Saving money and living on a budget is important. It’s the number one key to financial success. But if you’re married, there is one area of your budget you can’t cut out.
I don’t care how broke you are. Spouses need to have a date night at least twice a month just to reconnect as a couple! In fact, the tighter things are financially, the more you need to remember that you are on the same team.
Even though we recognize that these date nights are important, when money is tight, this time that is meant to bring you closer together can cause a financial fight. Avoid the tension by following this list of cheap date night ideas!
24 cheap date ideas to keep your marriage hot while on a budget:
- A picnic is a nostalgic cheap date as is, whether it’s in your back yard or in your living room. But add a scenic view and a sunset and your romance factor goes way up!
- Cook together. I don’t care if you’re making pizza from scratch or mac and cheese from a box, this is fun! Please remember to have patience with each other and don’t expect your spouse to load the dishwasher the same way as you!
- Arcade competition! Studies show that competition improves libido, so go kick your spouse’s butt at foosball!
- Pack a picnic lunch and spend the day wine tasting at a nearby winery or vineyard.
- Take a brewery tour together. You don’t have to love beer to enjoy this experience together.
- Grab some Starbucks and wander a bookstore. Learn about what genres your spouse enjoys and why. Maybe you’ll discover that you enjoy something outside of your normal go-to books as well!
- Try an Instagram scavenger hunt! Google some ideas and then wander your city together posting photos of yourselves with the objects, then print out and frame your favorite photo of yourselves!
- Drive in movie. Make out.
- Play at an amusement park together. Without the kids begging for junk food or more tickets to rides your stomach can’t take, it’ll be a whole different experience.
- Grocery shopping together. If your shopping experiences include multiple children asking for every sugary item in sight, then shopping with your spouse will feel like a mini vacation… Unless your spouse is like mine and fills the cart with Pop-tarts and potato chips…
- Be a tourist in your own town. You can go all out and wear fanny packs and dangle cameras around your wrist, or just pick up a few brochures in a hotel lobby and start making the rounds!
- Pretend to be someone else. A little role playing can be sexy! Make up names and background stories for yourselves and BE those characters all night, even introducing yourselves to the barista as your aliases.
- Have breakfast in bed, even if it’s dry toast and tea at night! Doing something normal in an abnormal place can make it special and fun. Don’t worry about the crumbs!
- Cross something off your bucket list. Encouraging each other’s dreams will be a skill you’ll use throughout your relationship.
- Don’t have a bucket list? That can be a date in itself! Grab a cheap bottle of wine, make spaghetti at home, and dream together.
- Take a mini road trip! Throw some snacks in the car and explore a nearby town that you don’t usually see.
- Play a kid’s game… without the kids! For an adult twist, play strip Go Fish!
- Fondue night! Whether it’s cheese, chocolate, or both, Google a recipe and dip chunks of stuff in melty goodness!
- Take turns massaging each other. Go all out by lighting candles, dimming lights, and carefully selecting music.
- Go to a high school sporting event and cheer like you’re in high school again!
- Kiss in the rain. You can blame Nicholas Sparks for this one. Maybe even rent The Notebook to put the rain kissing in context.
- How well do you know your spouse? Play The Newlywed Game or take the 5 Love Languages test.
- Learn something new together. Community centers, businesses, museums, and colleges often offer free and cheap classes and lectures. Or try a drop in yoga or Zumba class together!
- Karaoke. Don’t like the bar scene? YouTube your favorite songs and sing a few duets!
[BONUS] Date nights are extra difficult if you’re not in the same town, state, or even continent! But they’re not impossible. Have a romantic Skype date by lighting some scented candles, dressing up, putting on music, and opening a bottle of wine… Well, two bottles. One for each location.
Childcare for your cheap date night.
Did you read this list and think, “Well, that’s great, but what about babysitting??”
We have three kids. I’ve been there. There were months on end where our entire date night budget was taken up by paying the high school girl down the street to watch the kids.
If this is you, get a little creative with your babysitting. Here are some tips you can try:
- If the kids are asleep, negotiate a discounted rate with the sitter. She’s pretty much just getting paid to watch tv and make sure the house doesn’t burn down.
- Make friends with neighbors and playground parents to trade babysitting for free. The kids will love having the play date, and I don’t know about you, but I always get more done when my kids are distracted by new people!
As much as I love my hubby acknowledging and appreciating what I do for the family by complimenting a delicious meal, or noticing that he has clean socks in the drawer, I need him to remember me as I was before I took on the day to day tasks of maid, cook, and nanny for our family. I need to feel like a woman!
And as much as I appreciate him being the breadwinner and handyman, I need to make an effort to communicate the other manly things I love about him… the ones that made me fall in love with him in the first place.
You don’t have to break the bank to have a successful date night twice a month. Make date nights a priority in your budget.
Good luck, and happy Dating Your Spouse!
Do you have any other cheap date night ideas to add? Tell us about them in the comments below!
Genevieve West is a wine-drinking, coffee-chugging, domestically-challenged Relationship and Dating Consultant, and writer, saved by grace. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband Eric and their three children.