As someone who nurtured love through undergraduate and graduate school, full time work, engagement, and the newlywed years, I can say that my husband and I have learned how to have fun dates – even when we don’t have the most cash flow. Dating isn’t about spending money but about spending time investing in one another, learning about each other, growing together, and creating memories that are bonding.
In the spirit of this month of love, I’ve wrangled up some fun date ideas that you can enjoy with your spouse or significant other – and they won’t break the bank!
*Note: these don’t have to be done just at night. I love day dates just as much as night dates!
Become an Expert
- Take a dance, art, woodworking, or pottery class together – sites like Groupon and Living Social often have deals for these types of events
- If one is an avid golfer, photographer, mechanic, cook, or other craftsmen teach your loved one the secrets to the trade
- Have Hulu or Netflix? Watch a documentary on an interesting subject and share your thoughts
Let Your Inner Child Shine
- Have a video game tournament
- Pick up a kite from the dollar store and find a beach, lake, or meadow to test it out!
- Find an arcade and see who can win the most tickets with just $5
- Three words: Water balloon war
- Let your art skills – or a fierce game of tic tac toe – show with some sidewalk chalk
Indulge Your Inner Foodie
- Try a new cuisine together! Never had falafel, a pierogi, or pad thai? Explore a new style of food together whether at a restaurant or at home. You never know what you might discover!
- Go on a picnic – this classic date is so sweet! Whether indoors or outdoors, get a comfy blanket, packable food, and don’t forget your favorite drink! And napkins. And maybe hand sanitizer. Oh, yeah, and utensils. My husband and I were determined to have a fun picnic, even when it meant running through a thunderstorm to eat under the park’s gazebo. Though we were sopping wet it made a great memory!
- Have a bake-off or cookie decorating contest – winner gets out of dish duty!
- Try your hand at paint balling, ATVs, or horseback riding (be on the lookout for those deals!)
- Build a fire and make s’mores
- In the chilly months make or buy gourmet hot chocolate or apple cider and take a stroll around the neighborhood – this is especially fun if there are Christmas lights up!
- Live near a beach, hiking trail, or orchard? Hit it up! (With lots of SPF!)
- Do a workout DVD together
- Train for something you’ve never done before – like a 5K! Then sign up together!
- Hit the ski slopes, kayak down the river, play tennis, ultimate frisbee, or ice hockey – anything that gets your heart moving
- Hit the bookstore together. Study up on a subject or country you love, then share the info. (Or if you’re in school study for tests together. Even if you’re not in the same class, one can quiz the other)
- Another fun bookstore idea is to gather books that you think describes the other person – let your creativity show your admiration!
- Check out your library. In addition to borrowing movies or books for free, they often have local events, free movie screenings, poetry readings, and other fun affairs
- Explore the downtown area in your town or one that’s nearby. Even the smallest of towns usually have cute coffee shops, boutiques, and cafes with great prices
- Local bands, karaokes, and high school plays or sporting events make for a fun, affordable evening
- What’s unique about your area? Flea/Farmers markets? Historical sites? Mountains/caves to explore? Find something fun in town!
I hope these inspire you to get closer to the one that has your heart! What fun dates have you had on a shoestring budget? I’d love to hear from you!