Use these 50 cheap date ideas to spice it up in your relationship or stay on a budget if you're single and heavy in the dating scene!
Let's face it, at the end of the day who wouldn't want to date more?
Whether you're single or married, going on dates is a fun way to get to know someone (Single) or spice it up and keep growing your relationship (Long-term or married).
Truth be told though, dating, the act of going out with someone you're interested in romantically can get a little pricey! According to a Yahoo Finance article published in 2018, if you want to take someone on the standard dinner and a movie date, well it's going to cost you;
The average cost of a date today — in the form of dinner for two, a bottle of wine, and two movie tickets — is about $102.32 in the U.S., according to online-dating giant Match.com .
Similar to the play on words before in this article – 99 1st World Money Problems – I was going to try and title this article, “50 1st Cheap Dates.”
However, the point of this article isn't to provide 1st date advice, I apologize in advance, it's to provide anyone who wants to enjoy an evening out with some cheap date ideas!
50 Cheap Date Ideas (You Can Start Using Tonight)
Initially, I thought providing 52 cheap date ideas – one per week – would be a great way to help you spice up your dating life, but I then put myself in your shoes… and that is a lot of dating depending on where you currently stand.
My biggest recommendation for you as you consider some of these cheap date ideas is to make sure you always implement a plan to increase your dating but don't go date crazy!
For example, if you only save 3% of your annual income, saving 10% might be too big of a jump to take in one month. Instead, you might want to increase your savings rate 1% per month for seven months.
The same goes for your dating. Dating is more about the quality of the date than it is the quantity (At least that is how I see it).
This list of cheap date ideas will help you stay on budget, but also help you with creating some new excitement! (And if you happen to live in New York… you're welcome for these money-saving tips)
1. Stay off your phone.
You would think this goes without saying, but the best date is a date with no phones!
Nothing is worse than grabbing some candy and a Redbox to watch after work only to have one or both of you play on your phone all night. There is no “Dating” in playing on your cell phone.
While this isn' t a cheap date idea per se, it is the #1 dating rule in the 21st century – NO CELL PHONES!
2. Go to a city late at night.
You can go to people watch or just drive around exploring!
3. Drive to a body of water.
4. Have a game night.
5. Practice your masseuse skills
6. Hit up free summer concerts
Simply hop onto Google, and type in “Local events near me.” This will populate lists of free summer concerts and festivals (#7 below) for you to go expierence!
You can have fun, watch some live music, and call it a cheap date night!
Related: 22 Couple Goals You Need To Use
7. Go to local festivals
8. Visit a special spot, like where you met!
This might be easier said than done (I met my wife at a night club that no longer exists, like Rihanna, we fell in love in a hopeless place) but see if you can visit the place you met.
If you're married, depending on where you get engaged, you can visit that spot.
Perhaps where you met or got engaged was at a distance. If that happens to be the case, you could do a surprise date and stop there on a whim if you happen to be passing through in the future!
9. Get ice cream, instead of dinner.
Dinner for two can run anywhere from $35 and up these days after drinks and a tip. Instead of splurging on a dinner, keep it cheap and just go grab some ice cream after eating a homemade dinner!
10. Do breakfast in bed!
11. Read together
12. Cook dinner for him/her!
13. Complete a 5K together.
14. Buy a used puzzle
15. Get up early and visit the beach.
If you happen to live four hours within a beach, go visit it!
Plan a day trip where you get up at 5:00 am, pack lunch and drive to the beach together. Spend the day out in the sun and head back at home to eat some late dinner.
You could also do #9 together on the way home!
16. Set up a scavenger hunt!
17. Visit a small diner or cafe!
18. Have a coffee date
19. Camp on your deck in sleeping bags!
On a nice cool evening, grab some sleeping bags, possibly an air mattress, and sleep on your deck or in the yard.
Call it suburban camping!
Don't let the distractions of Netflix and iPhones bother you, instead lay outside, look at the stars and talk about your relationship/future together!
(I am still working on this one personally, just be sure to check the weather to avoid getting drenched or frozen!)
20. Walk the dog late at night.
21. Visit restaurants with endless apps after 9:00!
Who said you can't eat out for under $10?
Local sports bars often entice you with half-off apps after 9:00, so why not take advantage of it and call it a date night?
For example – TGI Friday's offers endless apps after 9:00 every night! Just be sure to train for cheap date idea #13 the next day after!
22. Go to a local winery
23. Go to a local brewery
24. Watch some high school sports
25. Watch your wedding video
26. Binge watch a new Netflix series!
27. Play a 1 on 1 game of Catan
You will most likely know who is going to win early on (He who controls the most resources), but a game of Catan is about $20 and you can get lost for 5-6 hours playing it on your date night!
Related: Husband Wife Money Communication
28. Make a dream board together
29. Go dream building
You can go look at brand new cars on a car lot (Just don't buy any) or visit model homes in your area. Or perhaps you want to have a nice outdoor living space one day, you can go visit a home improvement store to get some ideas!
30. Visit a home and garden show
For $5-$10 a person you can go to a home and garden show nearby and gather ideas for all your future projects.
31. Outdoor summer movie nights
32. Drive-in theatre night
33. Play some frisbee golf
34. Go to the driving range – even if you stink at golf!
Visit a driving range and buy a bucket of balls and go hit them!
Even if you both stink at golf, it will be fun to laugh watching each other try your best to crush some golf balls. You don't have to be a pro to have fun and this is a really cheap date idea!
35. Play putt-putt
36. Go to bed early (If you know what I mean)
37. Plant a garden
38. Drink a 6-pack or some wine together on the patio
39. Order take out!
40. Grab a half-gallon of icecream!
41. Visit the animal shelter
Go visit your local animal shelter! If you're not in a financial position to afford a pet, don't splurge! Perhaps instead you can make a monetary donation while you're there!
42. Visit a small historic town nearby.
42. Go to the local museums (If they're local)
43. Paddleboard or float a river!
Is there a slow-moving river nearby that you can visit?
Go there, just be sure to rent a paddleboard or kayak for the day, or if you want to go really cheap, by a few tubes. Then proceed to spend the next 3-6 hours on the river basking in the sun.
If you go the really cheap date route and buy tubes, be sure to bring a spare in case one pops!
Side note: Plan your float out! Park one car down the river (About half a mile) then drive upriver to launch!
44. Be the couple who goes on a picnic!
Take a step back a few years and go on a couples picnic! It's not only a cheap date idea, it's a classic move!
Similar to a drive-inn movie, picnics might be one of the oldest date ideas out there – but it's effective and can be very cost efficient too!
45. Go pick apples, strawberries, or pumpkins (In the fall)
46. Hit up local fall festivals, followed by Christmas Parades!
47. House sit together for a friend!
This might not seem like a date, but if you have the ability to house sit and the house happens to have a pool or hot tub… well let's just say you can have a lot of fun!
Just being in a different environment places the two of you in a different mood!
48. Go to the Zoo or Aquarium!
49. Do nothing…. all day!
50. Be original!
At the end of the day if you can take any one of these cheap date ideas and make it your own that is a win!
Originality is what lets the person know you took the time to focus on them! Anyone can just take somebody to dinner, but creating a memory and getting to know each other is the point of a date!
You also don't have to let them know your goal is to go on a “Cheap Date,” just tell them it is a date!
Final words on cheap date ideas!
The purpose of a date is to spend time with the person your taking on a date. Just like the saying, “Money can't buy happiness,” an expensive date doesn't automatically make it a good one!
What would be a better date, a planned event where you ate lunch at the spot you got engaged at or a swanky dinner?
At first, the swanky dinner might sound nice, but the engagement spot would jar some old memories and create a stronger bond between the two of you!
Just because it's a “Cheap Date” doesn't make it any less of a date! Now get off your computer/phone and go plan your date night!
Josh writes about ways to make money, pay off debt, and improve yourself. After paying off $300,000 in student loans with his wife in less than five years, Josh started Money Life Wax and has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and more! In addition to being a life-long entrepreneur, Josh and his wife enjoy spending time with their chocolate lab named Morgan, working out, being outside, traveling, and helping others with their finances! I got serious with money when I used Personal Capital to track my finances.