34 of the Best Cheap Date Night Ideas (Most Are Free!)

34 of the Best Cheap Date Night Ideas (Most Are Free!)

Planning a budget-friendly date night has its challenges. Even though some may shutter at the thought of the terms “date night” and “budget” being used in the same context. Don’t worry, we are here to share our step-by-step guide to planning (and staying committed to) date night, even when you’re on a tight budget.

Why Date Night Is Important

In a study conducted by The University of Virginia, they found “that couples who devote time specifically to one another at least once a week are markedly more likely to enjoy high-quality relationships and lower divorce rates, compared to couples who do not devote much couple time to one another.” That being said, it seems that date nights are increasingly difficult to fit into your budget and your calendar! After all, what’s the point of scheduling date night if we can’t afford to pay for it? Read on for tips on budgeting for your next date night!

How to Budget for Date Night

In order to plan your budget-friendly date night, we first need to know what our budget is! We know that a common excuse is that date night, well, “not in the budget.” The good thing is date night improves your relationship not based on how much money you spend, but rather on the quality of time spent. The best date night can actually end up being free!

But now the question stands, how much should you spend each month on date night? The average date night out can cost between $40 to $100+ depending on the activities you both choose! It may sound way out of budget to have consistent date nights, but we have some tricks up our sleeve to help you find the perfect date night for you and your hunny! You can even plan a super fun and impactful date night for $20 or less with a little creativity! 

Tyler and Michelle, founders of Crated with Love, launched the company after noticing how important a regular date night was to their relationship.

“When we first got married, things changed drastically in our relationship. We had more bills, more financial responsibility, and less time. The first thing to go was date night, it was just easier to give up. But then we noticed that something was lacking in our relationship”, Tyler states.

“We just weren’t connecting like we used to when we were dating. So, we decided to make date night a priority. No matter what, each month, we would take $20 and set it aside (which was a lot for us then). We promised each other that no matter what, we would have that $20, intimate date night. And it worked!”

Your date night budget doesn’t need to be huge. In fact, just $20 a month (that’s less than $1 a day!) can give you and your partner the quality time you need to reconnect. And that’s the most important part. At the end of the day, date night is about reconnecting with your partner, not about how much you spend.

Cheap date night ideas

Snowy mountains with blue lake and trees

1. Explore the outdoors!

Let’s say you and your partner love the outdoors and want to spend more time together exploring the wilderness.

After all that budgeting, let’s say your date night budget is $50 a month. 

Let’s hypothetically say you also want to find more ways to workout together!

You decide to plan a hiking day-trip each month to a local national park. It takes about an hour to get there, so you determine it will be about $15 in gas. Entering the park will be $10. The remaining $25 will be used for a picnic after your hike. You schedule your hike on the third Saturday of the month and make sure to block it off. 

As you both plan the date in detail, you both throughout the month can get equally excited as the anticipation rises before each of your date-hikes! One major goal related to this could be to hike through all of the immediate areas surrounding where you live, then you are always seeing something new with the person you love!

2. Happy Hour Drinks and Appetizers Around the City

Even though it may be a little tight on money to try to go out to a nice dinner more than once a month, there are options for you and your love to still go to restaurants will take into consideration the size of your wallet.

If either of you consider yourself true food connoisseurs or “foodies”, at heart, but it’s hard because the daily budget-friendly menu might consist of peanut butter and jelly or macaroni and cheese, you need to get a little more creative.

During this happy hour date concept, you both will make it a goal to get into your favorite restaurants around the city. Maybe even new restaurants! You each will try a different appetizer at a different restaurant, then rank it on a scale of one to ten! Each night after your date, you fill in your scores on a spreadsheet! This allows you to reminisce later and collect memories, but also encourages you to keep track of your favorite plates and drinks from your favorite restaurants! Maybe you can both FINALLY come up with a restaurant you both agree on when the question arises, “Where should we go to dinner?”

3. Visit your favorite food truck

Everyone loves food trucks. It might not be the cheapest option, but for a little over $10 you can get enough to fill you up with delicious, greasy goodness. Go to your favorite food truck and get your favorite items. Or if you’re feeling a little daring, try a new truck!

People looking at hanging art in a museum

4. Visit a museum

If you’re looking for a fun and informative date, a trip to the museum is a great place to start. People often think museums are expensive, but that isn’t always true. Even if you’re not lucky enough to live somewhere where the local museums are free, many museums offer reduced rates for locals or at off-peak times. You also don’t have to be from out-of-town to take advantage of discounted ‘Tourist Pass’ bundles. Hint hint!

Blue swing set in an empty playground

5. Rediscover the joy of playgrounds

We get it: there are times when you don’t want to spend the afternoon in a museum, and just want some simple childish fun. There are also times that you want a really fun date idea that truly costs nothing! What better idea than some joyous playground fun? There are usually several to choose from across your local city, and with this one date idea, you likely have a handful of free dates to choose from in your own neighborhood!

A playground is also the ideal place to rediscover your inner child, and to watch your soulmate rediscover theirs. We guarantee that – when you see how happy your partner gets while trying to swing as high as they can on the swings – you’ll fall in love with them all over again!

Close up of the go to jail square on a  Monopoly game board

6. Show your competitive side with a game night

How many of us have a cupboard full of old board games that we haven’t opened in years? Rather than see it as a reminder that you really need to declutter, why not use that cupboard as an inspiration for your next date night? Relearn your childhood favorites or create your own new rules for traditional games!

You can even get your friends involved, taking turns to host and each bringing a dinner course, appetizer, or selection of snacks and drinks. Maybe even form a two-man dream team with your date to fight your friends for Pictionary Champion bragging rights.

Volunteers stacking their hands together before working together

7. Volunteer together

Wherever you are in the world, there are plenty of locally grown causes that would be so grateful for volunteers. Why not combine a date night with giving a little back to your community? It could be serving food at a homeless shelter, helping children with their reading, or looking after some furry friends in the local animal sanctuary. It’s really up to you and your partner!

All this takes is a quick Google search to find opportunities in your local area. And who knows, you may even discover a passion for your partner (and yourself) you’d never otherwise know.

Aerial view of a machine factory

8. Discover a Factory Tour Together

Rather than sitting on the couch and watching “How it’s Made” on your television, why not go and find out first-hand? More and more factories are opening up their doors for public tours, often for little cost.

If you’ve ever wondered how the local producer makes their honey, or debated with your partner how they make sure there’s the same number of candies in each little packet – or even if you’re simply interested in something new – this could be your kind of date.

Man walking down aisle in a flea market

9. Visit a flea market

A trip to a flea market can be a really fun date in and of itself. Browsing the various stalls, soaking up the bustling atmosphere, finding quirky objects and things that rekindle long-forgotten shared memories. Just be careful with the impulse purchases as they can eat into your newly developed budget!

You can also use a flea market date as inspiration for your next budget-friendly date night too, using it to, for example, find cheap equipment for a new hobby, or to buy the materials for a new DIY project to do with your partner!

3 slinkys spread out on colorful pieces of paper

10. Play with old toys

Even if board games weren’t your thing, we can imagine that you or your partner still have some old, cherished childhood toys lying around the garage. Whether it’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Power Rangers action figures, Barbie Dolls, Lego or Lincoln Logs, why not dig them out and invite your partner on a playdate?

You can share your favorite childhood memories, learn things about each other that you never knew, and reignite your boundless imaginations! Allow that sparkle of creativity and belief in the impossible to come back to you both that your adulthood may have stripped away.

Date night boxes and card games next to each other

11. Get a date night in a box

You and your partner want to commit to date night, but need an option that doesn’t break the bank or take a ton of planning. Plus, your budget may be tight and you may even have little ones at home, so going out isn’t always a feasible option. Ideas for at home dates are endless, but you don’t have a ton of time on your hands to plan activities, a menu, and take care of the littles.

If you both are interested in games, adventure, and FUN, while actively searching for ways to strengthen your relationship. We have the perfect recommendation for you! Crated with Love delivers monthly dates nights directly to your door! With a new theme every month and delivered right to your door, you can choose when to complete your date based on when you have enough time in your busy schedule, more than likely when the little ones go to bed! With Crated with Love, you earn physical badges each month (like little trophies for completing each date!) and your subscription even comes with additional challenges to do throughout the month, so staying motivated and committed to date night is fun and easy!

Does this sound like a perfect option for you and your partner? Learn more about our date night box subscription by clicking the button below!

Learn more!

Bookshelves filled with books in a library

12. Learn together at a public library

You’re never too old to learn. Be it a new language, the skills to help you with technology, or the DIY know-how for that next home makeover project.

It’s all so true that learning’s more fun when you have someone to learn with! Having your special someone to help and encourage you along the way (and make sure you stick with it). Which is why classes at your local community college as a couple can also make great dates.

Although classes can often be very expensive, more and more community libraries now offer free, or subsidized courses on a whole variety of topics.  You might even be able to learn how to use those supplies you picked up at the flea market!

People walking in a farmers' market

13. Go to a farmers market

Just imagine a leisurely stroll, hand-in-hand, in evening sunshine with your soulmate. The smell of the food vendors and fresh peaches, then throw in some great food and the warm feeling that comes from knowing you’re supporting local producers.  Now that sounds amazing, right?

Regular farmers markets are springing up all over the pace. You can pick up something to cook together, buy snacks on the go, or sit down for a picnic! It’s also a great place to grab some tasty free samples. There are often local bands or artists that you can watch as well.

Playing cards on a table

14. Play a card game

Pull out a deck of cards to play your favorite card game. If you haven’t played cards in a while, think about one from your childhood. Play yours or your significant other’s favorite childhood game. You could always Google “card games for two” to try something new. Add a competitive aspect to playing cards by adding a point system if the game doesn’t already have that component to it.

15. Watch funny YouTube videos

Are funny cat videos your thing? Or does your partner enjoy prank videos? Spend some time together showing each other the funniest videos you’ve seen lately. Talk about why you found the video to be so funny or just enjoy laughing together. There is always the option of finding new videos together as well. Use the trending topics tool or search feature.

16. Cook dinner together

Find a new recipe on Pinterest to try or pull out a family recipe. Create a recipe from things you already have on hand or add a shopping trip to your date night as well. Spending time cooking together can be entertaining. You can watch your partner try something new or relish at how good they are at cooking. It’s incredibly fun and rewarding to work together to create something you can enjoy afterwards. Plus, the act of working together for a single outcome is a great bonding experience.

Homemade chocolate dessert in a mug

17. Make dessert

Maybe you already did dinner with the kids. That’s okay! How about you create a dessert together? It could be baking a special treat from scratch or pulling ingredients together to make something like an ice cream Sundae or s’mores at the fireplace. (Hint: Don’t have a fireplace? A gas stove works wonders for s’mores!)

18. Research about a new project

If you have a project you have been wanting to tackle as a couple, but have been putting off, doing some research together could be helpful. Searching information together allows you to bounce ideas off each other and feel the excitement. Maybe that’s exactly what you need to get started!

19. Take silly selfies together

Who doesn’t like to be silly sometimes?! Spend the evening taking selfies together. Try out different poses to see what you can create. Make screaming faces, look angry, act like you’re laughing, kiss each other, 007 pose and anything else you can think of. If you don’t want them to be discovered simply delete them afterwards. It will still be a fun date night that you both enjoy together!

Man massaging his partner's hand at home

20. Give each other a massage

You don’t have to go spend a bunch of money to get pampered. A great at-home date is an at-home spa session where you give each other massages. If you have special oils and supplies, great! If not that is okay. Simply use lotion or coconut oil that you already have.

21. Ask Would You Rather questions

Sit on the couch together and get to know each other more by asking Would You Rather questions. You might be surprised at the answers you both give! Their answers might even give you ideas for future date nights. If you run out of ideas, try this website with tons of questions!

22. Create a picnic

You may not be up for going out to dinner, but you can still make dinner special with a little picnic. Create a picnic in your backyard or even on the floor in front of your fireplace if you have one. Sometimes switching things up in the littlest of ways can have a big impact. And that is so true for keeping things fresh in marriage.

23. Ask whacky conversation starters

Nothing gets the imagination going like having to come up with answers to the craziest questions you can think about. For example, "You just realized that you have an extra $200 million in the bank and decide to buy an island to create your own community. The island only has room for one shopping store, one restaurant, and one "owner's choice" establishment. What three are you picking?"

Get 141 crazy questions like this one with our 141 Outrageous Conversation Starters for Couples card deck!

24. Stargaze together

After the kids are in bed and the lights are out go look at the stars. Lay out a blanket to stargaze and enjoy the fresh air. Who can find a constellation first? How many constellations can you each name? If you are in the city where it is too bright to stargaze there are apps that allow you to see the stars in the location you are. When you move the phone it moves to represent the stars you would see.

25. Build a fort

Most of us enjoyed building forts as a kid. Why not do it as an adult? Pull chairs together to prop up blankets for a top. If you have large enough sheets you could even drape them from the ceiling. Put a pallet on the bottom which could be a nice big blanket or multiple pillows. You can talk while laying together in there or watch a movie. (Bonus points for leaving it up for the kids to play with the next day!)

Couple playing video game in living room

26. Play video games

If your partner enjoys playing video games, but you don’t particularly like to, this could be a fun date night for you. Ask your partner if you could join in an evening of playing their favorite game. Let them give you a mini lesson on how to play then get to playing. It likely won’t matter how good you are at the game, but that you were willing to participate in something they enjoy doing.

27. Find out your fortune

This is another thing that a lot of us did as a kid. We would fold a piece of paper into a little origami contraption to fit over our fingers. It had colors and numbers that we would choose that lead us to our fortune. Create these origami fortune tellers together for a little old school fun.

28. Tasting contest

Go into your kitchen and pull out random different foods. Things that have distinct flavors and things that might be a bit more challenging to recognize. Make sure your mate isn’t watching while you collect the items. Then blindfold them so they don’t see the things they are going to taste. Have your partner do the same for you and see how many you can each identify. Whoever identifies the most correct foods wins!

Couple telling stories together while holding hands

29. Partner storytelling

Create a story together by adding one sentence at a time. See just how odd, funny, or complicated your story can get. You start the story with one sentence. Then your partner will add a sentence to continue the story. Keep going like this for as long as you would like or until the story comes to an end. Try telling a real life story in this way as well. Maybe it’s the way you met or the birth of your children. Make sure to record them in case you decide you want to share them later.

30. Redecorate a room

There is something about changing up physical space. If you can’t think of anything else you two would like to do for an at-home date night then maybe redecorating a room is just the thing to try. Move furniture around. Move pictures on the wall. You could even change decorations out with others you already have in other rooms or currently not in use. Here’s a handy guide on how to decorate a room.

31. Karaoke time

No need to go out to karaoke anymore! Just pull up YouTube and search karaoke songs. There will be a ton of options. Take turns singing to each other or sing together. Record each other singing or live stream your karaoke session. Get as adventurous as you would like!

Wooden blocks spelling out the word learn

32. Learn a language

How about learning something new together? There are so many free resources out there now that it is easy to learn a new language. Decide what language you might like to learn together and find a platform to do it on. It’s always more fun to learn something new when you have a partner in it with you.

33. Take personality tests

So many different personality tests are trending right now. Take time during your at-home date night to find out both of your results. A good start are these: Myer-Briggs, DISC, Enneagram or The 5 Love Languages.

Empty kids' playground

34. Give back to others

There are ways that you can give back during your at-home date. You can write cards to kids in hospitals, make treats for community helpers, or put together emergency bags for homeless people. You could also go through your closet or pantry to donate clothes or food to shelters. Think of ways you can give back with items you already have on hand.


There you have it – a handful of fun, simple, and easy date night ideas that won’t break the bank! With these helpful tips and tricks, even having a single date night a month will be easy to plan, enjoyable, and WON’T HURT THE WALLET! The best kinds of dates! When you and your partner have some quality time to reconnect, it can lead to a much longer, healthier relationship, so don’t forget to build out a “date night” category in your next budget!

Need a little extra help with date night? Let us do the work for you!

We all know date night is expensive. Just going out for a movie easily runs you $50 after tickets and the crazy marked up popcorn and soda. A date night box from Crated with Love can be had for as little as $29.99 and includes enough games and activities to have multiple date nights! Check them out below!

Learn more about our date night subscription

Back to blog