07 Jul

Written by Kathryn Vercillo on July 7, 2008

30 Frugal date ideas 2

Update: We have just posted a new blog post called 25 Frugal Valentine’s Ideas That Won’t Make You Look Cheap. It is worth a read too.

Have you noticed how expensive it is to go out on dates these days? Even if you’re going Dutch to dinner-and-a-movie, you need to pay upwards of $10 for your movie ticket and a minimum of $20 for your own dinner (without drinks). That’s not even considering the money you’re paying on gas to get to and from this date. As all of us try to decrease our spending, the dating arena can seem like an obvious place to cut corners. But that doesn’t mean that we should stop going out on dates. Our lives need some romance in them! We just need to start being more creative in finding low-cost dates that fill our lives with fun but don’t severely damage our finances.

Whether you’re in a relationship that needs some romantic rekindling or you’re a single person looking for a swinging good time, these 30 creative date ideas should bring a low-cost spark back into your world.

    1. Free factory tours (Free Beer). There are all types of different factories that offer free or very low-cost tours of their premises. Microbreweries are great for this, they are educational and you often get free beer samples, and who can say no to free beer? If free beer is not your thing there are also factory tours for places ranging from chocolate shops to piano makers.
    2. Cook a low budget meal together. If you’re not meeting a stranger for a first date then it’s safe to get together in your kitchen and cook a terrific meal together. If you choose dishes and ingredients wisely, it costs a lot less than going out to dinner. Plus the act of cooking together will add romance and creativity to the night.
    3. Free classes and lectures. There are all sorts of free classes offered in most communities and they often make for great dates. Learn to host your own television show at a Public Access TV training session or get the basics of a language down together at the local library. Free event lectures are also great for learning together on a date.
    4. Art gallery openings. You don’t have to absolutely love art to have a great date at one of these events. They offer free wine, snacks and a place for conversation. Who needs more than that?
    5. Stargazing. When was the last time that you took a blanket out into the yard and cuddled up to look at the stars? It’s one of the most romantic activities out there and yet we often forget about it. During the day, find shapes in the clouds together.
    6. Home improvement projects. The DIY lifestyle is one of the best ways that people save money in their lives but it’s a whole lot more fun when you’re not doing it alone. You and your sweetie can get together and make bookcases or frame magazine photos for art or reupholster old furniture together and you’ll probably find that you have a really good time.
    7. Penny arcades. These places have made a comeback in recent years. They don’t always cost just a penny anymore but you can play games for a long time on less than $20 which is a whole lot less than more modern arcades.
    8. Student screenings and shows. If there are colleges in your area, there are free student events. Fashion programs have seasonal fashion shows. Art students have gallery showings. Film students screen their work. Go see this stuff with someone you like a lot.
    9. Parks. The park is a great place for good dates. Challenge yourself to visit every park in your city or state so it’s even more of an adventure. Or spend some time playing around on the playground for a nostalgic good time.
    10. Play dress up. You love getting all dolled up before a big date, right? Skip the expensive date part and just play dress-up together. Take digital photos in fancy clothes and costumes and have fun daydreaming about where you’d be going if you were going out.
    11. Free music. Concerts are expensive but there are a lot of small venues that have live music for free. Find the places in your area that offer this because it makes for a great cheap date.
    12. Throw board game nights at your home. Sometimes the best dates are group dates. Get together with the people you know on a regular or semi-regular basis and have everyone bring some board games for a great time together.
    13. Open mic poetry nights. Coffee shops and bars around the nation host weekly open mic poetry nights that are fun to attend. Be a good date and write a love poem to read to the person that you’re taking to this event.
    14. Go nature hunting. Head to the beach together and search for the perfect seashell on the sand. Or go to the countryside and find the best wildflowers for a tabletop bouquet. If you’re not a fan of taking things out of their place in nature, take a camera along and capture what you find in images instead.
    15. Make art together. Being creative together is something that can really enhance a relationship and it’s something that doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Tear up old magazines to make collages and scrapbooks. Buy a big box of crayons and color together. The point isn’t the product but the process.
    16. Go house hunting. You may not be in the market to buy a home but it doesn’t cost anything to look. Attend the open house events that are held for rentals and for-sale homes in your area.
    17. Flea markets, swap meets and yard sales. Shopping is a lot more fun when you do it with someone else and it’s better when you do it on the cheap. Go browsing through other people’s junk and see if there are any low-cost treasures to be found.
    18. Get active. Exercise is good for your body and it gives you those good feelings that make you like your partner even more. Go for the free activities like jogging, hiking, at-home yoga and bicycling together.
    19. Say yes to invitations. Anytime that you’re invited to a party or work event, say yes. Then take a date along with you to make it all the more fun.
    20. Test drive cars together. Gone are the days when it was inexpensive to just go for long drives together. Cars can still be romantic, though, and it’s a lot of fun to go test drive luxury vehicles that you’re not really going to buy.
    21. Look for city events. Parades, walking tours, street festivals and other events happen in all areas all throughout the year. As long as you don’t buy things from the vendors, these dates are free.
    22. Feed the ducks. A bag of bread doesn’t cost much but it can go a long way towards making you feel like a kid again and that’s one of the best experiences that you can bring to a date.
    23. Volunteer. There are tons of different places where you can volunteer your time and a lot of them provide enjoyable experiences as you give back to your community. Do it as a date to double the fun.
    24. Build a bonfire. Whether it’s on the beach or in the backyard, nothing’s going to warm you up more than being by the fire with someone you want to make sparks with.
    25. Coffee, ice cream and happy hour dates. If you need to go on a date where you get to know someone new or you just want to get out of the house on the cheap then you want to look for inexpensive food and drink dates. Skip the big dinner and just get dessert. Or skip the cocktails and go to $1 well drinks night at the local bar.
    26. Dance in the rain. There doesn’t actually have to be rain. Dance on a bridge. Dance in the street. Dance passionately or in a silly way.
    27. Free days at museums. Some museums are free all of the time but even those that aren’t always free typically have one free day each week or month. Explore science museums, history museums and art museums together at no cost.
    28. Go to the garden. Somewhere in your town is a garden waiting to be discovered by you and your darling. Public rose gardens, gardens in front of government buildings and private gardens with free tours are some of your options. Alternatively, you can always start your own garden together.
    29. People watch. Go to an airport, a mall or a public square and sit down together to watch the people. Make up stories about who they are and where they’re going.
    30. Make life lists together. This is an activity that is fun in and of itself but it also lets you brainstorm ideas for future low-cost dates. Together, you compile a list of all of the things that you haven’t done yet in life but want to. It could be as simple as “put all of my pictures in a photo album” or as involved as “climb a mountain in every national park in the U.S.” You’ll get to know yourselves and each other better and you’ll get new ideas for things to do together in the months to come.


  1. 27

    julie marie
    March 22nd, 2011

    ummm…[email protected]… WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!?!

  2. 26

    February 7th, 2011

    What is wrong with dress-ups? I loved doing it when I was a kid. Whats wrong with dressing up just for the sake of it? Or just for your bf?

  3. 25

    November 10th, 2010

    The Bible makes no clear mention of oral sex at all. Therefore, it is difficult to produce an official biblical position. Nevertheless, based on theTRY ORAL SEX WITH A LITTLE ICECREAM. YUM YUM! Performing oral sex on your lover is the most sincere why of being unselfish and submissive to your

  4. 24

    April 7th, 2010

    Wot a load of b*****s

  5. 23

    July 21st, 2009

    you’ve saved my relationshippp thankyou sooo muchhh !

  6. 22

    July 30th, 2008

    try a site called sweetslap.com . they send which are tailored to you and your location.

  7. 21

    July 18th, 2008

    I like the 26th idea.

  8. 20

    July 17th, 2008

    Cool Ideas!! Don’t forget the state parks and city parks!!! especially when traveling-cool getaways for free!!

  9. 19

    Dating Quiz
    July 13th, 2008

    Great tips. Sure for try in real life.I like all the tips.

  10. 18

    July 11th, 2008

    what about having sex? that’s always fun, romantic, and inexpensive. it’s usually free if you’re doing it properly.

  11. 17

    July 10th, 2008

    I agree with Angela on #22. And #10 is just sad!

    My boyfriend sent me this link, hopefully he thought this was funny. Don’t get me wrong… I love doing most of items listed above. Just a warning for the boys… think twice before sending this to your girlfriend. 😀

    My fav are #2, #11, #18, #24 & #29. Great list beside #10!

  12. 16

    July 9th, 2008

    Play dress-up? COME ON. RIDICULOUS.

  13. 15

    July 9th, 2008

    dont you mean it might prevent them from “hosing” a potential customer

  14. 14

    July 9th, 2008

    I’m in agreement with Benjamin regarding item #20.

    Wasting other peoples time is really just not a nice thing to do.

    I’d have to say that you have some good ideas here. I don’t know about other people, but if I didn’t have very much money available to go on dates with; pretending I did by doing things I could do if I had more would only draw attention to that problem.

  15. 13

    July 9th, 2008

    #10 might be the saddest thing in the world. We’re talking about a couple so cheap that they dress up and pretend they’re the type of people who don’t mind spending money.

  16. 12

    July 8th, 2008

    How about some viable ones for the couple that does not include 2 gay males?

  17. 11

    July 8th, 2008

    What about turning the lights off and burning some candles (saves power)then playing some romantic music.

  18. 10

    July 8th, 2008

    Great ideas that won’t break the budget. Something for all tastes.

  19. 9

    sunny beach
    July 8th, 2008

    This reminds me of Dave Chapelle in “Half Baked” when he takes Mary-Jane out on a date with $3.78.

  20. 8

    July 8th, 2008

    Hi There!

    What about something really romantic?

    A picnic!

    A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou.

    Nothing better.


  21. 7

    July 8th, 2008

    bread is terrible for ducks. lead at 1500 fps, much better.

  22. 6

    July 8th, 2008

    also, re #22–bread is actually dangerous for ducks; bring birdseed instead.

  23. 5

    July 8th, 2008

    I’m going to have to take issue with #20. Car salespeople, while not exactly deserving of our sympathies, are normally required to try and sell to each and every person that walks in the door. Please don’t force them to waste their time with people that aren’t in the least bit interested in buying their product. Your desire to test drive a car that you won’t be purchasing might prevent them from meeting a real customer.

  24. 4

    July 8th, 2008

    bread is not good for ducks

  25. 3

    July 8th, 2008

    Dude, several numbers will defenetly not work, your a bad man 😛

  26. 2

    July 8th, 2008

    Very useful! 😀

  27. 1

    July 8th, 2008

    Ah but you forgot free trials. 😀

    Free karate or free tae kwon do or whatever! Also, pool halls are cheap

Leave a Response