The average cost of a date is about $102 in the US, according to a study done by Match.com. That includes two movie tickets, dinner for two, and a bottle of wine. If you’re married and living together, most experts recommend two to four date nights per month – and that’s a lot of dough to come up with for “fun.”

Even if you’re just starting to date or your teens are starting to date – the amount of cash doesn’t have to be cost prohibitive. The importance of a date is spending time together, not spending cash. This article will cover inexpensive date ideas that anyone can use – whether it’s your first date, or your thousandth. 

Key Takeaways

  • There are dozens of exciting dates that are inexpensive or free
  • Inexpensive date nights can take place at home, outdoors, or somewhere else
  • If you give it enough thought, you can probably come up with a cheap or inexpensive date night that both you and your significant other will love and enjoy

8 Cheap First Date Ideas

1

Alcohol Tasting

Do you live near a winery, distillery, or brewery? Most of them will offer a tasting for less than $15 per person, and some are even free. This can be a fun date night that allows you to try something new and different together – and after, you can be a bit flirtier because of the buzz. It is also much cheaper than catching a drink at a local bar.

2

Hit The Bowling Alley

Even if you can’t bowl, bowling is still very fun. If you go to the bowling alley during the week, you can often get a steeper discount. Check out your local bowling alley’s website or social media to find out which nights have the best deal, and plan your first date for that day of the week.

3

Look For Live Music

Many coffeehouses have live music. Check out your local coffeehouse’s schedule and plan your date around it. Coffee is fairly inexpensive, so you can often have a full night filled with fun for less than you’d pay for dinner.

4

Go Mini Golfing

Mini golf is something almost everyone can play. It can be an excellent first-date, and is usually inexpensive.

5

Go to an Art Museum

Do you have a nearby art museum? Admission to the museum is often cheap or free, and it can be enjoyable to stroll through the museum together, especially if you both love art. In the warmer weather, art museums often have gorgeous grounds or gardens nearby that are free admission – so even if “art” isn’t your thing, it might still be a beautiful place to enjoy a walk or a picnic.

6

A Walk of Tacos

Instead of going to one Mexican restaurant – plan to go to many. Order tacos (super cheap a la cart!) and find your favorite taco in your city.

7

Try Some New Cuisine

Try a cuisine neither of you have tried before. These meals can often be less expensive (and way more delicious) than what you’d normally get.

8

Visit a Candy Store

Skip dinner – go straight for dessert. Visit a candy store and stock up on your favorites. Share them and get to know each other in a nearby park.

8 Cheap Date Ideas for Teens

9

Take a Scooter or Bike Ride

Most larger cities these days have bikes or scooters you can rent for cheap and ride. Rent one and ride around the city you live in. It can be an excellent way to get a new view of the city you live in, and a fun activity for your teens to do together.

10

Volunteer Together

Nearly every organization that has volunteers constantly needs them – so they’d be more than welcome for two teens to help out! Consider the humane society – let your teens celebrate their puppy love surrounded by actual dogs.

11

Go Ice Skating or Rollerblading

In the winter, have your teens check out the local ice skating rink, or the rollerblading arena any other time of year.

12

Movies in the Park

Many communities have a form of “movies in the park” going in the summer – and it is typically free! It can be an excellent way for teens (or adults) to switch up a boring date night.

13

Alphabet Selfie Scavenger Hunt

Challenge your teen to take a selfie in front of something that starts with each letter of the alphabet. They’ll have a good time – and you’ll have a record that they stayed out of trouble.

14

Take a Trip to the Library

Many libraries offer free or very inexpensive activities for teens. Perfect for dates and meeting other teens.

15

Dinner For Two – Pay For One

Restaurants often have BOGO coupons in magazines or on online discount sites. Give your teen the heads up so they can have a nice dinner at half the cost.

16

Go Rock-Climbing

 Have a rock-climbing place in your city or town? Rock-climbing can be a great date activity for teens.

15 Cheap Outdoor Date Ideas

17

Picnic In The Dark

Feed your kids and put them in bed. Then have your own special dinner outside together – perhaps on your back deck or in your backyard.

18

Play In The Rain

Take some time and hang out outdoors. Spend some time outdoors in the rain, snow or sun. If that doesn’t sound like fun, even shoveling the snow or doing some yard work can be romantic if you are doing it together.

19

Play an Outdoor Game

There are so many outdoor games available – such as Yardzee (giant dice for Yahtzee), giant Jenga, ladder golf and lawn bowling. These can be excellent for you and your spouse, your whole family or a group date night. We love buying things that are multi-purpose! Playing outdoors can add a twist to all of your favorites.

20

Have a Bonfire

Make a little bonfire and roast some marshmallows together. Or just enjoy some time sipping on your favorite beverages and looking up at the stars.

21

Cheer On a Local Sports Team

Are you or your partner sports fans? If you can’t afford tickets to the big teams – check out some local teams in your area. You can often get tickets to city teams for less than $10.

22

Go to the Park

There are a ton of fun things to do at the park besides chase your children around the jungle gym and push them on the swings. Take some time to feed some bread to the local ducks, or rent paddle boards or canoes if that’s an option.

23

Take a Hike

How long has it been since you took the time to just take a leisurely walk? Visit a great hiking spot nearby and enjoy some time walking around with your partner.

24

Visit the Beach

How long has it been since you went to the beach and didn’t make sandcastles for your children or keep them from drowning? Take an afternoon and visit the beach together. Just enjoy swimming or relaxing together. Bonus – it can be much easier to find a sitter for an afternoon than an evening.

25

Fly a Kite

On a windy spring day, head to the dollar store and grab a cheap kite. Take the time to fly it together – it’ll be enjoyable remembering how.

26

Pick Your Own Produce

You can visit pickyourown.org and look for your area. You’ll find a list of local farms where you can pick your own produce. No matter which time of year it is, whether spring or summer or fall, you should be able to find a farm in the area where you can spend the day picking your own food – then take it home and enjoy it!

27

Go to the Farmer’s Market

This is another great place for an afternoon date. Try the samples that the farmer’s put out. Take a little time apart and surprise each other with a treat.

28

Go Fishing

Take an afternoon and go fishing. Then you can serve up your catch with a new recipe you find online.

29

Snuggle in a Hammock

Whether it’s in your backyard or a park, enjoy some time in a hammock with your loved one.

30

Go Zip-lining

Zip-lining is increasing in popularity and is probably offered somewhere near you. It’s a great way to see some local nature from a new perspective.

31

Rent a Cabin

While it isn’t necessarily as cheap as some of the other options, it can also be an excellent inexpensive weekend away. Many state parks rent cabins for around $50 per night.

18 Cheap Date Ideas for Staying In 

32

Movie Night

Instead of spending money going to the movies and paying for popcorn – sit down and watch a movie together at home with popcorn you make yourself. The best part is that you won’t get any side-eye or flashlights in the face if you start kissing a little too much.

33

Create a Theme Night

Choose a theme – then build a dinner, dessert, and a movie that all relate to that theme. While this does take some planning, it can give a whole different feeling to something you’d normally do anyway!

34

(BYOB) Build Your Own Beverage Tasting

Instead of visiting a winery or brewery, pick up the alcohol and have the tasting at home. While you might spend a little more out of pocket, it is safer and you’ll have more alcohol if you do it at home. See if there is any discounted alcohol at your local liquor store, and many will let you do a mix-and-match 6-pack of craft beers.

35

Bake Something

They say that the fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – and just because you’re married or living together doesn’t mean that those rules don’t still apply. Ignite your feelings for one another and create something fun together. You can choose a simple cupcake, or maybe a more complicated dessert that you both love and want to try to make together. 

36

Coffee Date

If you and your spouse often end up too exhausted to have your date nights as planned, this tip might be for you. There is no rule that says you have to have your date at night. On the weekends, during your kids’ nap time or while they are occupied playing (if the weather is nice – send them outside) – sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee with your spouse, a snack, or an afternoon beer. Taking the time to connect any time of the day is the important part of “date night.” 

37

Cook Together

Just like baking, cooking together can be fun. Even if one of you isn’t normally the chef, just chopping vegetables or opening cans while your partner does the heavy lifting can create an opportunity to connect. With date nights like this, having a common goal and working together as a team is what helps build on the relationship.

38

Plan a Vacation

Do you take a trip over spring break or summer every year? Rather than planning it over time and through a flurry of emails or texts, spend some time sitting down together, brainstorming ideas and making tentative plans. It will be a lot more fun doing it that way – and it gives you and your spouse time to connect. 

39

Create a Bucket List

Don’t have a bucket list yet? Create one together! Take time to dream about all the things you’ve always wanted to do – both together and apart.

40

Game On

If one of you is interested in video games, teaching the other and playing together can be a great way to spend time together. You could also play board games or cards together.

41

Workout Together

Fitness can be fun if you do it with someone you love. There are tons of free workouts on YouTube, or you can purchase a workout streaming service online if you want something more intense. The endorphins will make you both feel great – and you might even take a steamy shower together when you’re done. 

42

Intentional Cuddling

Think back to the days when you first got together – you probably spent quite a bit of time cuddling. Bring that spark back to your relationship by going to bed about 30 minutes earlier and spend time cuddling together.

43

Build a Fort

You’ve probably made dozens of forts over the past couple years for your children. Take advantage of those skills for yourself. Whether the fort is already up from earlier in the day, or you need to build a new one – build a fort together, and then make out inside of it.

44

Comedy Show 

Don’t want to go to a local comedy club where tickets are not expensive, but the required drink minimums add up? Check out some comedians on YouTube, or on a Netflix special, from the comfort of your home.

45

Melt Some Fondue

This can be an excellent snack and a fun at-home date. If you love desserts – go for chocolate – or if you prefer salty snacks – try cheese.

46

Blind Taste Test

Create a blind taste test for each other. See who can get the most right. 

47

Color

It may have been a while since you took the time to color a picture for pleasure instead of to entertain your kids. Break out the coloring books and crayons and spend time doing this relaxing activity together. 

48

Legos

Sensing a theme? Breaking out your inner child is good for you and it can be a fun way to connect with your significant other. Grab those lego kits you’ve been hiding from your children and build the spaceship together.

49

Read Together

Grab two copies of one book and sit together reading. If you aren’t a book lover or fond of reading, you might want to skip this one. But if you and your partner do enjoy books, this can be a good way to connect. You can take time to discuss what you’re reading and enjoy the book together.

13 More Cheap Date Night Ideas

50

Visit a Flea Market or Thrift Store

Have you ever taken time to really see what’s in the thrift shop? There are usually some interesting or outlandish items alongside everything else. Take some time to browse together and comment on the things you see. You don’t even have to buy anything – although it might be hard not to!

51

Flip a Flea Market Find 

After you find some stuff at the flea market – spend your next date night working on it together. Sometimes a new coat of paint or a change in fabric can add a whole new life to an old piece.

52

Community Events 

In your local paper or the tourist website for your city, you’ll likely find some free or cheap events like art shows, block parties, or festivals that you could attend with your partner. 

53

Take a Community Class

Are there craft or cooking classes in your area? You might consider taking one of these together as a date night. These classes are often inexpensive and can be a great way to spend time together while learning something new.

54

Visit a Pool Hall

If your town doesn’t have a pool hall, most bowling alleys or bars have pool tables you can play on. Often they are inexpensive, and bringing out the competitive side in each of you can be a fun way to change up the pace in your relationship.

55

Karaoke

Karaoke can be a great way to let loose – and even if you and your partner are too shy to jump up there and sing (and don’t want to spend enough on alcohol for that liquid courage), it can be a blast to just watch others. 

56

Bingo Night

Head to bingo night. Not only can you compete against each other, but you can also meet some interesting new people.

57

Find Discounts on Local Activities 

Look online or in local coupon books to find discounts on activities in your town. You might find a deal on anything from rock climbing, martial arts classes or high-end dinners.

58

Take a Dance Class

You might’ve taken a few dance classes before your wedding – but how about taking a few now? It can be a great way to keep a date night on your calendar if you struggle with keeping your dates.

59

Trivia Night

Test your knowledge at a trivia night at a local bar. Bonus points if it is about a show you’ve binged together.

60

Home Stores

Visit a home-improvement or a home furnishings store and plan out projects or décor you’d like to incorporate into your own home. Just remember that you’re there to enjoy each other’s company – steer away from any debates that get too heated and table them for later.

61

Take a Drive

Don’t want to go to a local comedy club where tickets are not expensive, but the required drink minimums add up? Check out some comedians on YouTube, or on a Netflix special, from the comfort of your home.

62

Go to a Hobby or Craft Store

Visit a hobby or craft store and choose a project that you’re excited to work on together. You might learn some new skills or create a new décor item for your home.

5 Cheap Double Date Idea

63

Go Paintballing

Team up against (or with) your significant other and enjoy paintball.

64

Shoot Some Laser Tag

Similar to paintball, but less opportunities for injuries.

65

Try an Escape Room

Escape rooms are newer to the scene, but are really enjoyable to complete as a team.

66

Host a Potluck

Or really – any dinner party idea will work. Have a progressive dinner with your neighbors where you enjoy a different course at different homes. Or have other couples bring side dishes to compliment the main course at your home. What’s better than making new friends over new dishes?

67

Play Charades

Charades is a great game played with at least one other couple. If charades isn’t your favorite, consider any other game for a fun game night.


Final Word

Fun, exciting date nights don’t have to cost a fortune. In some cases, they may not cost a thing at all. By setting a “date” intention with your significant other, even normal activities can take on a date-like feel.

67 Cheap Date Night Ideas

About the Author


Melinda Pettijohn

Melinda Pettijohn is an expert personal financial writer with more than 10 years of experience in the industry. She covers topics ranging from budgeting, additional ways to make money, credit cards, managing debt, paying for college, and more. As a mom of three kids, she especially loves sharing insights on how to make the most of your money while raising a family. 

Leave a Reply