Has date night gotten lost somewhere between saving towards your early financial independence dreams and the realities of your cost of living?
If you’re anything like my husband and me, you go on a lot of at-home date nights. We’ve had some pretty off-the-hook ones over the last few years. You know, the kind that keep two people growing as a couple, connecting, and having fun together.
But let’s be real: we all want to get out of the house at some point and really experience life with our partners.
That’s why on top of these great tips for how to look for free things to do in your own city, I’m sharing seven cheap out-on-the-town date night ideas that will keep the two of you exploring life (and each other)!
Cheap Date Idea #1: Chase Food Trucks
I found this awesome free site, RoamingHunger.com that lets you locate which food trucks will be in your area. It pins them down to a location and time so that you can schedule food truck tastings.
We used it early last year to find a kick-butt, Mexican-Korean food truck about 15 minutes from our home. If you don’t want to splurge on two whole menu items, then just grab one plate and share. The portion sizes can normally justify this.
Bonus tip: Find one located near a park, at a free outdoor movie event, or another activity you can enjoy while eating together. It’s sort of the trendy new replacement for “dinner and a movie.”
Cheap Date Idea #2: Street Art + Graffiti Trail
We live in a city where the street art is downright fascinating. It’s basically a free art show, right on the street. And while graffiti is not typically my taste in art, when you combine several famous showings together, it makes for something memorable.
Chanel from ChanelMovingForward.com detailed some really cool graffiti to go and visit in Houston. To find notable “pieces” in your own area, do a search for your city/area + graffiti or street art. See what comes up!
Bonus tip: Don’t forget your camera–this is a real opportunity for some awesome backdrops to couple photos.
Cheap Date Idea #3: Drive A Culinary Trail
This idea is comprised of you and your partner finding the foods your area is known for, or what cultures are big in your area, and anchoring an entire date around them.
On our own culinary trail date, we explored the Indian culture and cuisine here in Houston. This meant eating at an Indian restaurant, finding Indian bakeries, and purchasing a few items that we wanted to try at home. We even attended a free one-week meditation/yoga/lecture guided by a guru from India!
Find the local culture in your area and piece together a date of window-shopping, exploring, and tasting your way through it.
Cheap Date Idea #4: Lingerie Shopping
It’s true (blushes)–my husband and I have enjoyed a date night at an “adult” store before. And if you can find a semi-tasteful adult shop? You’re in for a treat.
If nothing else…a few giggles.
One of the other cool things is, if you can find a boutique-y adult shop, then they usually have interesting talks on “adult” things, classes, and get-togethers.
Cheap Date Idea #5: Coffee Shop Date Night With A Twist
Coffee shop dates are cheap, but they don’t have to be boring!
Add one of these twists to yours:
- Go to a cat coffee shop: Does your local city have a coffee shop with a collection of real cats you get to pet and cuddle? We’ve got several here in Houston, and since my husband and I both love cats, it’s an ideal place for us to drink some java.
- Bring a deck of printable conversation starters: You can print out decks of free conversation starters to stretch your conversation topics. Check out this free deck, or just google “free conversation starters for couples”.
- Go through your state of the financial union: I created a whole date night wrapped around figuring out what the state of your financial union is. It’s uber-important marriage financial planning, disguised as some fun financial questions for married couples.
- Solve lateral-thinking puzzles: Go to your library and see if you can get a lateral-thinking puzzle book (you can also order it through inter-library loan if your library doesn’t have one). Solving these thinking puzzles together can be a lot of fun!
Cheap Date Idea #6: Used Bookstore Browsing
This is by far one of our favorite things to do together–going to a used bookstore and getting lost in the shelves.
We share what books we find, nuggets we pick up, and we buy a book or two. Then we read them together in our library at home while our toddler plays. It’s delightful!
Sometimes, we finish the evening off by grabbing a slice of chocolate cheesecake from our local Chocolate Bar.
Cheap Date Idea #7: Hometown Bachelor-Style Date
Ever watched the hometown dates on the show The Bachelor? If not, it's just what it sounds like. You take your partner to your hometown and show them all your old haunts. This gives them a chance to learn more about you.
In fact, you can do this no matter how long the two of you have been together!
Ideas for what to show your partner on your own hometown date:
- Your old room or house where you grew up
- Photo albums of you growing up
- Your favorite food joints
- The place everyone went to make out in high school
Have fun with this one! It might turn into a long car tour, but you’ll reveal so many interesting things to your partner.
I hope these cheap date ideas give you lots of new inspiration for getting out of your home with your love. No matter what, remember that date night with your partner is all about connection. And no amount of money spent in the world can give you that.
It’s only earned through talking to each other, exploring new things together, and keeping that spark alive.
This article is from Amanda L. Grossman. She is a Certified Financial Education Instructor who helps Chief Family Officers (CFOs) control their finances so that they can save money and live their life by design (Frugalconfessions.com). She's a featured blogger at the Houston Chronicle, and winner of a 2017 Plutus Foundation grant to create the Mt. Everest Money Simulation: A Kid's Money Educational Adventure (MoneyProdigy.com).
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