Affordable dates and where to find them
Feeling the need to impress the person you are in love with is understandable, but doing so can cost you a lot and it’s usually misguided. How to take someone on “cheap dates” that are romantic and don’t feel cheap has been a question on people’s minds for a long time. Just have a look at this reddit post from more than a decade ago.
If you’re going out with someone we assume that you’d like to make it last, right? So if the relationship lasts over a few years, or a lifetime if you are lucky, the accumulated costs of expensive date nights can get ridiculous. Let’s say you go on one date a week and you spend what the average American spends on date night (dinner and a movie), which is often around $100. That means that you’ll end up spending around $5200 a year on date nights alone.
The solution isn’t to stop going on dates, but to find ways to go on more dates that don’t cost that much. All you need is a guide to affordable dates that don’t feel like cheap dates. Part of the fun is coming up with unique date ideas that you’ll both enjoy… Hey, look there’s your first date idea, spend some quality time together and come up with unique date ideas that won’t break the bank and that you’ll actually enjoy.
1. Plan, prep and cook a fancy dinner you’ll both enjoy
Making dinner with someone you love while having a glass of wine and listening to some music can be incredibly fun and a great way to bond. The process of preparing and cooking the food together can be playful and enjoyable. And obviously you’ll have the food to eat at the end, yum!
Gain some new mixology skills and make cocktails or other fun drinks. You could also surprise your partner with a dinner and drinks when they get home after a long day.
2. Play some games together
Board games, online games, retro arcade games, whatever you and your partner enjoy. Break out the Monopoly or Settlers of Catan, fire up the XBox, Playstation or PC and enjoy some fun gaming time together. Get a few snacks or order in and have a games night. Just remember, no one likes a sore loser.
Build some relationship XP and improve your romantic strategy skills by planning fun and cheap dates you’ll both enjoy!
3. Enjoy a picnic in the back yard or on the floor
Get a blanket, something to eat and a few extras and have a picnic at home. This can be a sunset or stargazing picnic in the garden or a romantic candle lit picnic inside on the floor. Get some snacks, order or make some food and drinks you and your partner enjoy, spread it out and have yourselves a stay at home picnic
5. Have a movie or series night
Watch a movie or series that you’ve both been looking forward to. Snuggle up with snacks and a blanket and enjoy the story. Preferably on a streaming service you already have since this will save you some more and remove the need to rent something or have cable.
6. Learn a skill together
There are many books, courses and videos with fun skills that you can learn. Dancing or learning another language are things you can do together as a couple and there are many channels on YouTube and other places you could learn something like this for free or cheap online.
If both of you enjoy art you can paint or draw things together and start a 30 day challenge with prompts that will guide you and help you draw every day to improve your skills. Whatever shared interest you have, make a date out of it and get better at doing something you love, together.
7. Go online and explore places that you’d like to visit
Many of us can’t afford to travel yet, but we can go online and explore some of the places we’ve always wanted to visit. Go and look around on maps, YouTube, travel blogs and social media to find out more about the places you’d like to go. Plan the trip you wish you could take.
Really go all out, as if you were planning the trip for real and plot the routes and stops along the way. This might just be a fantasy, or the beginnings of a trip you’ll actually take some day
8. Find out more about yourselves and each other
Just sit and talk, tell stories explore your past and future. There might be a lot you don’t know about the other person, especially if you haven’t been together that long. Just explore one another and bond by noting the differences, similarities and shared past experiences.
Another way of doing this is taking a personality test together, there are many affordable and free ones out there and some even offer a relationship report. This can help you find ways of working through conflict and differences in a constructive way that will benefit you both in the long run.
While these tests don’t necessarily define you, they offer ways of knowing yourself and others a little more. Getting to know your partner better on a deeper level is incredibly valuable and can save you from many wasted hours of fighting
9. Have a picnic
Go to a local park, botanical garden, nature reserve or farm and enjoy a picnic. This is a great idea for an affordable date since you can get some fresh air and exercise. Pack your basket or bag, and go on a nice long walk or a hike.
Find a spot with a view and some shade, lay down the blanket and let the romance begin. Here are some ideas from pinterest on what to pack for your picnic.
10. Enjoy time in nature
Go for a walk in the woods, on the beach or on a nature reserve where you can reconnect with nature and your partner. Sometimes it’s so refreshing to sit and take in the sounds, smells and scenery.
11. Get fit and healthy together
Go to the gym, on a jog or cycle together and get healthy. Group activities and classes like yoga, pilates and are also great to do as a couple. Challenge your partner and yourself!
12. Expand your knowledge or learn a skill together
Attend a dance lesson or other activity at a community center or with friends that can already do what you want to learn. Going to lectures, talks or events that are about things you both enjoy and want to learn more about can be incredibly rewarding if you do them together.
You can also go to museums and exhibitions together. Have a look at when there is free entry or a discount. Another fun thing to do is to visit a bookshop and look at books you like. Rather than buying them where they are expensive, go online, to second-hand shops or the library where you can buy or rent them cheap or get them for free.
13. Visit a farm ad pick or pet something
Many farms offer you the chance to pet animals or pick berries and other fruit, these can both be fun things to do on a date. Go and spend some time with the llamas or goats, they are cute and often funny.
14. Go on a scenic drive
There might be beautiful places in your area that you either know or don’t know, go on a drive and explore. See some new places, explore and enjoy the scenery. Drive out to the ocean, the desert or look at the colors of autumn spread across the trees and roads, take in the spring flowers in the field. Every place has something to offer. Sometimes at different times of the year.
15. Instead of date night, how about breakfast
Dinner can be far more expensive than breakfast, why not go out in the morning and get some coffee, bacon, eggs and pancakes or waffles. After the breakfast you can take a nice walk in the crisp cool morning air and do some of the other things we mentioned above.
Compared to dinner, breakfast is a cheap date, but it can be just as romantic and it could be the start of a wonderful day together!
Some more ideas
A date doesn’t have to cost a lot to be special or fun. Just get creative and take your partner out, or stay in, and do something you’ll both enjoy. It’s far more important to find someone you can do anything with and still enjoy it, than it is to try and impress someone by spending money you don’t have
I’ve been to expensive restaurants and 5 star hotels with someone I wasn’t happy with, and it meant very little to me. While the food was good and the places beautiful I really didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as spending time with my current partner. We make fun dates out of just about anything, even errands often turn into dates made up of fun activities and special memories.
If the dates go well and it’s time to propose you can read our article on affordable proposal ideas. And if you decide to get married, have a look at our article on 35 cheap wedding ideas. If you are already married, keep the spark alive and your finances healthy by taking your partner on affordable dates often.