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Cheap Date Ideas

Looking for cheap date ideas? Going on dates is one of the pleasures of life that people can’t get enough of. Who wouldn’t want this?! With the rise of online dating, it’s now become more accessible than ever before to find someone to go on a date with you. But with rising inflation and the price of nearly everything going up – can you afford to go on dates?

The good news is that you really don’t have to spend a lot of money to go on a proper date. All you need is a little creativity, the desire to have fun, and a date with who you genuinely want to get to know more. You probably get most of your dates online if you’re anything like the rest of society.

Dating apps like Tinder and Bumble provide you with ready access to people who might be interested in going on a date with you. Research has been done on dating apps and society, that seeks to understand how dating has evolved in the 21st century—and boy has it! There are new expectations in relationships, like strong connections and exciting dates.

cheap date ideas

My own experience on cheap date ideas…

I hate to admit it… I’ve been on a lot of dates. But here’s the thing. I always wanted to show the person I’m with a special time. And I’m proud of that. I always wanted to be “the one that got away.” And I think that you should, too!

Here’s how to do that. If you want to be the one that got away, I have three tips for you.

First, pick a date night that compliments your date as well as shines who you are. Always pick something that has her/him in mind—although it says who you are. Go to one of your favorite places, too.

Second, know the place you’re going. Pick a day and time when you know the mood will be special. For example, avoid rush hour times.

And lastly, come to the date prepared. A small yet thoughtful gift is always a great thing. Flowers work, yes… Although a small gift that speaks to that person is even better. It can be under $5! It’s the thought that will matter.

Cheap date ideas — is it even possible these days?

When you go on a date with someone, it isn’t the amount of money that you’re spending on the date that’s important. It’s whether you get to know the other person or not. And how you spend quality time together. The social impact of online dating has made it such that it’s easier for people to find dates that have interests that are aligned with their own.

You no longer have to go out and attend parties to meet people. Indeed, dating in the 21st century is unlike anything the world has seen before. Modern dating involves a lot of creativity as well. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a good time.

Related: Friendzone

Before you decide on what cheap dating idea is best suited for you, you’ll need to think about what you’re hoping to gain through dating. Are you looking for a casual relationship? Maybe you want to form a deep bond with someone.

No matter what you may be looking for, through dating, going on dates where you don’t need to spend a lot of money is very much possible. Here are cheap dates that you can go on, where you can have a great time with your special someone.

cheap date ideas

Cheap Date Ideas That You Need To Try

In the modern world, relationships have changed a lot. It’s easier to find someone to go on a date with, but it’s much harder to build a long-lasting relationship with them. If you’re interested in forming romantic relationships, you’ll need to go on more than just a date with your potential partner.

But if you’re broke or on a tight budget, does that mean you won’t be able to go on dates? This is far from the truth. Here are some cheap dating ideas where you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a good time.

1. Visit A Food Truck

— Cheap date ideas for foodies

New food trucks are always opening up. If you keep an eye out for the best food trucks in your city through social media, you’ll know exactly where to take your date. Enjoy a pleasant meal together, and have an offbeat dating experience.

2. Quirky Cafes Can Be Great Too

It’s not just food trucks that you should keep an eye out for, but quirky cafes too! Going on coffee dates has long since become a dating tradition. But why waste your money at an expensive coffee shop when cheaper options provide you with quality coffee, as well?

Related: Relationship red flags

3. Visit The Flea Market

— Cheap date ideas for people who like to shop

Depending on where you live, flea markets might be held weekly, biweekly, or even monthly. They are usually held on the weekends. Visiting a flea market with your date is a great way to spend time together while looking through exciting items for sale. Flea markets often have a few food stalls, so you and your date won’t have to worry about going hungry.

4. Go To An Ice Cream Parlor

Everyone loves ice cream, no matter what their age is. This is why you should consider taking your date to an ice cream parlor. You won’t have to spend a lot of money, but you can still have a great time together.

5. Writing Love Letters

— Cheap date ideas for people who are sentimental

People don’t write love letters these days, but why not give it a try? For this idea to work, you and your date must write a letter to the other person before meeting. Then, when you get together, exchange your letters and see what the other person has to say about you. Remember that this idea is better suited to couples who have been dating for a while.

Related: Date ideas

6. Books And Wine

Do you want to have a “quiet night in” with your date? Are you both bookworms? If you are, then this idea can be perfect. First, choose a book that both of you want to read. Then, read the book before the day of the date. At your date, sit down together to talk about the book. You can discuss theories and talk about the characters and what parts of the story were memorable to you.

With a glass of wine in hand, you and your date will have something to talk about for hours to come.

cheap date ideas

7. Go Jogging Together

— Cheap date ideas for athletes

You can also consider working out together. Simply going jogging together is a great way to spend time without spending money. You can go jogging there if there’s a park near your home. All you need is a sturdy pair of running shoes.

8. Plan A Dream Vacation

You may not have enough money now, but you will eventually. Talk to your partner about what your dream vacation would be like. Where would you go? What would you do? Together, create the perfect vacation that you would both love.

9. Do Yoga Together

Maybe you aren’t interested in going jogging together but would prefer something that isn’t as physically intense. If this is the case, then consider practicing yoga together. You’ll be able to stretch your body, build your endurance, and feel more relaxed.

10. Practice Meditation

— Cheap date ideas for the spiritual among us

You can also choose to meditate together. This is an excellent idea if you’re both tired and want to do something that helps you relax. Meditating together can be a great date if you don’t want to leave the house.

Cheap Date Ideas That You May Not Have Thought About

These days, romance mainly develops among young adults using dating apps. The online dating market has taken the world by storm, and more people are dating online than ever before. This is why you should consider the risks of online dating as well.

Here are some ideas for cheap dates that you might not have thought about before:

11. Draw Each Other

— Cheap date ideas for artistic types

Are you both artists? If that’s the case, then you can try your hand at drawing each other. At the end of the date, exchange your drawings for something to remember the date by.

Related: Second date ideas

12. Go For A Long Walk

If you want to spend long hours getting to know your date, then you can do so while walking together. Choose an area with beautiful scenery to walk past. Going for a walk by the beach can be an excellent idea if you live near the beach.

13. Cook Together

Why not make a meal together right at home? You can make a recipe that doesn’t require you to buy expensive ingredients. Cook a delicious meal together and enjoy each other’s company.

14. Visit The Dog Park

— Cheap date ideas if you are an animal lover

Do you like dogs? If your date loves dogs as well, you can go to the dog park that’s nearest to your home. There, spend time with the pets and enjoy the company of your date.

Something simple and fun he/she will enjoy

15. Visit An Animal Shelter

Do you want to spend time volunteering to help animals? Then an animal shelter can be perfect for your next date. Spread joy while also spending time with your date at the local animal shelter.

16. Play Board Games — If you like playing games, you can make a cheap date idea out of that!

From Monopoly to Cluedo, there are various board games that you can consider playing. Even a game of Jenga can be a great way to spend time without spending a lot of money.

17. Doing Puzzles

You can try solving a crossword puzzle together. You can also get a jigsaw puzzle that you can then solve together. Exercise your intellectual muscles while having fun together.

18. Do Karaoke

Do you have a karaoke machine at home? If you don’t, a simple YouTube search will help you find the karaoke versions of nearly any song you might want to sing. Pop open a bottle of wine and spend the evening singing together.

19. Pore Through Old Pictures — A cheap date idea is to look through heirlooms like these

Do you have your old yearbook? Maybe you have a picture album from when you were younger. These are both great ways to spend time while letting your date get to know you more.

20. Go On A Picnic

Make a picnic basket out of your favorite foods and go to the nearest park for a picnic.

Related: How to flirt over text

30 Cheap Date Ideas That You Should Really Consider

Whether you’re dating online or going on a blind date, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a great time. Here are thirty ideas for cheap dates that you can try.

21. Go to the nearest park, and fly a kite together.

22. Stay home and build a blanket fort as well as a pillow fortress. Have a slumber party together.

23. Visit a museum together – this can be especially fun if you’re both history fans. Visit multiple museums in a day if you want to.

24. You can watch a TV show together as well. Spend hours together watching a show that you both love.

25. You can also go thrifting together. Instead of spending money on expensive clothes, visit an antique shop or a thrift store instead.

26. Riding the ferry isn’t very expensive, but it can be a visually stunning experience. Take your date on a ferry ride while the sun sets, and watch the view together.

27. It doesn’t take money to go window shopping. Take your date to the mall and enjoy looking at what’s available. You’ll be able to walk around for as long as you like, and might buy something neat.

28. You can also go to the local pool. During summer, visit the local public pool together to have fun while also cooling down.

Something simple and fun he/she will enjoy

29. You can also learn a new skill together. Maybe your date wants to know how to play the guitar. If you know how—then you can teach them. Otherwise, you could also consider learning the same instrument at the same time.

30. You can go to a pop-up stall as well. Often, pop-ups are restaurants, but you’ll also find items for sale at some. Visit a pop-up to see what it’s about, and have a fun experience with your date.

31. You can find a rooftop, ideally at your home or apartment complex. If you don’t have roof access, then find a building that does. Enjoy the spectacular views while getting to know more about each other.

32. You can also do a DIY project together. If you’ve been planning to paint something together or make something out of clay, then do it. You can even do woodworking together.

33. One inexpensive way to have a great time during your date is to go on the train. You can also ride a trolley and enjoy the views of your city.

34. Look for a spot that you and your date can designate as your favorite. Try out a new Cafe or visit a park you haven’t visited before.

35. You can also go to a library together. Although you won’t be able to talk there, you can both spend time reading the same book.

36. Playing paintball is a great way to have fun without spending a lot of money. If you and your date love competition, then challenge each other to paintball.

37. Similar to paintball, you can also challenge each other to laser tag.

38. If you’re comfortable sharing your life goals with your date, you can create a plan. Talk to your date about what you’re hoping to get out of the relationship and where you see yourselves in the future.

39. You can also visit an old age home together, where you can provide companionship to the elderly people living there. Both you and your date will be able to make other people happy.

40. Consider making a spa at home for you and your date. Light a few candles, wear face masks, and gently massage your date.

41. You can also go watch a baseball game. Buy hot dogs and cold drinks, and enjoy watching the game.

42. Do you like going to the arcade? Take your date to the arcade and have a fun time playing the latest games.

43. You can go hiking with your date as well. Pick an easy trail for beginners, and walk through the woods while there’s still light out.

44. If it’s chilly out, get a fire going in your backyard. Make some hot chocolate, heat up some s’mores, and tell each other spooky ghost stories.

45. You can also find a local charity that you and your date can volunteer for. Maybe you can go to a soup kitchen or an animal shelter. Help those who need it while getting to know more about your dates.

46. If you have a telescope, you can stargaze the night. Looking at the stars can be relaxing, and you can tell your date about all the constellations that you know about.

47. Often, local breweries can provide free tours. Take your date to the nearest brewery and learn all about their craft while enjoying a cool glass of beer.

48. An interesting date idea is to swap your hobbies. If you’re someone who likes to play the guitar, and your date loves cooking – then swap your hobbies for the dare.

49. Book readings can also be a lot of fun, especially if both you and your date are a fan of the author. They’re also free and can be a unique place to go on a date.

50. You can also think about going bowling. Bowling is inexpensive and provides you and your date with an activity that you can do for hours.

20 Ideas On What You Can Do As Your Next Cheap Date Idea

When it comes to the price of dating, you don’t always have to spend a lot of money to go on dates. These days, cheap dates are winning when compared to more expensive ones. Here are twenty cheap date ideas for your next date:

51. If you have a lake in your city or live near the ocean, you can spend time in the water. Either rent out a paddle boat or go swimming together in the water.

52. Going to an amusement park is also a relatively inexpensive way to spend time together. You can go on rides, enjoy cheap food, and simply have fun throughout the day.

53. Carnivals may not always be present in your city, but if they are, they make great places to go on dates. Take your date to the next carnival that comes to your city, and have a fun-filled day together.

54. You don’t actually have to buy a book in order to spend time at a bookstore. You can browse through the books while chatting with your date. Ask your date to show you what their favorite books are. Find books that you both like to read.

55. You can also consider touring a chocolate or cookie factory. You’ll be provided with many free samples during your tour, which can make for delicious treats.

56. Another cheap date idea is to buy a few bottles of cheap wine, get a cheese board together, and spend time inside your home.

57. You can also go to an ice cream parlor. Order a giant ice cream sundae so you and your date can finish together.

58. If you don’t want to buy movie tickets, you can go to a drive-in movie theater instead. All you need is your car, some snacks, and a date who loves movies as much as you do.

59. Do you go to dive bars regularly? They make for great dating destinations as well. Order some beers while playing darts, or try your hand at the pool.

60. You’ll often find foreign films or old films playing at your city’s theaters. The tickets for these are usually cheaper, and you and your date can watch a great movie together at a lower price.

61. Have you ever gone fruit picking? If you have a garden, then ask your date to help you pick fruits from your garden. You could also go to an orchard and ask the owner if they allow fruit pickings for a fee.

62. Playing chess can also be a great way to spend time together. If you don’t want to play against each other, then play against a computer, or even against other people, using the internet.

63. Visiting a comedy club can be an excellent idea for a date. An improv show or a comedy night will make you and your date laugh, and you’ll also have something to talk about after the show.

64. Maybe you don’t want to spend money on eating out. If this is the case, then you can make an excellent meal at home with your date at just a fraction of the cost it would take to eat out. Buy your favorite ingredients and make your favorite meal together.

65. You don’t always have to be near the stage to enjoy a music concert. Get cheaper tickets that allow you to listen to music while sitting out on the grass. You’ll also be able to talk to your date while listening to music.

66. Mini golfing can be a lot of fun. You don’t even need to go to a gild course to enjoy mini golfing. Simply use your backyard as a make-believe golfing area, and see whether you or your date can score higher in the game.

67. Art galleries often have events for the public, where they gather new works as well. It doesn’t really cost anything to visit an art gallery, and you’ll be able to spend time there with your date.

68. You and your date can also try gardening together. Maybe you can plant a small flower or a tree to commemorate your date. Over time, as your bond strengthens, the plant will grow as well.

69. You can also go on a bike ride with your date. Bike through the city until you reach the trails. Take breaks to enjoy the view, and have a great time in the lap of nature.

70. You can also learn how to skate together as well. Visit your nearest skating rink, and start skating with your date. If it’s winter, you can try ice skating as well.

Conclusion — Cheap date ideas are all around us

There are plenty of other things you can do as well. Suppose you want to go on dates where you don’t need to spend a lot of money. You could try rock climbing together, join a trivia night at your local pub, learn how to dance, and a lot more.

You don’t need to spend money to enjoy spending time with your date. Whether it’s your first date with your special someone or your hundredth, use these ideas to enjoy spending time together without blowing a hole in your budget.

Fact checked:
Board reviewed by Marianne Tomlinson, LCSW (Couples and Family Therapy). Content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Learn more.

About the author

Ryan Sanderson (LCSW) Ryan is a game and relationship enthusiast who enjoys all things quizzes, games, fun, love, relationships, and family. He's a licensed social worker and helps families, couples, and children in need. He's spoken about love and relationships on Salon.com, Forbes, and Mirror, to name a few.

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