Having a “cheap date” doesn’t have to mean he or she is putting out (admit it: you thought that’s where we were going with this, too!), it can literally mean cheap. As in, very little money spent. You don’t have to get reservations at the latest restaurant opening so that you can rack up a massive bill on a 5-course meal and two bottles of wine. You can do something much more low-key and low budget.
If you have kids, a busy career, and/or any kind of adult responsibilities, then chances are your romantic life is usually put on the back burner. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in our day-to-day routines that we forget to take time away to engage in with our significant others in ways that don’t involve asking, “Did you send spare clothes to daycare?” or “Can you buy more toilet paper?”
So, call up your babysitter, block out your calendar, and use these 10 cheap date night (or day!) ideas to rekindle that old flame.
1. Take a Trip Down Memory Lane
Get out your old photos from the time before you met and share your favorite ones. Explain why each memory is so special. Do the same thing with photos you’ve taken together. Which one is your absolute favorite? We bet you’d be surprised by your partner’s picks.
2. Test Drive an Expensive Car
Dream of a day when you can race down the highway in a red Ferrari with your hair blowing in the wind and the sun on your face? You can live out your fantasy and not ever worry about the reality of car payments of lack of space for a car seat. We promise this is totally legal, just remember you will have to return the car at the end of your joyride.
3. Volunteer Together
There’s something so humbling and sweet about watching your significant other give something back to the community and make a difference to the people around them. Find a cause you can both get behind and feel good about (for example, animal shelters or building a house for Habitat for Humanity) and enjoy the opportunity to create a new experience together.
4. Create Your Own Pizza NIght
There’s no need to order from your local pizza place only to be disappointed that you only got three measly morsels of sausage or that you were charged extra for pineapple. Instead, go buy a premade crust (Trader Joe’s has an excellent selection) and then pick out all your fix-ins to make your own customized pie.
5. Go Fruit Picking
Use this guide to find a pick-your-own farm near you. Depending on the season, you can load up on fruit like strawberries, blueberries, or grapes for way less than you would pay at a grocery store. Plus, you can feel good that you’re helping support small business and reaping the health benefits of eating local.
6. Visit Open Houses
There’s no better way to start compiling a list of must-haves (and oh-heck-no’s) for your own dream home by touring houses that belong to complete strangers. While you’re out getting inspired, you can also figure out how well your own personal styles will be able to mesh together.
7. Put a Puzzle Together
Patience, teamwork, and planning are all pillars of a good relationship. Putting a jigsaw puzzle together can help put these traits to the test. Plus, if you get one of those 5,000-piece puzzles, you can also use it as a project that you both can come back to over multiple days and nights. You’ll be able to look at the completed image and be proud that it’s something you built together. To make it even more meaningful, consider framing it.
8. Get Outside
If you’re looking for something truly free to do together, get outside and head to wherever is the nearest natural landscape around you. During a four-mile hike, a day at the beach, or a lakeside picnic, you’ll be able to give your undivided attention to each other. Use this time to start planning for the future— maybe you can chat about a vacation, a new job, another child, or a home improvement project you’ve been putting off for too long.
9. Go for a Target Run
Not that you need another excuse to go shopping at Target, but this trip to the superstore isn’t about buying diapers or laundry detergent. Give each other a spending limit ($5 to $10 to keep it simple) and then separate so you can go hunt for the perfect gift for your partner. You can assign a theme (for example, things that start with the letter S or things that are edible) and set a time limit to make it even more interesting!
10. Visit a Museum
There are museums all over the country that have free admission year-round or free admission on certain days of the month. Are you history buffs? Contemporary art lovers? Fans of vintage railroads? Find a museum that has exhibits you can both appreciate (or heck, find some humor in!) and take time to browse around and discuss what you’re looking at.