When we were dating, our cheap or free date ideas often involved a walk through the local hardware store. My (now) husband wasn’t in ministry full-time yet at that point, so his “day job” was helping with the construction of new homes. There was usually some new tool or gadget for work he wanted to check out, or he needed another box of nails for his latest project.
In those days, money was scarce. He drove an old, gray Honda Prelude that he often had to push to start. I was still in college full-time. We were just about to discover Larry Burkett and Christian Financial Concepts, which would propel us into a life-long journey of living on a budget and being mindful of our money. Nowadays, we’re Dave Ramsey fans (if you haven’t yet, be sure to read my post 13 Things Dave Ramsey Fans Wish You Knew).
We’ve been married for nearly 19 years now, and I think we’ve exhausted all the cheap or free date ideas that exist! One of my personal favorites are going on a walk or hike together, and yes, we still hold hands after all these years. We still love walking, talking, and dreaming! Some of our best conversations have happened on those walks.
If you’re on a budget and at a loss for free date ideas, then you’ll enjoy this list. Some may work for you, some may not, but as long as you find one or two that you love… well, that’s all you need!
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- 3 Bible Verses About Marriage That Will Change Your Life
So, without further ado, here are our cheap or free date ideas for your next date night!
27 Cheap or Free Date Ideas
Sit down together after the kids are off to bed, set out some fun snacks, and learn to create gorgeous little works of art using folded paper. All you need is paper and guides which can be found for free online or in books you can check out at your local library. Here’s one you might like if you’re a beginner.
Have a two person board game night, you can make it romantic with the addition of candles. Alternatively you can go out to a local board game café for a more casual, public environment.
If you live in a big enough city, chances are you’ve got botanical gardens that are very often inexpensive or free to enter. This is a great option for a nature lover who can’t get out of the city very often.
Go Geocaching Together
Going geocaching together is a great way to discover local hidden treasures and go on walks together. Plus, you never know what you’ll find! Visit the geocaching web site for a “treasure hunt” near you.
Build Blanket Forts
Relive one of the best parts of being a kid by building a blanket fort in your living room! String up some Christmas lights for some romantic ambiance, what happens next is entirely up to you and your spouse.
Walks in the Local Area
Get to know each other and the area you live in by going out for walks. This is a great way to have conversations about a variety of topics. This is when you find out if they’re more of a lawn gnome person or a pink flamingo person.
Take A Hike
Going for a hike is a great free date idea. You’ll be getting a workout in and you’ll get to see how each other operates after a few hours of physical stress.
Test Drive an Expensive Car
Live out your fantasy of driving a fancy car by dressing up and test driving one with your spouse. For an added bonus, roll down the windows and wave at people as you pass — you’ll feel like royalty!
Retro Video Games Night
If you’ve got any retro video game consoles break them out and have a retro game night. Add some bowls of easy to eat snacks to keep you and your date fed.
Explore Local Food Trucks
For a themed series of dates check out food trucks in your local area and compare them to the others you’ve been to.
Head out of the city to a scenic vantage point or an empty field with a blanket and some pillows then look up at the stars together.
Host Your Own Film Festival
Pick a theme and have a movie marathon to match it. Be sure the theme is something you both enjoy, Meg Ryan romances from the 90s may not be for everyone.
If you’re lucky enough to live near a coast, or somewhere particularly windy, flying kites can be great fun! Go for cheap kids kites for even more of a laugh. You can get them for just $1 at the dollar store, or you can spend about $12 for this amazing butterfly kite on Amazon.
Minor League/College Sports
Attending a sports event doesn’t have to be expensive! Find out if you have any minor league sports or college sports nearby, they’re just as fun as the more expensive events.
Pick Your Own Fruit/Vegetables
Depending on the season, going out to pick your own fruit or veggies is a great early date. If you’re lucky you may be able to find wild apple trees or blackberries; otherwise, look online for a local farm that does “pick your own” events.
Book Club for Two
Take turns picking books to read together and discuss.
Keep an eye out for free concerts and performances at local colleges and city parks. Most cities offer free concerts in the summer months. Bring a couple lawn chairs and pack a picnic basket with a few fun items like a sparkling drink and some fancy cheese.
Rent or Check Out Museum Passes at the Library
Check your local library to see if they have any museum passes that you can rent or even check out for free. Many libraries offer this service! It’s one of their best kept secrets.
Free Book Readings
Keep an eye out at local bookstores for book readings, you never know who might be in town doing a free reading of their book.
Favorite TV Show Swap
Watch their favorite show with them, then turn around and watch one of your favorites. Pick something fun, like a favorite from when you were a child or teen. Re-watching them years later, together, can be hilarious! You can find many of the older shows on YouTube.
Blow Bubbles in the Park
Stop off at a dollar store on your way to the park to get some very inexpensive bubbles then see who can blow the biggest bubbles and how far they can go!
Animal Migration Outing
Maybe you’re lucky enough to live somewhere monarch butterflies, salmon, or another animal migrates through. Find somewhere out of the way to watch them make their way through the area.
Free Events at Historic Sites
History is all around us and it is constantly being celebrated with fun free events. Do you have a historic mansion nearby that offers free or cheap tours? Usually a quick google search will come up with a handful of results.
Volunteer at a Local Animal Shelter
You may end up playing with puppies or you might end up cleaning out kennels. Just make sure you arrange it with the animal shelter in advance.
Take Photos of Each Other in Random Places
Pack a bag of different outfits each then go out into your local area to find interesting places to strike a pose. Take pictures of each stop. For laughs, make it look like you had a weeklong adventure in just one day!
For the price of a couple of rolls of quarters you and your date can have a fun filled night out playing games. It’s not quite a free date idea, but it can be somewhat cheap, and lots of fun.
Watercolor in the Park
Grab watercoloring supplies from the dollar store and head to a park to chat while you paint.
Visit Historic Landmarks in Your Town and Learn Their History
Every town, no matter how small, has historic landmarks of some kind. Check them out, and while you’re there go online to find out their history.
Have you had some creative, free date ideas? We’d love to hear about them! Share them below.
Let’s chat soon,
New to my site? I love to share ways to get out of debt, save more money, and make extra money from home. You can take a look at my recommendations page for products and web sites I use to do that!
Be sure to check these out, too:
Mvelopes: This is the online budgeting program we personally use and LOVE. In fact, we purchased a lifetime membership several years ago when they offered it to us. It’s like a virtual cash envelope system, and it syncs with your bank accounts. Here’s my full Mvelopes review, or you can click here for a free 30 day trial of Mvelopes.
Personal Capital: Personal Capital is much more detailed than Mvelopes, and is more centered on helping you with your investing rather than your budgeting. You can track your net worth, cash flow, investments, retirement planning, and more. Personal Capital pretty much picks up where Mvelopes has left off. They even offer a free version of their services. Check them out here.
Blogging: This is how I make good money from home while being a stay-at-home mom, and I love it. If you’d like to learn more, read my post about How to Start a Blog. It’s actually quite easy to get started! Keep researching afterwards and learning how to do new things, one thing at a time. You’ll keep getting better, and your income will increase each month.