41 Free Or Cheap Date Ideas For When You’re Broke

Frugal Creative Date Night Ideas That Won’t Break Your Budget

Whether you’ve been in a relationship for a while or are going on a first date, dating is an important part of making a connection with someone.

Often, couples get sick of the day to day and want to spice things up on date night. What this usually means is you’ll go out to a restaurant or check out the latest movie.

Unfortunately, the cost of dating quickly adds up. If you’re going out to movies or restaurants for your dates on a regular basis, each date can cost $60 or more!

In the following list of free or cheap date ideas, I will give suggestions of creative dates to help you keep the spark alive or get to know someone better without going broke.

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✅ If you’re looking for inexpensive makeup options to get glammed up for your date, here is my favorite budget-friendly makeup brand.

Cheap Date Ideas For Married Couples

man and woman's legs during date on cobblestone street

1. Fun Photo Shoot

Is there somewhere in your town that is a popular photo spot? If so, going there and having a photo session just the two of you is a fun way to spend a few hours. You don’t need fancy camera equipment since most phone cameras are really good nowadays.

2. Go Through Old Photos & Reminisce

Take a trip down memory lane by looking through old photos you have. If all your photos are digital, you can watch them in slideshow view. Reminiscing about days gone by is a great way to relive good times you had together.

3. Free Admission Museum Days

Check with your local museums to see if they have a free or discounted admission day. Many museums have monthly free days in the less busy seasons or later in the day.

4. Take A Scenic Drive

Get out on the open road and take a drive without a destination in mind. No matter whether you’re driving through the woods or out in the plains, being in a car together is a great way to reconnect.

5. Visit A Botanical Garden

Botanical gardens are beautiful and a nice way to visit the tropics without needing a plane ticket. They often provide secluded pathways to walk down giving you a break from the busyness of life.

6. Watch The Sunset/Sunrise

This date idea can be done from home, the beach, or a lookout point. Nothing is prettier or more romantic than watching the sun’s gorgeous colors.

7. Test Drive An Expensive Car

If you’re already dressed up for date night, swinging by a car dealership can actually be fun. If there’s a car you’ve loved but is out of your price range, test driving it is a good substitute.

Another option is to rent a luxury vehicle for an afternoon. This is far more budget-friendly than car payments for ownership.

8. Get Deals From Groupon

Groupon has been around forever but have you really delved into looking at all they have to offer? They often have deals for really cool things to do in your area you may not have found otherwise.

9. Book Club for Two

If you love to read, setting up a book club for the two of you can be a recurring date idea. You can have as much fun as you’d like with the book choice since it’s only you two. No judgment.

10. Write Love Letters To Eachother & Read Them

This sweet date idea will surely keep the romance alive. Everyone loves to hear praise and it’s even better coming from your significant other.


Cheap Date Ideas For College Students

Young college couple embracing with bicycle

1. Rent Bikes

Many cities have bike rental stations that only cost a few dollars. When bicycling around your town, you’ll see things you never noticed before when you were passing by in the car.

If you’re adventurous you could rent mountain bicycles to go on more rugged terrain.

2. Hike

You don’t have to live in the mountains to enjoy a hiking date. Trails in your local park or neighborhood provide a way to spend time together out in nature.

3. Bowling

Bowling is becoming more expensive as old lanes are torn down and trendy high-end bowling alleys are becoming the norm. If you’re lucky enough to live near an affordable bowling alley, take advantage.

4. Mini Golf

Even in touristy destinations, mini-golf is often affordable. There’s a lot of downtime to talk and the kitschy decor is a conversation starter.

5. Coffee Shop

Keep it basic with a coffee shop date. The atmosphere allows you to keep the date as short or long as you’d like. Pick a coffee shop with cozy nooks and comfy chairs.

6. Go To The Zoo

Zoos will often have free days or discount tickets available certain times of the year. Some zoos still offer free admission all the time.

7. Camp At A State Park

If you’ve been dating a while and love the outdoors, camping at a state park is a cost-effective weekend away. Renting campsites at a state park is inexpensive and just as nice as private campgrounds.

8. Sing Karaoke

Visiting a bar that has a karaoke night is an added bonus. You’re only paying for drinks but can either watch others sing or get up on stage yourself.

9. Go Roller Skating

Roller skating is an inexpensive way to spend a few hours. Rentals are cheap and skating allows for a lot of time to talk.

10. Go To A Psychic For A Reading

Psychics near me give 30-minute readings for $20. If your area is similar, this can be a fun excursion to do and see how accurate the predictions are for your life.


Cheap First Date Ideas

Couple hugging on beach with picnic basket

1. Picnic

All it requires is for you to make an easily packable meal to eat outside. To keep it extra simple, a loaf of french bread, a few types of cheese and some fruit make a tasty charcuterie board.

2. Go Out For Dessert

Dessert is often the best part of eating out but you’re often too full to enjoy. Instead, go to the restaurant solely for dessert. This will save massively on the cost of eating out as well.

3. Feed Ducks At A Pond With Thawed Frozen Peas

Walk around your local park and bring food to feed ducks. I recommend bringing a bag of thawed frozen peas.

Definitely avoid bread though since that makes the ducks sick.

4. Geocaching

Geocaching is a fun activity you can do using only your phone. It’s a treasure hunt you can do right where you live.

5. Cook A Fancy Recipe You’ve Never Tried Before

Be your own top chef! Instead of going out to eat, stay in and cook a fancy meal worthy of a Michelin star.

6. Find The Best Happy Hours

Happy Hour deals vary greatly, even in the same area. Scout them out ahead of time to find the one with the best deal.

Another option is to Happy Hour hop. If one place has a great appetizer deal, start there and move to the next location for drinks. This works best if the places are right next to one another.

7. Fly Kites

Flying a kite requires an open field and some wind. Kites are inexpensive to buy and can be reused again and again.

8. Take Advantage of The Season

Do activities that are season or holiday-related. Decorate eggs, carve pumpkins, get lost in a corn maze, sled, or build snowmen, to name a few.


Cheap Date Night Ideas At Home

young couple sleeping in bed with breakfast tray for breakfast in bed

1. DIY Cooking Class

Use Pinterest and YouTube to find recipes with instructional videos. Create your own DIY cooking class at home where you get to control the menu.

2. Put Together A Puzzle

Puzzles require you to communicate and work together. Unlike board games, you’re not competing with one another.

3. Backyard Movie Night

If you don’t have a projector or outdoor screen, you can still have a backyard movie night using your laptop. Bring the popcorn and blankets outside to snuggle up.

4. Game Night

If you like a little competition, have a game night. This works for double dates but there are many games for 2 players as well.

5. Listen To Throwback Records/CDs

Play the music of your childhood or from a significant time in your dating time. Reminisce about your favorite songs.

6. Movie Night Paying Homage To A Significant Timeframe In Your Dating

If you’ve been together for years, watching movies dated from when you first got together is a lot of fun. It will bring a rush of memories and feelings back from when you first met.

7. Make Milkshakes or Fancy Sundaes

Create your own Soda Fountain Shop at home. Pick up ice cream and toppings at the grocery store and go to town making sundaes and fancy milkshakes.

8. Painting Class At Home

I love using YouTube to find date ideas. There are instructional painting videos you can watch to paint at home. Don’t forget the wine!

9. Spa Night Together

Pick up massage oil for a couple’s massage. Bubble baths and aromatherapy are musts. Comfy spa robes are perfect for spending the night lounging around the house.

10. Play Strip Poker

Make things steamy with a game of strip poker. If you don’t know poker, adapt a different game. Strip Go Fish, anyone?

11. Salsa Dance Lessons At Home

Another perfect at-home date idea that uses YouTube. There are many beginners salsa dancing videos that you can follow from your living room.

12. Make Eachother Breakfast In Bed

Both of you get up in the morning to make each other breakfast. Once done, bring it all into bed to enjoy relaxing on a full belly.

13. Stargaze

You can do this with or without a telescope. As long as it’s relatively dark and a clear night, you should be able to see stars.


Cheap Date Overview

I hope that these cheap date ideas help you rekindle the romance or get to know someone better without going over budget. Many of the ideas can easily be combined to create an amazing date anyone would love to be on.

Let me know in the comments if you have any other cheap or free date night ideas.

Steffa Mantilla round headshot
Steffa Mantilla

Budgeting & Debt Payoff Expert

Steffa is the founder behind Money Tamer. After paying off over $80,000 in debt through budgeting, she now teaches families how to get their own finances in order. Steffa’s background in operant conditioning and behavioral husbandry has given her an understanding of motivation and motivators. She uses this training to help people understand the reasons “why” behind their money behaviors and how to successfully change them. You can learn more about her here.

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Budget-Friendly Cheap Or Free Date Night Ideas

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