Top 5 Inexpensive Date Night Ideas

Perhaps you’ve been wading into the dating pool frequently in search of that special someone and you’ve started to realize that blowing your whole paycheck to impress a first date isn’t exactly delivering the returns you’re seeking. Or maybe you’ve been with the same person for a while now, and between the house, the kids, and everything else you simply don’t have a lot of dough to devote to romance. As it turns out, most people are a lot more impressed by the thought and effort you put in and the ingenuity you display when it comes to sweeping them off their feet than they are by the amount of money you shell out in the process. So if you’re looking for a few good ways to show that certain someone you care with a budget-friendly date that’s worth remembering, here are some ideas that won’t cost you your first-born child.

  1. A night at the drive-in. When was the last time you parked the car and made out during a drive-in movie? If you’re under the age of thirty, the answer is probably never. But if you can manage to find a functioning drive-in nearby, this is a great way to pass and evening without spending a lot of dough. In a regular movie theater you have to be mindful of the patrons around you. But when you’re in your own car with a little privacy, you can talk all you want and even get the windows a little steamy. Bonus: bring your own food without the fear of getting busted by a teenage manager on a power trip.
  2. Bowling. Most people aren’t terribly keen to play sports during a date, but a little friendly competition could be just what you need to kick things off when you’re trying to get flirty. A night on the lanes can provide you with just what you’re looking for here. Pretty much anyone can throw a bowling ball and hit a few pins. And if your partner is having trouble, offer a few helpful hints and get in close to demonstrate.
  3. Carpet picnic. Turn the idea of a traditional picnic on its head by staying home instead. Clear away the coffee table, spread a blanket on the carpet, and set out some paper plates and a bevy of finger foods like sliced meats and cheeses, crackers, and fruit. You won’t have to do too much work to pull it together, you’ll avoid the bugs that plague outdoor picnics, and you can show off your knowledge of wine with a couple of good pairings (without having to worry about getting in trouble for drinking in public).
  4. Star gazing. There are few things more romantic than spreading a blanket on the hood of your car and watching for shooting stars. But if you want to make the date a little more interactive, dig through the garage to find your star chart from 9th-grade science and the telescope you haven’t dusted off in years. Want to make your date really special? Head to before the date to name a star for your honey so you can point it out during your special night.
  5. A symphony in the comfort of your own home. Since you probably can’t afford the cost of a night at the Met or Vienna Opera tickets, why not put on a show in your living room instead? Pull out your favorite music, light some candles, uncork a bottle of bubbly, and let the genius of Holst’s ‘The Planets’, Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’, or even a little ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ do the romancing for you.