With all the hype of Valentine’s Day, it’s easy to get stuck thinking that dating and relationships are so expensive. That couples should frequently be ordering flowers, buying expensive chocolates, and going out on fancy dinner dates to keep their romance alive. Luckily, DJ and I have never bought into that idea. We love just spending time with each other and keeping it simple.
Our favorite recent date only costed around fifteen dollars! During one of the unusually warm days this past winter, DJ and I decided to head into Asbury Park. After finding a free parking spot, we wandered around town for a few hours. We discussed our hopes and goals, examined our everyday life, and just talked about whatever was on our minds. We indulged in some people watching. And by the time the sun was starting to set, we bought some tacos before heading back home.
We have been closely focused on saving money recently, in preparation for a few exciting changes and events coming up! (🐕 !!) So, we were brainstorming some date ideas other than just going out to dinner. Though we love dining at new restaurants, we are trying to save eating out for traveling and special occasions. We came up with some really fun yet inexpensive ideas that we’ve either enjoyed in the past or can’t wait to try out!
Enjoy a movie night in
Dim the lights, make popcorn, and snuggle up with some blankets to enjoy a movie together. Check Netflix, or grab a Redbox rental. Movie nights at home are way more intimate than in a crowded theater!
Cook dinner together
You can make a delicious gourmet meal at home for a fraction of what it would cost at a restaurant. Plus you two will get to enjoy chatting and sipping some wine while you’re working together. Some of our favorite date night recipes are porterhouse steaks or lemon herb salmon, with roasted green beans and risotto. We like to set the table, serve our meal in multiple courses, and share plates to make our dinner date more romantic.
Explore a new town, then have a coffee / lunch / dessert date
Exploring a new area is always tons of fun! If you work up an appetite, pop in somewhere for a small bite. A great way to plan this date – surprise your partner with the destination or have them surprise you.
Pack up a picnic
Make lunch or dinner, find a blanket to spread out on, and hang out at the park for a relaxing meal together. Enjoy your time together in nature, without the distractions of your home.
Compete in a game night
Whatever your favorites are, board games, card games, even video games, game on! Maybe even make up some house rules to heat things up a bit.
Pamper each other on spa night
Light some candles, give each other massages, take a bubble bath, relax and enjoy each other.
Browse the bookstore together
Walk through the local bookstore, looking at new releases and shared interest books. You can each pick out a book, or to save more money, we have a sneaky trick. Take photos of the titles you’re interested in on your phones, then rent them from the library or buy them used online for a fraction of the price!
Go on a photo walk or hike
If you’re both interested in photography, grab your cameras (or phones) and go for a photo walk together. Pay special attention to the beauty all around you as you walk around the neighborhood or park, and be sure to capture some intimate portraits of each other.
Schedule a workout together
Getting sweaty is more fun together. Book a new class together, race around the block, do a workout video at home, whatever you guys are into! Check out our post (Getting Active in the Winter) for some ideas!
Enjoy a wine or beer tasting
Tastings are usually cheap or free after participating in a tour of your local production facility. Alternately, you can hold a tasting at your home by purchasing a selection of beer or wine you would like to try. Cheers!
Host a potluck double or triple date
Entertaining can certainly be expensive, but potlucks are much more cost effective. Dining at home without all the noise and distractions will make a great night to hang out with like-minded couples and enjoy everyone’s favorite dishes.
Work on a project together
Collaborating on a craft or DIY project can strengthen communication and remind you two that you’re a team. Plus you can make something beautiful for your home or yard at the same time! Tons of inspiration on my DIY & Crafts Pinterest board!
Roast smores and watch stars around the fire
Cuddle up in your backyard on a clear night for some star gazing and smore munching. You can download Google Sky Map on your smartphone to tell which planets and constellations are which!
Have breakfast for dinner
Put on your pajamas early, brew some decaf, make pancakes and bacon, maybe watch some Saturday morning cartoons, then head back to bed ; )
Watch the sunrise or sunset together
Dates don’t have to be a huge time commitment. If you’re both busy, schedule some quiet time to enjoy the beauty of nature together. Hold hands and cherish the time you have with each other, whether short or long.
Hope this list sparked some ideas to enjoy some quality time with your significant other! Let us know if you have any other favorite date ideas : )
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