Want to create a wonderful, memorable date…without a candlelit restaurant’s hefty dinner bill? Easy. As you know, it’s not about the price, it’s who you’re with.
Here are budget-friendly date ideas my better half and I have found to not just be cheap, but more creative.
Stage your own episode of Masterchef.
1. Pick a recipe.
Find a recipe that appeals to both your tastes. I recommend a classic like making your own pizza or going a little adventurous; it’s that much more exciting cooking together when it’s something completely new.
2. Grocery shop as a team.
Make a budget to keep it a cost-friendly date. Then, navigate the aisles of the grocery store together as part of the bonding process.
3. Let the cooking date officially begin.
Aprons on. Kitchen ready. (Grab a bottle of merlot on sale if you enjoy wine. Sometimes, my partner in crime and I like sip our favorite reds between prepping steps!)
4. Sit down and savor your masterpiece.
The beauty of a cooking date is the mutual pride at the end. Knowing what went into cooking the meal takes the dining experience to a whole new, high-five-your-partner level.
Enjoy a day at the park date.
1. Make a picnic.
Head to a park with a basket of your favorite picnic foods. (I love making easy-to-eat wraps or going elementary school style with peanut butter and jelly.)
You can also add delicious, budget friendly snacks, such as:
Chips and salsa
Apple slices and peanut butter
Salami and cheese slices
Veggies and hummus
2. Customize your date activities.
Besides the essentials like a picnic blanket and food, bring things that you’ll both enjoy, like games to spark some friendly competition. Maybe that’s:
A frisbee or soccer ball
Books you’re each catching up on
A whiffle ball set
A portable board game (like magnetic chess)
3. Watch the sunset.
If you can stay late enough, watch the sun go down. Sunsets have a romantic reputation for a reason.
Host a themed movie night.
1. Select your theme.
Anyone can pay for a high priced movie theater ticket. Instead, get creative and design a budget-friendly movie date night catered just for you two.
Pick one or two movies that fall into a theme. For inspiration, some of my favorites are:
1. 80s (Breakfast Club, E.T., Ghostbusters)
2. Film Noir (Five Minutes to Live, Shock, Suddenly – You can even watch a wide selection of top film noir movies for FREE on this legal site: Open Culture Free Noir Films.)
3. Robin Hood (The classic Robin Hood feat. Errol Flynn, hilarious parodies like “Robin Hood Men in Tights”, and so forth.)
2. Dress the part.
Enjoy costumes? Shop in your closet and dress to match the theme.
(Neon colors for 80s flicks. All black for film noir. Tights for Robin Hood. You get it.)
3. Create movie themed snacks.
Movie theater snacks are incredibly expensive. A movie at home means budget-friendly snacks that are cheaper and more inventive. You can even match them to the theme.
To piggyback off of my previous examples, you could have:
1. 80s – Snacks that came out in the 80s, like Kool Aid & Ring Pops.
2. Film Noir – All noir (“black”) snacks. Black licorice. Dark chocolate covered almonds. Black corn tortilla chips with black bean dip.
3. Robin Hood – Food that would’ve been eaten at that time period. (Perhaps meat, gravy and mead?)
Look out for your local events near you.
If you love live music but find it too expensive, many bars and small venues feature live music and local bands for no cover, making for a great, cheap concert date.
Other types of low-cost or free events to look out for?
1. Art gallery openings for an artsy date
2. Festivals for an outdoors, daytime date
3. Author meet & greets and book signings for a book lovers’ date
In order to save up for splurge dates, check out How To Save $1,000 in Record Time.