Budget Friendly Date Ideas

We’ve all (or most of us) during our singleness have fantasized over the idea of being in a relationship. We’ve thought about date nights and made mental notes of places that would be super romantic to go with your significant other. Or, maybe that’s just me.

I would always take small notes in my mind of places that could be fun to adventure with  someone I was dating; things that would be cool to try or places that would be cool to travel to. In my mind tho, the one thing I never considered was price. And why would I? Calculating the price of a romantic adventure completely takes the romance out of the adventure….right? In the moment, sure. But in reality considering your significant others finances (and your own) could be the most romantic thing you could do.

In my perspective of dating, I’m aspiring to be with my person forever. That means that I’m not simply here to do extravagant fun things right now to document on Instagram (although those things are definitely nice), but instead I’m here to build something that will last a lifetime. Because of that, I want to consider what’s healthy for us as a couple. Physically, mentally, emotionally and financially. Financial health means making sure that having fun doesn’t cost us both in a way that places stress on our financial goals. We should be able to tithe, pay our bills, place money in savings, and then spend a little of what’s left for fun.

Now here’s the big question; If everything costs money, how do you save money, and still have a good time? Gentlemen, how do you impress the girl and still have money left over for gas and groceries? And ladies, how do you plan a date night without stressing him out about all of the added expenses tagged on to the night (parking, cover charge, tip, etc.)?

Check out some of these budget friendly date ideas below. I’ve been doing my own research on this for a little while as I am in the process of navigating a new relationship. We are both in our 20’s and as everyone knows, the 20’s are the brokest years (maybe I made that up…but I feel like it’s pretty accurate). We’re trying to limit our spending as we are trying to enjoy our present without sabotaging our futures financially. It’s a pretty intense balancing act, but I figured I’d let you in on somethings I’ve discovered along the way.

  1. Outdoor Music Events- When the weather is nice there are always things going on outside. Outdoor music events are ideal for when you simply want to get out of the house and find low activity entertainment. Local churches have them, large parks will usually have a schedule of music events on their websites. Go check out whats happening in your area. If you live near or in a city, there’s even more of a chance that something is happening around you. Bring a blanket or some chairs, pack some food and drinks, and enjoy the atmosphere.
  2. Trivia/Game Nights- This is actually a bigger scene for my age group than I originally thought. It makes sense due to what I said earlier about the 20’s being the brokest time, but that didn’t stop me from thinking that trivia & game nights were on the same level as retirement home bingo nights. But, I stand corrected. Many restaurants have certain nights during the week where they host trivia nights. You can join in usually for the cost of a drink or an appetizer to split between you and your date. Another idea? Have dinner at home, and go there for dessert. It’ll still be less expensive than having an entire meal, and you can enjoy some bonding and see who really is the smartest one between the two of you.
  3. Karaoke- Following the trend of restaurant entertainment, karaoke is another winner with the young adult age group. This one is a little less intimate than the game night due to the…you know…audience of strangers watching you and hearing your voice. BUT, this can be just as fun. Find a restaurant near you (or three towns over if you wish to stay unidentifiable) and figure out if they do karaoke and when. From there you can decide if you want to serenade your significant other or challenge them to a duet. Either way, it’ll be an exciting experience that you’ll either love or decide never to do again. By the way…from experience the worse of a singer you are, the more you’ll be liked.
  4. Picnics- This is a dying trend amongst our age group. I don’t understand why but it is. Regardless, I love them. Check the weather. Find a park. Invite other couples or friends, or keep it to just the two of you. Bring a frisbee, a football, a blanket or 5, pillows, food (obviously), maybe board or card games, music, and a good book (for if one of you falls asleep…hey, it happens) and enjoy!
  5. Window Shopping- This is not a date for the faint of heart. If you struggle with “I see it, I want it” then nope, this idea is not for you. For the rest of us tho, this one could be fun. Pick a city, pick out a few streets, and explore. Go inside, try things on, smell things, read things, laugh at funny things. Meet people, take silly pictures and enjoy the day. Pack a lunch for when you get hungry or have a few dollars in your pocket for an inexpensive treat.
  6. Farmers Markets- I know. Money. But, they don’t always have to be expensive! Leave your wallet in the car and bring $15 in your pocket instead and stretch it as far as it can go. Taste something new, listen to music, talk to a stranger, take some cute pictures, pet a dog, buy an interesting fried snack or a bucket of fresh picked blueberries, chew on a honey stick.
  7. Deal Days – Certain places give out deals for specific things. For example, Bank of  America has its Museums on us deal, where for the first full weekend of every month, you can visit one of the select museums on them, for free if you have their card. Certain libraries hold free passes to water parks or amusement parks. Organizations may give away tickets to movies or games. Figure out what connections you have and take advantage of them! You might not be into museums, or the specific sporting event, but go anyway and enjoy the memory.

Those are some things I’ve discovered through my research. I know there are tons more ideas such as mini road trips and hiking and all types of crazy things. I didn’t want to list everything, but wanted to give you a taste for the many things that are out there to do. Dinner and a movie is not the only option anymore, it’s a big world out there. Explore it!

Some sources to check out too if you don’t know where to start: Your Facebook events calendar page. Scroll through there and filter according to your area, you may find something inexpensive that sparks your interest. The other day I found a food truck event at a local park that happens every Friday, I had no idea. Groupon is another cool app that can help you with ideas of what to do in your area. Eventbrite is similar to Facebook events and will tell you whats going on around you and when, I like it because I can can place these dates in my calendar and save them for a rainy day.

Whatever you choose to do, ladies and gentlemen, just remember, the thing that makes the date special is simply being intentional. Even if you do something low-key with no bells or whistles, knowing that it was thought about ahead of time wins for most parties.

I hope you found this helpful! Do you have any budget friendly date ideas that I didn’t mention? I’m constantly looking for new suggestions so if you have any, please, list them below, I’d love to hear them! In the meantime, enjoy your Saturday, and as always, Stay Lovely.

– Nicole

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