If you’re looking for cheap date night ideas, I have a free printable challenge that lets you easily make a habit of weekly date nights on any budget. We do our date nights for less than $20/night including babysitting. (I’ll explain how we do that below). Whether your working on paying off your debt, or saving up for some pretty crazy goals – having a ton of cheap date night ideas lets you improve your mental health, your relationship, your mood, and pretty much your whole life without spending extra money.
There’s a few categories of epic cheap date night ideas to choose from though…
Cheap Date Night Ideas At Home
Having date night ideas you can do at home helps you save on babysitting (see the bottom of this page for ways to get free babysitting to go out too though), and was a lifesaver for us during COVID lockdowns.
- Trashy Pizza Nights. Most brilliant date night ever from humoroushomemaking.com Stacy’s been doing this with her husband for 10 years. She takes the night off from making dinner, puts the kids to bed and her husband and her eat Frozen Aldi pizza’s, talk and watch movies every Sunday night for the past 10 years. I love the simplicity and time for them to reconnect.
- Melt: Couples Massage Course- Home Study. We did a full year of date nights using Melt when we were paying off our debt. We spent $99 on the course and then did the course every week for a year. This is particularly helpful when you have young babies and would benefit from an intimacy boost too.
- Cooking Date Nights. Rather than going out, we’d come up with a fancy menu- Bribe the kids to stay in their room with unlimited tablet time and cook the meal together then eat it with candles and linen napkins and fancy place settings. We’ve also done fun variations of this with a mystery box challenge (like sticking ingredients into boxes and having each person make anything of their choosing and then judging the results). Mystery box challenges work really well for group date nights or double date nights.
- Watercolor Date Night. I love these so hard. For less than $20, you can get a water color set, paper and paint brushes that will last months. Find a youtube tutorial for a water color painting that you both like and then follow the video as you each paint. Water color is a super forgiving and easy to use paint with almost no clean up.
- Death at a Dive Bar. This is a game you can buy on Amazon from the subscription company “Hunt a Killer”. Unlike their monthly subscriptions boxes- which come in a season subscription of 6 months for about $180, this game is about $30 and can be played over the course of one date night, then gifted to another couple to enjoy.
- Game Night. Pan Am and scrabble are my favorite two person games. I LOVE strategy games though so Pan Am is my absolute favorite.
- Show Her Off Couples Dance Course- Home Study. You can buy the course for $67, then you can learn the moves over as many date nights as you want for free.
- Learn Something New Night: The idea behind this is to explore something new together. It can be as difficult or as silly as you want. Here’s a few ideas that readers have done…
- Kangaroo Challenge: An awkward and hilarious physical challenge that has you climb all over your significant other.
- Learn Russian- We love Dupolingo to learn languages.
- Couples Yoga – We do free couples yoga videos from youtube together.
- Tai Chi – there’s tons of free videos on youtube, here’s a good beginner one.
- Soap Making- This was fun to try and ended up saving money on soap for a while too. Here’s a few easy basic recipes, but you can find a soap recipe for pretty much any concoction you can think of.
- Candle Making- You can find an easy tutorial here.
- Birdhouses- You can use this tutorial for each of you to make a birdhouse and then paint it as you see fit and fill and hang it.
- Create Visions Boards. You can do an actual vision board like this, or just do what we do and list out our goals and what we want for our family in the future.
- Have a Budget Meeting: I know it’s not as sexy as massages, but you can also do budget meetings on date nights. It’s a regular time to check in on what you’re accomplishing and celebrating your success of the week.
- My World Date Night. You choose something that exposes them to something from your world, and they do the same for you. Jon and I would do facials, teeth whitening, and exfoliating for my night (I have a sincere love of beauty nights) and Jon would teach me how to fly on the simulator for his (He’s a pilot).
Cheap Date Night Out Ideas
- Head to dinner and split a meal. We pick an entrée, an appetizer, and a dessert to split. If we’re walking around downtown, we’ve also gone to three different restaurants to split one course at each of them. So having wings at one place, pulled pork nachos at another, and death by chocolate at a third place.
- Pack a picnic and hit a free summer concert or movie in the park. A great way to spend an evening during the warmer months.
- Pack a picnic and take a sunset hike. (pack flashlights just in case!)
- Rent a paddleboat, kayak, or canoe. Take in sunset on the water.
- Go rock climbing. Usually, about $10 each to climb for a few hours at a rock gym.
- Go ice skating. In a public session, this is usually about $10)
- Go out for dessert and coffee. After having dinner at home.
- Walk around and pop into little shops downtown browsing.
- Head to a friend’s house for a couples game night. I love these! Our favorites are Ticket to Ride, Catan, Pan Am, Scategories, and Scrabble.
- Karaoke Night: Remember when you were young and reckless and not afraid to drunk and talentless in front of strangers? Here’s your chance to reclaim your youth.
- Watch a local football game. Highschool or college make the best games in my opinion. They’re cheap, the players are passionate, and the energy is exciting.
- Go test drive fancy cars. Tesla anyone? (Obviously don’t buy one!)
- Berry picking or apple picking.
- Go fishing or hunting together. (assuming one of you is into that sort of thing).
- Go bowling.
- Take a scenic bike ride.
- Games or budget meetings. (at the brewery or coffee shop)
- Games at local game stores. If you’re lucky enough to have a local game store- they usually host game nights and you can play their games for free to try them out.
- Go to a dance. (you can search for local dance halls, or look at Meetup for ballroom nights, salsa nights, etc. Many often include free group instruction)
- Go to the animal shelter and meet the pets. (Fair warning- there’s a 54% chance, you’re coming home with a pet).
- Volunteer Together. At the food pantry, the animal shelter, or anywhere that needs a hand
- If you live near a beach, bring a book and hit the beach. (or take a walk and collect shells)
- Geocaching. You can get a tutorial here, but it’s one of the fastest growing hobbies.
- Waterfall hikes.
- Stargazing. (most communities have a stargazing group and many libraries let you rent telescopes)
- Check out a play at a community theatre company.
- Camping in a State Park.
- Go out to breakfast.
- Go out for ice cream.
- Spend a few hours at the Library.
- Visit the aquarium.
- Go to a drive-in movie. (if you’re lucky enough to live near one!)
- Check out a farmers market.
- Feed the ducks (Pack a book, a bottle of wine and some charcuterie meat and cheese).
- Go to yard sales and thrift shops.
- Walk the beach and pick up seashells.
- Act like a tourist in your own town.
- Plant a garden or a tree.
- Walk through a corn maze.
- Take a hayride.
- Hot chocolate and a fireplace.
- Refinish a piece of furniture for your home together.
- Read a series together. (hello, Harry Potter!)
How to Get Cheap or Free Babysitters
If you have young kids at home, one of the biggest issues with date night is the cost of child care while you go out. Here’s what we found works to get free or super cheap child care.
There’s a few ways to find cheap or free babysitters.
The first is to do a date night exchange with another couple who have kids around the same age (start with once a month and work up to as often as you want so you can adjust.). You take their kids (and your kids get to have a playdate or a movie night with friends). The parents get 3-5 kid-free hours to go on a date.
Then, choose a reciprocal day for you to switch so you get to go out while your kids go over to their house.
There’s usually a lot of interest for this (and you want to be fairly discerning to make sure you get a couple that’s the right fit) so start by asking your top choice and then work your way down if they’re not interested.
You can throw out a social media post, but you’ll likely get too many yes’s and it’ll be awkward to choose one and say no to the rest!
Contact the local Girl Scout Troop and ask for someone who’s earned their First Aid badge and are working on or have earned their Safe Sitter Badge. I’d look for someone whose 13 years or older, is responsible, and has a mom nearby to help if needed.
I’ve had similar luck with homeschool families (you can find applicants who are homeschooled in your local homeschool Facebook group, just search Facebook for your town and state and homeschool to find your local group).
It’s not uncommon to find sitters in this category for $5-6/hour.
Look for local Parent’s Night Out, they’re common in places that kids love to attend. Like Karate, Gymnastics, Dance, Play Centers, etc. Prices are typically $5-7 an hour per kid and many places have sibling discounts.
This is a fun one because your kids usually get to experience a night out themselves doing something they really like.
The easiest way to find one in your area is to search Google for Parent’s Night Out and your city and state or to ask in a local Moms Facebook groups for your area (search Facebook for your city and state and filter to a group).
Bonus, they’ll be exhausted once you get them home.
Switch to a Date Day
This is harder to do if you have traditional 9-5 jobs. But if you have kids in school, you can take a few hours off and enjoy a date day while the kids are in school.
What did I miss? Leave your comment below and I’ll update it!
(Hit reply and I’ll add it)
Ready for a challenge to do with your spouse?
Print off the checklist below to join me in the Budget Date Night Challenge!
Stick your photos on Instagram with the hashtag #budgetdatenightchallenge
You can grab the FREE date night challenge here…
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