Date night on a budget doesn’t have to be a bummer. We’ve collected some of our favorite budget friendly date ideas that are actually fun! These are perfect for couples with a shared goal of Financial Freedom, who want to make great memories and enjoy the journey.
Date Night on a Budget
When we first started dating our default was dating on a budget. Not because we were paying off debt or working toward Financial Freedom at the time. We just didn’t like the idea of spending a lot of money to enjoy time together. We didn’t feel like we had to “impress” each other with expensive nights out. We only cared about getting to spend time together and enjoying eachothers company.
The fact is, whether you’re dating someone new, or you’re in a long lasting relationship, date night can get expensive fast. It can also be one of the first things a couple is tempted to cut out of their budget when they are trying to save money. But that’s not fair to your relationship!
Yes, it is important to reel in extra spending and save money. But it’s also important to continue finding special ways to spend quality time together. Balance is key.
Budget Friendly Dates Now – Luxury Dates Later!
And while opting for budget friendly dates now, might seem like an extreme sacrifice to some. Remember this – when you reach Financial Freedom and get financially healthy, it can lead to luxury, debt-free, dates and vacations later. Date nights and weekend getaways that past you could only dream about!
Back to our personal journey – – Fast forward to 2 years after we started dating and we were working toward Financial Freedom. During that time we found the balance between our financial goals and enjoying the journey. We took an average of 6-weeks vacation every year. Even while paying off our debts! That is how important we think it is to balance your relationship with your debt freedom plan.
Put Date Night in Your Budget
First things first – you need to set a spending limit for your Date Nights.
“There isn’t much of a point in trimming back date night expenses, if you don’t use a budget and have a financial strategy.”
There isn’t much of a point in trimming back date night expenses, if you don’t use a budget and have a financial strategy. This is because with vague attempts to “save money” come poor results. So make sure that if you want to save money you’re not only looking for inexpensive ways to spend on date night. You should also be mindful of all the other financial decisions you make.
That said, budgets are not meant to be restrictive. In fact we are big fans of making sure you budget for the things you enjoy while prioritizing the things that are important to you. Not only is this a realistic approach to budgeting. It is also a way to ensure that you aren’t putting your financial goals ahead of what matters most. Enjoying the journey!
Working your way toward Financial Freedom takes time and can be challenging. So it’s important to continue investing in your relationship, and having fun. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Budget Date Ideas Look Different for Everyone!
Of course this will look different for everyone. Each person’s financial picture looks different, – from their income and expenses to their goals and timeline. What is most important is balancing the amount you allocate in your budget with your values.
When we were on our journey to Financial Freedom, we were lucky. All of the things listed on this list of budget friendly date ideas were things we liked to do anyway! Even still, we knew we loved to travel! Going on big vacations and weekend getaways. We weren’t willing to give them up.
So while weekly date nights were simple like the ideas we share here. Even while we were paying off debt and saving aggressively, we still put a considerable portion of our income toward travel and experiences together. Because that was what we decided worked for us and our life goals.
Our Favorite Budget Date Ideas
These fun date ideas on a budget are perfect for the couple working together to save money and improve their finances!
- Cook Dinner Together
- Take a Cooking Class
- Wine Night + DIY Charcuterie
- Bike Ride
- Star Gazing
- Day at the Beach or Lake
- Evening by the Campfire
- Sunset Picnic
Cook Dinner Together or For Each-other
We love to cook – even more so we love to eat! So this is easily one of our favorites. Plus, there are so many fun ways to do it! We usually go one of two routes.
Cook Dinner Together
We’ll create a menu together, each of us deciding on a dish or two we will make individually. Then it’s into the kitchen to cook together. This one is especially fun if you try making new things or set a theme for the evening. One of our favorites is sushi night – we always go all out and have a blast with it for a fraction of the price of going out.
Cook for Each-other
We find a lot of joy in making it special for the other person! Sure there is the food – that part is critical. Dylan has surprised me with oysters, Paella, and a Jamaican feast – just to name a few. But you can go the extra mile by making it a full experience. Surprising them with not only a meal, but paired drinks, accompanying music – or our favorite sharing a nice dinner outside!
Take a Cooking Class
This is perfect if you’re not as comfortable in the kitchen, but you want to be! Taking a cooking class is not only a fun date night, it’s a great way to learn new culinary skills that you will have for life. A quick online search will likely tell you if there are classes available locally. But you can also sign up for online cooking classes. Just make sure you have all the equipment necessary if you’re taking a class online.
Charcuterie is another great option if you don’t love to cook, or if you want a special night and are short on time. With endless possibilities and combinations a charcuterie board can be a great option for a laid back night. All you need to do is pick up your favorite meats and cheeses. Bonus points for easy clean up!
Probably our favorite budget date idea on the list! Did you know you can take online massage classes? Not only is this a great way to connect with your significant other, it’s something you can do again and again! There isn’t really much additional explanation needed here. But this is especially wonderful if you or your partner’s love language is physical touch.
Outdoor activities are our favorite way to spend time together and riding bikes is one of the many ways we like to do that. Whether you both own bikes, or just rent bikes to tour around, it is definitely a different experience from the usual date night! It doesn’t need to be a sweaty workout either. Take your time and enjoy the scenery.
We’ve biked through Salt Lake City and across Cape Cod on rentals when we travel. When at home or we’re able to bring our own bikes, we’ve biked hundreds of miles through National Parks and Battlegrounds. Our favorite ride was around Crater Lake in Oregon!
One of the more relaxing ways to spend quality time outdoors is to spend an evening star gazing! This date idea is wonderful on any clear night. But it’s especially enjoyable when you plan to star gaze during a meteor shower! Better yet, is taking a drive to a special spot to get away from light pollution or somewhere so you can see the Milky Way.
We like to bring some of our camping gear like air mattresses, sleeping bags and plenty of hot drinks to get cozy and enjoy nature’s original light.
Probably our favorite day-dates is enjoying a hike together on a nice trail. The best part is you really can do this anyway! Whether it’s a mile or two on an urban trail or climbing up a mountainside. Enjoying a walk or a hike is a great way to move the body and spend some time together.
While we’ve done a lot of hiking together, we’ve learned it doesn’t have to be an epic trail to be worth going. Having climbed a lot of mountains together and done a lot of bucket list hikes – after it’s all said and done we’ve found that it’s the easily accessible, casual trails that bring the most value! Some of our favorite day-hikes are on short 1-mile long trails near our home. We love it because we get to walk it regularly, watch the seasons change and benefit from it again and again.
Day at the Beach or Lake
Who doesn’t love a leisurely day on the water? Soaking up some sun, exploring a lake in a canoe or floating around on our inflatable air mattresses (before you judge – they’re easier to pack into an alpine lake!) Spending time at a lake or on the beach is another great day- date where you can leave the smartphones at home, disconnect and enjoy nature!
Evening by the Campfire
When it comes to campfires, we’re just glorified cavemen. There’s something about spending an evening enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of a campfire. Bring a hot drink like tea or hot cocoa, or a glass of wine as you spend the evening enjoying a fireside chat. If you’re stumped for what to talk about, we love Tabletopics for Couples! These fun little conversation starters can take the pressure off and keep the conversation going!
Going out to dinner is nice and all. But picking up take out and hitting up a great sunset spot is next level! While it may not save you a ton of money, it’s a great way to up your date-night game and make a lasting memory. All you have to do is find out where the best sunset spot is in your area and go! We have great memories of picking up dinner at one of our favorite dinner spots in Seattle and enjoying a meal and the sunset at Gasworks park.
As you can tell, we’ve gone on all of these dates and to us, just writing these down for you brought up amazing memories we will cherish forever! Because the key to a great relationship isn’t how much money you spend trying to impress. It’s about showing up as your authentic self, getting to know one another and creating memories that last a lifetime.
Which of these budget date ideas is your favorite? Which will you try first?