Cheap Date Ideas
Instead of limiting your romantic outings because of their cost, why not get creative and think of a few ways you can take your date out for less?
It can be done, and there are more options out there than you might think.
1. Two slices of pizza, one soda and mozzarella sticks
A night out for Italian doesn’t always have to involve wine, mood lighting and a cloth napkin on your lap. Hit a good pizza joint — the kind with the big slices — and grab two with pepperoni. Throw in a soda and a side of mozzarella sticks and chat the evening away.
Cost: $10 – $15
2. Drive-in movie
If you can find one in your area (they aren’t terribly commonplace anymore), they’re almost always below $10 per ticket. The movie isn’t really the point either; just a nostalgic atmosphere and fun date night.
3. Bookstore coffee and book browsing
Many bookstores have coffee houses inside their building, so go and grab a couple drinks and then just browse the book selections.
4. One bar, two beers and people-watching
If you’re itching to get out and blend into the crowd, go to your favorite bar, grab a couple beers and just talk and people-watch.
5. Plan-ahead holiday shopping
The “perfect” holiday gift often doesn’t cost that much, but the problem is usually that no one has time to look for it. The two of you can budget $10 to buy for someone in the family, and spend an evening shopping for that elusive yet thoughtful gift.
6. A class at your health club
If you both have a membership to the same gym, classes are usually included. Go out on a limb and try kickboxing together on a Friday evening.
Cost: Usually free with a gym membership.
7. Two coffees and a long car ride
This one is particularly good for a cool fall evening. Grab a couple coffees and hit the open road to check out some of the scenery. You could drive a long time before racking up $20 in fuel, and you’ve got to figure 30 – 40 miles would be plenty of open road.
Cost: $10 – $12
8. Minor league hockey or baseball game
Minor league hockey and baseball teams will usually have extremely low prices for their tickets, partly to encourage better attendance. For around $20, the atmosphere is great and you’ll get to enjoy a night out together, even if the teams don’t matter to you that much.
Cost: About $20
9. At-home baking project
Baking is a great thing to do as a couple, and works best after dinner, when no one’s hungry and you’ve both got the patience to really put some effort into it. Not only that, but ingredients are usually going to be crazy cheap, and a lot of them you’ll already have on hand.
Cost: Usually less than $5
10. Farmers market
So this might be more of a Saturday morning “night out,” but $20 at the farmers market will get you fresh veggies for the week and some iced green tea in the spring, or a hot apple cider in the fall.
Cost: $15 – $20
11. Matinée movie
Going to the movie theater is getting incredibly expensive, but it’s still true that some movies are just a lot better on the big screen. If you go to a matinée, you’ll probably get in for around $8 per ticket. Take a pass on drinks and snacks to keep it under $20.
12. Swing dancing lesson
Some lessons at college campuses or community centers are free, but even if you take lessons elsewhere, you probably won’t pay more than $10 per person. This is lots of fun, and a nice evening activity.
Cost: Anywhere from free to $20
13. Two sushi rolls and green tea
You can grab two Philly rolls and two green teas, while coming in right under your $20 budget. A six-piece sushi roll is usually around $8, while the tea will be about $1.50. Two of each leaves you $1 to spare.
Cost: $18 – $20
14. Two-person meals
If you can find a restaurant with a two-person special, you may be able to sneak out for just $20 without having to hold back.
Cost: $20 (if you ignore tax and tip)
15. Two subs and a drink
If you dine in at your local sub shop (as opposed to getting delivery), the atmosphere is decent, and you can get two subs for about $10. Throw in a drink to share and you’ve got a $12 date.
Cost: $12 – $15
16. Thrift stores
$5 carries well in most thrift stores. Take $15 in cash and go bargain hunting on a Saturday morning.
Cost: Anywhere from $1 to $15
17. Ice skating
If you have it available to you, ice skating is great date night option that will run you about $7 for renting skates.
Cost: About $15
18. Streaming videos
You can usually purchase a streaming video service for less than $10 per month, which costs about one quarter per day. Spend an evening with popcorn, watching one of your favorite movies or TV series.
Cost: Less than $1
19. Get a diner-style breakfast together
Breakfast food is always really cheap. You can get your favorites, two cups of coffee and a friendly hand to bring it to you at a nearby breakfast diner. The odds of you spending more than $12 are pretty low.
Cost $8 – $12
20. Start playing cards
A deck of cards costs a couple dollars, so buy one and learn to play some card games. It’s the date night that keeps on giving, as you can break out the cards on just about any slow evening.
Thrifty and Thoughtful
When trying to “budget” for a date night, you need to find a way both to put a lot of thought into it and also to be thrifty and frugal. It might take some creativity, but as you can see, limiting yourself because of a lack of funds isn’t necessary. In fact, one could make the case that most good dates can and should come in under the $20 mark.
Even most ATMs will work exclusively in multiples of $20. Now, you truly have no excuse. Good luck with date night!