You want special date night ideas, but you don’t want to spend a lot of cash.
Luckily, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a wonderful time. After all, dating is all about getting to know a person and spending quality time with them – not how much money you can spend!
A regular date night is important for every relationship, no matter how long you’ve been together. Whether you’re just starting out or have been together for decades, these date night ideas will allow you to be able to spend that quality time together without spending a fortune.
The date night ideas on this list are romantic, creative, and memorable. Another great thing about this list is that you can do these activities with friends too! You don’t even have to be dating to do most of the activities on this list. Even better, most of the activities on this list are perfect for our pandemic world of social distancing.
We challenge you to complete each item on the list or modify each item on the list to your tastes or relationship status. Oh, and make sure you put those phones away and focus on your time together! You’ll be glad you set time aside for just the two of you. The world will be there when you get back from your date, and you’ll be closer to your loved one more than ever.
Here are 75 cheap date night ideas to have fun on a budget.
75 Cheap Date Night Ideas
1. Write a poem
Maybe neither of you are exactly poets, but that’s what will make this activity fun or even hilarious!
2. Slow dance to a romantic song
Put on a love song and dance with your special one by candlelight.
3. Write a short story
Pick a prompt and see where the story leads you. Imagine there is a zombie apocalypse or you’re in a submarine under the Pacific Ocean. What happens next?
4. Play Eye-Spy with binoculars
Go for a walk and see what you can find when you look far away. You can also use binoculars to go bird watching.
5. Play a game of blindfolded “guess the food”
Take turns feeding each other pre-selected foods and see if you can guess what they are. Go with a variety or a theme like fruit or nuts.
6. Play a game of blindfolded “guess the scent”
Candles, herbs, spices, and air fresheners are great choices for this fun activity. How many can you guess on the first try?
7. Draw shapes or words on each other’s backs and try to guess what it says
Can you fit “I love you” on your sweetheart’s back? This is a fun guessing game where you draw shapes or words using your finger and your special someone tries to guess what you’ve drawn.
8. Go for a run
Couples who sweat together, stay together! Head out for a run together and turn this fun date into a healthy ritual.
9. Go to the park
Enjoy the sights of a local park. Enjoy walking hand in hand while enjoying the fresh air, spotting animals leaping from rock to rock, or dogs playing in the grass. Try exploring a new park in your area or a new area in a favorite park.
10. Have a picnic
Pack up your favorite foods and hit a scenic spot for a romantic picnic. In the case of bad weather try having a picnic in a different part of your home.
11. Make homemade ice cream
You can make ice cream in a bag in 15 minutes. Add crushed up cookies or other tasty toppings, and you’re practically chefs!
12. Make homemade bread and butter
The smell of delicious bread baking in the oven will be well worth the effort. Taking turns shaking the jar as cream turns to sweet, delicious butter is both fun and good for those muscles. Plus, studies have shown that cooking together helps to improve your relationship.
13. Pick up different cheeses and meats and make a restaurant-worthy charcuterie board
Look up some ideas for delicious charcuterie spreads and make a scrumptious, easy snack or meal to share over a glass of wine. Aged provolone, candied walnuts, and a glass of red? Mmm, perfect!
14. Make fondue
Dip bread, grapes, pickles, and melon in a cauldron of bubbly Swiss cheese or pound cake into melted chocolate. We dare you to stop eating before it’s all gone. Fondue is a process that needs a little attention so take turns grating the cheese, stirring it, and feeding little bites to each other.
15. Watch movies from your childhoods
With all the different streaming options and cable alternatives out there, it’s easier than ever to take a walk down memory lane with movies. Try having each of you pick a movie you loved during your childhood that the other hasn’t seen. Talk about why you love the movie and the memories surrounding it.
Volunteering is a wonderful way to give back and feel good about yourself. Volunteering together will also bring your relationship closer. Pick up trash on the beach or donate clothes to a local shelter. You’ll feel great and love helping make the world a better place together.
17. Learn a new language
Get a learning program like Rosetta Stone, Babble, and Duolingo and work on a language you’ve always wanted to learn. Then you can say “kiss me” in any language you choose!
18. Go on a nature scavenger hunt
Find seashells, rocks, leaves, and birds on a lovely walk around your neighborhood or a local park. Pick and theme or specific item you want to collect and then go find some treasures. You could even find creative ways to display these items – like agates or other special rocks – in a jar or other container around your home.
19. Leave love notes around your city for people to find
Lift someone’s mood by leaving a note of affirmation around the neighborhood. You never know, you might improve someone’s day! Examples: You are loved; You are special; Keep going!
20. Make dinner together
Turn an everyday chore into a romantic evening by choosing a favorite recipe and cooking a meal! Bonus points if you make it an international night with foods from a country you’d like to visit, like spaetzle from Germany or tamales from Mexico.
21. Make breakfast for dinner
Make a plate of comforting pancakes or french toast with mimosas for dinner. This one is also fun to do with kids.
22. Go stargazing
Hit the road and find a spot to lay under a blanket of stars. Bring along a bottle of sparkling cider to enjoy while you look for constellations, planets, and stars.
23. Sit by the fireplace and snuggle
Sometimes it’s nice to just be. Enjoy the sounds of the crackling fire and enjoy just being together.
24. Go camping
Looking for a cheap night or weekend getaway? Pack up your gear and head to the great outdoors. Make smores, cook over a fire, and practice your survival skills.
25. Make hot cocoa
Let’s be clear, we’re not talking about your everyday cocoa. Instead of making a powdered mix, try to make a decadent homemade version with cocoa powder and sugar. You’ll be glad you did!
26. Make mulled wine
Add brown sugar and mulling spices to red wine on the stovetop. Allow it to warm for 30 minutes. Easy peasy.
27. Try to make a challenging baking recipe
Ever wanted to try making macarons, a two-tier cake, or croissants? Have a baking date and enjoy your creations!
28. Go to the library
Libraries are free to join and use, and offer way more than just the ability to check out books. Although you might enjoy reading a book together, you might also find a great class to take or a great movie to borrow.
29. Go skating
Did you roller skate or blade as a kid? It’s still fun as an adult!
Try picking up an inexpensive set of rollerblades or skates and cruising around town or your neighborhood together. You can also take it retro and spend an evening skating at your local rink.
30. Go bike riding
This is another of our cheap date night ideas that is both fun and good for your health. You can get used bikes for relatively cheap or rent one if you live in a larger city. Cruise around town or in nature depending on your preferences and the local area.
31. Have a photoshoot
You can often get nice professional photos for relatively cheap with discount offers from Groupon, the Entertainment Book, or other coupons. However, you can also turn it into a fun and romantic date night by DIYing your photoshoot.
Go to a secluded location, a favorite spot, or a local restaurant and pose together. Bonus if you bring props!
32. Take a picture and make a magnet on a photo site
An extension of the idea above, you can also use your photos to create an inexpensive gift to put on your fridge. Every time you walk by, you’ll think of your date!
33. Go to the farmer’s market
Walk by the local food and artisan booths, try some tasty offerings, and bring home vegetables to cook for dinner. You may even find some great homemade trinkets or other crafts.
34. Window shop
Go to an outdoor mall or shopping district and look at what is being sold in the windows. Grab a coffee while you stroll. You’ll get a good walk-in, enjoy some fresh air, and spend some quality time together.
35. Play board or card games
Escape room board games are perfect for two people. Escaping the clutches of an evil wizard or doctor brings couples closer together!
There are also a lot of great 2-person card games that you can play on a rainy night or a dreary day.
36. Pick up a Redbox movie
If you can’t find what you’re looking for on your streaming devices or at the local library, try a Redbox rental. Redbox movies are inexpensive, and this activity gets you out of the house for a little bit before heading home. Make it just like the movies by eating popcorn or other snacks while watching your flick.
37. Play a video game
Are you or your loved one into gaming? Play a new game together and see who can get the high score. Loser buys ice cream.
38. Rent a canoe
Have you ever canoed? A calm and sunny day out on a lake or in a bay is a great way to relax, recharge, and get some exercise together.
39. See who can swing higher at the playground
Did you like to swing as a kid? Stop by a local playground and see if you can swing a thousand times or who can get the highest. Just be careful, you likely don’t bounce as well as you did when you were a kid!
40. Make ice cream sundaes with all the toppings
Choose a delectable ice cream flavor and pair it with whipped cream, hot fudge, bananas, and cherries. Who can make the biggest whipped cream tower?
41. Share a root beer float
Order one glass and get two straws.
42. Feed ducks
Bring some lettuce, sweetcorn, oats, or seeds to a local pond or lake and enjoy bringing a little happiness to the birds. Just try not to feed bread as it’s actually not healthy for them.
43. Visit a local pet shelter or pet store
Say hi to all the cuddly gerbils and hamsters at the pet store. Maybe you’ll find a fluffy critter to take home with you. You can also bring some much-needed attention to shelter animals by spending time with them. Hanging out with dogs and cats will also help boost your mood.
44. Make nachos with all the toppings
Tortilla chips, taco meat, cheese, salsa, and guacamole make for an awesome two-person nacho party!
45. Try a beer flight at a local brewery
Try sampling a few beers together at a brewery. If beer isn’t your thing, how about whiskey tasting at a distillery or a wine flight at a winery?
46. Plan a pretend vacation
Where would you go right now if you could? A beach in Mexico? A museum in Prague? Plan the ultimate pretend getaway together!
47. Plan a real vacation for the future
Maybe travel isn’t in the cards right now, but in the future, you could be heading for London or Savannah! Plan all the details for the ultimate getaway as well as how you can turn that dream into a reality. There are tons of travel hacks and ways to save money on travel that can help get you there.
48. Take turns reading a book together
You read a chapter; your partner reads a chapter. Discuss your thoughts on the book. It’s like a little book club for just the two of you.
49. Make a travel bucket list
What are your ultimate travel goals?? Could you make a separate list and share it? You never know what bucket list items you have in common!
50. Do a chocolate tasting at home
Pick up five different candy bars in the grocery store and decide together which one is the yummiest!
51. Visit a food truck
Tacos, crepes, empanadas, and burgers are popular food truck staples. Find where the food trucks are parked and have an inexpensive meal together. Purchase a few dishes and share them. This is a great way to save money when eating out!
52. Take a bath together
Bring in a bath bomb or some bath salts but don’t stay in there too long, or the water might get cold!
53. Go to a virtual concert
Pick your favorite music artist and put on a concert to enjoy from the comfort of your own home. Does your friend have a favorite album? Lay on the couch together or take a drive and listen through the whole album.
54. Play a game of “would you rather?”
Each of you writes 10 “would you rather questions” to ask your partner. For an added twist, try to guess what your partner will say!
55. Mad Libs
Buy a book of Mad Libs and see what silly stories you can produce. You’re guaranteed to crack up laughing!
56. Give each other a massage
Enjoy an intimate night of massage with your partner. Wonderfully relaxing and absolutely free. All you need is your hands and some oil.
57. Play a game of chess
Challenge your better half to a game of chess. If you’re both novices, learn how to play!
58. Learn some magic tricks
Learn how to hide a coin, pocket a card, and other simple magic tricks that can be done with items you have at home.
59. Binge watch a true-crime documentary
Discuss and try to guess whodunit while watching a crime documentary on Netflix. Discuss how you’d pursue the case and what you’d do differently to solve it.
60. Go shopping at the Dollar Store
Take the Dollar Store challenge – pick the funniest, cutest, or perfect gift for your significant other, but there is a $1 limit.
61. Make a 3-course meal of only miniature foods
Throw yourselves a 3-course dinner party where all the foods are tiny. Think pigs in a blanket, mini meatloaves, and mini cupcakes!
62. Only communicate by love notes
Stay home for your date, but there is a rule – no talking! Communicate all night by love notes and drawings.
63. Make a scrapbook of your favorite photo memories
Make a scrapbook at an online merchant like Snapfish or Shutterfly. These services save your projects to print later, so there is no need to spend money now. You can wait for a deal!
64. Work on a puzzle together
Feel accomplished by completing a difficult puzzle together. Make it an all-day event if you have the time.
65. Crossword Puzzles
Two brains are better than one when it comes to crossword puzzles. Try to complete one or two crossword puzzles without the use of your phones.
66. Stay up all night in your pajamas
Adult sleepovers are the best because you can eat what you want, watch what you want, and stay up all night long!
67. Fly a kite
If the weather is windy, grab a kite, and watch it soar together.
68. Listen to an audiobook
Lay in each other’s arms while listening to an audiobook. Learn from historical nonfiction or get scared by a best-selling thriller.
69. Watch a movie trilogy
Want to have a movie marathon? How about watching the Star Wars, Scream, or The Godfather trilogies with your companion? Perhaps rate which ones you think are the best. If your partner is a huge Star Wars fan, ask them why they love it and learn about the characters.
70. Train for a 5K
Sweat, motivate each other, and reach your goals together! Make a weekly date of training together and then commit to running a 5K.
71. Paint a picture
Get out your paints and a canvas and create a masterpiece you can hang on the wall. If you’re not confident in your painting skills you can do a paint-by-number together but be patient, some of them can take a month or more to complete!
72. Grill hotdogs and have a barbecue
Enjoy a sunny day by throwing some hotdogs on the grill with a side of potato chips. Add a special dessert like chocolate-covered strawberries or pineapple.
73. Play catch or throw a Frisbee
A great way to enjoy the outdoors and get a little exercise is to play catch with a baseball, football, or Frisbee. Head out to the backyard or a park and see how far you can get from each other before someone drops the ball.
74. Watch a foreign film
Be introduced to films from all over the world and brush up on your reading skills by the use of subtitles.
75. Go hiking
Hiking is great exercise and a popular hobby that you can share. Turn hiking into a weekly tradition and you have a built-in date for years to come!
Moral of the Story
Date nights are an important part of any relationship. The date night ideas on our list are a great starting point to create dates for your partner full of love and creativity. Choose a night regularly to spend with your significant other, and you’ll have something to look forward to every week.
Tawnya is an elementary special education teacher by day and co-blogger at Money Saved is Money Earned by night.
She holds an Honors BS in Psychology from Oregon State University and an MS in Special Education from Portland State University. She has had a pretty successful writing career, first as a writing tutor at the Oregon State University Writing Center, and in recent years, as a freelance writer.
Tawnya and co-blogger Sebastian have a wealth of knowledge and information about personal finance, retirement, student loans, credit cards, and many other financial topics. They teach people how to save money, make money, and understand money.