Spending hundreds of dollars on dates with your significant other can add up quickly if you don't track how much you're spending. Of course, you may want to treat yourselves every now and then, but consistently spending money at a high rate can cause problems and delay achieving your future financial goals. To help couples have the best date night on a budget, I asked dating and relationship coaches for their best ideas. From cooking together to trying outdoor movies to having a picnic under the stars, there are several date night ideas that are excellent for couples on a budget.
Budget-Friendly Date Night Ideas
Some of my favorite date nights have been making exotic meals together. Going out for sushi, pizza, Indian, etc., often gets quite pricey when you include alcohol. My partner and I enjoy special date nights where we recreate some of our favorite foods, and often they are much cheaper to make at home (and a lot more fun). Nearly any grocery store now has its own international cuisine aisle and a host of interesting vegan and vegetarian options. These meals have included making homemade Chinese dumplings (you can usually find the "wrappers" for these dumplings in the refrigerator section of the grocery), Indian, homemade bean burgers, and homemade pizza. Choose ahead the movie you want to watch, and you have the makings of an excellent date night on the cheap!
- Kristine Thorndyke, Test Prep Nerds
Keep It Simple With a Picnic
Create a picnic. Whether you choose a traditional outdoor setup or even create a picnic in your home, this can be a fun and affordable date idea. All you need to have a picnic date is a blanket and food or drinks. This leaves the budget entirely up to the couple, whether they want to splurge on a full spread with beverages or keep it light and easy. A picnic is a great, easy way to switch up the routine in any season.
- Lisa Odenweller, Kroma Wellness
Go to a Bookstore
Go to a bookstore for a date night. Select a book for each other. While it's fun to pick something you may like, choosing one for someone else is quite meaningful. This gets you thinking about the other person, leads to conversations about what they like to read and what they're not a fan of, and really helps you understand their personality. It's a great way to get to know each other in a non-typical date setting.
- Corey Ashton Walters, Here
Try Outdoor Movies
Outdoor movies are a great date night for couples on a budget. You can get a smartphone projector for $50 or less or DIY one for a couple of dollars with a shoebox and magnifying glass. Simply find a blank wall or hang up a sheet for your screen. Then, roll out blankets and pillows, grab some popcorn and dollar candy, and enjoy a show under the stars. This special setup makes for a more romantic evening and upgrades movie night from simply cuddling on the couch with Netflix.
- Carly Hill, VirtualHolidayParty.com
Bring Your Own Bottle of Wine to Dine in a Restaurant
Consider bringing your own bottle of wine to date night when dining at a restaurant. When the restaurant allows it, they will charge a cork fee in exchange for you bringing in your own bottle to open. These prices range from $25 to $80, which is pennies compared to what you would pay for the same bottle at an upscale restaurant. What's even better is that you can put a cork in the unused portion and keep what is yours. A little extra bubbly for the bubble bath later? This tactic is a great way to spend more on great conversation instead of the tab.
- Will Gill, DJ Will Gill
Have a Unique Rooftop Dinner for Two
Picture this scene—a dinner date on a rooftop, complete with all the works. Spice things up with dreamy lights, a white canopy, flowers, music, good food, and wine. You can even toss in some blankets and throw pillows for some cuddling. You may think that staging one can break a hole in your pocket. It may be far from the truth. All you need is a bit of creativity and resourcefulness. It can be a DIY thing, with items borrowed from your unit or place. Whip up some gourmet dishes in your kitchen, then bring them to the rooftop. Wine does not need to be pricey. You can buy flowers from the market and wrap them yourself. The same is true with fairy lights, which are affordable and easy to install. The preparation may take a bit of time. But all the effort will be worth it. And one thing is for sure; you are sure to bring some happiness to the person you love. What a way to spend some priceless moments together in the most unique way possible.
- Laura Martinez, PersonalityMax
Visit an Art Gallery for a Date
Art, wine tasting, and romantic ambiance. Selecting an art gallery for a low to no-cost date night is the way to go. Even though this is a public place, you will have excellent conversation starters and enjoy each other's company. Break the ice by discussing your insight on the newest exhibition. What makes an art gallery a great place is the ability to dress to impress without overdoing the occasion. You will enjoy the company of your date and, if successful, will have many fond memories of a romantic night.
- Benjamin Earley, HOLT
Play Indoor Board Games
Playing indoor board games as a night date can be a cheap yet intimate moment. Indoor games allow players to be their authentic selves because once competition sets in, the usual tension of a date eases. The couple will get to bond as they have fun in a relaxed state. Another plus is that such a game requires minimum resources in terms of money. The couple needs just enough to buy snacks and some drinks to enjoy as the games go on.
- yongming Song, Imgkits- Photo Editor
Picnic Under the Stars
Have a picnic under the stars. Can anything be more romantic than that? All you need is a blanket, a picnic basket filled with delicious snacks, and a prosecco bottle to add some sparkle. A picnic date night doesn't require too much planning. Just grab a basket, turn off your phone, and enjoy a night under the stars with your favorite person. Remember that your wishes are twice as likely to come true when you both wish upon the stars together! You can also watch movies, play a couple's card game, or talk about life. There are plenty of picnic date ideas to choose from, depending on your tastes and interests. This date night option is affordable, romantic, relaxing, and original. It's just a perfect idea for anyone, I believe. Have fun!
- Agata Szczepanek, Resume Now