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Date nights are not only entertaining, but they’re critical for the well-being of any relationship. They’ve been proven to reduce stress, limit fights, and boost communication.

The best part? They don’t have to be expensive. In fact, some of the most memorable date nights are the ones where you get creative and resourceful. In this article, I’ll share a ton of cheap date ideas that will leave you both feeling satisfied and won’t break the bank.

So read on for some great ideas, and get ready to have some fun!

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Best cheap date ideas

The best cheap date ideas are fun for both of you, mix up your regular routine, and still have a romantic element to them. They may be free, but if they aren’t, they’re definitely affordable. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Visit a free museum or art gallery

There’s nothing like culture to stimulate the mind and get the conversation flowing. And the best part is, most museums and art galleries offer free admission days or evenings, so you can enjoy all they have to offer without spending a dime.

2. Build a fort

This one’s definitely for the kids at heart. Get cozy with blankets and pillows and build a fort in your living room. Then, eat dinner by candlelight inside your creation. It’s sure to be a night you’ll both remember fondly.

3. Plan a DIY wine tasting night

One of the best things about wine is that there are so many different types to try. But it can cost a lot of money to visit local wineries.

Instead, bring the fun into your home and grab a few bottles to try for a cheap date idea where you can also learn something. Then, do some research on each one so you can teach each other what you’re tasting. It’s a fun way to learn about something new together.

4. Plan a DIY cheese tasting night

If you’re more of a cheese person than a wine person, this one’s for you. Just like with wine, there are endless types of cheese to try.

But instead of spending a lot of money at a fancy cheese shop, head to your local grocery store and pick up a few different kinds. Many cheese sections have an ends bin where they sell the smaller leftover bits of fancy cheeses for a couple of dollars each. This is a great way to try a variety of cheeses without spending a lot of money.

cheeseboard as one of the best cheap date ideas at home

5. Set up an at-home paint-and-sip night

This is a fun one for couples who enjoy painting or trying new things together. You can buy a cheap set of paints and canvases at your local dollar store, then find some free online tutorials to follow along with. This makes painting one of the best date ideas under $50 that can still be considered fancy.

Don’t worry about being perfect, just have fun and see what you can create together. And don’t forget the wine!

6. Take a YouTube cooking class

If you’re both foodies, this one’s for you. There are tons of great cooking channels on YouTube, and many of them have free classes that you can follow.

Choose a dish that neither of you have made before (to save even more money, you could rely on these cheap food ideas as inspiration), then get cooking! You’ll learn something new together and end up with a delicious meal to enjoy at the end.

7. Look for a free concert series

In the summer months, many towns and cities have free concert series where you can enjoy live music in the park.

Do a little research to see what’s happening in your area, then pack a picnic dinner and head out for a night of fun.

Related: 47 Fun Things to Do With Friends – For Free!

8. Get lawn tickets to a concert

Lawn tickets are usually the cheapest option for seeing a concert or show. And although you might not have the best seats in the house, you can still enjoy the performance from the comfort of your blanket on the lawn. This can save you hundreds of dollars on headlining acts.

Just make sure to get there early to snag a good spot!

outdoor concert as one of the best cheap date ideas for married couples

9. Stick to happy hours

Eating out can be expensive, but you can save a lot of money by sticking to happy hour menus. Many restaurants offer great deals on appetizers and drinks during their happy hour hours.

So do some research to find the best happy hour deals near you, then head out for a night of good food and conversation. This is one of the best cheap date ideas for college students who are on a budget but still want to go out.

10. Start a book club

This one’s for couples who love to read. Start a book club with just the two of you and commit to reading one book each month.

Then, set aside some time each month to discuss what you’ve read. You can even make it a potluck and include snacks and drinks inspired by the book. This is a great way to connect with each other on a deeper level.

You may also be interested in: 43 Simple Ways to Get Free Books Mailed to Your Home

11. Volunteer together

Giving back is a great way to feel good about yourselves and make a difference in your community. And it’s even better when you can do it together.

Look for local volunteer opportunities that interest you both, then sign up and spend some time giving back.

12. Play board games

This one’s a classic for a reason. Board games are a great way to spend some quality time together. And there are so many different options to choose from, so you’re sure to find something you both enjoy.

So break out the Monopoly or Scrabble and get ready for some fun! This is one of the best cheap date ideas in winter, so make a cup of hot cocoa and get to playing.

board games as one of the best cheap date ideas in winter

13. Have a picnic in the park

This is a great option for couples who want to enjoy the outdoors. Just head to your local park and pack a picnic lunch. You can bring a speaker to listen to music, play games, or just enjoy the peace and quiet.

This is one of the best cheap first date ideas because it’s simple and low-key. You can also do it any time of the day, fitting even the busiest of schedules.

14. Go for a walk in the woods

It’s important to get some exercise and fresh air. And it’s even better when you can do it together. Just head to your local woods and go for a hike. You might even spot some wildlife!

15. Go stargazing

This is a romantic option for couples who enjoy the night sky. Just find a dark spot away from city lights, spread out a blanket, and look up at the stars.

You can even download a stargazing app to help you identify constellations.

You may also be interested in: 10 Easy No-Spend Challenge Ideas to Save Money

16. Visit a farmers’ market

This is a great option for couples who enjoy fresh food. Just head to your local farmers market and wander around. You’ll find all kinds of delicious things to eat, and you might even discover some new favorite foods.

farmers market as one of the best cheap date ideas for college students

17. Go on a bike ride

Bike rides are great because they help you to cover larger distances than you could on foot. And it’s a great way to get some exercise too.

So find a safe route and explore your area by bike. Look for a nearby bike path that has scenic views.

18. Take a trip down memory lane

If you want to get to know your partner more, it’s time to grab old photos, yearbooks, and home movies. This is a great way to learn about each other’s past and get a better sense of who your partner is.

19. Go swimming

There are plenty of free or cheap public pools around. And swimming is a great way to cool off in the summer heat.

So pack your swimsuits and head to the pool for a fun afternoon together.

20. See a movie for free

Did you know that there are companies that will pay you to watch movies or provide you with free early access tickets? All you have to do is sign up and you could be going to the movies for free.

couple at the movies as one of the best cheap first date ideas

21. Binge-watch a TV show

This is a great option for couples who want to relax together. Just find a new TV show that you both haven’t seen before and start watching. Keep plenty of snacks nearby and dress comfy so you can really enjoy the experience.

22. Have a spa night

You don’t have to go to a spa to enjoy its benefits. Just create your own spa night at home!

Set up a relaxing environment with candles, soft music, and comfortable pillows. Then give each other massages or facials using some of your favorite products.

23. Go on a road trip

This is a great option for couples who want to explore. Just jump in the car and start driving.

You can plan your route ahead of time or just wing it. Either way, you’re sure to have an adventure. And don’t forget to take plenty of pictures along the way. This is one of our favorite cheap date ideas for married couples who want to explore new places together.

24. Visit a flea market

Flea markets are great places to find unique gifts or just browse for fun. They can even offer some great finds for your home, like if you’re trying to save money on furniture.

And it’s a great way to spend time together. So take some time to explore your local flea market and see what treasures you can find.

flea market

25. Learn something together

This is a great option for couples who enjoy trying and learning new things. Just pick a topic that you’re both interested in and start learning.

You can read books, watch documentaries, or even take classes. The possibilities are endless.

26. Travel hack

If you and your significant other want to see the world but don’t have the funds to do so, it’s time to learn how to travel hack. This is a great way to get free or discounted travel.

There are plenty of resources available online, so all you have to do is start researching. And who knows? You might end up going on your dream vacation for free – or at least way less than you ever expected.

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27. Find a great view

No matter where you live, there are probably some great views nearby. So do a little research and find the best spot to watch the sunset, admire the skyline, or check out a great view of nearby nature.

You may be able to drive to the spot or you may have to hike. Either way, it’ll be worth it when you arrive at your destination.

28. Visit a local food truck

Food trucks are a great option for couples who want to eat without spending a lot of money.

And there’s bound to be a food truck that has something you both will enjoy. So track one down and see what they’re serving up.

couple at a foodtruck as one of the best date ideas under $50

29. Take a train or bus ride

This is a great option for couples who want to explore a new city or town without spending a lot of money.

Just choose your destination and take the train or bus there. Once you arrive, you can walk around and explore all the local sights.

30. Geocaching

Geocaching is a great way to get outside and explore new places. And it’s a lot of fun too. All you need is a GPS device and you can start searching for hidden caches.

31. Look for events and classes at your local library

Your local library is a great resource for cheap or free events and classes. So take some time to browse their website or stop by in person and see what they have to offer. You may be surprised at all the great things you can do for free.

32. Play some mini golf

This affordable date idea is perfect for couples who want to have some fun together. And it’s a great way to get some exercise too. Some mini golf locations offer discounts if you go during certain times or days, so be sure to check for those before you head out.

mini golf as a cheap date idea

33. Spend time at the arcade

This is a great option for couples who want to relive their childhood. Just head to your local arcade and start playing some games. Save up your quarters and enjoy a drink at home beforehand to get the most value out of this date.

34. Have an at-home karaoke night

This is one of the best cheap date ideas at home because it’s so much fun. And it’s also a great way to show off your singing skills.

Just turn on your favorite karaoke songs, grab a microphone, and start belting out some tunes. You can purchase a karaoke microphone for under $30 online or just follow along with free YouTube videos.

35. Go to art galleries on opening night

Art galleries are often more on the pulse of the city than museums. They have opening nights for new exhibitions and these are usually free to enter. There’s usually a DJ, snacks, and even free drinks.

36. Spend time in a bookstore

Although big box bookstores are no longer as popular as they once were, there are still plenty of small, independent bookstores around. These are great places to browse and find new books to read. And if you don’t plan on buying any, just grab a coffee and spend some time people watching.

books at a bookstore

37. Camp (or glamp) in your own backyard

This is a great option for couples who want to enjoy the outdoors without spending any money. Just set up a tent in your backyard and spend the night under the stars.

If you’re not into camping, you can always glamp (i.e., camp with some luxury items). This could include setting up an air mattress, bringing out some battery-operated lanterns, and making s’mores over a fire pit.

38. Find a local reading series

A lot of cities have reading series where local writers read their work aloud. These are usually free to attend and you can find them by doing a quick Google search.

39. Head to a bowling alley

Bowling is a classic date night option that is still reasonably priced. For deeper discounts, go on off-hours or look for coupons that you can use.

40. Go kayaking or canoeing

If you live near a body of water, this is a great option for couples who want to enjoy the outdoors. You can usually find rental places that offer decent rates. And if you go during the week, you may be able to get a discount.

couple in a kayak as one of the best cheap date ideas for married couples

41. Visit a local farm

This is a great way to support your local farmers and get some fresh air. You can usually find farms that offer tours and even pick-your-own fruits and vegetables.

42. Visit a state or national park

The admission costs to state or national parks are usually very reasonable and you can find parks that offer everything from hiking and biking trails to lakes and rivers. Many of these places also offer programming like ranger-led tours and nature walks.

43. Go on a walking tour

Walking tours are offered in most cities and they’re a great way to learn about the history and culture of the place you live in. They’re also usually free or very low-cost.

44. Visit a botanical garden

If you’re looking for a more romantic setting, botanical gardens are usually beautifully landscaped and they offer a great way to spend an afternoon.

flowers

45. Enjoy a drive-in movie

Drive-in movies are usually cheaper than regular movies and they offer a great way to enjoy a classic film. Just be sure to bring your own snacks and drinks so you don’t have to spend money at the concession stand.

46. Make your own pizzas

Pizza is always a great option for date night. And it’s even better when you make it yourself. Just buy some pre-made dough, add your favorite toppings, and bake in a hot oven.

47. Head out to your local billiards hall

Playing pool is a great way to spend an evening and it’s usually very affordable. You can also enjoy darts, foosball, and other games at most billiards halls.

48. Workout together

If you’re both into fitness, working out together is a great way to spend some time. You can go for a run, take a yoga class, or even just do some at-home workouts.

(And if you want to get some free shoes for your new fitness regimen, check out: 12 Great Ways To Get Free Shoes Sent To Your Door.)

person walking in a forest

49. Have a game night

If you and your partner love sports, make the next big game a special event by hosting a game night. Just invite some friends over, make some snacks, and enjoy the game. Make sure to dress up with some team gear so you’re all in the spirit.

50. Get creative in the kitchen

If you both love to cook, spend an evening trying out a new recipe together. You can even make it into a competition and see who can make the best dish.

FYI: These frugal meal ideas can definitely help give you some inspiration!

51. See some comedy

Head to an amateurs’ night at a local comedy club or just watch stand-up on TV. You may just see the next big star before they get popular for under $10.

52. Host a dinner party or potluck

If you want to hang out with other people but don’t want to go out, bring the people to you. Have everyone pitch in to make it a potluck or just make it a BYOB situation.

You could add an extra layer to this by telling everyone that they can only make dishes using ingredients that are already in their pantries. That way, it’s like a no-spend challenge for everyone!

friends having meal together

53. Garden together

If you have a green thumb, put it to use by gardening together. You can start your own little garden at home or volunteer at a local community garden together.

54. Go skating at a roller rink

Roller skating is a great way to spend an evening, especially if you’re feeling nostalgic. And it’s usually very affordable. Just be careful not to fall!

55. Join a trivia night

Not only are trivia nights cheap, but you may also even win something if you’re lucky. Show off your smarts by joining a local pub’s trivia night or creating your own at home.

56. Learn a new dance

Whether you want to learn how to swing dance or ballroom dance, there are usually classes offered at a reasonable price. You can also watch free tutorials online if you want to learn at your own pace and save even more money.

couple doing a dance class together as a fun cheap date idea

57. Have breakfast in bed

This is one of those classic date ideas that’s always a winner. Just make sure you don’t make too much of a mess!

Find some sort of hard surface such as a tray or even an upturned laundry basket to avoid spillages.

58. Make a scavenger hunt

If you’re feeling creative, make your own scavenger hunt around town or even in your own home. This is a great way to spend an afternoon and it’s sure to be lots of fun. You can choose themes basing it off movies, TV shows, or anything else you can think of.

59. Go to a college sports game

College sports games are a great way to see top-level athletes without having to spend a lot of money. You can usually get tickets for under $20 and you’ll have a great time cheering on your team.

60. Enjoy a romantic sunset

There’s nothing more romantic than enjoying a sunset together. Just find a spot with a good view and soak it all in. You can even bring along a picnic or drinks to make it extra special.

couple watching the sunset as a cheap date idea

61. Enjoy breakfast at a restaurant

It’s much cheaper to enjoy breakfast at a restaurant than it is to enjoy dinner. So take advantage of this and have a romantic breakfast together. Just make sure to get there early so you can avoid the breakfast rush!

62. Have a listening party

Do you and your significant other love music? Then it’s time to pull out all the stops and have a listening party. You can each make a playlist of your favorite songs and take turns playing them for each other. It’s a great way to bond over your shared love of music.

63. Redecorate a room

If you live with your partner and you’re looking for productive date ideas why not redecorate a room together? It’s a great way to spend some time together and you’ll end up with a beautiful new space.

You could even scope out the neighborhood beforehand to get some free furniture!

64. Flip a piece of furniture

For this cheap date idea, keep an eye out in the streets near your home in the days or weeks before your date night. If you see an old chair or table that you think has potential, grab it, as you and your partner can then work together to do it up.

There are plenty of tutorials online for how to makeover an old piece of furniture and you’ll be able to add it to your home as a great reminder of the fun you had.

chairs

65. Visit family or friends

If you have family or friends who live in the area, why not visit them for a day? It’s always nice to catch up with loved ones and it’s a great way to spend some quality time together. Plus, it’s usually free!

66. Exchange massages

If you’re looking for a romantic activity, look no further than exchanging massages. It’s a great way to relax and it’s sure to be a lot of fun. Just make sure you have some massage oil on hand!

67. Build a snowman or fort

Do you live somewhere where it snows? This is a great opportunity to have some fun together. Build a snowman or fort and enjoy the winter weather. Just make sure you dress warmly and don’t stay out for too long!

68. Test drive a luxury vehicle

If you’ve ever wanted to test drive a luxury vehicle, now’s your chance. Many dealerships will let you take a car for a spin if you’re interested in buying it. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon and it’s sure to be a lot of fun.

person getting into luxury car

69. Wander in stores without buying anything

This is a great way to window shop and it’s also a lot of fun. You can even make it into a game by seeing who can find the strangest or most interesting thing in each store.

Related: 11 Simple Tips to be Fashionable on a Budget

70. Invest in a deck of cards

There are so many games that you can play with a deck of cards. So if you’re looking for cheap date ideas, this is a great option. You can play games like Go Fish, War, and Solitaire.

71. Have a photoshoot

If you’re looking for a creative date idea, why not have a photoshoot? You can take turns taking pictures of each other or even team up and take pictures of the scenery. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon and you’ll end up with some beautiful photos.

72. Prepare for the holidays

If you’re looking for something to do together, why not start preparing for the holidays? You can decorate your home, make gifts, or even start planning your holiday menu. It’s a great way to get into the holiday spirit and it’s sure to be a lot of fun.

christmas ornaments

73. Write each other a love letter

This is a great way to express your feelings for each other. Just take some time to write down all the things you love about your partner. It’s a simple but romantic gesture that’s sure to be appreciated.

74. Use games designed for couples

There are a lot of great games out there that are designed specifically for couples. So if you’re looking for something to do together, this is a great option. You’ll learn a lot about each other which will make your relationship even closer.

75. Bring your partner to a work party or event

If you have a work party or event coming up, why not bring your partner along? They’ll get to meet all the people you work with and it’s a great way to spend some time together. Plus, drinks, food, and activities are usually on the house, so it’s a great way to save some money.

Related: 15 Proven Tips to Dress Professionally on a Budget

76. Make a couples’ bucket list

A bucket list is a great way to ensure that you’re always doing new and interesting things together. So sit down with your partner and start brainstorming all the things you want to do together.

You’ll be surprised at how many things you come up with and it will make future date nights easier to plan.

couple on laptop planning future fun cheap date ideas

77. Try to win tickets to a show or concert

If you’re a fan of live music, this is a great way to see your favorite band or artist. Plus, it adds an element of excitement to the date since you’ll be trying to win tickets. You can try your luck online or at a local radio station.

78. Go to matinees

This is a great way to see a movie without spending a lot of money. Plus, it’s usually less crowded, so you’ll have more space to cuddle up with your partner.

79. Go to BYOB restaurants

BYOB stands for “bring your own bottle.”, So if you’re looking to save some money on dinner, this is a great option. Most BYOB restaurants will have a small corkage fee, but it’s usually less than the cost of buying a bottle of wine at the restaurant.

80. Sell your unwanted items

Why stop at saving money on your dates? You could also make money by selling your unwanted items. You can have a garage sale, sell items online, or even donate them to a local thrift store.

It’s a great way to declutter your home and make some extra cash for future date nights.

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About the author

Anna is the founder of LogicalDollar and a personal finance expert, having been seen in Forbes, HuffPost, Reader’s Digest, MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, CreditCards.com and many more. She’s committed to helping others get on the path to financial freedom using the experience gained from turning $60,000 in debt into a thriving investment portfolio. Find out more.