Before my husband and I ever got married, we made a pact that we would always date. Dating is the perfect way to keep the spark alive in any relationship. Sure, we enjoy trying new restaurants, watching a good movie, and splurging on a yummy dessert as much as the next couple. But, none of these things really fits into our focus on frugal living, and I certainly wouldn’t consider any of them “frugal date ideas.” As we’ve reevaluated our finances in the past year, this was one of our first goals – keeping our weekly date night but staying within our budget. So, we got creative.
Back in September we challenged ourselves to stick to a $5 budget for date nights and have been able to come up with several original ways to stay within that budget and still enjoy a romantic evening. With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, I thought this would be the perfect time to share a few of my favorite fun but frugal date night ideas with you. These suggestions are the perfect substitute for an expensive night out to celebrate Valentine’s Day but are just as appropriate for a budget-friendly date any night of the week.
Entertaining and Inexpensive Date Ideas
1. Night in Italy
(Otherwise known as pizza night.) We love just grabbing a pizza together. This date can be as casual or as fancy as you want it to be. A candlelit dinner at home featuring a pie from a local pizzeria, a spontaneous meal while watching your favorite sports team play, or a memorable evening making your own homemade pizza makes a great date night idea that won’t break the bank.
2. Picnic Along the River
One of the dates I remember most from last year was right after we’d purchased our home and moved to town. We picked up a pizza from a local place and took it down by the river to enjoy. We talked about the excitement of buying our first home, shared our dreams, and just enjoyed our time together. It’s funny how a date that cost under $5 is more memorable to me than some that may have cost 5 or 6 times as much. Want to recreate this type of evening for your favorite person? Pack a simple picnic (or grab a pizza like we did) and head to your favorite spot in town.
3. Movie Night
I already mentioned that heading to the movie theater isn’t the most budget-savvy date to plan. However, if you have Netflix or if you have a Redbox nearby, you can get the same experience for a lot less. Pop some popcorn, choose a movie together, and cuddle on the couch for a romantic and practically free date.
4. Local Performance
If you’re not in the know already, I’m sure you’ll be surprised at how many free or low-cost venues your local community hosts. During the summer our city holds a concert every Thursday right in the middle of town, and we have several other community activities during the winter months. Do a little research and support your local performing arts for a fun and frugal date night.
5. Coffee Date
If frugal is the name of the game, pick up a couple of tasty coffees on a coupon. Or, opt out of a pricey cup of Joe altogether and make your own latte at home. With a little bit of heated milk, your favorite fresh coffee, and a splash of cinnamon, you can create your tasty café in your own kitchen. If you want to get really crazy add a little whipped cream on top to spice it up!
6. Game Night
We’re both pretty competitive, so we love pulling out a game to play together. You could even make this a couple’s event and invite a few of your friends over. Strategize with your other half and work together to make it a night to remember.
7. Spa Night In
The stress of daily life takes its toll on both of you. Why not enjoy a relaxing night in together to get rejuvenated? Light a few candles, turn on some soothing music, and enjoy a little peace. Want to make it extra special? Use a little coconut oil and give one another foot or shoulder massages.
8. Ice Cream Date
9. Drive In Movie
I’ll admit it. I was over twenty years old before I had ever been to a drive in movie. I’d have to say now that I’ve been, though, it’s one of my favorite ways to spend an evening. Most drive in theaters charge per car, so this is another good one to invite another couple on to cut down on costs.
10. Library or Bookstore Visit
If you’re looking for a little peace and quiet, consider visiting the library or a bookstore together. Walking through stacks of books is a great way to get inspired and spend a bit of time. We love picking a new study book or devotional to read together, so this is a great way to spend one of our frugal dates Just be careful not to go crazy buying books if you visit a bookstore.
When most people think of going on a date, especially on Valentine’s Day, most people think high cost equates high value. As you can see, you can have just as much fun and make just as many memories by entertaining a frugal date night idea as you can otherwise. Plus, when you keep it budget-friendly, you’ll get to go out more often, and for me, that’s a big benefit!
What is your favorite frugal date? Do you have any other tips for planning budget-friendly date nights?