How To Be (Have) A Cheap Date

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My husband and I were able to go on a spontaneous date night Monday and it made me think about all the cheap dates we’ve had over the years.  I thought I would share a few in case you’re in need of inspiration.

Spending time alone without the kids is key to keeping your sanity and your marriage, but with a tight budget it can be difficult to plan.  Here are some ideas that we’ve tried:

Picnic in the Park-We spread out a blanket, ate french bread, cheese, grapes and chocolate and read short stories to each other (okay, we’re nerdy!).

Resort Hotel- (Not what you think!)  We went to a local resort hotel, walked around the lobby and sat by the pool for a while to talk.  It felt like we were on vacation, but didn’t cost a thing.

Book Store Date- We went to the travel section together and talked about places we wanted to visit and then had drinks in the cafe.  You could also choose a book that you think your spouse could have written or choose books for each other to read and tell why you made the choice.

Walking Tour– We like to wander around older downtown areas in nearby towns to explore the shops.  We then go in one of the cafes to split a dessert.

Festival Fun-Check the paper for festivals in your area.  We’ve enjoyed Celtic festivals, Car Shows and County Fairs to name a few.  Focus on enjoying each other’s company and avoid spending money. :)

Stay Home-We love to have at-home dates after the kids are in bed.  We don’t watch television, so watching a movie is a treat.  We pop some popcorn and enjoy some bubbly water or a little ice cream and snuggle up.


In order to make our date nights more fun for both of us we’ve instituted some guidelines:


Keep it Light-We try to keep the conversation light and fun and avoid discussing problem areas, although this week I didn’t follow that rule and we had a short argument.  We recovered quickly and ended up having a great time.

Schedule It-We keep one day a week as date night.  Having a weekly date night ensures that we keep our marriage at the forefront.  Even if we just go for a drive, it’s nice to have an uninterrupted conversation!

Try Something New-Going to new places and doing new things keeps our conversation fresh and enables us to see each other as something besides “that guy who works” and “the woman who cooks my dinner”.


The point of dating your spouse is to enjoy relaxed time together and with a little creativity you can accomplish this goal with very little money.



If you would like more ideas for low-cost dates click here to read my $10 Date Ideas.



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  1. Kathy says

    The simple dates have always been my favorites. In our area we also have free concerts. Earlier this summer my husband planned a surprise date in the middle of the week to a local outdoor concert. The band was a Beatles music band. He took care of everything…dinner at a hamburger joint (with coupons), lawn chairs and a blanket. One of our best dates ever…cost: $15. (We splurged on ice cream after the concert or it would have been less than $10.)

    • Janice says

      Just stumbled upon your blog today and am sooo glad i did! Once again thank you pinterest! My husband and i are quite the same! We’ve made the choice of me staying home and him working for less at a much more steady job with more family time! I love your ideas and appreciate you sharing! Thank you!

        • Ginger says

          I just found your site today and I am loving it. We have 3 children under the age of 5 and find it hard to get away due to the cost of babysitting. Even if the date is free, we are hesitant to go out due to this. What did you do when your kids were little?

          • says

            Hi Ginger! We did a couple of things. One was to trade with another couple. It works well when one family has children that are a little older so that neither family is overwhelmed when they babysit. I also taught Spanish lessons to a home schooled teenager in exchange for babysitting. Could you possibly clean someone’s house or provide another service in exchange for babysitting? For one five year perios, we also had family in the area for a little while who would babysit for us. You could also try asking someone who works in your church’s nursery if they would do childcare. Hope this helps. :)

  2. says

    Just found this blog yesterday and I am loving the posts! My husband and I have been seriously slacking in the date department, and these sound like GREAT ideas. THANKS!!!! (Ialso love Happy Housewife– I see her badge on the sidebar).

    Lindsey @

  3. says

    I just discovered your blog and have enjoyed browsing through your Living on $28,000/yr series. My husband is a fireman, loves his job, but we live on about the same after taxes. We have 3 kids ages 3,6 and 9 and I’ve been home for the last 6yrs. I have my own photography business that brings in some extra income here and there for “fun” stuff. One thing that has helped us with date nights is that his parents have started giving us gift cards each Christmas. Instead of larger gifts like a new electronic (like they used to do) they now give us a little card book filled with gift cards to our favorite places to eat. Some are fast food and others are sit-down. We use about 1 a month or so to be able to go out on a nice date. Also, the big theaters here allowed firemen and policemen to see movies for free along with a date. They have recently stopped that deal but we took advantage of it for about 8 or 9 years! Now it’s redbox at home! Thank you for sharing your ideas. It’s encouraging to see how others are living on small incomes like ours!

    the MomTog Diaries

  4. Brittany says

    Great Ideas! My husband and I are newlyweds and have already established a date night. It’s important to us both since we have custody of his ten-year-old daughter. She’s with her mother every Wednesday, so that’s our opportunity to go out. Since finances are tight sometimes, it’s nice to have ideas to go out together without spending much money.

    • says

      Hi there!

      I just stumbled upon your blog about a week ago and have been returning about once daily to read a post or two, or three..

      I have been reading your series on how to live on $28,000 a year and just printed off “the freedom account page” to start using it. I was curious as how you make it work because I barely get by. I’m engaged and will be married in 5 weeks, so stumbling upon your blog was a true God moment. I plan to start using your ideas and guidelines. My fiancé is a veteran, he was in the Air Force for six years, and I work retail, so our income is small. We don’t need much, but it sure is stressful at times. Thanks for being open about your finances to help others. Reading everything you post makes God appear more real and that he really does love us and wants the best for us.
      I liked this post about date night ideas, and wanted to say that’s what my fiancé and I do almost every week! We love walking around old town Mesa and antique shopping (we don’t buy anything but we sure do like looking around). We splurged on a zoo membership pass, and we go once weekly to walk around and just be with each other.

      God bless you! And thank you for your blog!

      Your new reader,


  5. Amy Dixon says

    I love your date night ideas. My children are now grown, but the best advice my husband and I were given was from his grandpa. He told us to make a date night for just the two of us every week. No, we didn’t always get to go “out,” but we always managed to set aside some alone time. I guess it has worked, because we will celebrate our 25th anniversary in October!
    We buy a state park pass every year as part of our ‘vacation’ fund. We have a state park less than 20 minutes from our house. It was/is so nice to be able to hike trails, take a picnic, or play games in the great outdoors. We love to take our digital camera, too, now and try to catch the wildlife. We are nerds, too:) My point is, this is a cheap and fun date for us, and it was a great playdate for us with our kids. Also, our local theaters have summer free movies (mostly kiddy ones) and we have taken advantage of that more than once. Who needs the popcorn and soda???

  6. Meghan says

    Stumbled on your site through Pinterest – then realized through your photos that we live in the same town! Such a small world. Anyway, your blog is amazing; thanks for the ideas/help! Much appreciated.

      • says

        Thank you again! I know date nights are important to keep a marriage alive and well (I’ve been married for 7 years) but I had not taken the time to actually schedule one. Thank you for out and out saying to “schedule it” and why that is important. I’m am planning on talking to my husband about what night of the week would be good for him so we can schedule a weekly date. On the cheap too!

          • Akeelah says

            Thank you so much for sharing! I came across one of your Pinterest pins and have spent the past 2 hours on your site. Thank you for being so transparent and encouraging! Be sure that God is using you to help so many others! Like me! Thanks again

  7. Kuulei says

    Thank you, for such a simple advice on scheduling one day a week for a date night? Very simple but yet effective for a healthy marrige :) Thank you again for all your wonderful ideas may the Lord richly bless you in all you do. Aloha from Hawaii!

  8. says

    This is a great blog. My husband and I started out with the simple date – the first time we met offline, we walked around in the rain and had our first kiss sitting on a fence under a big tree we were using for shelter. For our first formal date, we walked around the mall getting to know each other and shared a plate of Chinese.

    5 years later, we still prefer the informal dates. Instead of Vegas, we honeymooned on a camping trip. Instead of restaurants, we go to the grocery store and make food we couldn’t afford if it was in a restaurant. Bonus, walking time together! It’s not that we couldn’t manage to spend more money, it’s that anything we could spend money on would be less intimate.

  9. Natalie says

    These are such sweet ideas! My boyfriend and I are always trying to find fun cheap date ideas, too. Here are a few we’ve enjoyed:

    Ride bikes! Even if you just ride around the neighborhood, it’s fun to get out in the fresh air and get moving. It’s especially fun if you can ride around a park.

    Go stargazing! Very romantic, and completely free.

    Go to a farmer’s market. We live just 3 miles from a great Saturday morning farmer’s market, so we ride our bikes there too. We don’t usually buy anything, but it’s fun to walk around. There are always free samples, cute animals to play with and sometimes live music. Great day date.

    Hiking or playing in the park. If you have a frisbee or a ball, it’s just nice being outside in the sun laughing and hanging out with each other.

    I love your blog! Thanks for writing this!!

  10. Sarah says

    Love these! My husband and I have been married about 5 months and both have very cheesy senses of humor… We’ll get a drink from Sonic during “happy hour” (when everything is 1/2 off) and then go walk around thrift shop(s) in our area, finding the most outrageous items we can and coming up with places to put them in our apartment. Sometimes we’ll see who can find the most unusual item for under $5. Most of our board games have been purchased for $3-4 from Goodwill. Typically we leave without purchasing anything, but it’s a good time and we get some great laughs out of it 😉

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