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52 Free or Cheap Date Ideas

The following is a guest post about cheap date ideas from my friend and fellow blogger, Kylie Travers, the author of 365 Ways To Make Money.

I'm always looking for more awesome date ideas. I needed cheap boyfriend date ideas and now that we have kids, I need cheap husband date ideas too! Free dates are even better and there's tons on this list. Keeping our entertainment budget in line while still working on our relationship and making time for our marriage is a tricky balance but with posts like this we can do it!

Often when we get married or have been in a relationship a while, dating sort of gets forgotten. Budget constraints when saving for or paying off a house, or when kids come along, can make it quite difficult to afford dating. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Here are 52 free or cheap date ideas, so you can have one each week!  (Crystal’s Note:  I’ve put a star next to all of the activities that Mr. BFS and I have done together and liked.)

1.)    Have a candlelit dinner at home. Dress the table nicely, use your best dinner ware, all the nice things you have been saving for special occasions and enjoy each other’s company.

2.)    Watch a movie at home. You can download movies for cheap, hit a Redbox for $1.50, or drop by the library.*

3.)    Go to an outdoor market. These can be really interesting and often have street performers to watch as well.

4.)    Have a picnic somewhere with a nice view.*

5.)    Go for a walk together – a bushwalk, hike or along the beach are all nice.*

6.)    Teach each other. If you can play an instrument, start a blog, surf, create a website for your hobbies or job, or do something the other one wants to learn, teach them.*

7.)    Play at a park. Go to one with a big merry go round, swing on swings and go down slides. Have fun like when you were kids.

8.)    Go to an art gallery or museum. Many of them are free and have amazing exhibits.*

9.)    Attend a book or poetry reading together.

10.) Movies in the park. Some areas over summer have free movies in the park you can go watch together.

11.) Volunteer together to be models at a beauty or hair school. You get pampered at the same time for free or very cheap.

12.) Visit a farmers market together. Often you can sample produce and you get to buy fresh, tasty food.

13.) Play cards or board games (or Wii/Xbox/Playstation).***

14.) Go to the snow if you live near it. You can make snow men, toboggan and have snow ball fights.

15.) Have a fire and make smores.

16.) Star gazing. Look up constellations or go to a local observatory.*

17.) Create a treasure or scavenger hunt to go on.

18.) Roller skating or ice skating rinks are often reasonably priced.*

19.) Mini golf (aka Putt-Putt).*

20.) Theme nights – Pick a theme such as Mexican, eat Mexican food and watch a movie such as The Mexican.

21.) Go fishing together, then cook your catch.

22.) Make your own pizza night – have a variety of toppings and create your own pizza masterpieces.*

23.) Sunrise breakfast or sunset dinner.*

24.) Go for a bike ride together.

25.) Have a mystery date. Place some selections in envelopes and pick them at random.

26.) Hire a kayak or paddleboat.

27.) Play spotlight – go to some bush/forest area with torches. Let your eyes adjust to the light then look for animals.  If you see one, flash a torch on it and it’s spotlighted.

28.) Do a dance class – many offer first class free so you can try it together.

29.) Play darts or pool together.*

30.) Go to your local pool or hot tubs.*

31.) Go to a second hand market.

32.) Go fruit picking.

33.) Take a drive with no specific destination, just stop somewhere you like. Or flip a coin – heads is right, tails is left. Do it 10 or 20 times then stop for a picnic or drink at a cafe.

34.) Go to the target range.

35.) Attend a dress rehearsal of a theatre production or go to a school production. They are much cheaper than the full evening productions.*

36.) Go see a local band perform.

37.) Attend amateur mike night at your local comedy club.

38.) Visit a factory such as a chocolate one. You usually get samples or can buy at a discount.

39.) Do a ghost tour. You don’t need to pay for one. Research your area a little and go check out the places that are haunted.

40.) Go rock climbing.

41.) Create art together. Get out some paint and paint an abstract picture together.***

42.) Go see a local game of football or other sport. *

43.) Pretend to be tourists in your own town. See what is on offer for free and do it.

44.) Have a photo session either set up the camera at home or take it with you somewhere nice to take pictures of each other and you as a couple.*

45.) Go to open homes and discuss your dream home.

46.) Volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter together.

47.) Take a dog for a walk. If you don’t have one, walk a friend’s dog.  (From Crystal:  My husband and I sometimes walk dogs together in our pet sitting business – we actually make money and get to catch up with each other)*

48.) Learn another language together. You can get programs from the library then practice with each other.

49.) Do puzzles.*

50.) If you have a GPS, take up Geocaching. People hide little objects for others to find and put in the coordinates. It is worldwide so you can do it anywhere.

51.) Have fondue.

52.) Feed birds or ducks at a lake near you.*

These are just some ideas, but if you look up free things to do in your city you might be surprised at the options.

Crystal’s Comments:  Mr. BFS isn’t the most spontaneous man in the world, but looking at how many stars I was able to put, we have done a bunch of things on this list.  I am making a note to myself about a few of these like rock climbing!

Have you done anything on the list or think any of them look like fun?
I'm always looking for more awesome date ideas. I needed cheap boyfriend date ideas and now that we have kids, I need cheap husband date ideas too! Free dates are even better and there's tons on this list. Keeping our entertainment budget in line while still working on our relationship and making time for our marriage is a tricky balance but with posts like this we can do it!



FYI:  I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 a year.  I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $80,000-$100,000 through blogging, a rental home, and professional pet sitting.  If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you).  I even have all of my favorite tools on a resource page - I hope they help you too. This all gives me the time to be with my aging family members, the flexibility to stay close with my friends and family, and it should help if we finally get pregnant too!  Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!
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27 thoughts on “52 Free or Cheap Date Ideas

  1. Wow that is a huge list. We were broke and in love in college and did many of the things listed above. I don’t think we went on a date that cost actual money until we were practically living together – and it was about a year and a half after that before we were able to go on another one.

  2. My Wife and I love going for a walk in the park. We are lucky to have an extremely nice one not too far away.

    I also love RedBox ($1 DVDs) but have yet to pay for one. Good old google getting me free rentals! So that is always a cheap date.

    I also like the idea of going to the target range (but that can get expensive if you are using guns and not arrows!)

  3. When my now-wife and I were dating, we would often drive around on Sundays and look through model homes at new subdivisions. We weren’t looking for anything but we found it fun. It actually worked out great because when we did end up getting engaged and deciding to buy a home, we already knew what we were looking for in a home, and had discussed some of our must-haves and turn-offs already, so home shopping was much easier. It helped that we got through all that in a no-pressure situation.

  4. Great list of ideas. I especially like #15. There’s a lot more free stuff to do in the summer while the weather is nice (at least in New England), so it’s a great time of year to take advantage of all of this.

  5. My favorite on the list is going to the farmer’s market together, but we love to do a lot of the other things as well. We have yet to go fishing together, though…may have to add that to my list!

  6. Love this list! Last night, my wife and I just sat on our deck on an outdoor couch we have holding hands and just talking. It was already dark, and we had tiki torches lit. It was relaxing, and enjoying each others company. Loved it!

  7. This is a great post! I was just talking to a female friend the other day about how expensive it was to be back in the dating scene. It seems as though the man is always paying for meals or movies. First, it gets pretty boring to do these things. Second, the average movie expenses are super-high relative to being a conscious spending and saver. Thanks, Crystal, I’ll definitely star this post in my reader.

  8. Here is another one that my boyfriend and I recently did. Feed squirrels at the park, careful though you don’t want to be bitten. Remember that they are scared of you so don’t do anything stupid. My boyfriend got bit, but it was still so much fun and now that is his favorite story to tell.

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