16 Budget Friendly Date Night Ideas that won't cost you a fortune

When you’re trying to buckle down and save money, it’s easy to think that there won’t be any fun date nights in your future.  Part of our journey was to find inexpensive or free date ideas so we still felt like we could get away and enjoy one another.  I’ve compiled a list of 16 date ideas that we’ve tried or plan to try.  They are fun, won’t hurt your checking account, and some don’t even require a babysitter!

1. Go for a hike.

Find a nice spot within a decent driving distance and just go for a hike!  You’d be surprised how many state parks and local areas have hiking and biking trails.  Don’t feel like you have to spend the whole day outside, but even an hour or two out in nature will do you and your loved one good.  Bonus: this date is completely FREE if you find a park that won’t charge any money.  And I don’t know about you, but I love free dates.

2. Pack a lunch and go somewhere with good scenery.

One of my first dates with my husband was a picnic by a lake in Dallas.  He picked up some easy food from the grocery store, brought a blanket, and we just people watched while getting to know each other better.  You can even bring a game or a deck of cards with you for added entertainment.  

3. Create a scavenger hunt for your partner.

Wouldn’t it be so much fun to create your own scavenger hunt for your loved one?  The scavenger hunt could start where you met (or had your first date) and move all throughout your town.  Every spot could be sentimental but doesn’t have to be.  End your scavenger hunt with frozen yogurt or a glass of wine at the park.  Be creative!

4. Enjoy a cheese and fruit plate with wine.

My absolute favorite restaurant in town has the best cheese, nut, and fruit board.  The only problem?  It costs $20 and is considered an appetizer!  Instead of hitting up a fancy restaurant, create your own board with craft cheese, almonds, grapes, and wine!

5. Have a game night at home.

One of our all time favorite things to do is to turn on The Office and play a board game.  We love Monopoly, but we also play card games like Phase 10.  Pick out your favorite game at Walmart and enjoy an evening in!

6. Watch a comedy show on Netflix.

If you have Netflix, then you have a lot of comedy shows right at your fingertips!  Simply grab some popcorn, your favorite candy, and enjoy some of the best comedians at the cost of Netflix itself.  There are so many to choose from that you’ll enjoy more than one date night out of this!  My favorite is Jim Gaffigan because he’s funny without all the rated R adult humor.

7. Have friends over for dinner and games.

Instead of heading out for date night with friends, invite them over!  Have each person bring a dish to share and you’ll have more than enough food to feed everyone.  Encourage each couple to bring their favorite game and enjoy an inexpensive time making memories with friends.

8. Check out free events in and around your town.

Most towns offer free events and festivals several times throughout the year.  The town directly next to ours has a free Halloween festival complete with candy, bounce houses, face painting, and tons of activities.  The only thing they encourage you to do is buy a $3 pumpkin.  Um, sign me up!  Don’t limit yourself to just your town’s events.  Check out places all around you for free fun!

9. Just get dessert.

You don’t have to pay for a full meal to consider it a date night!  When my husband and I were dating we would eat dinner at home and then head to The Cheesecake Factory to share a slice of our favorite cheesecake.  You still got the ambiance and a treat, but our bill was under $10!

10. See a minor league baseball game.

We have a great minor league baseball team near us that I’ve been wanting to check out for quite some time.  The games are inexpensive, fun, and kid-friendly (just in case you need to bring the kids along).

11. Rent a kayak or canoe for an hour.

If you live near a lake, river, or ocean, then you can rent a kayak for around $20 for a full hour.  Either get a two-person kayak or two singles and have a race!  The important part is that you are doing something different and fun with the person you love.

12. Go to a drive-in movie theater.

Drive-in movie theaters can be inexpensive because the price usually includes a double feature.  Just make sure to pack your own snacks and drinks because the food is crazy expensive!

13. Roast s’mores in your backyard or fireplace.

This date night will only cost you a bag of marshmallows, a candy bar, and a box of graham crackers.  You might even have all this in your pantry already!  If you have a fireplace or fire pit then make some s’mores with your loved one.

14. Have a movie night.

To make movie night more fun, each person picks a movie and have a movie marathon!  Curl up on the sofa or make a pallet on the floor out of cushions.  Pop some popcorn, turn the lights down, and enjoy the show.

15. Play video games.

Every now and then my husband and I will play Mario Kart after the kids go to bed.  Pick out a video game that you already have or rent one from Redbox for a decent price.  Sometimes just doing something different is fun!

16. Feed ducks at the park.

Head to the grocery store and buy a loaf of bread on clearance that is about to expire.  Then go to the park and feed the ducks.  You’ll enjoy the outdoors!  Just make sure to look for signs in case you are not supposed to feed the ducks.

So there you have it!  The most important thing to remember is that what makes an activity a “date” is that you are spending it with the person you love.  So drop the mindset that it’s always dinner and a movie and enjoy your loved one’s company!