27 Cheap Date Night Ideas

By Kylie Ora Lobell · June 24, 2023 · 8 minute read

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27 Cheap Date Night Ideas

Inflation has hit all aspects of daily life, including that fun and romantic ritual known as date night. The average cost of dinner and a movie for two now rings in at a steep $159. Ka-ching!

But that doesn’t mean you need to go broke enjoying fun times with your sweetie or getting to know someone new.

Here, you’ll find 27 ideas for date nights that don’t cost much. In fact, some of these date night ideas are more than cheap; they’re free.

Fun Date Ideas for Couples on a Budget

Whether you’re just getting to know each other or you’ve been married for years, here are some ways to enjoy a romantic day or evening out without busting your monthly budget.

1. Watching the Sunrise or Sunset Together

Watching the sun come up or sink over the horizon with your sweetie can be a very romantic and cute date idea. Depending on which time of day you choose, you can bring coffee and donuts or a bottle of wine and some cheese and crackers to mark the occasion.

2. Taking Dance Lessons

Couples can show off their moves while taking a lesson in salsa, ballroom dancing, or swing. Consider a home viewing of “Dirty Dancing” afterwards to close out the date.

💡 Quick Tip: If you’re saving for a short-term goal — whether it’s a vacation, a wedding, or the down payment on a house — consider opening a high-yield savings account. The higher APY that you’ll earn will help your money grow faster, but the funds stay liquid, so they are easy to access when you reach your goal.

3. Going on a Hike

Getting some fresh air and walking in a beautiful area together can be a great bonding experience. To make sure you don’t take on more miles (or hills) than you can handle, you can read reviews of hikes and check out trail maps online before you head out.

4. Picking Apples or Berries

This can be a great idea for a “sweet” date. In the fall, couples can pick apples together and then go home and make some baked apples or an apple pie. In the summer, consider heading to a local farm to pick berries. You can use your harvest to make some tarts or smoothies afterwards.

5. Checking Out a Botanical Garden

Many towns have beautiful botanical gardens where people can walk around. This is a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon and it should be either free or low cost.

6. Staying In and Watching a Movie

One (or both) or you may have a Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime subscription. Why not take advantage and watch a movie together at home? You can open some wine and order a pizza or inexpensive takeout.

Not a member of those networks? Look into free services like Hoopla or Kanopy.

Recommended: How to Save Money on Streaming Services

7. Gardening Together

Another cute date idea is to garden together. Whether you and your honey live together or apart, you can start your own garden and fill it with flowers, herbs, and vegetables. At the end of the day, you’ll have a shared sense of accomplishment.

8. Checking Out a Free Museum

Some museums are always free, while others will have free days throughout the month. Couples can go and see cool artwork and have stimulating conversations about the artists.

💡 Quick Tip: An emergency fund or rainy day fund is an important financial safety net. Aim to have at least three to six months’ worth of basic living expenses saved in case you get a major unexpected bill or lose income.

9. Going to a Free Concert

Many towns will hold free concerts in the park during the summer. You can bring a blanket and some food and enjoy a picnic dinner while listening to great live music.

Recommended: How to Save Money Daily

10. Taking a Scenic Drive

You can pick somewhere you’ve never been or head to a favorite spot, such as a nice drive in the country or along the coastline. Consider creating a playlist of tunes you both love for the ride.

11. Breaking Out the Board Games

Who doesn’t love a little competition? This can be a great idea whether you play against one another or with another couple. You can even throw in some prizes from the Dollar Store to up the ante just a bit.

12. Eating at Happy Hour

Want to sidestep a pricey dinner? Here’s a way to save money on food: Couples can find out which establishments have a happy hour and then enjoy some appetizers and drinks for a cheap date idea.

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13. Visiting Open Houses

Whether you are actually looking to buy a house or just want to be a voyeur, or pick up some design ideas, consider checking out open houses in your area. You can search for open houses on sites like Redfin and Zillow.

14. Cooking a Dish Together

For a fun and tasty evening, you might go to your local farmer’s market or grocery store and then come home and make a gourmet meal together. If neither of you are skilled in the kitchen, you can order a meal delivery service that sends all the instructions and ingredients you need.

15. Checking Groupon for Deals

You can often find some interesting things to do for date night by checking Groupon to see what experiences are on sale. You might find a wine-and-paint night or perhaps a sale on arcade tickets.

16. Renting a Pool

For a fun date on a hot summer day (or night), consider checking out Swimply to see if you can rent out a private pool in your area by the hour. Pool toys and snacks may not be included, so you may want to pack everything you need before heading over for a swim.

17. Going on a Bike Ride

Another cute date idea is to go on a bike ride together. If you don’t own bikes, you may be able to rent them from the city or a local company. You can research local biking trails online before you go.

💡 Quick Tip: When you feel the urge to buy something that isn’t in your budget, try the 30-day rule. Make a note of the item in your calendar for 30 days into the future. When the date rolls around, there’s a good chance the “gotta have it” feeling will have subsided

18. Taking a Ferry Ride

Typically, ferry rides are pretty cheap. They may even be free. Consider taking a ride at sunset so you can enjoy a beautiful view.

19. Checking Out a Local Park

When the weather is nice, you might want to pack a blanket and some food and head to a nearby park to enjoy a lazy afternoon together. Have any leftover bread? Maybe you can feed it to the ducks or birds.

20. Going to a Pet Cafe

Pet cafes are now located in many towns around the county. Couples can sip on lattes while petting cute dogs and cats at the same time.

Recommended: Tips to Save Money on Pets

21. Renting a Canoe or Kayak

If you split the cost of a kayak or canoe rental, you can enjoy a relatively inexpensive afternoon paddling around a lake or bay together.

22. Taking a Walk in the Mall

Just because you go to the mall, it doesn’t mean you have to shop. Instead, you can do some browsing and not spend any money. Though you might want to share some favorite cheap mall food like Cinnabons and Auntie Anne’s Pretzels.

23. Listening to a Podcast

Podcasts can be just as entertaining as television and movies. Consider grabbing some drinks and snacks and listening to a great podcast together.

Recommended: What Are Average Monthly Expenses for One Person

24. Thrifting Together

Here’s a great way to save money on clothes and spend time together: Hit some local thrift stores for a cute and cheap date night. Maybe you’ll find some treasures or just try on outfits from decades past and make each other laugh.

25. Competing in a Video Game Competition

If you and your mate enjoy playing video games, consider challenging each other in a video game competition. You can offer fun rewards, such as the winner gets a gourmet home-cooked meal or doesn’t have to do any dishes all week.

26. Having a Spa Night

For couples who live together, a nice date night idea is to have a spa night at home. You can include foot massages, a bubble bath, and face masks for some relaxation, and laughs.

27. Doing Crafts Together

Couples that are feeling crafty can go to their local art store and buy supplies they need to create something together. You might even choose a sentimental project like a wreath made of corks from bottles you’ve shared or a scrapbook of vacation memories.

Recommended: How to Create a Budget in 6 Steps

The Takeaway

Going out on a “date” doesn’t have to mean dinner at a fancy restaurant followed by a movie. With a little bit of imagination and planning, couples can enjoy a night (or day) out that costs considerably less, yet can be just as romantic and fun.

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