15 Free & Inexpensive Date Ideas That Allow You To Save Money

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These Are Some Of Our Favorite Free And Inexpensive Date Ideas

So, it’s date night – and you’re struggling for ideas. Maybe you’re struggling for cash at the moment, too? Been there – done that. Whether you are a teenage couple, college students, or a married couple, finding affordable or free date ideas can be a real challenge!

Part of the reason for this (we think) is because social media has made dating out to be this grand experience that takes money and effort to get right. We think that’s totally off. Some of our best dates have been completely free ideas – the most important thing is spending quality time together, anyways!

So, to help you out with date ideas (whether for a first date or a 10th), here are a few cute, fun, or romantic ideas for you and your boyfriend or girlfriend that can be done out or at home! Best of all – they are all inexpensive or free!

Create Your Own Photo Tour

couple with flower and camera standing in field free inexpensive date ideas
Grab a camera and have some fun!

We are both big photography fans so creating our own photo tour through a city that we don’t know that well yet would be a great inexpensive date idea.

If one of you is also a photography fan or wants to get some nice new Instagram photos, then you should consider this date idea. In case you are from two different cities, you could also show your partner the best photo spots in your city – or the other way round.

The excitement of exploring something new together or seeing your city from a different perspective can be a great activity for when you are still getting to know one another. In addition to exploring, you can also share little anecdotes and stories that can help you learn more about the other person.

Read More – Great First Date Ideas Your Date Would Enjoy

Go Strawberry, Apple, etc. Picking

red apples in bushels with orchard trees behind free inexpensive date ideas
Apple picking can be a team effort – and it’s fun!

Another fun and inexpensive date idea is to go fruit picking. What kind of fruit you can pick depends on the season and what is available in your area. We have honestly never been fruit picking together but it is a fun date idea that we would like to try out together soon. Bruce used to pick strawberries with his grandma (true story) so it’s an activity that he has a soft spot for.

If you enjoy baking or think that it would be a nice activity to do together, you can even use the fruit you picked to make a tasty cake or another sweet treat from. That could even be the dessert for our next inexpensive date idea…

Cook A Three Course Meal Together

couple cooking together holding knife in kitchen
This one is all about teamwork – and food!

Going out for a nice meal can be a great date idea but often time it is even more fun to cook a meal together. Don’t worry if you don’t feel 100% comfortable in the kitchen yet. You are doing this together – so helping each other out and taking on different tasks is half the fun.

Since we are currently trying to save more money, we often opt for this inexpensive date night idea. We both like food and we really like cooking together. We don’t always opt for a full three course meal (sometimes we also cheat a bit and buy a ready-made dessert), but when we do it feels a little extra special.

Spend Time Outdoors (Hiking, Paddleboarding, Fishing,…)

woman walking holding hand of man with snow on ground
Get out for a wander together!

Spending time outside in nature is one of the best free or inexpensive date ideas – in our opinion at least. Depending on where you live, you might have different opinions, though!

There are probably some hiking trails around you that you could try out. There might even be a hike that rewards you with an amazing view at the end that makes your date a little bit more romantic.

If you want to make the date a little more special, you can also consider packing a small picnic. This will not only allow you to get a break and eat some food but will also give you and your date more time to chat and get to know one another better if you don’t know each other that well yet.

And in case you’ve been together for a long time, then a hike and a picnic will allow you to leave the stress from everyday life behind. We’ve been on quite a few hikes together but have never had a picnic along with it – so this will be one of our next dates for sure.

Have A Movie Night At Home

couple sitting in couch holding controllers while kissing
Game night, movie night – both might end up with kisses.

Going to the movies can get expensive – especially if you are getting popcorn and a drink, as well. If you want to keep it cheaper, then why not have a movie night at home?

Sure, you might not get to watch the newest blockbuster – but with streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and others, there should not be a lack of great movies to watch.

Of course you don’t have to miss out on the quintessential movie snacks either. You can either go snack shopping together before you start watching your movie or just agree to bring a couple of your favorite snacks. If you’re feeling fancy, you can also try to make your own movie snacks.

We have dates that include a movie night at home quite often – especially in the winter. Sometimes it’s nice not having to leave the house when it’s all cold and wet outside.

Read Next – Date Night At Home Ideas You Need To Try

Go On A Food Or Beer Tour

food on white plates being served free inexpensive date ideas
You can sample different things together!

In case you live in a city with lots of (street)food options or breweries, you could go on a food or beer tour to get to know your city from a different perspective. Alternatively, you can also visit a city that is not too far away from where you live.

You can either participate in a group tour – sometimes there are deals which make these tours a reasonable price – or you can create your own by asking friends for recommendations or having a quick online search. Trying out new food places or breweries together can be lots of fun – and we always enjoy going on dates that involve trying out new foods or drinks.

Have A Beach Day

couple wearing white walking together down sandy beach
Head for the beach to enjoy the sun, sand, and more!

Depending on where you live, you might have a beach close to you. It doesn’t have to be a beach by the ocean – often times lakes also have some form of a beach.

Spending a day or afternoon at the beach is one of our favorite date ideas for the warmer months of the year. Not only is it completely free but you also get to spend time outside and just relax. We went to the beach quite regularly when we still lived in Toronto.

If you don’t know whether you have a beach close by, ask your friends and family or do some quick research online. In case you really don’t have a beach close by, you could always go to a park or public pool.

Give Geocaching A Try

person crouching on ground outside navigating directions with tool
It’s basically a global treasure hunt!

This is something that Lisa hasn’t done yet but has been wanting to try for ages. Geocaching sounds like so much fun. Essentially, it’s a version of a scavenger hunt that includes technology. You’re trying to find little containers, called geocachers, which are marked by coordinates.

Since it is becoming more and more popular, it should be possible for you to try geocaching not too far from where you live. If you are interested, you can find more information on the geocaching website.

Have A Board Game Evening

man and woman playing chess with blue couch behind free inexpensive date ideas
You don’t have to pick chess – but can if you like it!

This one is a classic free or inexpensive date night idea – but that doesn’t mean it is not fun. Invite another couple or a few friends over and play some of your favorite board games. Alternatively, board game cafes are getting more popular and often you just have to pay for your seat at a table.

We really like this date idea for the winter when the nights are long and you can’t spend that much time outside. If you don’t know your date that well yet, you’ll be sure to get to know him or her better that night since you will have lots of time to talk as well.

Read Next – What NOT To Do On A First Date

Go Camping

two people canoeing on brown river with tree in front
A camping/canoeing trip is a great way to get outside, too!

If you and your date enjoy being outside and want to spend more than a couple of hours together, then a camping date might be a good idea. We wouldn’t really recommend it as a first or second date since it can be a little bit overwhelming when you don’t know the other person well enough yet.

However, if you have been on a few dates already this can be a great, cheap way to get to know one another better.

In case you don’t have a campground close by to where you live you can also just camp in your backyard or even indoors. The fact alone that you are sleeping somewhere different than your bed already makes this date exciting.

Visit A Farmer’s Market Or Local Thrift Stores

clothes on hangars hanging in metal bar
You can find great buys at thrift stores!

Farmer’s markets or thrift stores can be a great way to spend some time together. You don’t even have to buy anything if you don’t want to – just looking at the stalls or walking through the aisles can be lots of fun.

We are lucky that we have quite a few farmer’s markets close by to where we live. Since we actually buy most of our produce there, it often doesn’t feel like a date anymore and feels more like an errand. Still fun, though! On the plus side, this helps us save a lot of plastic waste at home.

When we get the chance, we really enjoy checking out thrift stores. You never know what you’ll come across and it can be really fun to create a story around some of the things you’ll come across.

Have A Picnic

couple sitting in small dock by pond with food and ducks in water free inexpensive date ideas
A basket and a date – just don’t feed the ducks!

This one is another classic inexpensive date idea but few things beat a nice picnic in the park when the weather is good. You can get all your favorite snacks or make some great picnic dishes (we’ll write an article about that very soon).

As we have mentioned above, you can also incorporate a picnic into another date idea – such as having a picnic during a hike or at the beach. There are so many great date ideas that can include a picnic so just be a little bit creative and you’ll come up with something that your date will surely enjoy.

Read Also – How To Not Lose Yourself In A Relationship

Create Your Own Scavenger Hunt

man standing looking through binoculars
Maybe don’t make it THIS hard – but you can?

This one is related to geocaching but without the technology. Going on a traditional scavenger hunt can bring out the kid in the both of you which allows you to get to know your date even better.

If you want to do something special – that is still inexpensive – you could create your own scavenger hunt for your date. That would be really romantic – in Lisa’s opinion at least. It’ll take a little bit of planning and maybe the help of some friends but it would be worth it if you want to plan a special date.

Volunteer Together

man and woman standing behind green trees with leaves
There are plenty of ways you can give back together!

If you are both fans of volunteering, then why not do it together? This can be another great and inexpensive way of getting to know both your interests one another better. As we have mentioned in our great first date idea post, don’t just act like you enjoy volunteering when you actually don’t really care. This will probably just harm you at some point in the future.

For example, we both really like dogs so we are currently trying to find an animal shelter where we could volunteer every once in a while. Unfortunately, we can’t get a dog right now so this would be a great way for us to spend some time with the animals.

Have A Spa Night At Home

woman in bath with candles around
Having a relaxing spa night might be just what you need…

Last but not least, you could also decide to have a spa night at home. Spa treatments can get very expensive and you often times you can’t do them at home on your own. That’s why having a spa night at home is a great idea if you want to spoil your partner a little bit without spending a ton of money.

There are lots of books that you can read or videos you can watch when it comes to learning the right massage techniques. There are also lots of great DIY facial masks out there that you could try (we’ll write about some of our favorites very soon).

And there you have it – 15 awesome free or inexpensive date ideas! This is just a short list for you to go off of. There are sure to be plenty more ideas that you might think of – and we hope that this article inspires you to get out there and try new things on dates!

As always, Stay Curious,


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Wonderful free or inexpensive date ideas