Love: 20 Ideas for Fun, Inexpensive Dates

September 25, 2014

It can be easy to fall into the date night rut in a long-term relationship, and even easier when you’re on a tight budget. But to keep things fresh and exciting, relationships need novelty to shake things up and strengthen bonds. Forget dinner and Netflix at home in your sweatpants, here’s a list of 20 fun, creative dates that won’t break the bank!

20 Ideas for Fun, Inexpensive Dates

Skip dinner and a movie and switch things up!

1. Pack a picnic (even if it’s just sandwiches!) and people watch at a local park.

2. Go hiking and admire the scenic views.

3. Volunteer together serving meals to the homeless, spending time with seniors, or cuddling kittens and puppies at the animal shelter that need some extra affection.

4. Play your own version of “Chopped.” Each person is given a budget to put together a basket of ingredients, which can be as strange or conventional as you want. Then, swap baskets, and whoever comes up with the best dish using those items wins!

5. Many communities host “Movie in the Park” nights, so take advantage (and maybe bring your own secret wine!). If not, try a good old-fashioned drive-in.

6. Get artistic and visit a paint-your-own-pottery studio. You may not be the next Monet, but you get to keep your creations!

7. Be a tourist in your own city and take a guided tour.

8. Cheer on a local amateur sports team. Tickets are cheaper than seeing the pros, but the games are just as fun.

9. Invite some friends over for a nostalgic childhood board game night. Just be warned, many a relationship has been tested by a game of cutthroat Monopoly!

10. Pick a craft you saw on Pinterest and attempt to recreate it.

20 Ideas for Fun, Inexpensive Dates

Play tourist in your own city

11. Give in to your cheesy side and do something holiday-themed, like pumpkin carving, apple picking, or getting lost in a corn maze.

12. If it’s summer, take a leisurely tubing adventure on a nearby river or lake.

13. Visit a museum and check out a new exhibit. Even if it doesn’t sound too thrilling at first, you might be surprised. Plus, check your local library for free or discounted cultural passes to things like museums and zoos.

14. Ask a list of interesting or unusual questions you’ve never thought to ask each other over a romantic dinner. You could come up with your own, or use a game like these. Even if you think you know it all, your partner might surprise you!

15. Take a tour of a local brewery or winery. Bonus: try all the free samples!

16. Take a short day trip. I’m spoiled in that I live in the Pacific Northwest with the beach, mountain and rivers all within 2 hours of driving, but even a quick scenic drive can be just as fun.

17. Wander around your favorite stores and go window shopping for your dream house. Note: you may be dismayed to find that your partner doesn’t exactly share your love for a bright pink velvet couch.

18. Go treasure hunting or geocaching and be amazed at the treasures (or junk) that you find!

19. Re-live your childhood and hit up an arcade for pinball and Pac-Man.

20. Find a Groupon and take lessons together like an Italian cooking class or salsa dancing class.


There you have it! Dumplings, what are your ideas for fun date nights on a budget?

More in Love: How to Fight Fair

When Mr. Right isn’t the One

5 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Exciting



Photo credit: Nicki Varkevisser via Flickr; Ian Chen via Flickr

Sarah is a freelance writer based out of Portland, Oregon. Her top three passions in life include her family, her husband, Geoff, and her pug, Rupert. She also enjoys spending her time volunteering, traveling, and experimenting with new recipes. Follow her on Pinterest.


always stay inspired!