Making your marriage a priority and learning how to show your spouse you love them should definitely be pretty high on your to-do list.
But sometimes that’s easier said than done, especially once you add kids into the mix. Between differing family schedules, budgeting considerations, and just being a tired parent, it can be hard to fit in time for your marriage.
Enter: cheap date night ideas.
Date nights, because there are few ways to better strengthen a marriage than simply spending quality time together.
And cheap ones, because the more easily a date night fits into your budget, the more likely they are to happen.
Whether you’re newlyweds or have been married for years, starting from scratch on a new relationship or just acting like you are, we’ve got enough ideas here to have you covered.
These are the BEST date ideas for literally anyone because they are just about as affordable as they come! And the best part is the serious quality time spent together.
1. Hobby Swap
Each one of you is passionate about your own hobbies. Share the wealth! Take time to teach one another about the hobbies that you enjoy separately now together. This gives you a better understanding of why the other partner loves the hobby and ways you can better support them.
2. Go to the Lake
Drive out to a local lake and spend the day. From fishing to boat rentals, there are so many options that you can do there. End the day by watching the sun going down and enjoy that moment to top off a fun day.
3. Go Camping
Camping is a frugal way to get away and get into nature. You don’t have to have expensive equipment to have fun. A cheap tent, couple sleeping bags, and a warm campfire is all you need for a great time.
Camping is a perfect weekend staycation idea you will love!
4. Hit up a Sports Game
Sporting events are everywhere. This doesn’t have to be NFL or NBA type of sporting games. Head over to a local high school on Friday night and cheer along to support local sports at a fraction of the cost.
5. Go out for Breakfast
Do you want to know what is great about breakfast? It’s cheap! No need to get caught up in “going out for dinner” as your time out at a restaurant. Use the weekend or wake up early before work and go out for breakfast.
6. Work on a Home DIY Project
Is there a project around your house that you have been putting off? Use it as time together to tackle the project. Watch a few tutorials on YouTube first to get an idea of what you need. Then, head to a local maintenance store to pick up your supplies. Work together to build it together and make it special.
7. Plan a Future Trip Together
Who doesn’t love planning out their next vacation? Pick a few destinations that are on your bucket list and start to plan. Don’t forget to look at flights, car rentals, hotels, Airbnb’s, local attractions, restaurants, and so much more.
8. Play Tennis
Get outside and enjoy some nice weather together. Tennis is a great sport that is cheap and easy to learn.
9. Explore a New Coffee Shop
Coffee shops are everywhere! Support local businesses and explore a new coffee shop. Who knows, you might find a new favorite latte?
10. Start a Blog Together
Having a project that both of you are passionate about and have an interest in will keep your relationship going. Starting a blog together could turn into a business both of you run together.
Hopefully, you’re not finding yourself in the boat of a first date (because we’d prefer you to be happily partnered up)! Or maybe you’re rekindling the romance by pretending to go on a first date again (hint hint: adorable idea for a Valentine’s Day date). These cute date night ideas are simple, sweet, and a great way to really get to know the person you’re with!
1. Meet out for Coffee
Coffee is a great first date idea. Meeting out for coffee is not a lot of pressure and it feels like you are just meeting up with a new friend. Coffee dates do not have to be a very long time commitment if you are not feeling the other person.
2. See a Movie
Going out to a movie for your first date is a stress-free date where not much conversation is needed. Grab some food from the concessions together, watch the movie, then hit up the arcade to talk about the movie and learn more about one another.
3. Meet out for a Drink
One of the most common first date night options — many couples meeting out for the first time will meet at a bar for drinks. This is a great way to get to know someone but within a more social setting, so those first-time-alone jitters don’t need to happen quite yet! You could even turn it into a people-watching game together, to help break the ice.
4. Go to a Local Trivia Night
Trivia nights are a blast! They are a great way to see what your date is interested in. Most trivia questions are surrounded around music, movies, pop culture, and history. This will allow you to talk about shared interests or not.
5. Go to an Aquarium
Aquariums are a great idea for a first date. You can walk around to look at the animals, hold conversations, and have a bite to eat at the cafe. A fun and adventurous first date.
So, you’ve already broken the ice on the first date and you’re ready for a second one (or your effort at rekindling the romance was a success and you’re ready for more)! Second date ideas tend to be a lot more casual than first dates, or at the very least a lot less stressful! Try some of these laid back cheap date night ideas for couples that are just getting into the swing of their relationship.
1. Do Some Wine or Beer Tastings
Wine and beer tastings are popping up everywhere. Find one to support locally or pick up some of your own to have one at home. Google some great pairing options to go with what you have purchased. Sip and enjoy!
2. Play Minature Golf
Mini golf is a great fun second date that allows your goofy yet competitive side out. Take some fun pictures playing and make it into a fun competition for either the winner or the loser.
3. Take an Art Class
Art classes are great to take whether you are artistic or not. Whether you choose a traditional, actual class or simply find a “sip and paint” event to go to, this is sure to end up worthy of the list of memorable anniversary date ideas for later in your relationship!
4. Do a Taste Test
Decide where the taste test will be held and what “categories” will be covered without giving away what will be tested. Will it a be a blind test with random items to taste or fall under a category like candy, chocolate, sauces, etc.?
5. Take a Cooking Class
Cooking is a fun activity to grow your knowledge and skills of cooking in a fun way together. Many cities have culinary centers that offer affordable classes as part of their training programs for their students. You can even check your local libraries and other rec centers for similar events!
Most people hear “date” and they think the classic movie scene of dinner and a movie and a kiss on the porch. But sometimes it’s worth it to just plain have FUN on your dates! Traditional is boring anyway, so try some of these fun date ideas to mix things up once in a while!
1. Go to a Food Festival
What is the best thing about a food festival? Um… FOOD! Who doesn’t want to walk around try different foods that you have never experienced before? Save money and calories by splitting one specialty item of every station you stop at. Your stomach and your wallet will thank you.
2. Visit a Nearby Town/City to Explore
We spend so much time in our own town and city, we forget our neighboring towns have so much to offer. Explore a new area and test out everything they have to offer from parks to restaurants.
3. Go to a Drive-in Movie
Nothing like an old drive-in movie theater to bring back childhood memories. Grab the blankets, pillows, popcorn, and drinks to make the car extra comfy. Drive-ins are a great price normally charging per car and multiple movie showings.
4. Plan a Beach Day
Grab your beach chairs, umbrella, pack food and beverages, and get ready for some sun. This is an especially good date idea for tired parents because if anyone deserves a day to relax in the sand, it’s them!
5. Nailed It Challenge
Google pictures of the bakery item you want to recreate (cupcakes, cakes, donuts, cookies, etc.) and pick one. Have a challenge of who can recreate the original design the best. Post on social media with the original picture you picked and see who won.
6. Take a Dance Class
Look up your local dance studio and take a dance class together. How fun to both be out of your element learning something new? From ballroom to hip-hop, get out there and dance the night away together.
7. Go to an Arcade
Grab that jar of quarters saved up and head over to the arcade to challenge each other to some fun arcade games. Winsome tickets and exchange them for goofy prizes.
8. Go Rock Climbing
No need to head outdoors and start climbing rocks on these massive mountains. Find a local place with an indoor rock climbing wall so you can become familiar with the terminology and feel for what rock climbing is all about in a fun supportive environment.
9. Go out for Hibachi
Open wide, here comes the flying rice ball for you to catch. Hibachis are so much FUN! One way to save money with hibachi is to go at a time that is earlier so there are fewer people at your hibachi table because they normally use the same portions for each table.
10. Start a New Hobby
Research a new hobby that you both want to start together. From archery to practicing gratitude, new hobbies are started all the time. Decide on one together and let the fun begin learning it together.
15 Date Night Double Date Ideas
Whether you’re young or old, newly together or “old news,” sometimes it’s well worth the time to not just rekindle your own romance, but strengthen a friendship as well. Double date ideas are sometimes SO much more fun than just spending the same time with just the two of you!
1. Go Bowling
This double date night is a strike all night! Bowling is a relativity cheap date. Call around to your local lanes to see if they have any specials going on. Or you could use Groupon to search as well.
2. Play Board Games or Card Games
Pick a location where the games are going to be hosted. Have a deck of cards on hand. Tell everyone to bring their favorite board game. Spend the night laughing and gaming.
3. Find a Local Escape Room
Escape rooms are a blast for couples to complete together. You will need teamwork and communication in order to solve the problem in order to escape on time.
4. Go to a Trampoline Park
Trampoline parks are not just for kids. Some parks have games like dodgeball for adults that you can join and play. Not into competitive sports? Just jump around and have fun.
5. Go to a Comedy Show
Who doesn’t want to spend a night with friends laughing? Grab another couple and purchase tickets for a comedy show.
6. Go Kayaking
Renting single or tandem kayaks will allow you to pick between paddling together or paddling alone. Head out on the water with another couple and enjoy the water. Pack a picnic to enjoy when you are done.
7. Enjoy Brunch at a Local Restaurant
Breakfast? Lunch? No need to pick between the two and settle with brunch. Many local restaurants have embraced the new hype over brunch and have great deals to get you in the door.
8. Do a Food Truck Tour
Research when a local food truck rodeo is happening near you. A food truck rodeo is where all different types of food trucks come together and line up. Walk around and decide what types of food you want to try.
9. Go to an Amusement Park
Find another couple to head to the amusement park with. It will be nice to talk and catch up while waiting in line to go on the rides.
10. Play Laser Tag
Laser tag is not just for kids! Google your local laser tags and see if any adult-only locations are near you. Grab a couple and start tagging away.
11. Go to a Museum
Who doesn’t love to learn about history, culture, science, and art? If you want a slower pace less adventurous date night then hitting up your local museum is a great idea.
12. Take a Dinner Cruise
A dinner cruise is a great way to put a fun twist on that classic “dinner out” date idea! Nothing compares to the beauty of sunset over the water, so don’t forget the camera for this date night idea!
13. Have a Progressive Dinner Party
Have you ever heard of a progressive dinner party? You progress through dinner from one couple’s house to the next. Start with appetizers and move through until dessert.
14. Attend a Wine & Paint Night
These have become increasingly popular. Start by searching for a local place new you. They will provide you with the painting materials and you bring your own food and drinks.
15. Sight See Your City
Grab another couple and head out into your local city. Do some sightseeing and end up at a restaurant or bar that you have never been to before to try out.
Introverts and tired parents rejoice! Yes, there are even great ways to have date nights at home, so that you don’t even need to shower and get dressed up before you can get that quality time in. These are especially great if finding a babysitter is a challenge!
1. Challenge One Another to a Game of Chess
Break out your own chess board or find an online way to play chess against one another. Chess is a strategic game that is a lot of fun.
2. Cook a new Meal Together
Search Pinterest for a new recipe you want to cook together with your partner. Get the ingredients and work together to make this new meal. Who knows, it could become a favorite.
3. Make Milkshakes or Build Your Own Sundae
Head to your local grocery store and pick up some ice cream for either milkshakes or build your own ice cream sundaes. Grab some whipped cream and sprinkles to top it off!
4. Have a Spa Night
Pick up some cucumbers, some bath bubbles, and some new foot lotion and get ready to make each other feel pampered. This can either be a fun date idea if you end up doing silly makeovers on each other or a really romantic date idea if you set it up just right!
5. Make a Craft Together
How often do you actually MAKE something with your partner? This could be a really fun way to introduce your other half to one of your favorite crafts, or a good opportunity to find a totally new craft that you both enjoy doing together!
6. Put Together a Puzzle
When was the last time you slowed down enough to enjoy making a jigsaw puzzle? Grab a box, some drinks, and enjoy some good conversation while you spend as long as you like on this cute date night idea.
7. Create Your Own Mixed Drinks
Why spend the money out at the bar when you can make your own drinks at home for a fraction of the cost?
You could even challenge each other to invent some new drinks!
8. Dip Food into a Fondue
Most date ideas tend to center around food of some sort, and this one is no different. Put together a variety platter of foods that you think will pair well with your fondue of choice and rank your favorites for comparison.
9. Watch a Scary Movie
With all the streaming services available these days, this is an excellent choice for a cheap date night idea at home! Find a truly scary movie that keeps you both awake all night, or try to find one that’s so terrible it’s funny! You’ll have some good memories and conversation after the movie either way!
10. Complete Couples Questionnaires
This can be a really fun way to get to know a new side of your partner that you maybe hadn’t seen before. You never know what you might learn!
Nothing says “I love you” quite like saving money, right? (Because we all know the TIME spent together is far more important than the cost anyway!) These cheap date night ideas can cost as little as $0, depending on how you want to do it!
1. Shoot Pool
Head to a local bar and grab a drink each and enjoy a game or two. There’s no rule that you have to have more than one drink each, so the cost is totally up to you!
2. Go Shopping
Ok, so unless at least one of you has some solid self-control, this *might* not end up being a very cheap idea. But so long as you set an allowed shopping budget before you go AND stick to it, you can definitely keep this date totally affordable!
3. Browse Around a Flea Market
You never know when you might find a total gem at one of these, so it’s always fun to wander! You can make a day of it, and try to guess who the people were who owned some of the antique items, what they used them for, etc.
4. Go to a Local Farmers Market
This is a great way to kill two birds with one stone — making an enjoyable time out of stocking up on produce for the family! Pick a sunny weekend and plan to spend a few hours strolling the stalls and enjoying the weather.
5. Go to the Zoo
Most people hear “zoo” and they think it’s a place for school field trips and little kids. But who says the zoo can’t be for adults, too? Give the animals voices and make up conversations for a good laugh.
6. Go to a Bakery
It’s worth it to treat yourself to, well, a treat every once in a while. Instead of settling for pre-packaged cookies or muffins off the grocery store shelf, go spend the extra on a couple of fresh-baked goodies.
7. Feed Ducks at a Pond
There’s something strangely peaceful about this activity, and it’s a good way to get a little exercise in on your date. Walk along a riverbank in a park. or along a pier at the lake while feeding the ducks and see how many follow along!
8. Go Ice Skating
This date night idea may not be for the clumsy ones out there, but it still might be worth it for the memories! This makes for a great Christmastime date idea, but you can do this date all year round as well. Check with local rec centers and high schools to find a local ice rink, and some colleges with rinks may have public “open skate nights” for just a few dollars per person!
9. Watch Funny YouTube Videos Together
You might consider setting an alarm if you choose this cheap date night idea. It’s way too easy to lose track of time and miss your bedtime with this one!
10. Attend Open Houses
If you’re planning on buying your first home anytime semi-soon, then this is just a good idea to do anyway to get a feel for what you like. Even if you have no moving plans in your future, it can be a fun way to get ideas for home renovations, which you can do on another date night!
11. Take a Scenic Drive
How many times have you stopped to enjoy the beauty of the landscape around where you live? Find some hills or woods to explore, time your backroads trip for when the leaves change, or find a quiet, untouched park to see how the first snowfall looks.
12. Go to a Car Show
This is a must for the car-lover in your life! Many cities (and even some larger towns) have traveling car shows come through, but plenty will have more informal car shows during town festivals and county fairs. Walk through them all and pick your favorites!
13. Make your own Book Club
Pick out a fresh library book or grab an old favorite off the shelf. Make a reading schedule and plan out nights to discuss the content. You never know what you might learn about your partner based on how they respond to literature!
14. Re-Live your Childhoods
This one can be especially cheap if you’ve got kids. Have a box of Legos somewhere? Get to building and see what you can create. Have a bunch of old dolls stored in the attic? Pull them out and share favorite memories with your spouse, to give them a better glimpse of who you were while growing up.
15. Plan our Your Dream Life
If money were no object, what would you want your life to look like? Take a trip down “I wish” lane with your spouse and see what kind of hopeful future you can envision together.
Mix it up by finding love quotes to specifically inspire you and plan what your dream romance looks like down the road!
Getting out in nature is good for the soul, but it’s especially important to take advantage of the weather when you live in a colder climate as we do! These are perfect cute date ideas for when the weather is just right, plus you can easily include the kids if you wanted to!
1. Go on a Picnic
You don’t need a traditional wicker basket to go on a picnic, and you don’t even have to pack the food yourself if you really don’t want to! Whether you make some simple sandwiches or order takeout, just grab a blanket, pick a good spot, and enjoy a meal that’s not at a kitchen table or your desk for once!
2. Go to a Concert
In summer especially, the number of outdoor concerts is just insane. Our city even has a “Party in the Park” series that offers a new free concert ever week! This can be a great way to learn more about your partner’s tastes in music or even find something totally new for both of you to enjoy.
3. Get Ice Cream and Walk a Local Park
You used to live for getting ice cream as a kid, so why can’t it be the same as an adult? Treat yourselves to a cone and keep the mess outside as you stroll around enjoying a cool treat.
4. Stargaze in the Backyard
Who says you need to go anywhere to enjoy the outdoors? Grab a blanket and lay back on the lawn, or put some lawn chairs on your balcony if needed. Turn out the lights and enjoy!
5. Have a Fire and Roast Marshmallows
Have you noticed a trend of how much fun and connection you can have with some simple, seriously enjoyable activities from your childhood? Everyone loves a good s’more cooked over a campfire, so break out the marshmallows! Combine it with stargazing for a truly memorable evening.
6. Pick Apples or Pumpkins
Seasonal activities are a great way to keep an eye out for fresh date ideas. In the fall you can stock up on apples and get your jack-o-lanterns, in warmer weather you can pick berries, etc.
7. Drive Around to Look at Fall Foliage
Another seasonal activity than can cost as little as a tank of gas (or less). Even if you don’t live in a typical “autumn” climate, there are surely signs of the seasons changing where you live. Drive around and try to spot them!
8. Go for a Hike
This is obviously a slightly longer time investment than some of the date ideas on this list, but it’s well worth the time spent. And all it really takes is a good pair of sneakers!
9. Run a 5k
While not a date for the faint of heart, I love that this idea has built-in “pre-dates” with it. You can’t possibly just up an run the 5K, so you can even make your prep/workout plan a regular “date” of sorts as well.
10. Go for a Bike Ride
Grab your own bikes or rent bikes to head out for a ride. Bikes are great for a form of exercise and easy to maintain and store! This is definitely a date night idea that keeps on giving back in good ways!
Ok, so cheap is great, but what if you’re truly on an utterly bare-bones budget and you just can’t make a date night category fit into your budget in the month?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. With a little more planning and discipline, you can make the date ideas below stay completely free.
1. Browse a Bookstore
Head over to a local bookstore and get lost in some reading material. Try out different genres and pick out some titles to put on hold at your local library for free.
2. Workout Together
Find a local school or college that has bleachers and a track. This is a great free way to workout that allows you to create a versatile workout.
3. Look at Old Photos and Videos
Break out the old photo albums or bring up stored pictures on your computer to flip through. Grab a drink to sip and reminisce about old memories.
4. Test Drive an Expensive Car
Do you have a dream car? Why not take it out for a test drive? You get all the feels of experiencing the “joy ride” without having any financial obligations to the car. It is a win-win.
5. Make a Pillow Fort and Watch Movies
Act like kids again. Search the house for every pillow and blanket. Make a fort around the TV or use a laptop/tablet to bring in the fort with you. Cuddle up and enjoy!
6. Create a Bucket List
Who doesn’t want things to cross off their bucket list as they move through life? Come together and grab a notebook with a pen. Start jotting down any and all items that you want to complete before you die.
7. Volunteer Together
Volunteering together kills two birds with one stone. You don’t have to spend any money and you get to help out an organization. From a local church to an animal shelter the volunteering options are endless. Research different organizations in your area looking for help.
8. Take a Photo Walk
Whether you have a professional camera or a cell phone that takes good pictures, head out on a photo walk. Take pictures of nature and items that catch your eye. Play around with the different settings and filters to put a spin on a normal picture.
9. Make Drinks and Sip Them on the Back Deck or Front Patio
Shake up a cocktail with drink mixes that you already have on hand. If you are not into alcoholic beverages, mix up a tea, lemonade, coffee, or anything that suits your fancy.
10. Go to Your Local Library
Have you been to a library recently? You would be shocked by how many resources are available for free. Did you know some libraries allow you to rent fishing gear? A date at your local library might formulate more date night ideas for cheap to free.
How to Save on Babysitting
Use a baby monitor
This is pretty much a no-brainer for parents since you’re probably using one every night anyway!
Stick to the at-home date night ideas, and stay within your house/yard and range of the monitor and there’s almost no limit to what you could come up with for an at-home date night idea!
Swap babysitting with friends
This is a super simple agreement where you can all schedule one kid-free night in a rotation. Simply schedule your date nights for those days when your kids are at someone else’s house, and they’ll schedule their date nights for when you’ve got their kids! It’s easy, it’s a great way to give your kids time to play with their friends, and best of all its free. Just make sure you clearly set drop off and pick up times to keep expectations consistent and avoid conflict!
Ask a family member
Grandparents typically would love nothing more than to come and enjoy having the grandkids all to themselves. But if they aren’t available, see if any other extended family is available to watch your kids.
Family is there to help each other out, right?
It’s Time to Budget for Your Cheap Date Ideas
Having a list of date ideas a mile long is only as good as you actually being able to do them!
It’s super important that you don’t blow your budget by splurging on date nights (at least not regularly). Otherwise, you’ll likely end up creating some serious strife within your marriage, undoing all the good work a date night did in the first place.
It’s super important to work on your budget not just for the financial benefit, but also for the stress benefit.
The less arguing about the money you do, the more likely your date night will be time well spent and will truly bring you closer together. It’s hard to enjoy spending money on yourselves when you’re worrying about the bills the whole time you’re out.
If you need help getting started managing your budget and making room for date nights in it, try one of these budget templates to get started. Then get on to bigger and better things, like the dates in this list!