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It’s easy to skim over date nights when your budget it tight. However, dates nights are an important part of any relationship, whether you’re just starting out or have been married for decades.
Spending quality time alone helps keep the spark alive and gives you and your partner some down time to just live in the moment and enjoy each other’s company.
If your lives are super busy, a monthly date night is a good start to incorporating regular couple’s alone time in your life. If you have the ability to partake in regular date nights on a weekly basis, put them on your calendar and commit to planning a few hours of fun or relaxation.
Even if your bank account says date night is a no-go, there are still lots of ways to enjoy a date night without spending a dime.
Here are 50 free date night ideas you and your significant other needs to try out at least once:
1. Volunteer A Few Hours
Volunteering as a couple is a great bonding experience and you get the added satisfaction of knowing your time helped others. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
If there aren’t any organized opportunities in your area, grab a couple of trash bags and some gloves and pick up trash around your neighborhood.
2. Visit the Library
If you both enjoy reading, visit the library together. Spend some time looking for books for your partner to read or kick back and enjoy some quiet reading time.
If reading isn’t your thing, the library likely has some of your favorite movies you can rent for free to take home for a movie marathon.
3. Take Part in a Community Event
Check out local events in the newspaper or on social media. Many communities have a plethora of things to do for free if you pay attention. From free concerts in the park to networking events, you can enjoy a night out on the town without traveling far from home.
Pack up the car and head out to a dark area with a blanket and some wine. Spread a blanket on the ground and pop open the bottle then lay back and enjoy nature’s show.
5. Cook Together
You may not be able to afford a fancy dinner out, but you can recreate the magic at home. Try and recreate your favorite apps and entrees from restaurants. Before dinner, light a few candles and get dressed up. Eat slowly and enjoy each other’s company.
6. Pack a Picnic
Wake up early on a Saturday morning and pack a picnic lunch. Visit a local park, lake, or even your own backyard.
7. Meander Through an Antique Store
Antique stores can be fascinating. Spend some time roaming through the aisles to find pieces that spark your interest. Do a quick Google search to learn more about their history or enjoy making up your own backstories.
8. Go on a Hike
If you live near a state park or other hiking trail, plan a day to spend together in the outdoors. Choose an easy trail to spend a leisurely afternoon together or opt for a more moderate hike to get your blood pumping.
9. Try Your Hand at Fishing
Fishing can be a lovely way to quiet your mind and enjoy quality time together. Borrow the equipment from a friend and dig up your own worms. (Check fishing license requirements in your area before you go.)
10. Feed the Ducks
If you’re local lake has a family of ducks, spend the morning feeding them. Use canned or fresh corn or birdseeds rather than bread, as they are safer for the ducks.
11. Walk Some Dogs
Head out to the local SPCA or animal rescue to walk the dogs. You and your partner get to enjoy the great outdoors and make the day more exciting for your new four-legged friends.
If dogs aren’t your thing, check out the cat room where the kitties need some one-on-one time with human pals.
12. Chill with the Birds
Check out a bird watching book at the local library and borrow a pair of binoculars. Spend an afternoon in your backyard or at the local park trying to identify the birds together.
13. Enjoy a Scavenger Hunt
There’s a lot of ways to enjoy a date night scavenger hunt. Spend some time creating one for your date or just do a general one by walking around town and identifying items using the alphabet.
14. Complete a Crossword
For rainy day date nights, snuggle up on the couch in the quiet and complete a crossword together. See how many you can do on your own before looking up the answers.
15. Camp in the Yard
If you have the backyard space, set up a tent and go electronics-free for a whole evening. A little grill and some marshmallows can make the night even more special.
16. Create Your Own Spa Night
Root through the closet and find those forgotten bath oils and bubbles. Stay in and make your own spa night with a hot bath, dual manicures, and relaxing massages. Turn off the television and flip on a romantic playlist of your favorite songs.
17. Try a New Board Game
If you’re tired of Scrabble and cards, ask a friend to borrow a board game you’ve never tried before.
18. Develop a Time Capsule
Reminisce about your love, from the first time you met to the present day. Gather up some items that mean something to you and place in a shoebox or plastic container. If you can, dig up a spot in the backyard and bury it together.
Set a date to reopen the capsule on a date night in the future.
19. Make a Scrapbook with Old Photos
If you have boxes of photos hanging out in a box, set up shop at the kitchen table and make a scrapbook. Take your time going through old photos and remembering all the fun times you’ve had together over the years.
If your life is mostly digital, spend a few hours uploading your favorite photos to a printing company website.
20. Set a World Record
Check out a copy of the Guinness Book of World Records from the library and browse the various records other people have set. Pick one or two and see if you can master the record for yourself.
21. Take the Road Less Traveled
Take a drive without your GPS and turn down that road you always pass but have never traveled.
22. Find Free Classes
Local community groups often provide free classes for a variety of things. You can also sign up for free classes at nationwide retailers like Lowes, Home Depot, and Michaels to learn how to do fun projects on your own.
23. Go Fly a Kite
Google instructions for making your own kite then hit a local park and learn to fly it.
24. Brave a Ghost Walk
Research paranormal activities in your area then take an unguided ghost tour of your own.
25. Do Local Tourist Stuff
We often overlook interesting tourist ideas in our own neighborhoods. Spend the day living like a tourist and soaking up with your local community has to offer.
26. Make Your Own Drive-in
If you don’t have access to a big screen and a movie projector, hook up your laptop or television in the driveway for an open-air movie night.
27. Learn a YouTube Skill
YouTube offers an enormous amount of learning opportunities. Pick a few tutorial videos to help you and your partner learn a new skill, whether it’s necessary home repairs or just videos that spark your interest.
28. Plan a Dream Vacation
You may not yet have the funds to fulfill your vacations dreams, you have plenty of resources online to help you start planning. Spend a few hours researching and creating your ideal vacation alone together or with the family.
29. Do a Glamour Shots Session
Grab the camera and create your own glamour shots studio. Dress in funny costumes or other themes and enjoy all the laughter throughout the evening.
30. Enjoy a Bike Ride
Take out the bikes (borrow them if you have to) and explore areas of your neighborhood you’ve never seen before.
31. Compete in a Video Game Challenge
Once the kids are in bed, break out their video consoles and challenge each other to a full-out competition.
32. Dive into a Game of Frisbee
Head outside with a frisbee and see how long you can keep it in the air.
33. Find a Free Factory Tour
If you’re lucky enough to have a cool factory in your area, sign up for a free tour. Many tours not only include interesting history and information about the products they make, they also give free samples at the end.
34. Enlist the Help of a Friend
If you have generous friends that own a farm, ask if you can visit with the animals. If you have friends that ride ATVs, ask if you can go along. There are lots of opportunities for free date nights you can find by networking amongst your own friends and family.
35. Break out the Water Guns
For hot summer nights, break out the kids’ water guns and go to battle. Wear white shirts and use colored water to determine who wins at the end of the night.
36. Find an Open Mic Night
Lots of bars offer free open mic nights where you can hear new music, poetry, or stand-up comedy routines at no cost to you. (Take note of places that have a 1 or 2 drink minimum.)
37. Construct a Jigsaw Puzzle
Dig out an old jigsaw puzzle from the basement and see how well you can work together. This is a great date night activity for the cold winter months.
38. Learn to Dance
If there aren’t classes in your local community for free dance lessons, look up tutorials online to learn the feisty tango, a spicy salsa, or a vintage jitterbug and move the furniture out of the way.
39. People-watching and Stories
Chill out on a local park bench and people watch. Spend some time giggling while you make up backstories about the people that go by.
40. Try out a New Language
Go back to YouTube and learn a new language together. Try different language and see if you can find one you both would like to pursue more seriously.
41. Netflix a Standup Routine
If the comedy club is too costly, pop some popcorn at home and stream a few stand-up routines from your favorite comics.
42. Build Your Go-to Music Playlist
Spend your date night reminiscing over your favorite songs together. Make a playlist on Spotify or other service you use for future date nights.
43. Learn More About Local History
Research local historical landmarks and check them out in person.
44. Play Smartphone Hide-N-Seek
Use your smartphone to up the stakes in a traditional hide-n-seek game. Snap photos of yourself in a secret location and challenge your date to find you.
45. Go For the Samples
If you belong to Costco or other warehouse store known for its free samples, hit the aisles and dream about what you’d put in your cart if you were financially able. Then fill up on free appetizers and snacks at the sample table.
46. Paint and Sip
Gather your kids’ art supplies and set up in the backyard. Print out an easy picture to recreate and post it up where you both can see it. Spend a few hours creating your masterpiece as you chat easily and sip some of your favorite wine.
47. Work the Garden
Even if you are short on cash to buy seeds and other supplies, you can still use a nice day to prepare the ground where your garden will grow. Plan out what vegetables and flowers you want to plant when payday rolls around.
48. Learn to Can
Canning the fruits and vegetables from your garden is not only a great way to spend time together, it’s also a great way to supplement your pantry staples. Many of the canning processes require some basic equipment.
If you don’t have the supplies you need, borrow from your friends or invite them over to help you make jams, jellies, and salsas to use up everything you’ve grown.
49. Touch Base With Your Goals
If you’ve been together for a long time, it can be easy to overlook each other’s hopes and dreams. Plan a date night in a quiet, comfortable place and take about your future goals.
Getting on the same page in life is a great way to rekindle your romance and better understand where each other wants to go in life.
50. Plan Date Nights For the Rest of the Year
Once you see the many great benefits of free date nights, you can use your date night hours to plan other fun date nights in the future.
The Keys to a Great Date Night
The key to a good date night is the commitment to enjoying the time you have to spend together. By committing to regular date nights, and not canceling all the time, you are showing your partner you care and are dedicated to your relationship.
While some cancellations can be unavoidable, it is important to reschedule your time together.
Other tips for a successful date night include:
Focus on the Fun
Commit to avoiding heavy topics of conversation. Rather, stay focused on light and fun things, even if it’s a walk down memory lane. Even if you have one hour to spend together, put aside the difficulties in your life and make time for fun.
Stop the Madness
Even if you can’t agree on what you are going to “do” on a date night, it’s completely acceptable to just sit down where you are and quietly enjoy each other’s company.
Stop doing all the housework, turn off your phones, and just still on the couch, on the porch, in your car – wherever you can find some peace and quiet – and just breathe.
Put Forth the Effort
Unless you plan to backpack through the mountains, make a point to be your best self on your date. Ditch the sweats and put on your nicest clothes. Take the time to get ready for the date. It’s something new and exciting and worth looking forward to each week.
When your significant other proposes an idea for a date night, remain open to the experience. Share the responsibility of planning weekly date nights and be in the moment throughout the date, even if it’s not something you’d normally enjoy.
On your date night, hold hands and don’t be afraid of a little PDA. In our busy lives we forget the impact a kiss on the cheek or a great big bear hug can have.
The more you stay connected to each other during date nights, the more likely it is you’ll stay connected when you get back to your normal routine.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of 50 free date ideas. See one that’s not on the list and should be? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!