50 Cheap Date Ideas That Don't Break the Bank

Inexpensive date ideas for when you’re on a budget but still want to woo your partner
on January 17, 2024
Read time: 10 mins
cheap date ideas

Coming up with cheap date ideas can be tricky, but with a little imagination, there are plenty of ways you can spend time with your partner — without spending (too much) money. 

While we’d all love to be able to wine and dine our partners with fancy dinners and extravagant trips, most of us can’t splash the cash like that. But that doesn’t mean you can’t bond with your partner and find new, exciting ways to have fun together. 

While there's nothing wrong with ordering a pizza and browsing your favorite streaming service, it's not exactly an exciting date idea. So if you’re strapped for cash, it’s time to get creative. After all, the best dates are the ones that show how much you care about your partner — even if they are more budget-friendly. 

Without further ado, we put together 16 fun cheap date ideas that don’t feel cheap — and aren't “Netflix and chill”.

Cheap date night ideas

1. Go for a picnic but with a twist

Ok, so a picnic date might be a bit cliche — but you can always put a more creative spin on it. Pick a theme, like “foods that begin with the letter G”, maybe decide on a specific cuisine (Spanish tapas, for example), or each of you brings your partner’s top three favorite foods. 

Alternatively, you can each pick a color and bring five food items of that color. Picnics don’t have to be boring, or expensive. 

2. Browse a library or used bookstore

Unleash your inner bookworm and take your date to a second-hand bookstore or your local library, where you’ll find some reads on a budget. Books are great conversation starters, so this is a perfect date idea even if the relationship is still new. 

Have a browse and play a game to find each other the perfect book. You can even test how well you know your partner’s literary preferences, or surprise them with a book they would have never picked up for themselves.

Once you’ve exchanged books, reward yourselves with a job well done by finding a quiet spot to rendezvous for a quick smooch among the shelves. Bonus points if you do it in the romance aisle!

If you’re an avid reader, why not start up a book club for two, so you can keep the conversation going even after the date? 

3. Have a fantasy night 

No, we’re not talking about Dungeons & Dragons. Come up with some sexual fantasies that you'd both like to try, put the suggestions in a hat, and pick one at random to try out first. 

Research shows that couples who talk about sex have a better, more satisfying sex life. This at-home date idea is not only cheap, but it will give you the chance to talk about your desires and boundaries and explore new passionate ways to be intimate. Now that sounds like a fun date night to us! 

4. Take a dance lesson

Head over to your local community, rec center, or any other community-organized dance class. They’re often inexpensive and a great place to people-watch. If you don’t want to leave your house, find a choreography to learn on YouTube or TikTok. 

Even if you or your partner have two left feet, dancing together is a fun way to explore physical connection, and you’re guaranteed a laugh or two. It might also be a great way to practice your wedding dance… 

5. Plan a holiday together 

Keyword: plan. So you might not have the funds right now, but why should that stop you from creating the ultimate getaway together? 

Pick a destination you’re dying to visit, do the research and find all the best landmarks and foodie spots, scout the best deals online, and then come up with a plan to save for the holiday. 

Research shows that having shared goals is strongly linked to relationship quality,  and working towards shared goals as a couple and perceived partner support for individual goals were both related to increased happiness in relationships.

6. Go on a lover’s supermarket sweep 

All you need for this week’s date night idea is your local grocery or dollar store. Make a list of three or four items to buy each other — for example, “partner’s favorite snack”, “something they need”, and “something that reminds you of them.” 

You can agree on a budget together and set a time limit to make it even more of a challenge! It's a cheap and cheerful way for you and your partner to shower each other with gifts and a pretty adorable way to see how well you really know each other.

7. Volunteer together 

Rather than doing something for each other this week, why not do something that also benefits someone in need? 

Research shows that people who volunteer report feeling more satisfied with their mental health and overall lives, which can only mean good things for their relationships. You could give back to your local community by supporting a neighborhood initiative, spending some time with pets at an animal shelter, or picking a cause that is close to both your heart. 

8. Host a game night

For this idea, it might be time to try out a double date. Invite over your couple of friends for a healthy dose of competition. Toss in a friendly wager to spice things up a little. Dust off classic games like Charades and Pictionary, or get a board game going. 

Don’t want other people around? Not a problem. Turn any game sexy and introduce your own saucy rules (hint: strip poker).

9. Go stargazing 

If you’re looking for a romantic date, put away your phones and take a mindful walk out under the stars and connect with each other. See how many constellations you can recognize and if you’re lucky you might even see a shooting star! 

For city-dwellers, if the light pollution is making it tricky to see the stars, visit the planetarium or take a midnight trip to the countryside and camp out in nature. 

10. Hit up the arcade

Want to feel like a teen again? Walk down memory lane by grabbing a few quarters and heading to your nearest arcade. See who can score the most points on Pac-Man, shoot some hoops on the basketball machine, and try to win as many tickets to buy your partner a teddy bear or test your luck at the claw machine. Once you’re done enjoying the retro fun, treat yourselves to a slushie. 

Or, if you want to keep it even more budget-friendly, play some video games from home! 

11. Have a DIY spa night 

No need to break the bank for fancy spa treatments — you can recreate a pampering session at home. 

Put on some sultry music, light a few candles, draw a bubble bath for the both of you, give each other a sensual back massage, and treat your skin to a face mask.

12. Learn a new skill 

Don’t worry, you won’t have to invest in expensive equipment to try this cheap date night idea. The internet is packed with free tutorials, whether you want to try a new cooking class for a new recipe, learn origami, or give a new craft a shot. 

You might even be able to find a cheap (or free) class on Groupon, or, if you and your partner have a special skill, teach each other! Maybe you’re great at playing guitar and your S.O. is handy with a paintbrush. 

This will be a fun way to learn something new, laugh at how bad you are (at first), and practice the art of patience. 

13. Go hiking

Are you the outdoorsy type? Then make the most of nature and hit the trails. The scenic views, fresh air, and quality time together will guarantee a good time. 

And if you’re worried about running out of things to talk about, the Paired app is filled with relationship questions and conversation starters to keep the dialogue going. 

14. Go indoor camping

And if you’re not the outdoorsy type? You can still get away from it all but from the comfort of your living room. 

Think blanket forts, pajamas, and even a playful pillow fight. Setting up an at-home movie theater is quite the way to elevate your usual movie night — perfect for your next binge-watch! 

You get the best of camping but with no bugs or outside elements in sight. And yes, this means s’mores and scary ghost stories are a must!

15. Hit up a flea market

There’s nothing more satisfying than a good bargain, so why not rummage through as many flea markets or thrift stores as possible and see who can score the best deal? 

Who knows, you might even stumble across a cool vintage find for a bit of nostalgia, or pick up some homeware essentials at a great price. You’d also stop something from going to a landfill by giving it a second life! It’s a win-win. 

16. Watch the sunrise together

You’ll have to wake up really early for this one, but we promise it’ll be worth it. Scout a scenic spot to snuggle up together and watch the sun come up. Bring a blanket and a flask for coffee, and take it all in together. 

Leave your phone in the car and enjoy the sunrise without taking any photos. Not only will this help you stay present and in the moment, but it will help you stay grounded in nature and start the day positive, connected, and relaxed.

Even though it will rob you of a few hours of sleep — trust us, this free date is a lot of fun! 

17. Explore your local museums' 

Works of art may be priceless, but thankfully the admission to see them is not! There is an abundance of local art galleries and museums which are free, or which have a cheap entry fee. 

Or, if you don’t want to leave the house, bring the culture to you with a virtual museum tour! 

18. Head to your local park 

It may seem simple, but heading to your local park can be a fun outing depending on what you do. 

We’ve already mentioned a picnic in the park but why not use the space to get active? Go on a bike ride with your significant other, or even try your hand at roller skating. 

We’d suggest packing some band-aids for this one! 

19. Go window shopping 

Even if you are not up for a splurge, window shopping can be just as fun!

Head to a coffee shop for a caffeine boost before wandering through the streets — you may even set your sights on something you want to save for. 

20. Test your karaoke skills 

Singing doesn’t have to be reserved for special occasions. 

Even though there are affordable karaoke spots that you can enjoy — who says you can’t set up a disco at home? Craft a few makeshift microphones (hair brushes are preferred) and stick on some karaoke remixes from YouTube. 

You can even test your partner’s knowledge of your favorite discography with some karaoke roulette —- bonus points go for some Britney Spears! 

21. Set up a scavenger hunt 

Planning a romantic treasure hunt takes a lot of work but it’s a surefire way to impress your date! 

Start by choosing your final treasure first, then work your way backward, leaving little hints and gifts along the way. This fun date idea is guaranteed to give you giggles and heartfelt moments in equal measure — even if your clues aren’t the romantic poetry we’re used to! 

22. Have a trivia night 

How much do you really know about your partner?

Turn your next date night into your own game show with the Newlywed Game. Start easy with questions about their favorite ice cream flavor or your first date spot before you let your competitive streak loose! 

This is a great way to get to know your partner on a deeper level — without breaking the bank! 

23. Go swimming 

Fancy a dip? Swimming doesn’t need to be saved for your next vacation. 

Even though it might be more of a seasonal affair, taking a dip in the ocean is always great fun. Whether you prefer a sunrise swim or a late-night dip, swimming with your partner can make for a fun and budget-friendly date. 

24. Break out the puzzles 

While IKEA furniture building can be dangerous business for couples — we think puzzles are a pretty safe bet! 

Dig out a jigsaw for a fun night in. After all, you’re each other’s perfect fit.  

25. Visit a local farmer’s market 

What’s better than local produce? 

Instead of a trip to the supermarket, make a day trip out of your dinner planning. Write out a list of what you need and take a trip to your local farmer’s market to tick it off! 

This is a great way to support your local community, that also elevates your next meal. 

26. Visit a local botanic garden 

If you have green fingers, this is the perfect date idea for you!

Botanic gardens are usually quite inexpensive to visit and are always an amazing experience — especially if the sun is shining. Stroll through the gardens hand-in-hand for a cute day out (without a big price tag). 

27. Take a scenic drive 

If you don’t feel like staying in, why not try a change of scenery?

Choose a random spot on the map and take a drive there. This is the perfect opportunity to explore somewhere new and is a great way to get adventurous without breaking the bank. 

Take the scenic route for a real road trip feel — the passenger prince or princess can choose the playlist! 

Or if you don’t have a car, map out a scenic train or bus journey for a similar feel. 

28. Set up a themed dinner 

You can get as creative as you like for this one!

In The Parent Trap, they recreate the restaurant from their mom and dad’s first date — why not give it a go? 

Choose your theme and commit to it with decorations, homemade menus, and a curated playlist — it will make it feel all the more special! 

29. DIY wine tasting 

A vineyard tour may be on your wishlist but there’s no need to wait for the wine tasting. 

Pick up a few cheap bottles of wine at the supermarket and start sipping. To enhance your sommelier skills, look up the notes of each wine and see who gets it right! 

If you’re not a wine fan, a cocktail night is just as classy for happy hour. 

30. Create a time capsule  

This creative date night is the perfect way to walk down memory lane with your partner. 

Step up your scrapbooking skills by creating a time capsule. Write a love letter to your partner and include a photo of you both together. Decide how long you want to close it for — opening it will be another date night in the diary! 

31. Pizza party 

Break out the rolling pins, it’s time for a pizza party! 

Everyone on Tik-Tok is drooling over love-heart-shaped pizzas, and who can blame them? Try out this cute pizza shape to add even more romance to your next date night. 

32. Breakfast in bed 

One of the perks of a hotel getaway is the luxury of room service. So, why wait?

While you let your partner catch up on some beauty rest, sneak out of bed early and get cooking! As the smell of coffee wafts into the room, we’re sure your significant other will appreciate the sweetness of the gesture. 

If you want to plan ahead, make up a menu for your partner to choose from the night before. Let them tick off their favorites and leave it outside the door for the morning. 

33. Try puppy yoga 

This new phenomenon has become a massive trend in the last few years — with more and more affordable classes popping up. 

Sign up for a puppy yoga class to bask in the cuteness with your romantic partner. It may be hard to keep your priorities in order with the puppies in play but we won’t judge if you get distracted!

Or if yoga isn’t for you, visit an animal shelter to spread the love to puppies in need. 

34. Walk down memory lane 

Don’t be afraid to break out the photo albums!

Whether it’s scrolling through your camera roll, or flicking through your scrapbooks — it’s fun to walk down memory lane with your partner. You can revisit your memories as a couple or look back on your childhood together for a fun conversation starter. 

35. Seek out the perfect view 

Rooftop hunting anyone? 

Explore your area to find the perfect spot for viewing the sunset together. If you’re feeling extra cute, you can even christen it as “your spot” for future romantic outings. 

36. Go to a house viewing 

Don’t panic — we know that moving in together is a big step!

If you’re a fan of Selling Sunset, or if you’re simply curious about what’s on the market, book in for a few house viewings. It can be a fun date to view some big-budget properties together and it can also be a natural way to chat about your future together. 

37. Blast the tunes 

A cheap date with a guaranteed serotonin boost? Sign us up. 

Put together the perfect playlist and get ready to scream the lyrics. This goofy date idea can help you to let loose with your partner. We’re sure your neighbors won’t mind! 

38. Try an early bird 

If you’re on a tight budget but still want to head out, an early bird deal is the perfect option for you. 

Even though you may have to head out a bit earlier, it’s a great way to still get the full experience of a date night out without the price tag. 

39. Head to the comedy club 

Even if you are a big fan of your partner’s dad jokes, it’s fun to look for new material. 

Comedy clubs often host open mic nights or new material shows for very affordable prices. These nights are the perfect opportunity to have a proper laugh with your partner. Sit in the front row if you’re feeling super secure in your relationship — who knows who they’ll pick on! 

40. Dare to try a distraction-free date 

We all love to post about our date night antics on social media. 

However, sometimes it's good to put the phone away and focus completely on your partner. This tactic can be applied to any date night to make sure that you are both actively engaging with your partner — who knows what you might learn about each other! 

41. Take a spin on the ice 

A trip to the ice rink is a fun and affordable way to take advantage of the festive season! 

Also, if you’re not a pro skater, it’s the perfect excuse to hold on to your partner a little tighter. 

42. Try reverse strip-poker 

Strip poker is a tried and true tactic to spice up your date night. 

If you don’t feel like stripping down, why not switch it up? Instead of removing an item of clothing every time, add a layer. Laughs guaranteed.

43. Stream a virtual concert 

It’s time to put your speakers to good use. 

If you couldn’t nab any affordable tickets to your favorite gig, this is a way to still get in on the action from the comfort of your own home. Stream your favorite concert (or watch a concert film) and sing along without worrying about your fellow concertgoers! 

44. Create your own drinking game 

For this cheap date idea, the options are really endless. 

Depending on how creative you want to get, you can create a drinking game for almost any situation. For example, make your next Monopoly game a bit boozy by taking a sip every time you pass Go, or finishing your drink if you end up in jail!

45. Head to the carnival 

Candy apples, fairground games, and the opportunity to show off to your partner — what’s not to love about the carnival? 

Just be wary not to splash all the cash on your quest to win your loved one a teddy bear! 

46. Build some Lego

Don’t put your Lego days behind you just yet. 

Raid your little cousins’ Lego collection or pick up a smaller set to bring back the nostalgia! Work together to create your masterpiece and if you’re feeling generous, your date can even take it away as a token. 

47. Have a photoshoot 

Put your phone camera to good use and stage a photo shoot with your partner. It doesn’t need to be professional but it’s a great excuse to dress up and strike a pose. The photos might also make a cute addition to your partner’s lock screen. 

If you’re in the mood, more saucy photoshoots are also a fun way to spice things up!

48. Go ghost-hunting 

This one is not for the faint of heart.

If you’re a horror movie fanatic though, it could be your chance to live out your Ghostbusters dreams. There are loads of haunted houses which are open to the public for your ghosthunting pursuits. 

You may even find a friendly ghost in the process! 

49. Just desserts 

You don’t need to sign up for a 3-course meal to have a great date night. 

After a homemade dinner, head out for just desserts. Head to the ice cream parlor or a nice restaurant and nab a table to satisfy your sweet tooth!

50. Build your bucket list 

Get out the markers, it’s time to put together your bucket list!

To make it more date appropriate, why don’t you make a dual bucket list which includes everything that you want to do together? From the holidays you want to go on to the meals you want to cook, this is a fun way to plan your future with your partner and see how compatible your dreams are! 

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