Let’s face it… dating is ‘spensive.
Movie tickets are outrageous. Food for two at restaurants can be pricey. Heck, even going to the fair can cost an arm and a leg.
Whether you’re teens in a relationship looking for date night ideas that can be funded by a minimum-wage paycheck, or recently engaged couples like Josh and I looking for budget-friendly alternatives to movie-and-dinner nights, I’ve compiled seven of our favorite fun, low-budget date night ideas that have brought us closer as a couple.
1) Learn To Cook a Meal Together
I especially recommend this if you’re newly engaged and are new to cooking (#speakingfromexperience). Prior to our engagement, Josh and I both had limited experience in the kitchen, so now at least once a week we try to cook something together. Each meal costs around $15 – $30 to make, the more costly ones normally requiring ingredients that we haven’t yet stocked at his house. He just moved in to our future home, so we’re still buying essentials.
Some of our favorite meals we’ve made together have been:
- Cajun Shrimp and Copycat Cheddar Bay Biscuits
- Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo
- Tacos (chicken or beef)
Just search Pinterest for loads of yummy, easy-to-make recipes!
2) Binge Watch a TV Show, Only When You’re Together
Before Disney+, Josh and I would randomly fall into conversations about Boy Meets World and then end up watching clips of the hilarious Eric Matthews on YouTube. Once the streaming platform came out, we jumped on the opportunity to watch Boy Meets World together. Even though we both have our own profiles on Disney+, this is a sacred activity we do together, and I have come to enjoy the show more now that I can discuss it with Josh as we’re watching it.
3) Create a List of Movies and Watch Together
Both being movie nerds, one of the first things Josh told me to do when we started dating four years ago was to make a list of movies to watch together. I did so on Pinterest, and keep track of our movie watching through a To-Watch list and a Watched list. To date, we have watched over 340 movies together, utilizing our shared streaming services. If you and your significant other love movies as much as we do, I highly recommend this.
4) Game Night
This usually happens more for us on group dates, like when we’re hanging out with friends or our families, but game nights cost $0 if you’re playing a game you already have. Besides being absolutely hilarious when played with the right people, if pairs are involved in any games, you and your date can build a stronger relationship by picking each other’s brains. One of my all-time favorite Game Night moments was when Josh and I were at our friends’ house playing Apples to Apples.
If you haven’t heard of the game, one person draws a card with a descriptive word on it. The other players then lay down cards from their hand that could (ironically or not) describe the person’s card while the original player is not looking. The player then picks the card they feel best matches their card, or the one they find the funniest.
In this instance, Josh had the word “luxurious”. For the past few weeks, I’d caught him randomly saying “roll that beautiful bean footage” from the Bush’s Baked Beans commercials, and lo and behold, “Baked Beans” was one of my cards. Y’all can go ahead and guess whose card he picked… XD In reference to Boy Meets World, it was a total Eric-Rachel-Penguin situation.
5) Go For a Walk Together
Exercising together is also said to bring couples closer together, so going for a leisurely walk could be a great gateway into a dual fitness journey. Josh and I have done this a few times and enjoyed each other’s company and support, but if you took note of just how many movies we’ve watched over the past four years, you probably realize this isn’t a habit for us. XD Still, if y’all are into exercising, go for it!
6) Go For a Drive and Talk
We live in rural eastern North Carolina where the nearest Outback, Logan’s, and movie theaters are 30+ minutes away, so every time we go on a “‘Spensive Date”, we end up doing this anyway. XD
But, if you’re city dwellers and live in close proximity to all your usual date destinations, I highly suggest striking out on a night drive with no destination in mind and talking it out. Josh and I have had some of the best conversations on car rides, talking about everything from God to politics to debating which Toy Story movie is the best.
7) Go Bowling
I’ll preface this by saying that I realize bowling can be expensive. My fiance is a league bowler, so trust me when I say I realize how much bowling costs. XD
But, if you’re looking for a low budget, fun date night activity, bowling is right up your alley. Pun intended.
A few tips for saving money on bowling:
Avoid Renting Lanes by the Hour
If your bowling alley allows it, always choose to pay by game. At our local bowling alley, if the hour ends before you finish your game, your game is over. Even if you’re still on your first game of the night. Make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
Seek Out Discount Nights
Around here, Fridays and Saturdays are booming and alleys capitalize on those nights. Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays are league nights, leaving Sunday and Wednesdays for discounted pricing on lane rentals. This is true for our bowling alley, but most likely varies by location. Be sure to check out your local bowling alley’s rates online!
Invest in Your Own Shoes
If you plan on going bowling together a lot, invest in your own bowling shoes instead of renting. At our local bowling alley, shoe rentals are around $3 each. So, if y’all go bowling twice a month, that’s $144 a year on shoes alone. The average bowling shoes cost around $40 per pair, and at the rate of use, would be good for years to come. Plus, if you have your own shoes, you’ll avoid the icky rental ones. 😛
Talk to Me, Arrowheads!
What date night activities can you think of that are easy on the wallet? Drop some suggestions in the comments, though please keep it clean! Remember, this is a family-friendly website. 🙂
Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.