According to Jennifer Lopez, “Love Don’t Cost a Thing,” but we all can’t afford to throw on our Louboutins and step out in style on a Friday night. Luckily, there are affordable date options for the rest of us. So whether you’re trying to woo your new love interest or find fun, fresh things to do with your long-time partner, here are 15 date night ideas that will help you break the monotony without breaking the bank.
Mini golf is always a great time and it makes for an affordable date-night activity, especially for new couples! Since you’ll both be concentrating on the course, the conversation will flow easily (think no awkward pauses).
Plus, for those couples with a competitive side, you can keep score as you go head to head on the course.
To make this more fun, go to a local thrift store and find some funky golf pants, the brighter the better!
Tip: You may want to wear two pairs of pants, just in case you get a hole in one!
Remember in junior high when there were skate times designated for couples only? Remember how awkward it was if you were the only one who wasn’t “going steady?” Well, here’s your chance to make up for lost time!
Lace up a pair of skates and take the ice with your sweetheart. Want to make this even more fun? Watch The Cutting Edge before you go for some ‘90s nostalgia and ice skating inspiration!
If you’re sporty or competitive, bowling is right up your alley! (ba-dam tsh..) While bowling fees can add up quickly, there are many packages that include lane time and shoes. Some bowling alleys also have special promotions and discounted rates on weeknights.
Tip: Don’t forget to bring a pair of socks for the rental shoes!
It doesn’t matter if you’re into art, history, cars, or science, there’s a museum out there that will pique your interest!
Discussing works of art and/or exhibits is a great way to learn more about your new love interest. Check the museum websites and your local event calendar to find nights with special events with lower admission costs.
Love Locks are a famous, historical tradition in Paris. Couples write their names on a padlock and secure the lock to the Pont de Arts Bridge to commemorate their unbreakable bond.
If you’re looking for budget-friendly date ideas, airfare to Paris might be out of your price range, but why not celebrate this romantic tradition at a local spot in your city?
If you’re feeling crafty, decorate your lock and display it somewhere at home instead; it makes a unique love memento and it’s sure to be a conversation starter!
There’s nothing more breathtaking than a beautiful sunset, and you generally don’t have to travel far for a front row seat. Find a serene, outdoor spot and let Mother Nature do the rest!
Tip: Pack some blankets and some snacks and cozy up for a sunset picnic.
Feel the need for speed? Unleash your inner child and race around a go-kart track!
This is another great date for newer couples; you’ll be too busy having fun (and trying to win) to feel awkward or nervous!
Make sure to check the go-kart places near you because some host two-for-one days so you can race longer for a lower price.
Board games aren’t just for kids (Cards Against Humanity anyone?), they’re a blast for adults as well! Pick a couple of your favorite games, grab some snacks, and get ready for a fun night in!
Game nights are also great for groups; this is a casual, informal way to introduce your new guy or girl to your friends.
While you’ve probably snapped tons of selfies together, there’s something special about making memories with an actual camera. If you’re like most people, however, you probably don’t own a point and shoot or DSLR, but you don’t need one to enjoy this fun date-night activity.
Buy a disposable camera (yes they still make these) and plan a photo scavenger hunt. Head out on the town, snap some pics, and see what develops…
Movie Under the Stars
This is the more romantic, outdoor version of movie night. Many parks and city venues are now hosting free movie-screening events.
Check your local listings to see which movies are playing near you!
Tip: Many of these same places also host free concerts.
While a night out drinking can be pricey, many breweries offer free tours. The best part? Many places let you try samples for free.
Lip Sync Battle
You’ve seen the hilarity ensue when Jimmy Fallon challenges his guests to lip sync battles, why not get in on the fun?
This makes for a memorable night in, or if you’re feeling adventurous, take the show on the road and hit up a karaoke night!
Tip: Pick a theme: Country jams, ‘90s boy bands, old school hip hop.
When was the last time you played Bingo? While you may have thought Bingo was only for little kids or (much) older people, it can actually make for a really fun date night!
Find a local community group or organization and get ready for some fun.
Another fun idea for the sporty, competitive couples! Batting cages are generally inexpensive and you don’t have to bring any of your own gear.
If you’re not much of a baseball or softball player, or you’re a little rusty and don’t want to embarrass yourself on a date, fear not, you can set the machines to deliver pitches at a slower speed.
Tip: if your date isn’t that experienced, this is a great way to get a little closer and him or her with batting technique!
Dessert-Only Date Night
Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too? With this option you can enjoy sweet treats for a low price.
While going to dinner can be pricey with appetizers, drinks, and expensive dishes, you can enjoy a fancy dessert for a reasonable price (if you choose the location wisely).
Skip the fancy dinner, make a meal at home or find another cheap option (like a picnic), and satisfy your sweet tooth together!
What are your favorite budget-friendly date night ideas? We’d love to hear from you, share your best thrifty date ideas in the comments below!