Whether you’re a married couple, significant others living together, or even just a lone wolf trying to give that special person the time of their life, dates can get expensive. We can all sympathize, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to have fun. What do you do when the money just isn’t that long?

You don’t have to look like a cheapskate or a chump. What you should do is use your noggin, and think of something equally as amazing, but cost effective that you both can look back on fondly…or better yet, you could just read this mini post that will give you 4 fun and inexpensive dates you can enjoy guilt free.

Go on a Picnic

There are many ways you can go about a picnic, but here are some basic considerations to plan this date:

  • Location: It can be as romantic or as casual as you want it to be. Most places have parks you can go and eat at complete with tables or benches to enjoy a simple meal. If you’d rather go the traditional route, try finding a nice quiet spot at your local park where you can lay a blanket out, or if you have some yard space, have a backyard picnic for the most private option.
  • Food: You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to throw together a picnic. In fact, the simpler the better. Opt for finger foods for an easy clean up. Some good ideas are fruit salad, kabobs, sandwiches, sliced veggies for dipping, and wraps.
  • Atmosphere: If you opted for the private or semi-private route, consider bringing a bluetooth speaker with you, or even just your phone’s speaker will do. Pick fun and upbeat music for a casual outing, or sweet and chill tunes for more romance.
  • Essentials: You’re going to be outside, so don’t let weather, bugs, or frequent distractions ruin your fun. Make sure you check the forecast before planning this kind of date. It’s probably best to plan a date like this soon in the future (about 2-3 days out) so you have a better idea of what to expect. Also, be sure to bring bug spray, sun screen, and water with you in addition to whatever you bring to drink! Some parks require parking fare, so be sure to bring cash for that as well. Also, don’t pick areas rife with kids, animals, or people doing workouts. Scope out your chosen location ahead of time if you can.


Have a Movie Marathon Night

This one might seem boring at first, but if you think outside the box a little, it can turn into something much more fun! Try these tips to spice up a boring movie night:

  • Pick a theme: Instead of just picking one or two random movies from Netflix, go with a theme. Maybe it’s “comedy’s starring [movie star],” or “vintage horror films.”
  • Go with better snacks: Instead of just popping popcorn and ordering pizza, maybe you could take a break from the movie with your SO and cook a meal together. You’ll have something fun to talk about after watching one of your films, whether it’s how bad the movie was, or how hilarious, or how so-and-so should have played what’s-his-face instead of who’s-it-again. If that’s not something you’re into, get some fruit platters or pinwheels to share, or break out a fondue pot to dip fruits or vegetables in.
  • Make it extra cozy: You can make your room as theater-like as you want. You could set up a projector if you have one. Also, don’t forget to break out the good sound quality (like surround sound, or good quality speakers), and of course make sure the viewing area is to perfection. Grab comfy pillows and cozy blankets and spread them out on the floor instead of the couch as an alternative.
  • Essentials: As with any other date, make sure no one calls or interrupts you while you’re enjoying your time. Shut off your phone, shove the laptop out of sight, and leave the tablets in the other room. Make this about bonding with the other person, not just watching a movie.

Go Get Lost or Take a Staycation

Many people haven’t been around their own cities enough to know what gold mines might be awaiting them. Or perhaps you live in a small town or a rural area that has plenty of places to explore of the more nature-based variety. Either way, getting lost and seeing new things is a great way to have some fun with your gal or guy.

  • Pick a place to start: Whether you’re going to be driving, walking, biking, or  taking a bus, make sure you at least know the destination. Pick somewhere somewhat familiar to you, and then venture out.
  • Use your phone to look up local attractions and pit stops: Your phone will serve as your map, your tour guide, and your date catalog. Take pictures of places and things that interest you, and be sure to get ones of you and your date together!
  • Use caution: Getting lost can be fun, but there are many considerations to take before doing it. Firstly, do a bit of planning before hand. Make sure you have a general idea of the area, how safe it is, and local laws. Stick together when possible, and be sure to have both cash and credit on you so you won’t be stranded if something goes wrong. Always make sure cars are in good repair before going on any trip, and let loved ones know where you’ll be. Tell them to expect a call from you at some point so they’ll know if something’s wrong.

Play with Nerf Guns, Water Guns, and BBQ for Two

Unleash your inner kid! Just like your parents pinched pennies to throw you a birthday party and you didn’t notice, you can do the same with a date like this. Because who’s really thinking about that when you’re having fun? Here are some fun tips to make this date a hit:

  • Start the date a week or so in advance: Yes, this is one date that goes on for quite some time. Make your intent to wage war known so your date can have a change to stockpile their arsenal. You can drop hints at each other throughout the week about how you’re going to utterly annihilate them come the big day.
  • Buy the goods: Honestly you don’t have to spend a fortune. Just get some cheap water guns, or my favorite, the water blasters for less than a dollar at Walmart. These things were a hit at my son’s birthday party, and the adults liked them too. Most people have a nerf gun lying around somewhere, but if not, it doesn’t have to be the real deal. Anything that launches little foam bullets will do. For the food, pick simple and quick things such as pre-made hamburger patties, or hot dogs. Get potato salad or coleslaw pre-made from a deli, or just serve them with chips and dip. By the way, you don’t even have to have an actual grill. Your stove will make the food just as well.
  • Keep in mind: Obviously this kind of date works best in late Spring and throughout Summer. The weather can be a bit spotty during these times, so keep an eye on the forecast. This type of date also works really well for double dates. If you know some friends who would love to join in on the fun, invite them too!

These are definitely not the only dates around that you can do for cheap or even free. Keep your eyes peeled for a part two of this article to get more ideas for having fun without going broke. Have fun, and if you want, leave your own suggestions in the comments! Also, don’t forget to subscribe if you liked the article.

Thanks, and happy dating!