Weekly date nights sometimes seem like an impossibility when you're old and married... or even when you're young and married. Time and money are two things we never seem to have enough of, but I'm a firm believer in having date night with your spouse every week!
I thought I'd share 10 Cheap & Easy Date Night Ideas to show that date nights don't have to be expensive or a big hassle!
1- Dinner and a Movie: Don't laugh. I know some people say that dinner and a movie is a boring date. I think it's a classic for a reason! We rarely eat out or go see movies in a theater, so dinner and a movie is a special treat. I'm a big fan of deal sites like Groupon or Living Social teamed up with YELP to find places to eat. I'm not a big lover of chain restaurants and deal sites often have incredible discounts on local eateries. I use YELP to check the reviews before I purchase a deal. If the restaurant isn't good then it doesn't matter how cheap it is, I'd be wasting my money. Today I picked up a $20 gift card to a new sports grill in town I've been wanting to try for only $8. That makes for a cheap dinner date! We've tried lots of fun restaurants using "deals".
We like to do our dinner and a movie dates on Tuesday nights. Tuesdays are typically super slow at restaurants so we don't have to deal with crowds and our local theaters have $5 movie tickets every Tuesday! This week we had dinner at a BBQ place using a buy-one-get-one-free coupon and then saw a movie. The total cost for our date night was $23! I always check my coupon mailers for coupons I can use for date nights!
2- Dessert: Sometimes even a $25 dinner and a movie date may be out of my price range for a date. I love trying out different bakeries, dessert places and soda shops and date night is the perfect opportunity! We have a place just a few blocks away that's open in the evenings. It's fun to grab a Dirty Dr. Pepper or Italian cream soda and a couple of sugar cookies and just sit and chat. Dessert date nights typically run under $10 and can be much less if you have a coupon!
3- Picnic at the Park: I LOVE picnics! Picnics make a great date in the spring through the fall and I have to admit I've even done winter picnics before with hot cocoa and chili! You can be as simple or as creative as you want with picnics! I love relaxing at a park under a tree and lazily eating a picnic dinner. Putting together a picnic dinner is usually under $10, so it makes a great budget-friendly date!
4- Go to a Play or Concert: We really enjoy plays and concerts, but they can be quite expensive! I'm always on the lookout for discount tickets and coupons for plays and live music. In our area we have a fun center pass that also includes things like car races and outdoor plays. I make sure to always read through the email newsletters they send out to get information on the "extras" our passes get us. Using a pass we already purchased for free date nights is fabulous! I also keep an eye on the city newsletter we get with our utility bill for free concerts in the park. There are always opportunities for free entertainment if you look for them!
5- Take a Drive: With gas prices lower than they've been in years, taking a drive has become an affordable date night again! Looking for leaves in the autumn, Christmas lights in the winter or just cruising on a country road are all great. I love going for drives and having random conversations for date night. If you feel like a date night needs food, grab an ice cream cone or a doughnut on the road and your date night is still less than $5!
6- Takeout and Netflix or Redbox: I shouldn't admit this, but when I call Cafe Rio they ask me if I want my "regular order". Sometimes my week is really crazy and actually going out for date night is the last thing I want to do. I want to relax at home. I love grabbing takeout and cuddling up with my hunny-bunny and a movie. If the kids are home I'll grab them a cheap pizza, get us takeout and we'll eat it in our room with a movie and pretend we're alone. I fully believe that date nights should not include children! Takeout and a movie at home date night is always $20 or less and sometimes it's just what my stressed out self needs!
7- Hot Springs or Hot Tub: This is one of my favorite dates and I wish we could do it more often! We have a nice hot springs spot an hour and a half from us. When we go we like to camp overnight. We can spend the night, dutch oven cook and soak in the hot springs for under $50. For an overnighter I figure that's pretty good! A hot tub date is a pretty good substitute for the hot springs. We have a rec center pass which gets us into the hot tub there for free. A free date is a good date!
8- Hiking: I almost hate to include this one because I hate hiking, but my husband loves it so occasionally I give in and agree to go. I do think it's fun to see the pretty scenery and it's nice to play the damsel-in-distress and let Jake rescue me from scary snakes and creepy bugs when they cross my path. Plus then I get to entice him into giving me a massage afterwards when I'm whining like a two year old because my out of shape muscles are sore. Hiking is another free date idea, so you'd think I'd be more on board, but I.just.don't.like.hiking.
9- Candlelit Dinner: I love to pull out my vintage china and crystal goblets and create a romantic dinner for two! Cheap steaks can be marinated and cooked to be tender, baked sweet potatoes are always a classic and a green salad, rolls and dessert round out the meal! Sparkling cider or even just 7up go great with a nice dinner. Lasagna rollups are another great date night meal! If we were to go to a steakhouse or a nice Italian restaurant we'd spend about $50. I can create a similar meal with a more romantic atmosphere for around $15... plus we can even eat it in bed if we want to!
10- Build a Fire: Whether it's in our fireplace, in the fire pit in our yard or out in the wilderness somewhere there's just something about building a fire. When I asked Jake what his favorite date night is, building a fire is what he said. Roasting marshmallows is fun and you can even make them homemade if you want to add a special touch! Cooking hot dogs or making a dutch oven dinner are fun fire ideas as well! The total cost for a fire date is free to $10 depending on if you want to cook on your fire or not. No food is needed. A fire and blanket are sometimes all you need for a romantic date.
I hope these date night ideas get your wheels turning! There are so many cheap things you can do on a date... the most important thing is that you're spending time together. Date nights don't need to be elaborate, expensive or take a lot of time to plan, but they do need to happen! Don't forget to take pictures too!