Whether you're venturing out on a first date or sneaking away with your husband for a night without the kids, a date night doesn't have to break the bank. There are many outings you can try that are high in fun and low in price. Finding just the right activity when you're on a budget can basically bring upon unwanted stress. So why not explore these affordable options that won't drag you down financially? You and your date won't be sorry.
Organize a Game Night - Hit up the hall closet and pull out all the board games and cards you own. Spend an evening balancing Jenga blocks, counting your money in Monopoly or getting to UNO. Pop open a bottle of wine and make appetizers that can be eaten easily while playing, and you'll have a great low-key evening.
Scary Movie Marathon - There's nothing like cuddling up to your date during an especially scary or creepy scene in a horror movie. Stop by the local video store and pick up three of your favorites for a monster movie marathon. You can even pretend it's Halloween and stock the house with candy and popcorn.
Stop and Smell the Roses - Look up a local garden or nature park in your area and gear up for an afternoon walk. Most parks are free or cost a nominal fee, and you can spend the day taking in the sights and sounds of nature while getting some exercise and also having lots of time to talk. Finish up your jaunt with a picnic with sandwiches from a local deli or sub shop.
Be a Tourist in Your Own City - Use date night as an excuse to explore the spots around your city or town that you've never managed to frequent. Whether it's the world's largest ball of yarn, an art museum, or tacky theme restaurant, you'll quickly learn there's no place like your hometown. You're sure to have a blast acting like an out-of-towner. Don't forget to bring along a camera for those cheesy posed photos!
Go See a Play - Try a new take on "dinner and a movie." Find out what's performing at your local playhouse and check it out. Tickets are usually cheap and support local artists. If it ends up being awful, you can have a good time making fun of it together or re-enacting your favorite awkward scenes in the parking lot after the curtain comes down.
Wine Tasting or Brewery Tour - What's the best way to enjoy libations on the cheap? Visit a local winery or brewery for a tour or tasting. Not only will it be like going to happy hour without the big bill, you might also pick up some tips for what to serve at your next dinner party or backyard barbeque. Just make sure you have a safe ride to get home after swigging down your samples.
Break the Ice - Warm up to your date while hitting the ice at a local ice skating rink. Cuddle up with hot chocolate and use this as an excuse to wear your favorite scarf while you and your date make your way around the rink. Not an outdoor rink in your area? Use this date in the dredges of summer to beat the heat and get close to your sweetie with an indoor skate.
Play House - Look through the real estate listings in your area to see what open houses will be held on a Saturday or Sunday. Put on a suit and a nice dress and spend the afternoon playing make-believe by touring all the fancy houses for sale in your area and daydreaming about which one you would pick and how you would decorate it.
Do Some Good - Roll up your sleeves and spend a day volunteering together at a local animal shelter or food bank. Not only will you feel better about yourself, you'll make a difference in the community while getting to know each other or strengthening your relationship.
Let's Get Physical - If you're both the active type you can find a cheap exercise class to take together that will get your heart pumping. Even cheaper is a run in a park, bike ride, or an hour of self-led yoga on the beach.
Make a Fresh Dinner - Find out where the local farmer's market is in your area and spend the morning picking out fresh and local ingredients for a dinner that evening. You can spend the rest of the day looking through recipes and coming up with ideas for your meal.
Shake Your Groove Thang - Break out your college black light and craft an i-Tunes playlist that would put your local DJ to shame. Spend an evening boogieing in the comfort of your own home without the overpriced cocktails and snotty doormen.
Embrace Your Inner Child - Spend a night at the local arcade playing video games, laser tag, and bumper cars. Allow yourself to indulge in pizza, hot dogs, and ice cream and get your date a funny gift with the tickets you've earned.
Casino Night - Find a casino in your area with penny slots and live music. You can enjoy people watching, dancing, and maybe winning some money while you take advantage of the cheap buffet and complimentary drinks.
Catch a Game - Most cities have a nearby college or minor league sporting team that can offer a night of sports action for a fraction of the price of the pros. Check the schedules, don the team's colors, and head out for a night of beer, peanuts, and hot dogs.
Get Crafty - Pick up some blank canvases, tubes of paint, a few brushes, and markers and go to town. You can go outside for some artistic inspiration or challenge each other to paint something the other one suggests. Either way you'll end up with a fun night and something you can always remember it by.
It doesn't matter if you're feeling the financial burden, looking to spice up the routine date night or both; these ideas can provide a night of fun. If you really want to keep it interesting, write each of these ideas on a separate slip of paper. Place all of these ideas in a paper bag, shake it up and randomly draw one.
Who knows where the night will take you? One thing is for sure though - you'll get by on a shoestring.