10 Cheap (or Free) Date Night Ideas

by Ashli Sweat
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Date nights don’t have to be expensive to be enjoyable. Give these cheap and free date night ideas a try and see how much fun you have with your special someone.

Each week my husband and I take the time to enjoy a weekly date night. It’s a great chance for us to connect, spend quality time together, and just have fun.

Sometimes we’ll do the standard dinner and a movie, but being the frugal couple that we are, we usually try to think of creative date night ideas that will save us money without scrimping on the fun (or romance) factor.

Here are 10 of our favorite thrifty date night ideas.

1. Create a couples vision board.

Word on the street is that vision boards are the way to go in helping you visualize what you’d like to achieve, acting as a daily reminder and inspiration. So why not create a vision board of what you’d like to achieve together as a couple?

Grab a large piece of cardstock, a bunch of magazines, a pair of scissors, and some glue and start cutting and pasting away. Maybe your dream is to visit Paris together. Perhaps you’d love to buy a house by the beach one day.

No matter what you’re working toward, creating a vision board with images that inspire you will keep you focused on your goals. Best of all, it is fun!

2. Attend the dress rehearsal of a play.

Rather than shelling out for expensive tickets, see if your local theater allows members of the public to attend dress rehearsals.

Most theaters offer reduced price tickets, and because you’re viewing the dress rehearsal, you can expect the same level of professionalism and skill as you’d see in the actual performance.

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3. Paint a portrait.

Grab a couple of cheap canvases and some acrylic paints (you can get them at any craft store for under a dollar) and put those art lessons from high school to good use.

Painting a portrait of each other is a fun idea, and you could be the next Picasso.

4. Learn a new language together.

Learning a new language can be challenging, but the task is bound to be more enjoyable when doing it together.

There are plenty of free online resources and relatively cheap language learning books. If you’re really serious, you could even enroll in some classes at your local community college.

Consider learning the language of a country you’re planning to visit together one day, so you can put your new found language skills to good use.

5. Go stargazing.

This is a great idea for those who own a truck with an open bed.

On a clear night, drive out to an open area, line your truck bed with pillows and blankets, and spend a few hours just gazing up at the beautiful night sky. It’s romantic and free!

6. Have an at-home “Chopped Challenge.”

Just like on the television show Chopped, where four chefs are pitted against each other to create the most impressive dish out of five mystery ingredients, an at-home “Chopped Challenge” is a fun, creative date night idea.

One of you goes to the grocery store and chooses five random ingredients. The other person then has to create a (hopefully) delicious meal using those five ingredients as well as anything else they can find in the cupboard or refrigerator. You never know what tasty creation you may come up with.

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7. Visit a local playground.

Embrace your inner child and make a beeline for your local playground.

Wait until the evening when the playground has cleared out and then slide, seesaw and climb the monkey bars to your heart’s content. See who can swing the highest or dangle for the longest. Just don’t break a leg!

8. Have a sleepover.

Remember dragging your mattress into the living room and having sleepovers when you were younger? Well, who says you can’t do it anymore?

Get into your comfy pajamas, choose a few movies, pop some popcorn, drag out a mattress and some blankets, and enjoy a movie marathon. When you’re ready to hit the sack, you don’t even have to get up because you’re already in bed!

9. Head to the local tennis courts.

For those who have a competitive edge (or even those who don’t), how about sweating it out over a friendly game of tennis?

Find a local tennis court, hire some rackets, and work up a sweat while having fun. The winner gets treated to a back massage!

10. Volunteer at a local animal shelter.

This is a great idea for animal lovers or anyone who wants to give back to the community. You’ll be sharing a rewarding experience together and the animals you’re helping will be forever grateful.

And, you may even find a new best friend!

Date nights don’t have to be expensive to be enjoyable. You just have to think outside the box!

Reviewed June 2023

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