Cheap date night ideas are in plentiful supply – if you know where to look and who to ask, or perhaps enjoy getting creative on your own. Still, dating shouldn’t cost you a lot of money, especially if you are following the advice that volume counts when trying to meet someone new.
With that in mind, here are more than twenty cheap date ideas covering a wide variety of interests, likes, activities, and hobbies. Got an even tighter budget? Then try the free dating idea suggestions instead.
Attend a local art school’s year-end show for a peek into the minds of up-and-coming artisans.
Contact your local chamber of commerce for a walking tour map of your community, highlighting areas like the local museums or architectural highlights.
Volunteer yourselves as models for a hairdressing school.
Take in amateur night at the coffeehouse, bar or comedy club. You could also get up on stage yourself and belt out a tune, tell a joke or read romantic poetry you’ve written while on your cheap date. (I’ve done this! Well, sort of. Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids – a truly wonderful, and, dare I say, terrifying way to get to know someone).
Hit the dollar store, grab some cheap paint and something to paint on, search YouTube videos for a complete how-to paint, and create your own paint night.
…For Family-Focused Folks
Host a home-cooked meal for your entire family, lovingly prepared by you and your date.
Challenge other family members to a game of backyard badminton, charades or another board or card game, pitting you and your date against other teams of two.
Suggest a double cheap date with both sets of parents, so that everyone can get to know each other before the relationship gets serious.
Create teams with your friends and/or family, and go geocaching together. Better yet, visit the local travel authority, break up all the “necessary” visits, and then scavenger hunt them as a team, seeing which team can get through them all, first (with proof, of course!)
…For Home Bodies
Pull out some bug spray and a cozy blanket and curl up together in your backyard or a local park for some stargazing.
Have a movie night with your date, challenging each other to bring a flick within the allotted theme of the night – such as worst movie of all time or the best classic you’ve never heard of. You could even go so far as to make a cheap date weekend out of it and create your own personal Oscars screening or private themed film festival.
Raid the dollar store for poker game items you don’t already have. Use peanuts or some other inexpensive markers and let the games begin.
Find a swing set, playground or water park and spend the cheap date there together.
Farmers markets and street fairs usually cost nothing and you’ll enjoy some time together learning more about your community’s offerings.
Visit the zoo together.
Challenge each other to a contest. Anything works, and the sillier the better! Try sand castle building, hop scotch, name that tune, marbles, or kite flying.
One of my favorite cheap date night ideas is to cook dinner for your sweetie. No normal dinner though – a themed one where the meal and entertainment connect.
Learn how to do a strip-tease and perform it for your partner.
Pack a picnic and take your date for a bike ride to a secluded location for a special, inexpensive getaway.
Spend a day together at the beach. You can snorkel and explore sea life, collect sea shells and driftwood, go for a swim, or have a rock skipping contest.
…For Sports or Activity Lovers
Learn a new sport or activity together, such as ultimate frisbee or mountaineering. Alternatively, take a peek to see if there are any singles-oriented sport leagues in your area. Sign up for something together!
Invite some friends over for a big game or pay-per-view event and make a day of it. Make munchies and create silly prizes for the most supportive at-home fans.
Go for a hike together. Don’t have a car? Try bus hikes!
In the wintertime, ask the neighborhood kids where they go tobogganing. Head out together for a day on the “slopes”.
…For Thrill Seekers
Read through the Guinness Book of World Records together. Find something the two of you could potentially achieve as a couple and then do it together as a cheap date night idea.
Go for a drive together where you only stop or turn when you encounter a predetermined area or event, such as a garage sale sign or a street that starts with the letter M. Travel games are also a great idea for those dating with kids.