21 Frugal Date Night Ideas

This post may contain affiliate links. Check out my affiliate policy for more details.Are you stumped on what to do with your SO on a budget? You can still go on fun dates that get you lots of quality time together, no matter how much you have to spend! Check out these 21 frugal date night ideas to get you started on bringing the romance back.

21 Frugal Date Night Ideas

Sometimes being really frugal feels like it is hurting my relationship with my husband.  Do you ever feel that way?

When I look back on the types of dates I used to go on with my hubby, I see just how much adopting a frugal lifestyle has changed our lives.  We used to go out to dinner at very expensive restaurants, order an appetizer and at least a few drinks—and don’t forget about the movie tickets or show tickets. It wasn’t unusual to spend close to $100 on one date!  Yikes!

Honestly, it was fun.  We didn’t stick to a budget (we didn’t even have one), and we went on all kinds of fun dates—romantic getaways, long road trips, etc.—and we ate SO MUCH SUSHI.

Then, when we cut back and went down to one salary so that I could stay at home with our kid, we had to start using a tight budget that had no room for $100 dates.  It used to make me feel like I couldn’t date my husband anymore, because we just can’t afford the type of dates we used to go on.

It’s hard to go out to eat every week when it costs $20 or so a plate (at a reasonably priced restaurant), not to mention the tip, babysitter, gas money, and the huge markup for a drink.  So for a while, we didn’t go out.  We didn’t date, and after a few months—it hurt.

It took me a while to figure it out, but I discovered that it isn’t the amount of money you spend or even the activity you do that makes a night together a date.  It’s just about spending quality time together with your boo, and having a good time no matter what the activity.

So to get you started, here are 21 ideas for frugal dates.  Give a few a try and let me know how it goes!

  1. Cook for each other at home, and set the table like a fancy restaurant.
  2. Have a romantic movie night… hello Netflix and Redbox!  Make homemade popcorn, not the microwave stuff.
  3. Send the kids to grandma’s for a night… or a weekend 😉
  4. Change your scenery.  Just get out! Walk around your town, or go to the next town over—just get out there and explore!
  5. Go for a hike.
  6. Go out to the dollar theater to catch an old movie.
  7. Go camping.  Because campfires = romance.
  8. Volunteer together.
  9. Try a free class together.
  10. Go for a scenic drive and bring a picnic with you.
  11. Go to a museum.
  12. Check out a free concert or live music at a local bar.
  13. Check out your community jazz band, symphony, or choir.
  14. How about spending $5 (sometimes they are free) going to a local theater production?
  15. Take a bubble bath together, or make your own at-home spa night. There are lots of massage tutorials on YouTube.
  16. Go Geocaching.
  17. Play a board game while crushing a bottle of wine together.
  18. Go window shopping at the mall.
  19. Go antiquing (but don’t buy anything).
  20. Check out local farms, especially those that have pick-your-own fruit.
  21. Go to Trivia or Karaoke night at a bar.

Hope this list gets all you lovebirds-on-a-budget back into the swing of dating.  Sure, it takes some creativity, but you can have a lot of fun together for free or just a few bucks!


  1. Nancy Smith

    We decided very early in our relationship to skip the cards & gifts for the Hallmark holidays. Birthdays, our anniversary & Christmas are our holidays.

    Thanks Nicole!

    • We made the exact same decision. It started with an awkward conversation that went something like “so…Valentine’s Day is coming up…?” And ended with us agreeing that only a handful of holidays matter to us. Thanks for reading!

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