My love language is definitely acts of service, and I love experiences like date nights. Date night is a great way for my husband and me to reconnect, spend time together one-on-one, and make new memories. Cheap date ideas are great for us since we are working toward some pretty aggressive financial goals right now.
However, when we first got married, we found our schedules very full and finances tight, which made date nights few and far between. To fix this, we decided to start doing date nights at least once a month, and I’m challenging us to have a date night weekly this year.
Date nights don’t have to be extravagant or super out of the box all the time. The key is that you prioritize spending time together. If you want to improve your date night game this year but need some suggestions, check out these 52 cheap date ideas for the entire year.
Out on the Town
When you’re in the mood for a traditional out-on-the-town date night where you get dressed up and go somewhere fun, consider these cheap date night ideas.
Bowling is always fun and it can be super affordable if you go on a discount day. There may be weekdays where your local bowling alley has happy hour in the evening so you can save.
Local Comedy Show
You can usually find a discount or coupon for a local comedy show. Some shows are even free and all they ask is that you pay for a drink or two.
This can be a fun way to get out and enjoy some laughs together. Just make sure you don’t sit right in the front or else you might become material for the comedian’s jokes.
Wine and Paint Night
Don’t worry about being an excellent artist to enjoy this date night. Most of the time, the piece you will be painting is easier than it looks and the instructor is trained to provide detailed instructions.
Look for wine and paint night events that are BYOB (bring your own bottle) because they tend to be cheaper than others that provide alcohol.
Dinner and a Movie
Of course, the classic dinner and a movie date night is always an option. This date night can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be.
Save money by going to one of your favorite casual eating spots and filling up on dinner so you don’t have to buy too many concessions when you get to the movie theater. You can also go to a matinee and eat dinner afterwards to save on movie ticket prices.
See a Play or Musical
You don’t have to see a broadway show to see a good performance. Check out a local play at a community center or a high school in the area for more affordable ticket prices.
If you and your partner love to play games, plan an arcade date night. Arcades like Dave and Busters offer coupons all the time. You can save big by going on Wednesdays where games are 50% off.
This could potentially be a free date night, but you may want to buy food and drinks too. Still, karaoke bars are always a good time whether you’re singing or just cheering everyone else on.
Think you and your spouse know a lot about a particular topic like Star Wars or the 90s? Plan a local trivia night date night at a restaurant in the area and split an appetizer.
Literary Pub Crawl
I did a literary pub crawl years ago when I was studying abroad in Ireland, and it was so fun. It works just like a regular pub/bar crawl only you go to different locations in the area and meet a new author or hear them read some of their work. It’s a fun way to find new reading material and explore new pubs and bars as well.
Have you ever had professional dance lessons? If not, you have to try at least one private or group dancing class with your spouse. You can learn how to do different types of dance styles ranging from ballroom dancing to salsa.
Group dancing classes are generally cheaper than private dance classes and just as fun.
Visit a Carnival
This is a great cheap date idea for those warm summer or fall evenings. Take advantage of some of the free activities there like the live music, contests, and freebies from sponsors. Go on a few rides, but don’t get too much at the vendor food booths as they’re usually overpriced.
Go Mini Golfing
This is an ideal date activity if you’re want to do something low impact and easy-going. Plus, it’s also a great setting to have some good conversation during your date.
Other Cheap Date Ideas:
- Check out a poetry or spoken word reading in your area
- Visit a historic site within an hour’s drive
- See a local band play
- Go to a car show
If you can’t go out, your date night can still go on. Check out these fun and cheap date ideas for when you’re planning to stay indoors.
Make dinner at home, put your phones away, and enjoy playing some games together.
My husband and I like to collect board games. We buy some used at resale shops and others we buy around the holidays since there are usually some great discounts. This gives us tons of options for date nights and family nights.
If you don’t own too many board games, see what games you can play with a deck of cards or ask friends or family to borrow one of their games.
Bonfire in the Backyard and S’mores
This is one of my favorite summer date ideas. I love making s’mores in the backyard and just sitting on the deck and talking as the sun sets. You can also do some stargazing at night depending on how the skies look.
Wine and Cheese Night
Pretend to be fancy and get a few different cheeses from the grocery store along with some cheap wine.
Bring the spa to your house with some candles, bath salts and calming music. Look up basic back massage therapy techniques on YouTube and you’ll be good to go.
Play the Newlywed Game
Come up with questions ahead of time and see how well you know each other. Come up with prizes and favors to give depending on who wins. For example, if your partner wins a round, you may agree to do the dishes on their night for one day and they can offer something if you win.
Power Outage Date
Pretend like the power is out and ban electricity on this date. Put your phone away, eat dinner by candlelight, tell ghost stories, talk, or take a romantic evening walk before the sun sets.
You and your spouse can each choose a dessert to make for the evening and compete to see whose turns out better. You can even watch an episode of Sugar Rush or Nailed It together on Netflix for inspiration.
Dollar Store Date
Take $5 each to your local dollar store and pick out ideas and items for your at-home date. You can grab anything from snacks, to crafts and other supplies. Get creative in finding different things you can do or make with your ultra-small budget.
Play a New Video Game
Rent a new video game from the library or download one to play on this date night. We have a PlayStation 4 and, as I’ve learned from my son, there are several different games we can download for free.
Choose something that you and your spouse have not played before and encourage each other to learn and get to the next level.
Plan Your Dream Getaway Together
I hope I’m not the only one who finds this exciting and romantic. Even if you don’t have the funds to actually take a trip together in the coming months, you can still dream about it, do research and plan your vacation.
That way when the time comes, you’ll be ready.
Other Cheap Date Ideas:
- Create a scrapbook
- Play the Game of Life
- Make Tik Tok videos and see who can get the most views
Money doesn’t have to hold you back from having a memorable and romantic date. Check out these free date ideas below.
Free Museum or Zoo
Some museums or zoos in your area may have free days or be free all year round. Make it a goal to check each of these free options out at least once by making it a date night.
Volunteering is always free. Make a difference in someone else’s life by volunteering at an organization in your area or a homeless shelter.
Go thrifting together and see what you can find. Search for cheap decor for your home, outfits for each other, or anything fun that you may have a need for.
Have a gym membership? Plan a time where you can both workout together. I used to have a membership at Planet Fitness and it was very affordable. Plus, I could bring a guest to exercise with me for free each time, so I usually brought my husband.
It’s always more fun when you workout with someone and you can go get healthy smoothies afterward.
Hiking is a great way to exercise and a perfect budget-friendly date. Explore some trails in your area or go to a state park and explore for the day.
If there is a drive-in movie theater in your area or a discounted older movie theater, check to see what movies they’re showing. It might be a film that came out years ago, but it’s still a fun experience. For example, we have a theater that shows classic movies on Mondays for only $1.
Check to see when there will be free concerts that you can attend for a date night outing. Most of these may occur during the summer or at festivals, but it’s worth it if you love music and want to get out.
Local Art Gallery
Most art galleries are free to visit or may ask that you make a small donation. Art museums are another option as they tend to have free admission days from time-to-time as well.
Eat Samples At Costco
Yes, this is a super budget-friendly date night to consider if you just want to get out of the house. But, don’t take your spouse here if they’ll get upset. If they don’t mind Costco, it’s a really great place to visit for a casual outing.
There’s also a full-service cafe in the store and free samples if you just want to walk around and browse.
Other Cheap Date Ideas:
- Grab coffee
- Visit different garage sales
- Ride bikes together
- Stroll through your local farmer’s market
- Watch your wedding video
Date Day/Most Unique
Don’t limit date night to just evening activities. Make it a date day or do something out of the box with these ideas.
Picnic at the Park
If you haven’t done this yet, be sure to add it to your list. It’s super romantic and you can customize your date however you want.
Brewery or Vineyard Tour
Learn something new by touring a brewery or vineyard and score some drink samples as well.
Pretend like you’re a chef by working as a team to prepare your best meal yet. My favorite part of this date night is when you get to eat what you’ve prepared.
Kayaking or Canoeing
Renting a kayak or canoe for an hour or so can be pretty affordable depending on where you go.
Indoor Rock Climbing
See if any fitness centers in your area have an indoor rock climbing wall. They will likely allow you to come in and climb for a small fee.
Want to do something that brings you and your spouse out of your comfort zone? Sign up to do one acting or improv class and have fun with it.
Other Cheap Date Ideas:
- The 24-hour date (Have you ever spent an entire 24-hour period together doing spontaneous things?)
- Food truck date
- Take a ferry ride
There you have it – 52 cheap date ideas that you can do all year round. Investing in your partner and your relationship by carving out the time to have weekly date nights is so important. You definitely won’t regret taking the time to plan one.
What are your favorite date night ideas?