10 Cheap Date Ideas for Romance on a Budget

Tara Seboldt
Feb 11, 2022

Valentine’s Day is known for big romantic getaways, lavish dinners, and expensive jewelry. But spending money isn’t the only way to show your partner how much you care. Cheap date nights can be just as rewarding and romantic as ones you spend considerable money on.

Celebrating Valentine’s Day on a budget can be just as memorable as an expensive evening.

Check out these 10 cheap date ideas for your next date night together!

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4 Cheap Date Night Ideas to Get You Out of the House

Want to get out of the house, but don’t want to spend a ton on a date?

There are a lot of ways to enjoy an affordable date without staying in.

Here are some great ways to explore your city on a budget.

1. Experience the Night Sky

There’s no better setting for stargazing than a clear winter night sky. Head to your nearest state park or drive out to the countryside to cozy up under the stars.

Be sure to pack lots of blankets and pillows to make a stargazing nest for you and your partner to cuddle under.

You might also want to pack a thermos with hot cocoa, soup, or your favorite hot drink to enjoy.

2. Go Ice Skating

Ice skating is an often-overlooked cheap, fun activity for date night. Many cities have a public outdoor skating rink with free or low-cost entry.

If there’s no outdoor rink, look for a local indoor rink, instead. Most ice skating rinks have rental skates for only a few bucks.

You can hold hands while you glide around the ice—or help each other up after a fall.

Not into ice skating, or live somewhere with a warm climate? Try roller skating. You can even look for a retro night at the rink and pull out your favorite ‘80s-inspired outfit.

3. Grab a Matinee

Going to a matinee showing of your favorite movie or a new film is an easy way to get out of the house for an afternoon.

Even better? Daytime shows are usually less expensive than evening showings, making them perfect as cheap date ideas.

You’re also more likely to get the movie theater to yourselves, as matinees usually have lower crowds.

Try planning a reverse “dinner and a movie” date night. Go to an early afternoon movie and grab an early dinner afterward.

Look for a restaurant that’s still serving its lunch menu or has happy hour appetizers. These options tend to be much cheaper than dinner entrees.

4. Do a Photo Scavenger Hunt

Whether you live in a big city or small town, there are probably a lot of things around you’ve never noticed before.

Plan a fun date night out on the town—without spending a dime. Before you leave the house, work with your partner to come up with some DIY photo scavenger hunt ideas.

Then, go out around town and try to find all of the things on your list. Snap a photo with your phone so you can make a keepsake collage or take a trip down memory lane later.

Make it a win-win for you and your friends by inviting another couple for a double-date scavenger hunt.

It can be a lot of fun to create lists for one another and see which couple completes their list first.

Need some ideas? Here’s a starter list to get you going:

  • Find a street named after a president
  • Locate a license plate from another state
  • Order a drink from a local coffee shop
  • Pet an animal at the animal shelter
  • Purchase an unusual food item at the grocery store

6 Cheap Date Ideas at Home

Getting out of the house for date night can be hard, especially if you have kids. Luckily, there are plenty of cheap date ideas you can enjoy from the comfort of home.

These cheap date ideas for at home can also be done as a family. You can turn date night into a full family evening, or put the kids to bed and enjoy a romantic evening for just the two of you.

1. Try a New Hobby

Have you ever wanted to try a new hobby, but didn’t want to spend the money on a class or supplies?

Nowadays, free or inexpensive online classes are easy to come by. You can also find discounts for classes from places like Groupon.

You can also find a documentary on a subject neither of you is familiar with. Learn together, and have a conversation afterward.

All you’ll need for a night of learning a new hobby are you, your partner and the basic supplies.

For example, you might need ingredients for a cooking class or a basic paint set for a painting class.

2. Make Homemade Pizza

Cooking a homemade meal together is always a good at-home date night idea. However, there’s something extra special about making homemade pizzas.

They’re the perfect customizable food, and they offer some messy fun for you and your partner. Plus, the ingredients are cheap!

You can make one large pizza or several smaller, personal-sized ones. Try adding your favorite toppings to one part, your partner’s favorite to another, and a topping you’ve both never tried.

You can even include a dessert pizza with ice cream to finish off your meal. (Yes, please!)

3. Watch a Movie

Although simple, a movie night is a fun date idea for any occasion. Grab a drink, pop some popcorn and watch your favorite movie.

When it’s over, let your partner pick their favorite movie and watch it next. You can plan to go old-school by breaking out your favorite classics or hop on Netflix to find a new movie to try.

If you have an outdoor space, you can even turn movie night into a homemade drive-in.

Use pillows and blankets to make a comfy viewing spot. You can find great deals on cheap projectors or pull your TV or laptop outside to watch the movie with a hint of fresh air.

4. Go Indoor Camping

You don’t have to live in the woods to go camping. Indoor camping is a great alternative, especially in the winter around Valentine’s Day.

Set up a tent or build a blanket fort in your living room to create the perfect indoor campsite.

You can make s’mores in your fireplace if you have one, or look up a s’mores-inspired dessert to make in the oven.

A few cheap Christmas lights or fairy lights strung across the ceiling can make it feel like you’re really under the stars.

Break out your favorite board games or video games and make it a game night, as well.

5. Get to Know Each Other Better

Even couples who have been together for decades can benefit from getting to know one another better.

This inexpensive date is simple but can be a great way to deepen your relationship.

Cook your favorite meal—or order cheap takeout—and enjoy a good conversation with your significant other over dinner.

Come up with a list of questions for one another to help jumpstart the conversation. Use these ideas to get started:

  • What’s your perfect day?
  • If you could be famous, what would it be for?
  • What’s the last song you sang out loud?
  • What’s the first thing you can remember as a kid?
  • Describe your dream vacation—no expenses spared.
  • If you could be an animal for a day, what would it be and why?

Enjoy Your Low-Cost Date Night

Staying on a budget doesn’t mean giving up a romantic evening.

Start with these cheap date ideas to make date night more exciting—and more budget-friendly.

You can even brainstorm your own ideas. You might be surprised by what you come up with!

Tara Seboldt

Tara is a financial writer with over five years of professional writing experience. She previously worked at a financial planning firm. Tara uses this professional experience to help readers better understand their finances and make smart financial moves. When she’s not writing about money, Tara enjoys spending time in the Idaho mountains hiking, camping, and skiing.

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