Romance on a Budget

Romance. The idea alone tends to conjure up images of the modern “date night”. Spending cash to spend time together has become an unnecessary mainstay in romantic relationships. It’s enough to make people on a budget cringe. But dating shouldn’t break the bank – getting together doesn’t have to overextend people financially. An inexpensive date doesn’t have to mean a second rate one. Try some of these affordable date ideas and you’ll be sure to impress for less!

  • Day date in nature! Spend the day (or part of the day) together and explore your town/city. Pack a picnic lunch and head to a public park. Exploring by bike has never been cheaper with many metro areas offering inexpensive bike rentals by the hour. Or go for a long walk. If you are near a beach or lake, bring a float and relax in the water, search for sea shells, or have a sand castle building contest! When the weather is nice, the possibilities are nearly endless. Getting outdoors together is a great way to connect with each other and nature.
  • Check out a local winery or brewery.  Take a tour and try the local flavors.  These tours are often free or cost very little, and they offer free samples!  Maybe you will discover a love for the same kind of wine or beer that you can share together for years to come.
  • Check out events hosted by your city/town. Municipal organizations, including local Chambers of Commerce, often offer an array of free or inexpensive activities for residents to enjoy. Everything from local festivals to movies in a park. Many of these are ongoing events that you can count on each week or month. Look for a calendar of events on your town’s website.
  • Inquire with your local university to see what different departments offer to the public. Many schools have drama departments that perform for the public and screen independent movies, usually for much less than conventional theaters. Many major universities even have astronomy departments that maintain their own planetariums. For a small fee, you can catch a narrated light projection show of the stars and check out the school’s telescopes! The list goes on and on, so check with your local schools to see what they offer.
  • Attend a book or poetry reading in your local area.  Most of these events are free or have a very minimal cover. Sometimes light beverages and snacks are even offered. It’s an interesting way to spend some time and you’ll have something to talk about later over coffee or a glass of wine.
  • Take a “first” class together. Yoga, ballroom dancing, kickboxing. There are so many possibilities! Most studios and gyms offer your first class for free or a reduced rate. This is a great way to try something new together and figure out what you enjoy doing without breaking the bank. If you both fall in love with a class, inquire about discounts if you purchase together.
  • Watch the sunset together!  Find the highest spot in your area, pack a picnic snack and some wine and enjoy the sun going down together.
  • Go out for breakfast. Breakfast is typically the least expensive meal on a restaurant’s menu. This is a great choice for early on in a relationship, as you can still enjoy a restaurant date at a fraction of the “date night” cost. Plus, you’ll get to know what each other’s favorites are for breakfast!
  • Now that you know what your sweetie’s preferred morning meal is, recreate it in your own kitchen! Making food at home is far less costly than eating out. Setup a special breakfast/brunch with the flairs of the comforts of home. Think PJ’s and your favorite tunes playing in the background.
  • Keep the fun meals at home trend going. Plan a “theme” dinner night for just the two of you.  Choose your favorite fare and plan an evening around your meal. Love Italian food? Make a pasta dish together, light candles and play some Pavarotti. After your meal, grab some cannoli’s and espresso and watch a romantic Italian film. You can make it interesting by trying out more exotic and remote “locales”. This is a fun way to enjoy each other’s company.
  • Go to see a drive-in movie.  These are typically cheaper than the regular movies and most drive-in theaters show two movies back to back!  Park the car, bring snacks from home and get cozy together to watch the movie.
  • Do a DIY project together. Checking out local flea markets and antique shops for inspiration. There are endless craft projects on websites like Pinterest. Find one that is best served by two people and get creative together.
  • Engage in some holiday fun. Go apple picking, cider sampling, and pumpkin carving in the fall. Go look at Christmas lights while listening to carolers. There’s inexpensive fun for every holiday you can think of.
  • Take a trip to a town you’ve never been to and take a walk around their downtown area. Experiencing new places together can be a great bonding experience. Look at it like an adventure day!
  • On very hot days, window shop by walking around your local mall. Share an ice cream or pretzel and stroll. Make a mental note of the items your significant other likes for future birthday or holiday purchases.
  • In the winter months, bundle up and go sledding!  Act like a kid and race down the hills together. Fill a thermos with hot chocolate or coffee to warm up when you’re done.
  • Be a Stargazer.  Throw a blanket on the grass and bring your favorite beverage and music.  Spend the evening lying together watching the stars.  If you have a map of the constellations, see how many you can identify.
  • Rediscover the fun of a playground.  The evening is the best time to do this as most of the children are gone. See who can swing the highest, play on the monkey bars and even take turns down the
    slide.  You are guaranteed to have some laughs and make some memories.
  • Museums!  Where ever you live, there are probably numerous museums in your area.  Check online for discount coupon. Check out the ones that interest you most and inquire about memberships, which typically give you the best bang for your buck.  Spend the day holding hands while you view the exhibits.
  • Setup a game night. Play a board game, sip your favorite drinks, and play some background music. This is a great way to spend extended periods of time together without devices or screens.
  • Go for a Spring day drive. Open the windows up to the warmer weather and stop to literally smell the roadside flowers. Keep your schedule open and be spontaneous about checking out whatever lovely things the day has to offer.
  • Pick some fruit!  Many farms have u-pick stations setup for consumers to gather their own fruit. Depending on the season, spend the afternoon picking apples, strawberries or blueberries.  Take the fruit you’ve picked together home and make some yummy pies and treats!
  • Have a “dream evening”. Hit a happy hour together and bring a pad and pen. Make a bucket list of all the things you want to do together. Money is no object in this game. It’s a terrific way to look to the future together through dreamy eyes.

The possibilities are quite literally endless. Spending time together – not money – should be the goal. With a quick change in perspective, it’s clear that shelling out lots of cash is the easy way out. Being less wasteful requires romantic ingenuity, something all significant others are sure to appreciate. Happy dating!