30 Date Ideas on a Budget
Whether it’s a first date or your hundredth– relax, and throw away those frets of how to spend it. Some traditional date activities can really pinch your wallet. But never fear! With just a little effort and creativity, there’s plenty of ways to make any day just as special as that special someone, without breaking the bank. Here are 30 great date ideas on a budget.
1. Head to an orchard
Head to an apple or peach orchard to fill up a bucket of fruit fresh as can be– straight from the vine! Not to mention, the romantic-y feel of the orchard setting is totally great for a cute couple-picking photo op.
2. Bring the movie theater to you
Going to see a movie can be so expensive these days! Skip the snack lines, bring the theater home by renting a flick and setting up a popcorn bar with all the fixings: popcorn salt, ranch seasoning, chocolate chips, pretzels, M&Ms, and yes– extra butter. For extra classic movie-going vibes, purchase an inexpensive, candy-striped, disposable popcorn tub, and grab a few boxes of your favorite candy from the dollar store.
3. Go stargazing
Bring a blanket, or fill up the back of a car/truck with pillows and quilts for optimal stargazing comfort. Download an astronomy app on your phone to help locating all your favorite constellations. Bonus: name your own star together.
4. Host your own mini wine/beer tasting
Purchase a few miniature single-serving bottles of wine and/or craft beers to split. If you want to go the extra mile, make it a wine and cheese-sampling night.
5. Lace up a pair of skates
Channel your old school by lacing up a pair of roller skates (or ice-skates, if appropriate) at your local roller rink.
6. Have a picnic
It doesn’t matter if you have the full vintage-inspired Martha Stewart picnic cutlery basket set, or Tupperware with your treats. Anyone can plan a picnic, and it’s always a sweet, classic gesture.
7. Visit a museum
You’re just a Google search away from finding an awesome museum with an admission price under $5.
8. Plan a scavenger hunt
Surprise your honey with a scavenger hunt! This one will take a little planning, but is super fun and shows the thoughtfulness of the planner. You can do it small-scale in places around your house, or more wide-scale around your city or neighborhood. Consider choosing places that have an extra special significance to you both.
9. Go on a drive: destination, nowhere
Get lost…on purpose! Go for a drive with nowhere in mind. Run through a drive-thru for some on-the-go fuel, put on your favorite tunes, and just ride. Extra points if your car has a sunroof you can roll down.
10. Visit a farmer’s market
Support local business head to the farmer’s market! Plan to cook something inspired by the fresh ingredients you’ve just picked up.
11. Tour a brewery
Most breweries offer tours for free, or very cheap. Plus, who can resist all those free samples!
12. Go Geocaching
All you need is your phone, a few exchangeable trinkets, and an appetite for adventure.
13. Stage Food Network from your kitchen
Set a time limit and have a bake-off, or play pretend you are on Chopped and challenge your partner to whipping up the best meal with the ingredients you already have on hand. It’s a little friendly competition, with a prize neither can dispute: food!
14. Peruse a flea market
Window-shop, or see who can find the best quirky antique deal!
15. Check the Newspaper
Checking the events section in your local paper or looking online may turn up a fun festival or activity that is free or very low cost.
16. Recreate your first date
This can be simple, but oh so fun and nostalgic. Plus, it’s certain to procure a few funny stories and laughs about first date stories.
17. Go on a coffee crawl
Think of it like a pub-crawl, but cheaper. If you live near or in a city, chances are, there’s a whole bounty of neighborhood hipster java joints. Choose several to go to, splitting a drink at each. Travel past your safe realm of cappuccinos and lattes, and go for the doppio, cortado, affogato, or a Vietnamese-style iced coffee. The best thing about this date? You’ll never run out of energy!
18. Plan a random vacation
Take to Pinterest to plan a dream getaway where money is no object! It might be totally imaginary, but you’ll be surprised how excited and into it you both get. It may even inspire you to save up to go on your dream getaway.
19. Take a hike!
Whether up a mountain or through a nature preserve, one mile or ten, it’s always refreshing and revitalizing to get outdoors.
20. Build a blanket fort
Need something else refreshing and revitalizing? Channel your childhood. Pull out the couch cushions, sheets, quilts, and fairy lights and build a blanket fort. After construction, relax in your pillow palace by snuggling.
21. See the local music scene
Hit up a live music bar or a small indie venue in your city for a cheap night of entertainment that helps support the arts in your community!
22. Go biking!
If you don’t have your own bikes on hand, there are many services available to rent them at just a few dollars an hour.
23. Play bartender
Forget the rum and coke. You know that one drink, the one with the sugar rim and tropical colors that you always eye at the restaurant? Yeah, that one. It’s easier than you think to make it at home! Find one or two mixed drinks you’ve always wanted to make. Now get ready to shake, stir, and pour on the rocks, with a lime rind swirl on the side.
24. Go kayaking or canoeing
Canoeing or kayaking is a great low cost activity. If you don’t own a canoe or kayak, there are places that rent them for not a lot of money. Some places even offer coupons for money off.
25. Binge-watch a new series together
Waiting impatiently for the next season of Stranger Things? Same. In the meantime, get your suspense fix watching a heated political drama like House of Cards, or the thought-provoking and beautifully filmed Netflix original, The OA. You’ll both be hooked in no time!
26. Act like a tourist
Act like a tourist in your own town. Visit a new restaurant, and then go for a stroll. Pay close attention to things you’ve never looked at before. What kind of foliage is around? What graffiti or stickers stuck to street signs can you find? How old is that building with the twisting columns? Allow yourself to spot new beauty in a place you’ve grown accustomed to. Bring a disposable camera along to document it all, just like a real tourist.
27. DIY spa night
Head to YouTube for tutorials on how to give a proper massage, then exchange them with your partner. Buy or DIY face masks, and be sure to have some candles burning in the background.
28. Attend a trivia night
Hit up a restaurant in your town that hosts trivia nights, then enjoy your meal with free entertainment and some healthy competition.
29. Have a marshmallow fight
Call on your childhood again with some playful fighting. Marshmallows are a small and inexpensive, easy-to-clean option. Pillows or Nerf guns if you have them will also do the trick. Now, remember that aforementioned blanket fort? Get ready to duck and cover.
30. Watch the sunset
It’s the classic romantic end to any day. Whether from a mountaintop, your town’s classic lookout (make out) point, or just the balcony of your apartment, grab a couple of beers and your partner’s hand and bask in the final hour of the glowing day.
Remember: the best dates aren’t about the money– they’re about the thoughtfulness! Let these date ideas inspire you and then personalize them to fit your unique relationship specifically. Now, go have fun. There are kisses to be had, and a whole host of new memories to be made.
What are your favorite frugal date ideas? Please share below!