My husband and I have spent the last month packing up our apartment (with an 8-month-old who unpacked the boxes as quickly as we could pack them), moving 1000 miles to be closer to family, and putting an offer on a new house. We could stand to take a breather together. But with closing costs and appliance purchases looming, the last thing we want is to blow money on are indulgent evenings out. We need a budget date night, stat!
Here are 15 cheap date ideas for frugal date nights:
1. Dress to the nines and get coffee at a diner, or grab a cup to go and walk around a cute part of town. There’s something about dressing up that makes any activity feel special!
2. Catch a second-run movie at your local cheap theater. If your town doesn’t have a dollar theater (or $2 theater), you can buy discount movie tickets at Costco or AAA if you’re a member.
3. Cook a new recipe. My husband and I have always talked about picking a local ethnic food store and purchasing an item we’ve never eaten before (perhaps even one with no English on the packaging), and having a foreign food adventure!
4. Go out for happy hour instead of dinner. The Happy Hours app (available for free for iPhone and Android) can help you find happy hours nearby and alert you to deals and times.
5. Play board games at a coffee shop. Or a train station. Or a hotel lobby.
6. Feed ducks at the park.
7. See if your city has a free monthly Art Walk gallery night. Ad mission is almost always free, and some galleries serve wine and snacks.
8. Get ice cream at an old-time soda fountain.
9. Make your own private backyard movie theater with a computer or iPad. Drag a couple of chairs and blankets out, find a spot in your yard close to the wi-fi router, and cue up a flick from Netflix or Hulu.
10. Go for a swing at your local park.
11. See a high school play or musical. Dress nice and go for a nightcap when it ends.
12. Thrift store treasure hunt: Each person has a $5-10 to find the best treasure. This one can be repeated with categories, like Ugliest Sweater, Most Sequins, Best Item from the 70s (or 80s, 90s, etc), Best Kitchen Gadget, etc.
13. Go to the children’s section of your local bookstore and read each other your favorite book from childhood. Or just sit amongst the pages and browse!
14. Make an iTunes playlist and take a double bubble-bath.
15. Rearrange your living room or bedroom furniture to shake things up. Decide that you can return it to its previous state after three days if you both agree.
Need more? Check out some of Bargain Babe’s ideas for a cheap date from a previous post.
What’s your favorite cheap date?
My favorite date is when we do anything outdoors! I love hiking – great exercise and inexpensive. I live in NYC, and I’m around an hour away from some beautiful mountains and waterfalls. One of my best dates was when I climbed a mountain with a boyfriend. We brought lunch with us and ate on the summit, with hawks flying below us and breathtaking views while we ate! It’s also nice to hike to a waterfall and dip your feet in when you get there. The only expense is gas and tolls, but unfortunately, it can’t be avoided where I live!
Julie Hills says
@Denise, yes! Outdoor dates are wonderful and can be a great way to celebrate the seasons where you live. And sometimes food tastes best when you’ve “earned” it!
Also, taking a walk on a beach or lake when the sun is setting. Or making some drinks and munchies, and sitting outside on a summer night, looking at the stars and meteors 🙂
Re-arranging furniture is NOT a date!
Cute date idea: Ride the bus/subway with no destination in mind.
Julie Hills says
@Karenna, if rearranging furniture makes you want to scream then no, I don’t recommend it as a date! 🙂 My husband and I actually have fun trying new things and dreaming about how we want to use our space. I do also love the subway/bus idea… a great way to explore your neighborhood/city with the journey and not the destination in mind. Thanks!