Couple in love riding a motorbike.

18 Inexpensive Date Ideas That Don’t Scream Cheap

Dating is hard enough when you have a little cushion in your bank account, but it can be even more complicated when you don’t. You want to impress your new love interest, but you’re also concerned about how to do that on a tight budget without looking too cheap.  

Whether you’re an old married couple or just beginning to experience new love, finding time to connect and share memorable experiences is critical.

Remember, it’s not about the money you spend but the thought and effort you put into planning a date. There are plenty of budget-friendly activities that can make your partner feel special and ensure you both have a great time.

1. Sunset Picnic

happy couple picnic sunset
Image Credit: bbernard and Shutterstock.

I suspect most towns have a picture-perfect spot off the beaten path where you can lay a blanket down and watch the sunset over the horizon. If so, I recommend packing a delicious picnic or even a charcuterie board and a bottle of wine or sparkling juice, grab your loved one, and head out. 

Build up a small appetite as you hike to the spot you may or may not have already scoped out, and wow your partner with your thoughtful gesture and creativity.

2. Minor League Sporting Events

couple watching baseball game
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If you’re both sports fans, checking out a local minor league game is in the ballpark of an inexpensive date with concession stand hotdogs and a cold beverage. Minor League Baseball tickets for a Triple-A game usually cost around $20; however, you can often score them even cheaper on weekdays.

Check out your local team’s website for special events and prices they’re offering, and take advantage of those $ 1 hotdogs and $3 beer nights. Trust me, they do exist. 

3. Check out Local Murals

young couple in front mural
Image Credit: Image Source Trading Ltd and Shutterstock.

If you live in a city like I do, there are plenty of city-sponsored brightly painted murals all around town. An excellent idea for a date is to map out a course within a specific mileage parameter and explore all the great work around town. 

Ride your bikes around town to see each of them to make it extra fun. While there, turn it into a photo session and take turns striking your best pose. You won’t regret the memories you capture.

4. Paint-By-Numbers Night

Hobbies girl painting.
Image Credit: Jim_Filim and Depositphotos

For craftier couples, a paint-by-numbers date night might just be what the Love Doctor orders. I often find paint-by-number kits for sale at various retailers and craft stores for less than $5. 

Instead of heading to the more expensive businesses where you can sip wine and paint while breaking the bank, grab a few of the kits and have your own painting party in the comfort of your home- pajamas optional.

5. Go Hiking Together

Walking, Running, or Hiking.
Image Credit: baranq and Depositphotos.

This may seem like a no-brainer to many, but enjoying a beautiful hike with your partner is an inexpensive way to spend uninterrupted time together without costing an arm and a leg. Getting out into nature and communing with the elements will leave you feeling grounded and spent in the best kind of way.

It’s a great way to reconnect while breathing in fresh air and taking in the beauty of Mother Nature.

6. Board Game Night

friends playing board games.
Image Credit: Maksim kulikov and iStock

I love board games, card games, and dominos, so I am happy as a clam when we decide to stay in and have a night of friendly or not-so-friendly competition. If you have kids, you probably already have several dusty board games hanging around somewhere, but your local thrift store is guaranteed to have a few if you don’t.

Nothing screams “I love you,” like kicking your partner’s butt in a rousing game of Monopoly or Scrabble. Just be sure to be a good loser when victory escapes you. 

7. Thrift Store Shopping

Interior Of Charity Shop Or Thrift Store Selling Used And Sustainable Clothing And Household Goods.
Image Credit: daisy-daisy and Depositphotos.

When one of my best friends started dating her new boyfriend, he planned what I consider one of the best dates I’ve ever heard of. He took her to a local thrift store and had them pick out outfits for each other—the more ridiculous, the better. He then took her to the “Selfie Museum” (yes, we have one in town), and they had an impromptu photo session.

If the photo session isn’t your thing, you can always stroll around town, eating ice cream or drinking coffee in your silly outfits, ensuring a lot of laughs are shared. 

8. Holiday Lights Sightseeing

young girl christmas lights
Image Credit: Victoria Fox and Shutterstock.

I asked my colleague and fellow writer Veronica Booth for a fun date idea that doesn’t cost a fortune but is sure to be a good time, and she shared a fabulous idea with me. During the holidays, she and her boyfriend fill a thermos with hot chocolate, drive around town, and check out the Christmas lights on display. 

They will even rate the decorations with colorful commentary to make it extra fun, guaranteeing a mirthful time filled with laughter and creating future inside jokes. 

9. Volunteer Work

volunteer work
Omage Credit: VesnaArt and Shutterstock.

Usually, anything resembling work doesn’t necessarily scream romantic or “date” material. However, a lot of bonding can occur when participating in a positive and impactful activity. Cities typically have multiple options to choose from, too. 

A particular one that I find to be invigorating is volunteering at a local “urban farm.” Here, we have the opportunity to get sweaty and dirty as we plant seeds, pull weeds, and help harvest ready-to-pick produce for our city’s food bank and homeless population. 

10.  Fall Foliage Viewing

couple fall foliage
Image Credit: Subbotina Anna and Shutterstock.

This date idea will only apply to those fortunate enough to live in areas with a change in the seasons. As the leaves change from summer green to autumn golds and reds, the two of you can enjoy the fall foliage on a scenic drive.

As you wind through the countryside, be sure to pull over occasionally and capture those beautiful moments when the landscape is lit up like a fire. Fill a thermos with hot chocolate or hot spiced cider and enjoy each other’s company.  

11. Picnic on the Living Room Floor

couple eating pizza floor
Image Credit: Image Source Trading Ltd and Shutterstock.

My husband and I spent our second wedding anniversary eating pizza and drinking wine on the floor of our new rental home, surrounded by boxes. It was one of the most romantic nights of our ten-year relationship. Finances were tight as we had just moved from a different city and doled out a lot of money for expenses. 

A floor picnic can be done anytime and not under extenuating circumstances. Prepare a meal, throw down some cushions, turn down the lights, light some candles, play some soft jams, and enjoy the feast from the living room floor. The best kind of date involves remaining engaged and in the moment while you enjoy each other’s company. 

12. Grab Icecream and Stoll Through a Park

retired couple icecream park
Image Credit: and Shutterstock.

A lovely spring and summertime date that won’t break the bank but is sure to be enjoyable is going to your favorite ice cream shop, getting a three-scoop cone, and strolling through a nearby park or along your town’s city center, if it has one. 

It makes for great people-watching and allows you to get to know each other better if you’re not already an old married couple. If you are, you’ll have a chance to catch up and reconnect while strolling hand in hand.   

13. Free Day at a Museum

washington dc museums
Featured Image Credit: Depositphotos & Kmiragaya

Most, if not all, local museums offer a free day or, at the very least, a heavily discounted price for admission. Couples can explore a fantastic art exhibit or historical artifacts and antiquities, enhancing their relationship as they enrich their minds. This is a great way to have an inexpensive date. 

14. Concert in the Park

girlfriends concert park
Image Credit: Anton Gvozdikov and Shutterstock.

Cities often offer free or cheap concerts or movies in the park. Take advantage of them! Local event guides usually publish information regarding the time, date, and what is showing or who is playing, so it should be easy to plan in advance. 

Pack a small cooler, grab a blanket or lawn chairs, and possibly bug spray, and go enjoy a symphony light up the night sky. 

15. Prepare a New Recipe Together

Young couple cook together and have fun while tasting the sauce they have prepared.
Image Credit: Kitreel and Shutterstock

If you’re foodies or just love to cook, this is a great way to spend time together that is fun, engaging, and inexpensive. Select a recipe you want to make together and head to the market to pick up all the ingredients you don’t already have.

Turn on some music, break out the pots and pans, and create a culinary masterpiece to share over a candlelit table. 

16. Build Your Own Icecream Bar

icecream bar
Image Credit: JeniFoto and Shutterstock.

Who doesn’t like ice cream? The better question is, who doesn’t love building their own ice cream treat with all the toppings while at home? Pick up your favorite flavors, chocolate and caramel syrups, whipped cream, sprinkles, and all the other fixings. 

Set them out on your kitchen counter or dining room table and create the most delicious Ice Cream Sunday you’ve ever had—cherry and all. 

17. Explore a Local Farmer’s Market

older couple happy grocery shopping vegetable aisle.
Image Credit: NDAB Creativity and Shutterstock

If you don’t spend a ton of money while exploring your local farmer’s market, this can be an inexpensive yet charming date. Peruse each vendor’s booth, check out homemade goods, taste test beef jerky and pastries, and grab a delicious cup of freshly squeezed lemonade. 

Even better, combine this date with preparing a new recipe, purchasing the necessary ingredients, and continuing the date at home by cooking together. 

18. Campout and Stargaze

beach camping
Featured Image Credit: Depositphotos and Vadymvdrobot

This particular date might only work if you live where there isn’t much night pollution preventing you from checking out the Milky Way. If you’re one of the lucky ones with access to a beautiful night sky, set up a tent in your backyard, lay some blankets on the ground, and behold the beauty of the universe.

Take turns pointing out constellations and make wishes on any shooting stars that zoom across the night sky. As your eyes grow heavy, head into the tent, snuggle in sleeping bags, and drift off to sleep while listening to the sounds of the nocturnal wildlife. 

11 Simple Money Habits to Learn From Minimalists to Streamline Finances for a Richer Life

Thoughtful female sit in kitchen holding financial documents look on computer screen.
Image Credit: Fizkes and Shutterstock

In today’s fast-paced consumer society, the art of minimalist living offers more than just a decluttered home – it presents a pathway to financial serenity and empowerment.

Minimalism, at its core, is about stripping away the non-essential to make room for what truly adds value to our lives. This philosophy extends powerfully into the realm of personal finance, where minimalist habits can lead to a healthier, more mindful approach to money.

By adopting certain financial practices championed by minimalists, anyone can experience the profound sense of freedom and control that comes with financial simplicity.

From prioritizing experiences over possessions to embracing the discipline of budgeting, the money habits of minimalists are not just strategies for saving; they’re transformative steps towards a more purposeful and enriched life. Here are some minimalist money habits that anyone can benefit from.

Minimalism vs Simple Living: Understanding the Key Differences

happy young woman drinking coffee or tea at home looking out window.
Image Credit: Ground Picture and Shutterstock

Minimalism and simple living are two popular lifestyle choices that have gained much attention recently. Both lifestyles focus on living with less and finding contentment in what you have rather than constantly seeking more. While there are similarities between minimalism and simple living, there are also some key differences that set them apart.

Minimalism is a lifestyle that involves intentionally simplifying your life by eliminating excess possessions and focusing on what truly matters. It is about finding joy in the things that matter most rather than being bogged down by clutter and material possessions. Minimalism can be a great way to reduce stress and increase your overall sense of well-being.

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With a passion for travel, great food, and beautiful art, Julie put aside her 15-year career in the tech industry and dove head-first into a more creative sphere. Utilizing her degree in Communications, she is pursuing freelance writing. An avid traveler, Julie has experience writing and documenting the amazing spots she has visited and explored, the delicious food she has tasted, and the incredible art she has admired and purchased! When she’s not writing, she can be spotted around Austin, TX, at various art gallery openings, having a delicious meal with her husband and friends, and playing with her two dogs.