26 Cheap Date Ideas – Saving Money Without Sacrificing Romance

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26 cheap date ideas
I went to California this past week. My wife and I are both frugal by nature. We just don’t spend a lot of money unless it is planned or we have good reason. But that doesn’t mean we don’t like to have fun. All you need is a little creativity to have a good time.…

I went to California this past week. My wife and I are both frugal by nature. We just don’t spend a lot of money unless it is planned or we have good reason. But that doesn’t mean we don’t like to have fun. All you need is a little creativity to have a good time.

Oh, and uh… here is a quick way to earn up to $250 free money just by opening up a new Chase Free Checking account!

That could help out with your date night budget for a while! 😉

26 Cheap Date Ideas (In No Particular Order)

26 cheap date ideasSurprise your special someone with a card – just because. Everyone gets cards for birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and an assortment of “Hallmark Holidays.” But it doesn’t have to be a holiday to give someone a card. Sometimes a nice little card says a lot to the person you give it to.

Buy flowers for no reason. Just like the card idea, giving flowers to your special someone can be a great surprise. Spend $10. It’s worth it.

Pack a picnic lunch. Go for a hike at the local state park, walk on the beach, or go to the neighborhood park. Or even better, pack a picnic lunch and eat it on your living room floor next to the fireplace.

Banana split night. Come home from work with a bunch of fresh bananas, a pint or two of vanilla bean ice cream, whipped cream, and various toppings. Making and eating banana sundaes can be incredibly fun. 🙂

Dress up for dinner at home. Men, wear a shirt and tie (jacket if you have one), and ladies, put on a nice dress or gown and some jewelry. You can make a fancy meal and drink a nice bottle of wine, or you can have a pizza delivered and drink a cold beer. The point isn’t what you eat, it’s spending time together. You get to play dress up and enjoy each other’s company – without spending $100 or more for dinner.

Lose power for a night. A couple months ago the high winds from Hurricane Ike knocked out our power. That night my wife and I had a nice dinner by candlelight, then laid on the floor together and read books by candlelight. It was incredibly romantic and peaceful to enjoy each other’s company and not to have the TV or computer on all night. I wouldn’t mind losing power a little more often. 🙂

Go local. Even small towns have events year round. Check out your local paper or City of Commerce web page. Be on the lookout for cultural events, high school musicals and sporting events, parks and recreational activities, guest speakers, and more.

Go for a drive. My wife and I live in a scenic area and it’s nice to get out and take a drive every once and awhile and enjoy the changing seasons. In my opinion each season has somehting beautiful to offer, and it’s nice to see the countryside with the person you love.

Go stargazing or cloud watching. Take a few moments on a nice evening and go stargazing, or lie on your back and watch the clouds go by. It’s a peaceful way of spending some time with the person you love.

Go for a walk. Not only is going for a walk free, but you also get some exercise. This is a win-win. Go for a walk downtown or around your neighborhood. If you have a Fitbit, it’s fun to see how many steps or miles that you and your date did on your walk.

Feed the ducks. The best part about feeding ducks is that all that you need is a couple of quarters to purchase duck food at the pond. Feeding ducks is a nice way to get outside and only spend a couple of dollars on your date. If you took a picnic, then you can make a whole day out of this.

Matinee movie. Going to the movies is expensive. You could easily spend $50 or more if you go see a movie, but if you’re looking to save money, go before lunch on a Saturday. Matinee prices are drastically cheaper. In some cases, the movie theatre might even offer free movies in the day. Make sure that you don’t buy snacks or candy at the theatre, otherwise you’ll break your bank on candy and soda.

Go thrift store shopping. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money shopping, thrift stores are an excellent place to go. You can buy anything from the thrift store. You can buy some old golf clubs and go to a driving range, an old VHS, or just about anything else you could imagine.

DIY projects. While you’re out thrift store shopping, you can get all of the things that you need to do a DIY project. Maybe you found a chair or table that you love, but it’s not in the best condition. Fixing up something for your home with some elbow grease is a fun and cheap date, plus you end up with a nice piece of furniture at the end.

Ice skating. There are few things that are more fun than watching your date flail around trying not to fall. You’ve seen all of the classic romance movies, a lot of them have ice skating. With most ice rinks, you can go skating for less than $10 a person. Plus, it’s a great excuse to hold your date’s hand as you try not to fall down.

Rent a movie. Blockbuster stores might be a thing of the past, but you can still rent a movie for the night. You can go to a Redbox or find a movie store that’s still open (or just stream one on Amazon Prime). Pop a bowl of popcorn or buy a couple boxes of your favorite candy, and enjoy a movie from the comfort of your couch.

Go for a hike. Hiking is not only free, but it’s a great way to enjoy some nature and get some exercise. Hiking to a waterfall or to the top of a mountain is a beautiful spot to enjoy a picnic.

High school plays. You might not be able to go for a night out on Broadway, but you can probably afford to go to a local play or theatre in your city. Just about every high school or town is going to have a theatre class or company that will put on a show. If you’ve got $15 or $20 in your pocket, then you can enjoy one of those shows.

Minor league sports. Going to a pro sports game is going to be expensive. You’ll spend $40 a ticket. If you plan on eating anything at the game, then you’ll easily spend around $100 for a date at a game. Instead of breaking your bank, go to a local sports team or minor league game. Either of these options are going to be significantly less expensive. You can enjoy the game, and get a snack for less than $40.

Community events. Most towns are going to have festivals or other community events every month. This could be anything from a parade to a free concert. These events are a great date idea and will also help you meet the people in your town.

Volunteer. Volunteering is not a classic date idea, but it’s the perfect way to save money, get to spend time with your date, and give back to your community. Find a nonprofit or organization that you and your date are passionate about, and then go volunteer for a couple of hours. Just about every nonprofit or charity is looking for some helping hands.

Groupon. You probably know that Groupon is an excellent place to look for Christmas gifts or vacations, but it’s also a good way of saving money on your dates. They always have discount packages on things like ghost tours, bike rentals, art classes, dance classes, and much more. If you’re looking for a fresh and new idea for your date, start by looking at Groupon.

Painting Class. Painting classes have become a very popular way to spend a Friday night. With these classes, all that you have to bring is yourself and your date (some classes are BYOB or will provide wine). Even if you aren’t “artsy,” these classes can be a lot of fun. The teacher will walk you through the whole process, and at the end, you can laugh about how bad you are at painting.

Bowling. You might not have been bowling since you were in middle school, but it’s time that you laced up those funny bowling shoes and hit the lanes! If you go before their prices go up, you can bowl a couple of games for less than $10.

Cook a new recipe. What’s more attractive than showing your date/ significant other that you know how to cook? Instead of spending $70 on a fancy dinner, put on some music and look through your pantry. Either pick one of your favorite recipes or just take a gamble on one that you find. Don’t worry, if it turns out terrible, you can always order a pizza for $10.



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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of Cash Money Life. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started Cash Money Life in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about military money topics and military and veterans benefits at The Military Wallet.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free account here.

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  1. Ramona says

    As years pass by we find ourselves more interested in spending time together and enjoying each other’s company, than spending money on all kinds of stuff that would probably make others happy. Our best date idea is spending time together, just like that 🙂

  2. Levi H. says

    It is interesting how we sometimes need a disruptive event like the power going out before we realize how disconnected we are from each other. The reality is that being on our computer all day is practically the same thing as being on the phone all day long; we are having a conversation with someone else instead of the person right next to us.

  3. Valerie says

    Such great ideas, Ryan! I tend to prefer simple dates instead of over the top, elaborate ones. I find drives so relaxing, and it’s a great way to know someone better…even if you’ve been married for years! Sometimes, my husband and I like to just sit on a bench and people watch. 🙂

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