Coming up with a perfect date idea that doesn’t break the bank can be tough. A romantic night out at a nice restaurant? It’s going to cost you. Tickets to a great live show? Get ready to pony up some serious cash. It’s why staying in has become so tempting for young couples.
And we get it. Pizza and Netflix has been your go-to date night for months. It’s cheap, easy and can be enjoyed with or without pants from the comfort of your own couch. But there’s only so many episodes of Breaking Bad a healthy relationship can stomach.
When it comes time to break free from the mundane and spice things up, there are plenty of ways to enjoy each other’s company in exciting, affordable ways. We’ve got you covered with 20 low-or-no-cost date ideas that will take your relationship to another level.
1. Bond over Coffee and a Crossword
Unsplash – @joncas89
A healthy relationship takes teamwork. It’s all about each of you bringing something unique to the table and making each other better. A crossword puzzle is a perfect (and free) way to spend an hour or two learning more about each other and working on something together.
2. Create Your Own 5-Course Meal
Unsplash – @heftiba
In the mood for something romantic? Creating your own fine dining experience costs a fraction of what you’d pay at a nice restaurant and cooking together is a hands-on experience you won’t get at your local steakhouse. So light a candle, open your favorite bottle of cheap wine and start prepping your ideal date night meal.
3. Sneak Into a High-Priced Hotel Pool
Unsplash – @lefterisk
This undercover mission is sure to add a little adrenaline to your date night. Put your heads together, pick a fancy hotel pool and take your best shot at sneaking by the check-in desk and into the deep end. Whether you succeed or not, you’ll have a great story to tell the next time you hang out with friends.
4. Check Out an Open Mic
Unsplash – @xoutcastx
You don’t have to spend tons of cash to see live music of stand-up comedy. Chances are, you can find free open mic events all over your city. You’re guaranteed to see some unique, local acts you won’t find at a big, high-priced venue.
5. Set Up a Photoshoot for Each Other
Unsplash – @rosssneddon, @laclem
Maybe you’ll want to take this one seriously and plan out a professional looking photoshoot. Or maybe you’ll just want to shoot goofy pictures of each other around town. Either way, this date idea is sure to lead you on a unique adventure and leave you with some great photos to remember the day.
6. Do Your Best Celebrity Impressions
Unsplash – @chema_photo, @danny_lincoln
There’s nothing like making someone you love laugh. And what better way than with your best (or absolute worst) celebrity impression. Dial up your finest James Bond, tap into your inner Arnold Schwarzenegger and see who has the best impersonation chops.
7. Try on Clothes You Can’t Afford
Unsplash – @freestocks
Just because you’re on a budget date night doesn’t mean you can’t dress like a millionaire. Head to the mall, try on the most expensive outfits you can find and give one another a fashion show fit for the Hollywood elite.
8. Play Art Critics at a Free Museum
Unsplash – @ryanstefan
Chances are, you and your partner probably aren’t fine art experts. But that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a beautiful oil painting or discussing the intricate details of a midcentury sculpture, even if you’re making it all up as you go. Plus, an art museum can be the perfect intimate setting for a truly unique date night.
9. Go On a Happy Hour Adventure
Unsplash – @crew
Don’t want to splurge on a full priced entrée at a local restaurant? Fill up on half-priced apps and cheap drinks instead by taking advantage of your city’s best happy hour deals. Bonus points if you can hit up three or more restaurants before the happy hour window closes.
10. Draw Portraits of Each Other
Unsplash – @xamucastro
Dim the lights, gaze into each other’s eyes and draw your best portrait of one another. If you and your partner are artistically inclined, the results will be beautiful. And if you’re terrible at drawing, you can laugh about your hilarious creations together.
11. Conduct a Science Experiment
Free Images – @eieio1948-49306
We all have a place in our nostalgic hearts for the science experiments we got to do in school growing up. Tornados in a bottle. Ooey, gooey slime. Bond together over that childhood nostalgia with cheap, fun experiments that are sure to stir up some chemistry.
12. Get Outside Your Bubble
Unsplash – @dnevozhai
It’s easy to get comfortable in the area you live. But chances are, there are plenty of places nearby that you’ve never explored. Go find a cool coffeeshop in a neighboring neighborhood. Spend the day wandering around a nearby city. Exploring somewhere new together can be an enlightening, entertaining date your relationship deserves.
13. Plan a Dream Vacation Together
Unsplash – @simonmigaj
Planning an affordable vacation is possible with a little bit of prep. Grab your laptops, cozy up in your favorite coffee shop and come up with the perfect vacation together. One of you can track down cheap flights. The other can hunt down the perfect AirBnB. By the end of this date, you’ll have a whole new adventure to look forward to.
14. Jog Around Town Together
Unsplash – @curtismacnewton
Fitness makes the heart grow stronger. Sure, that line sounds nice and is anatomically accurate. But a jog around your neighborhood with a loved one can lead to all sorts of discoveries you might not notice from your car or Uber. Plus, exploring your city on foot is a great way to stay in shape together.
15. Try Out Super Expensive Furniture
Unsplash – @jipy32
Sure, you probably won’t be buying that $3,000 dream couch anytime soon. But forget about your bank account for the night and go test out some classy furniture together. It’s a fun way to spend a couple hours and can spark all sorts of good ideas for your own apartment.
16. Make a Meal Out of Free Samples
Instagram – @bzpumpqua
Live by a Whole Foods or Costco? You can spend an evening wandering the aisles and filling up on samples of fancy cheeses, artisan crackers, brownie bites and more. Sometimes, you can even find a free wine or beer tasting to complete the date night experience.
17. Take on An Apartment Project Together
Unsplash – @sneakyelbow
There are all kinds of easy apartment projects you can knock out in an evening. Build a shoe rack that can hold both of your kicks. Construct a cool cat house for your feline friend. Whatever you build, you’ll be creating something together that’s truly one of a kind.
18. Go to IKEA on a $20 Budget
This date idea will take some restraint. If you’ve ever been to IKEA, you know how easy it is to spend hundreds of dollars. Instead, give yourselves a more modest budget and see how many awesome IKEA finds can be had for less than $20. You’ll have a great time exploring the store and walk away with some trendy, well-designed keepsakes.
19. Learn Something New on YouTube
A healthy relationship means growing together. In just an evening, you’d be amazed at all the new skills you can pick up with simple tutorials from sites like YouTube. Learn how to juggle. Play a classic rock song on the guitar. Teach yourselves a magic trick. Because the best dates involve learning something new you can do together again in the future.Next