A majority of our date evenings went one of two ways when my significant other and I initially began dating. The first was a night out that included food, cocktails, and booking Ubers, which resulted in us spending more money than we would have liked on our budgets. Two of us were lying horizontally, slogging through a torturous 35 minutes of decision-making before falling asleep minutes into the opening credits of a movie we’d previously watched. Our most recent and most innovative solution? We’re brainstorming inexpensive date ideas that will keep us engaged (and vertical) without breaking the budget.
No matter how long you’ve been together, dating your significant other is a wonderful (and essential) chance to reset, reconnect, and fall in love all over again. To keep things interesting while without breaking the bank, here are 10 inexpensive date night options for when you want to strike a balance between binge-watching Netflix and spending on dinner and drinks downtown:
1. Have a picnic in the park .
Grab your best beach blanket and go outside because a picnic in your local park (or, if you’re fortunate enough, a picnic on the beach) is one of the most romantic and inexpensive date evenings you’ll ever have. It’s intimate while still being comfortable and informal, and it’s one that you’ll want to return to again and again. Set the atmosphere with your favorite music via a tiny speaker, and then bring a cooler or picnic basket full of snacks to enjoy as the sun sets over the horizon. Wine and cheese are always a good choice.
2. A visit to the museum .
Get ready to channel your inner Ben Stiller because we’re going on a Night at the Museum-style adventure—minus the triggering of an Egyptian curse, of course. Trips to local museums are usually cheap, provide a wonderful opportunity to appreciate art and culture in your own area, and may provide you with an inside look at what motivates your significant other. Whether you choose to visit an art, science, history, or technology museum, you will undoubtedly have a good time. If you can locate a museum that offers drinks after hours, you’ll get extra points.
3. Prepare a meal at home .
Cooking together at home is a story as ancient as time, and it is one of the simplest and most slept-on dates you can imagine. While we like substituting homemade meals for a nice meal every once in a while, we also enjoy the simple pleasure of preparing foods with your spouse at home on a regular basis. It makes no difference if you and your spouse decide to attempt a new recipe, replicate one of your favorite restaurant dishes, or prepare a dinner that you and your partner have perfected over the years. Pour yourself a bottle of wine, preheat your oven, and get ready for a simple-meets-romantic evening that will leave you with enough food for leftovers the next night.
4. Go for a nature walk or a stroll in the woods.
Taking a nature walk or hiking with the person you’re dating is always a fantastic idea after you’ve become acquainted with them. It’s our notion of a nice time to be outside, walking, chatting, and flirting amid the chirping crickets and crunching leaves under our feet, and the best part is that it’s completely free.
It’s completely costless. Getting out of your daily routine, getting lost in discussion, and getting moving are all things you’ll want to do on this popular date idea, and you’ll want to write about it as soon as you return home.
5. Take a look at the night sky.
We’ll wait for you to come up with anything more romantic than stargazing with someone you care about. If you ask us, snuggling under the stars and pointing out your favorite constellations under the blanket of the cosmos are some of the most personal moments that can be experienced on this planet ever.
As long as the weather allows, we’ll be taking part in this walk, which has all of the feel-good feelings of A Walk to Remember.
6. Have a fun learning experience together.
No matter if you choose an in-person, more formal course or a virtual course that is less formal but more affordable, learning something new together (cooking, painting, tennis, rock climbing, pottery, etc.) is always a wonderful bonding experience that will last a lifetime in your memories.
We really like the concept of pushing yourself with something new since it either a) leads to the development of a new interest or talent, or b) results in something you and your spouse can laugh about for the rest of your lives. Check out the classes that are available to you in your region, or consider taking one of these virtual courses that are best taken with a partner:
Course in line drawing
gin drinks in the traditional style
Course consisting of homemade noodles and panna cotta
Cooking for two on a date night for complete novices
7. Host a game night .
Witty, competitive banter is one of our many love languages, so it should come as no surprise that we like spending time with our significant other while playing games. Hosting a game night is high on our list of inexpensive date ideas since there’s something about friendly wagers and a little bit of trash talking that we find to be positively seductive.
Keep it simple with a deck of cards (strip poker, anyone?) or get your friends together for a two-person strategy game that will keep them engaged for the whole evening.
8. Participate in a scavenger hunt in a department shop or mall.
Back in May, my boyfriend and I took part in the TikTok Target challenge, and it turned out to be one of the most fun and thought-provoking date evenings I’d had in quite some time. When it comes to giving and receiving presents, this one has both of your names written all over it if that is your or your partner’s love language. The regulations are straightforward, and the payoff is substantial.
Grab a shopping cart, decide on a spending limit, divide up for a certain period of time, and go to the checkout counter individually. In order to complete this scavenger hunt, you must find things that you believe your spouse would like. This is the list that we worked our way through:
1) Favorite alcoholic beverage
2) Favorite hors d’oeuvre
3) What is your favorite color?
4) Something that brings up memories of them
5) Something you believe they will benefit from
When you get back home, you’ll look over each category of presents one by one, and let me tell you, it’s a lovely, kind, and very necessary thing to do for your family.
9. Attend a drive-in movie (or organize one).
It’s definitely one of my most deadly faults in life that I’ve never actually gone to a drive-in movie, despite the fact that I’ve looked for “drive-in movies near me” on Google more than once (something I’m actively working on rectifying).
There’s something so vintage and nostalgic about bunking up with blankets and food in a truck bed with your significant other that makes it sound incredibly intimate (thanks to Grease, of course), and for that reason, it continues to be at the top of my personal date night bucket list. If you don’t have access to any drive-in movie theaters in your area, don’t worry: You may always create one at home if you want to save money. Invest in a projector or just bring your laptop outside, store up on blankets and cushions, and load up on your favorite foods, and you’ve got yourself a simple date night idea that will take your typical Netflix session to a higher level of sophistication.
10. Host a brunch at home, followed by a marathon of popular franchise movies.
The ideal Sunday exists, and it consists of an at-home breakfast followed by a marathon of Harry Potter films with my partner, which lasts for hours. Make a substantial breakfast (bottomless mimosas and/or Bloody Marys recommended), and then spend the rest of the day watching a movie franchise from beginning to end (Twilight, Star Wars, James Bond, Avengers, The Hunger Games, or Divergent will surely do the trick). Extra points if you build a fort, since we’re never too old for a little nostalgic exploration and exploration.