play Hide and Seek
Hide and seek is not just for kids. It can be a lot of fun to play it with your spouse instead. The rules can even be a little naughty if you’re into that sort of thing.
4. Bake Something Together
Online, you can find a wealth of free baking tutorials from famous chefs. Find one and shop together for ingredients. Then, try your hand at baking something amazing together.
5. Visit a Botanical Garden
If your city has a botanical garden, take a walk in it. There is normally a small fee to enter. It’s good exercise and full of beautiful sights.
6. Feed the Ducks at a Pond or Lake
Hit up your local pet supplies store to get a bag of cracked corn. Then, find a body of water with plenty of ducks hanging out and feed them together. Ducks may also enjoy unsweetened grain cereal if you already have some. Avoid feeding them bread, however, as it isn’t all that healthy for them.
7. Get Dressed Up and Go Out for Dessert
If you’d prefer a fancy night out on the town, enjoy a quick dinner at home in your sweats. Then, get all dolled up in dress clothes and find a nice restaurant where you can enjoy dessert and coffee. You’ll get that fine-dining experience without paying the fine-dining check.
8. Have a Picnic on the Roof
Any chance you can easily and safely access the roof at your house? If so, assemble a picnic dinner and head up there. It’s even better if you can do this at sunset.
9. Borrow a Movie From the Library
Your local library has new release DVDs. You can borrow them for free. Go together and pick out something fun. Then, head back home and pop popcorn on the stovetop.
10. Go Rock Climbing
Find an indoor climbing center or an actual rock to climb. Pack your trail mix and water bottles, then go climbing together.
11. Play Strip Poker
You probably don’t need an explanation for this one.
12. Pretend There’s a Blackout
Want a date night that you will remember forever? Kill the lights, turn off the Wi-Fi and pretend there’s been a power outage. You and your spouse will have to find some candles and a deck of playing cards for this date. Do your best to use only flashlights and keep to the blackout narrative throughout your evening. It’ll be fun.
13. Take a Bath or Shower Together
Get all soaped up and steamy with your spouse.
14. Buy a 500-piece Puzzle and Assemble It Together
Unless you’re both puzzle experts, a 1,000-piece puzzle is not something you’re likely to complete in one date night. Get a 500-piece puzzle and a pizza. Then, spend the evening putting it together.
15. Hit the Roller Rink
How long has it been since you went roller skating? Take your spouse and hold hands during the slow songs.
16. Check Out Some Amateur Comedians
Comedy clubs often have “open mic” or amateur nights. It costs very little to get in. You’ll likely have a great time laughing together. Most clubs serve appetizers and small plates, which will also keep the cost low.
17. Find an Old-fashioned Arcade and Bring Your Quarters
Having $20 in quarters will buy you a long night of fun at a coin-op arcade. If you can’t find a freestanding arcade, check bowling alleys, mini-golf locations and pizza places for in-house arcades.
18. Make S’mores in the Backyard
If you have a fire-pit, light it up. Then roast marshmallows and make s’mores. Tell each other stories around the fire and play truth or dare.
19. Bring Home Takeout and Candles
Find a Thai place with excellent takeout and get a couple of candles. Dim the lights and enjoy your carryout at home by candlelight.
20. Cook Dinner Together
Most of the larger grocery stores now carry dinner kits. These are boxes with all the prechopped and portioned ingredients you need to make a nice dinner for two. They also come with a recipe card and instructions. Pick up one and make it together at home. Eat the meal on your fanciest dishes.
21. Go Camping
If you’ve got a tent and some sleeping bags, you can usually find a cheap campsite for a night under the stars.
22. Go Bowling
Bowling is fun ― and pretty cheap. Plus, you get to wear funny-looking shoes while you’re doing it. Stop by the bowling alley and enjoy a couple of games together.
23. Attend a High School Sporting Event
Go out to a high school game and cheer them on. Make sure you wear team colors. Go team.
24. Sign Up for a Class at the Community Center Together
Often, community centers will offer interesting low-cost classes. Some of the topics include cooking classes, sewing, do-it-yourself crafts, ballroom dance class and the like. Register for you and your partner to take a class together for fun.
25. Volunteer Together
Animal shelters and soup kitchens always need volunteers. You and your sweetie will enjoy serving your community together. Plan a date to give back.
26. Pick Outfits for Each Other at the Thrift Store
Set a modest budget and head out to a nearby thrift store together. Then, search the racks for an outfit for your partner. Keep shopping until you find just the right attire for each other.
27. Test Drive Your Dream Cars Together
Would it make your partner’s day to drive his or her dream car? If so, make an appointment to test drive it together. If you’re both into cars, make two appointments so that you can enjoy driving each car. Some dealerships will let you take the car overnight if you’re truly considering making a purchase.
28. Rent a Paddle Boat
If you live near a body of water, rent a paddle boat for an hour or two. They normally aren’t too expensive. Then, spend the evening paddling and getting to know each other more. It’s great exercise. It can also be a calm and romantic experience.
29. Attend a Stargazing Event
Community colleges, universities and some museums normally have a planetarium where people can come and look at the sky through telescopes. Often, they offer stargazing events at night for just a few bucks a person.
30. Find a Drive-in Theater
If you can find a drive-in movie theater in your area, pack your car full of the best snacks and head over to watch a double feature with your spouse. Drive-in movies are not expensive as they normally charge per car.
31. Attend a Library Event
Many public libraries offer second-run movies you can attend for free. They also offer other free or low-cost community events like group fitness classes, artist showings and computer classes. Check your library’s website for upcoming classes and events you can attend.
32. Sing Karaoke Together ― Badly
Find a karaoke bar and belt out some show tunes with your honey. If you’re especially brave, agree to get up on stage and sing the songs horribly ― as if you couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. You might even get booed off the stage together.
33. Find Free Events
There are free events in your community all of the time, and you may not know about them. Many times, restaurants offer free meals for people in the community, such as for showing up on opening day. Most new attractions, cafes and eateries have fantastic grand opening days with all sorts of free stuff for those who attend. Look online for grand openings in your area. You may end up enjoying a free date.
Have a Fun, Low-cost Date Night
You owe it to your relationship to planning date nights often. Try some of these ideas so that you can afford to have date night every week.