A Guide to Date Night on a Budget - Tips, examples, and date ideas

A Guide to Date Night on a Budget - Tips, examples, and date ideas

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.

Date Night Ideas on a Budget

#1. Outdoor Adventures

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 Date Night

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 A Date Night Adventure (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!

Now for EVEN MORE date night ideas

Date nights are great fun. And with many studies showing that couples who have a monthly date night are less likely to split up, they might (definitely) even be part of the secret to a long and happy married life. That doesn’t mean they have to be expensive. Quite the opposite, in fact: there’s many great date night ideas for any budget, so read on for a few easy and simple ways to share experience, laugh, and learn more about the one you love.

People looking at hanging art in a museum

1. 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

2. 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

3. 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

4. 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

5. 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

6. 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

7. 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.

Snowy mountains with blue lake and trees

8. Have fun outdoors

Forget tours of buildings or galleries – wherever you live, you don’t have to go far to see that nature really is the world’s greatest architect.

Being in the open air can help us feel grounded, connected to the world around us, and to each other. A change of scene can energize you and your partner or help provide a break from issues the two of you might be facing at home.

Whether it’s a mountain hike, a trip to the ocean, or a rooftop from which to watch the world go by below or the stars shoot by from above – why not head out with your favorite date and find your happy place?

Bookshelves filled with books in a library

9. 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

10. 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.


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! Happy Dating! 🙂

See the List of Ideas