MNTL Team | Feb 18, 2019 | 0
131 Cheap Date Ideas – Fun activities that fit your budget!
All you need is a few cheap date ideas to spice things up with your sweetheart. Whether you’re coming up on your 50th anniversary or wondering how to get a girlfriend on a budget, this list of date ideas makes it easy to have some fun without going broke in the process.
The most memorable dates aren’t necessarily the most expensive ones. When it comes down to it, do you think she reminisces about the taste of the caviar and wine at the end of the night? Absolutely not.
Okay, fine, maybe she thinks about those things a little bit. But the truth is that when she’s lying in bed at the end of the night, she’s going to be thinking about the laughs and conversations you shared, the way you looked at her, and how she felt when you kissed her goodnight. Those special moments are free, but they’re also priceless.
Sure. Sometimes fancy things are fun. And sometimes they even make a night more special. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have just as much fun (if not more) without spending this month’s rent in one night. It’s all about mastering the art of ballin’ on a budget.
Use these cheap date ideas to get started, but feel free to add your own personal twists to make them extra special for her.
I recommend reading through all of these 130 cheap date ideas to find your absolute favorites… but if you’re looking for something specific, you can click the links below to jump to that section:
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You can’t go wrong with these cheap date ideas. Just because they’re cheap dates doesn’t mean there’s not a heaping ton of fun waiting to be had.
These inexpensive date ideas are great because they give you plenty of entertainment to work with, but they also leave breathing room so you can talk and connect. They’re light and easy, yet perfect for making lasting memories.
After all, sometimes just being together is all that really counts. Everything in the background is just changing scenery. True love can blossom anywhere.
Here are 25 of the best cheap date ideas:
1. Ride tandem bikes
Local bike shops often have tandem rentals available. Find a secluded path, and explore it together on two wheels.
2. Take a ferry ride
Ferry rides are surprisingly cheap, and in some cases even free. Take a few trips across the water and enjoy the breeze and view.
3. Go antiquing
Check the internet for local antique shops and then go exploring. You may stumble upon a long-forgotten treasure.
4. Volunteer at a soup kitchen
Doing something positive for the community makes everyone feel good.
5. Do a photo scavenger hunt
Make a list of objects to find and photograph: birds, bridges, flowers, etc. Now get out your phone and hunt them down.
6. Seed bomb a special spot
And give it a name. Now you have a special spot to visit and watch your seedlings grow.
7. Explore a nearby town or city
Branch out a bit! Take a quick drive or bike ride to a neighboring town or city, and do some exploring.
8. Cheer on an amateur sports team in your city
From tee ball to the minor leagues, rooting for your home team heroes is always a blast.
Bowling’s a classic date activity. Throw some balls, play some arcades, and eat some hastily microwaved food. You can’t go wrong.
10. Go to a park where you can feed the ducks
Grab a loaf, relax on the bench, and enjoy a lazy day together. It’s the perfect spot for deep conversation.
11. Hike anywhere nearby with a great view
The internet is a great resource for finding local spots. Go on an adventure together and get some exercise in the process.
12. Take a community education class together
Lovers who learn together stay together. Embrace a new skill or hobby that you can enjoy side-by-side.
13. Go to the beach
The beach has one of the highest cost-to-fun ratios. Whether you’re sunbathing, swimming, or strolling, a day at the beach is always well-spent.
14. Go for a walk downtown together on a Friday or Saturday night
You don’t need to hit the bars, restaurants, and venues to enjoy life downtown. Take in the lights, sights, and sounds.
15. Find a coffeehouse that has live music
Support your local musicians and enjoy a cup of Joe while doing so.
16. Go on a ghost hunt
You may not find anything, but it’s the journey that counts, right?
17. Find out the free or reduced-price days to go to your local planetarium or museum
Check the websites for your local museums. Many of them have free or discounted days where you can enjoy a wonderful experience without breaking the bank.
18. Buy two lottery tickets
If you can scrounge up $2, you might be able to turn a cheap date into a lavish evening out.
19. Get a laptop out and dream up a bucket list
You’re not getting any younger! Write your list of must-do activities, and then make plans to get out there and do them.
20. Go to bingo night somewhere
Bingo is a blast for all ages! You may even win some cash to fund the next date.
21. Take up tennis
There’s probably a public tennis court somewhere near you at this very moment. Find somewhere to borrow some rackets and a ball, and go play the sport that scores with ‘love.’
22. Go to IKEA
Even if you’re not spending any money, IKEA is an adventure in a big box waiting to be explored.
23. Do a themed happy hour bar crawl
Paint the town red dressed as clowns, knights, or your favorite superhero. Be sure to plan your journey so you hit all happy hours for discounted drinks.
24. Go to a community play, a dress rehearsal, high school or college play
Local theater can be a whole lot of fun, whether you’re spectating or participating.
25. Work out together
Sometimes hitting the gym or going for a jog is just what you need to feel great, look great, and have a great time.
These first date ideas make that first hangout worth remembering. After all, if you stay together for the long haul, these are the moments you’re going to cherish. You have to make them count!
These are the first dates that help you form immediate connections. They’re super fun and they offer plenty of opportunities to bond.
It’s always a good idea to suggest a couple cheap date ideas, especially for your first date. These are all great options, so she’s sure to love at least one of them.
Here are 25 of the best cheap first date ideas:
26. Hit golf balls at a driving range
There’s something tremendously satisfying about whacking those balls and watching them soar.
27. A taco tour
Why go to one Mexican restaurant when you can go to many Mexican restaurants?
28. Trivia night
Check your local pubs for information on trivia nights, and then go flex your brain.
29. Rock-climbing session
It’s fun and also a great workout.
30. Boozy picnic in the park
Nothing like a little wine and cheese to set the mood. Learn to taste wine (or at least pretend) to impress her.
31. An hour at a pet cafe
Petting cats while sipping coffee is sure to warm even the coldest of hearts.
32. A round or two of karaoke
Belting out your favorite tunes in front of an audience is one of the fastest ways to break the ice.
33. Go to a used bookstore or library
It’s a relaxing date, and you can learn about each other’s interests.
34. Shop for crazy outfits to wear out together
Thrift stores are perfect. Buy some zany outfits and then go be seen in them. Timeless fun.
35. Take your dog(s) to the park
Don’t have a dog? Buy a stuffed one and do your best to fit in.
36. Attend a local festival, convention, or fair
Local Facebook groups are super useful for keeping up with local happenings around town.
37. Get breakfast and do a crossword puzzle
There’s something about doing a leisurely crossword while picking at some eggs and pancakes that just feels so right.
38. Attend an amateur animal show
You never know what’s happening in the neighborhood. Check the internet for animal shows, and see what your four-legged friends have been working on.
39. Play frisbee golf
Frolf? Gisbee? Whatever you want to call it, it’s a great way to spend some time outside having fun.
40. Volunteer at your local animal shelter
Whether you love animals or you just want to show her your sweet side, volunteering at the local shelter is always a good move.
41. Play a game of mini golf
Mini golf is one of the quintessential first dates. It’s pure fun in its simplest form.
42. Food truck hopping
Take a stroll and stuff your face. “Nuff said.
43. Take a long walk in the park
A leisurely stroll in the park gives you time to talk while you enjoy your surroundings.
44. Take a city tour
Get to know your local city! You may just learn something new.
45. Skip dinner and just get dessert
Make dinner at home and go out for dessert. Even just getting ice cream cones and sitting on a bench is romantic.
46. Go apple/ fruit picking
Check the season and visit a farm. It’s fun and tasty.
47. Lay out a blanket and stargaze
There’s something inherently magical and romantic about gazing into the vast unknown.
48. Go to Costco/ SAMs Club/ Trader Joes and eat all their samples
Hey, the sign says free, right?
49. Have blind taste tests of different foods and drinks
Maybe save the gross ones for the second date…
50. Pick a country’s cuisine that neither of you has tried and give it a shot
Variety is the spice of life. Expand your horizons together.
So your first date was a blast, and she wants to do it again. See? You didn’t need a stack of green to make the scene after all.
But now you’re still waiting on that paycheck, and meanwhile she wants to relive the magic. Can you really pull off a second cheap date?
Yep. Say no more. These cheap second date ideas are perfect for that second hangout, even if you’re still waiting for that direct deposit.
Here are 25 of the best cheap second date ideas:
51. Pick a TV show and then watch episode after episode
You don’t have to binge alone anymore! Sometimes Netflix and chill is just that. Don’t forget snacks.
52. Savor a sunset picnic
You don’t need fancy finger foods to have a picnic. Grab a couple of Slim Jims and a Gatorade. Watching the sunset together is all that matters!
53. Enjoy Korean BBQ
While you do have to pay for the meal, it’s a seriously hearty feast.
The world is full of entertainment all around you. Find a perch and watch life happen in front of your eyes.
55. Have a Netflix double feature
Watch a movie and then watch its sequel. Congratulations, you just spent three hours together without spending a cent.
56. Clean up the neighborhood
It’s not the most glamorous date, but it’s a great way to give back to the community while spending some quality time together.
57. Play on a playground
Big kids deserve a turn on the swings too.
58. Rent kayaks or canoes
There’s something about being out on the open water that’s so romantic.
59. Go to a zoo or aquarium
Spending the day admiring fascinating creatures is a guaranteed good time. Check their websites to find discount or free days.
60. Plan a day trip
Wake up early and get home late. Why go out for an hour when you could all-day date?
61. Go to a poetry reading
Check local book stores and coffee shops and check out some local talent.
62. Stretch it out in aerial yoga
Yoga is a great way to unwind your minds together.
63. Find a local river or lake and go swimming
Just make sure swimming is safe and allowed. This idea is usually best saved for summer, but we won’t judge.
64. Go on a drive around town and see where you end up
Sometimes getting lost leads to new experiences. Just make sure you bring a phone with a GPS (or a map if you’re old school).
65. Rent motorized skateboards and zip around town
Tired of jogging or biking? A motorized skateboard is a fun transportation alternative.
66. Find some cool science experiment videos on YouTube and try them out
Turn your kitchen into a mad scientist’s laboratory.
67. Join a fun looking meetup together
Check local Facebook groups for activities and meetups.
68. Go to a local fundraising event
Connect with your community. You don’t need to donate money to support a good cause.
69. Go foraging for edible plants and berries and make a meal with them
This can be very dangerous if you don’t do it right. You may want to go out with an expert first, as some plants and berries are poisonous.
70. Do a seasonally themed date
Is it autumn? Go to the pumpkin patch and sip hot cider. Summer? Mai Tais in the pool. Get serious about getting seasonal.
71. Both of you download an app/game in which you have to walk or travel around the real world to achieve goals in the game
Pokemon Go is a great choice.
72. Go ziplining
Want some adrenaline to go with that wedgie? Ziplining is a thrill, and it’s usually not as expensive as you might think.
73. Get some coloring books and color
When is the last time you sat down and colored a coloring book? It’s quite relaxing.
74. Learn about local history and visit some historical spots
Nobody where you live, there’s probably some sort of fascinating history waiting to be discovered. The internet is a great resource, but the library is more fun.
75. Go to a rodeo if you can find one
Rodeos aren’t always accessible, but if you can find one, it can be quite the interesting experience.
These cheap date night ideas are perfect when you feel like doing something, but you don’t want to go all out.
Use these cheap dates to break up the week. They’re great for a lazy Friday or Saturday, but they really shine at adding something special to the middle of the week. Take her out on a Wednesday!
Here are 22 of the best cheap date night ideas:
76. Go to a car show
From antiques and classic to sports and race cars, you don’t need to own one to appreciate one.
77. See a play
Check your local community groups for information about local theater.
78. Buy some Lego kits and put them together
Who says adults can’t play with toys?
79. Go to a shooting range
Target practice, anyone?
80. Have a coupon date
Are you a coupon clipper? Go out shopping and reap the rewards.
81. Play 20 Questions
A game of 20 Questions is as cheap as it gets, and you’ll learn a lot about each other while having some fun.
82. Learn a language
This is a long-term project that gives you an excuse to spend time together.
83. Play two truths and a lie
This game is great when you want to learn each other’s secrets.
84. Sit by a fire
Nothing more romantic than a crackling fire.
85. Walk on the beach
Okay, maybe there’s one thing more romantic.
86. Grab a coffee
It’s the classic go-to date, and it’ll only cost you a couple bucks.
87. Visit a candy store
Sweets for your sweety?
88. Share a milkshake
Transport yourself back into the 50s. Just don’t steal your daddy’s T-Bird to get there.
89. Go for a night run
A nice cool breeze and the city lights make for a great jogging experience.
90. Chocolate tasting night
You can call is “tasting” if you want. It sounds better than “pigging out.”
91. Explore the local art scene
Art is often free to view at local galleries. You may even meet some interesting locals.
92. Grab a bite to eat at a dive bar
Surely you can scrounge up enough change for a round of pickled eggs?
93. Camp out in your backyard
You don’t need to venture into the wilderness to enjoy a camping experience. Set up the tent, cook some s’mores, and snuggle up under the stars.
94. Dinner by candlelight
Even if you’re splitting a frozen pizza, candlelight makes it romantic. Seriously. Get some candles.
95. Power outage date night – do everything in the dark or by candlelight
Flip the breaker and take her to a time before electricity.
96. Park on a hill and look out at the city lights
“Someday, all of this will be yours…”
97. Take a relaxing bubble bath together
Probably best to save this cheap date idea for after a few dates…
Going out with another couple is a wonderful way to spice up an ordinary date night. Double dating is also a great approach if you’re still getting to know her and you want to reduce the inevitable awkwardness of hanging out one-on-one.
Group dates can also be a great way to see her other sides, and vice-versa. After all, if you only hang out together, you’re only seeing that version of her. These double date ideas help you learn about each other in social situations, deepening your connection with each other.
Here are 16 of the best cheap double date ideas:
98. Go paintballing
Just don’t hit her in the eye.
99. Go donate blood together
Donating blood is a great thing to do for your fellow humans.
100. Make a list of missions to accomplish and see how many you can get through
Cross ’em out as you go.
101. Go to an escape room
An escape room is actually pretty cheap if you split it with a group, and it’s a super fun time.
102. Play laser tag together
Got a local arcade? Suit up and go to battle.
103. Stage your own movie festival at home
These days, you don’t need to hike to Blockbuster to set up a film fest. Just make sure you spring for some popcorn.
104. Couples casino date night
All you need is a deck of cards, some dice, some chips, and another couple. Turn on some Frank Sinatra and let the good times roll.
105. Host a BBQ cookout
Invite some friends over to cook some food and share some laughs. Fun doesn’t get any simpler than that.
106. Host a potluck
If everyone brings a dish, a potluck is super cheap, tasty, and fun.
107. Go house-hunting
You don’t need to be in the market to look at your options.
108. Host a game night
Got some board games collecting dust in the closet? Bust ’em out and invite some pals over.
109. Play charades
Charades is a classic party game that requires no money. It’s best played with at least one other couple.
110. Play spin the bottle
If it’s just you and her, you already know you’re a winner.
111. Host a fondue night
Dip a plethora of foods into various melted cheeses. What could possibly go wrong?
112. Take them tubing
If it’s hot out, there’s nothing like a lazy day floating down the river catching some sun.
113. Iron Chef at-home date night
Choose an ingredient and go to battle. It’s a more fun way to cook dinner.
So you’re hanging out for the first time, but a night out on the town just isn’t in the cards. No problem.
These at home date ideas turn an ordinary night at home into a magical evening to treasure. You may be surprised by how much fun (and romance) you can have without stepping foot out your front door.
Here are 18 of the best cheap at home date ideas:
114. At-home spa
Turn on Rainy Mood and some ambient music, and do your best impression of a massage therapist who knows what he’s doing.
115. Play a Monopoly game through until someone wins
Warning: this may take multiple days. Go grocery shopping beforehand.
116. Learn how to cook together
Everyone eats, right? YouTube has a million tutorials waiting for you to discover together.
117. Make and bottle a batch of salsa together
Just don’t forget the chips.
118. Have a mini wine and cheese party at home
Or grape juice and string cheese if you’re super broke.
119. Make a blanket fort
It was fun when you were a kid and it’s still fun now.
120. Have a YouTube battle
Who can find the funniest video? It’s a game everyone wins.
121. Play video games
Sometimes all you need is your favorite game and someone to play it with you.
122. Turn your living room into a club
Crank the tunes and show off your best dance moves.
123. Literally just talk
Connect with her. Good conversation is free but it’s worth everything.
124. Make a new recipe together
Even if it’s gross, it’s the journey that matters, not the destination, right?
125. Make a time-capsule
Then bury it. Dig it up the next day. Lament the lack of change and re-bury it. Dig it up when you’re old. Cry tears of joy as you relish memories.
126. Go through your old yearbooks
It’s okay to laugh at yourself but she’s not allowed to laugh at you.
127. A book club for two
Read the same book and then discuss.
128. Paint a room together
Show off your inner interior designer and redecorate the whole room while you’re at it.
129. Wash the car and flirt with each other
That’s a win-win — you get to flirt and then your car looks sparkly fresh.
130. Draw each other
It’s a fun exercise, even if you’re not exactly Leo Da Vinci.
131. Take online relationship tests
Are you the perfect match? If the first survey says no, move on to the next one.
More Tips On How To Get The Girl
These cheap date ideas put you in the same room. Now it’s up to you to turn on the charm. Luckily, we’re here to help.
- If things went well, you’d better know how to kiss on first date.
- Before you plan a date, you need to know how to ask a girl out.
- Nervous about asking her out IRL? Learn how to ask a girl out over text.
- Once you know how to flirt with a girl, getting that first date is easy.
These cheap date ideas can only get you so far. How you use them is what can make or break the date.
Here are 3 tips to help you make the most of these cheap dates:
1. Be Enthusiastic
If you’re going to go on a cheap date, own it! Don’t complain or bring up nicer things. There’s a simple charm about being on a cheap date, so don’t even feel the need to mention it. Just because you didn’t pay for something doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value.
2. Give Her Choices
While decisiveness can be an attractive quality, you want to be sure that she’s going to have a good time. Think of 3-5 date ideas, bring them up, and let her choose. These cheap date ideas are casual hangouts — you’re not making reservations at a Michelin restaurant here. Just mention some fun ideas and see which make her smile most.
3. Be Spontaneous
The beauty of cheap dates is that there’s no consequence if you decide to move along. If you’re bored after a walk through the park, keep moving to the downtown area and see what adventure awaits you there. Enjoy the freedom that cheap dates provide. Sometimes the best dates are the ones that happen naturally with no definite plan in place.
Now that you have plenty of cheap date ideas, it’s time to choose your favorites and make them happen. Remember: most of these date ideas cost little to nothing, so go ahead and experiment. Do things you wouldn’t normally do. You might be surprised by how much fun you have.
Being open to new date ideas is a great way to bond with her. After all, if you’re wondering how to get a girlfriend, sometimes it’s about taking risks. You may be nervous singing karaoke or doing Irish step dancing, but putting yourself out there says a lot about you and how you care. Girls can see that.
Most of all, just have fun. When you’re strapped for cash, sometimes you just have to laugh about it. Women recognize true value when they see it, whether you’re counting stacks or bouncing checks. Treat her right and she’ll do the same to you.
Finally, never let money dictate your life. These inexpensive date ideas prove that you can have a rich life without material wealth. Money comes and goes, but love is eternal.