Why is it that when we think of going on dates, we always think of fancy restaurants and expensive entertainment? It shouldn’t be that way. Remember why you go on dates to start with. It’s about being together, with the one you love and just spending quality time with each other. Dating doesn’t have to drain your wallet. If you’re looking for fun and frugal date ideas, there are plenty of affordable, fun and entertaining things to do without having to take a loan out.
When I began writing this post, I started thinking about what my husband and I did when we were dating. Sure…we had our fair share of nice restaurants and great entertainment, but we both were smart enough to know that we (or should I say “he”) couldn’t keep that up for long without going broke. We did a lot of fun things together and might I add, some cost very little to nothing. And you know what?? I remember those dates more than the fancy restaurant dates. We were in love and just had fun being together.
So, I’ve come up with 21 fun and frugal date ideas that we have actually done and still do and what’s more, we’ve never felt deprived, even when we were on the tightest of budgets.
21 Fun and Frugal Date Ideas:
1. Cook a special dinner at home
I put this one first, because it’s the one that we do the most. You can cook a very special and delicious meal together, without spending a fortune. One of our favorites is Chicken Parmesan with Avocado Tomato Salad. So simple to make and it’s delicious and inexpensive. If you really want to make it special, throw in a decadent dessert like Cherry Almond Cake (great for Valentine’s Day) or the oh-so-easy Chips Ahoy Cookie Pie! Add your favorite inexpensive bottle of wine (or favorite beverage), some easy listening music and there you have a great night at home! I’m just trying to give you some ideas, here and trying to show that you don’t have to spend a weeks pay to have a fabulous meal.
2. Movie Night!
Redbox or Netflix, some snacks and drinks and you’re good to go! Also, check out the public library for some free rentals. You never know what you might find!
3. Play games at home!
When was the last time you pulled out the ole’ Scrabble game, Trivial Pursuit or a deck of cards? These games can provide you with hours of fun and laughs for FREE! Charades is another fun one that comes to mind and my kids introduced us to a new app called “Heads Up”! It’s .99 cents in the App Store and is loads of fun!! Still very cheap (or free) entertainment.
4. Go to a matinee!
If you’re just dying to see the latest, greatest movie release, go early to save. Most matinees are any showing before 6:00pm. Ticket pricing may vary slightly, depending on where you are. Our matinee tickets are $6.00 in the town where we live. To save on concessions, we hit up the local Dollar Tree, before we go. (Please don’t judge.) Movie concessions are way over priced and if not careful, this frugal date could easily turn into some big bucks! A box of Hot Tamales for me and a box of Whoppers for hubby..and we’re set! It’s about a $15.00 night. Not too bad!
5. Have a lunch date
If you really want to go to a restaurant for your date, go for lunch. Lunch prices are usually cheaper than the dinner menu.
6. Go on a dessert only date
We did this a lot. We would eat dinner at home or some place super cheap (Jack in the Box comes to mind), then we would go to a really nice restaurant and order a fancy dessert and coffee! This was a treat I would really look forward to.
7. Be a tourist in your town!
Sometimes, we locals, get so busy with day to day life, that we don’t take the time to check out things going on in our own city or towns. You might be surprised to see what kind of entertainment is at your fingertips. Check out your local Chamber of Commerce’s calendar of events. Many places have a great history and plenty of museums, historical homes, etc., for minimal cost or free.
8. Go to the Airport!
When we were dating, we would drive to Intercontinental Airport, (now known as George Bush IAH) park on the outside of the airport and get as close to the runways as we could. We’d sit in the back of the pickup and watch the planes take off and land. There was something thrilling about that. I guess it was the roar of those huge engines flying directly overhead. It was also fun to imagine where they were going and dream about where we would like to go. So romantic and such sweet memories. 🙂
9. Go Bowling
This is another fun date night. It can be frugal, but it depends on the days and times that you go. For two people, it should be under $20 to bowl one game, including the shoes. Be sure to eat at home, though. Concessions can be expensive.
10. Visit an art gallery
Ok…this may not be for everyone, but I had to include it, because it’s something I enjoy…and it’s FREE! Having a background in art, I really appreciate that kind of talent. My hubby never complains and it’s something we can do together. It may not be his favorite thing, but he humors me and I always return the favor and let him choose what he likes to do on another date.
11. Go to your local High School football game
Whether you’re into sports or not, it’s always fun to cheer on the home team…even if you graduated years ago!
12. Go look at model homes
If you’re into decorating or wanting to do some updating, it’s always fun to see beautifully decorated model homes to get decorating ideas and get your creative juices flowing.
Animal shelters, soup kitchens, hospitals, parks, local libraries, food pantries and museums are great places to go and give of your time. If your into politics, lend your support to your local candidates. You can meet like minded people and have a great time making a difference, together.
14. Go thrift shopping
I love this one! Take $5, $10 (or $20 if you can afford it) and see how much you can get for the money! I look at this as a challenge. We have come home with bags of items for very little money. It’s even better if you know what days the thrift stores are discounting certain items. The money usually goes to a very good cause and you benefit as well.
15. Have a Spa Night
This is another favorite of mine and it doesn’t cost a penny AND it’ll surely bring the romance back! You can give each other a pedicure, a back massage or even a facial. It’s a great way to pamper each other and show how much you appreciate one another. Throw in a good, inexpensive bottle of wine, good (romantic) music…and Voila!! Truly a night to remember and one you’ll want to do over and over again!
16. Go see a play or concert at your local High School or College
I’m amazed at what talent these kids have. Many times, you can see fantastic performances that make you forget you’re watching high school or college kids. Sometimes, there’s a small entry fee or some can be seen for free. Don’t underestimate the talent just because they young.
17. Putt Putt Golf
Fun, fun, fun! If you have a competitive spirit, this can be the game for you. Make a wager! Loser has to give winner a 20 minute foot rub…or whatever you can think of! Usually you can play a round for about $5 a person, or less.
18. Plan your next vacation
It’s always fun to dream and if there’s some place you’d really like to go, start saving and planning for it. Make a Sinking Fund for it. Even it if takes a year or two to save for it, it gives you a goal and something to look forward to.
19. Drive the nice neighborhoods
I really enjoyed doing this when I was a kid, especially at Christmas time. There’s a neighborhood, west of downtown Houston, called River Oaks. This is where the multi-million dollar homes are and it was fun to drive thru this gorgeous neighborhood and gawk at these incredible houses. Free…except for the gas.
20. Check out your local parks
There’s so much to do here. Take a picnic and a blanket, play frisbee, swing on the playground, people watch, etc.. Parks aren’t just for kids.
21. Free DIY Workshops
Check out your local Home Depot for awesome DIY workshops and seminars. Most are free, but sometimes if you are doing a project, there’ll be a fee for your materials. This can be a lot of fun to do together, if you’re into home improvement, DIY or just wanting to learn a new skill. Click on the link and it’ll ask for your zip code. They have a calendar for all of their free workshops and some even have kid workshops!
These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about what you can do for little to no money. After all, it’s not how much your spending on the dates that matters, but the time you spend with your significant other. If you have kiddos, maybe you can swap babysitting with friends that have children or if you’re lucky enough to relatives close by, maybe you can work something out for a once a month night out.
Like I stated above, our most memorable dates were the ones that cost the least. Get creative, have some (frugal) fun, but most importantly, don’t let lack of funds keep you from dating your partner! There’s plenty of fun to be had on the cheap.
What are some more fun and frugal date ideas you can come up with? Leave me a comment! Also, be sure to subscribe to Love To Frugal so you never miss a post!