20 Fun Cheap Date Ideas

By on February 22, 2013

Fancy dinners. Weekend getaways. Horseback riding. Hot air balloon rides.

20 Fun Cheap Date Ideas Does any of that sound fun? Probably for you, but not for your wallet. Dating can be insanely expensive. Did you know that the average cost of a date costs $130? A delicious meal for two with drinks and dessert at a nice restaurant can set you back about $100. Factor in two movie tickets, candy, soda, and transportation costs, and you'll find yourself about $130 poorer at the end of the night. Sometimes it's worth it; sometimes it's not.

Many people abstain from finding the right one - or taking their sweetheart out - simply because they don't want to date themselves into debt. If you fall into that category, we have good news for you: dating doesn't have to be expensive!

You can do many different wonderful, fun, and enriching things for less than $30. The only catch is that you have to find a partner who isn't a high-maintenance pain-in-the-arse with expensive taste. Get yourself a fun, adventurous, and care-free date and then you're good to go!

Let's take a look at our list of 20 awesome cheap date ideas.


Dates under $30

Taking your date to the movies may cost you about $30, but there are so many more fun and creative things to do that cost even less.

Visit a flea market.

Make a day out of visiting flea markets, garage sales, or estate sales. It's a great opportunity to learn about each other's interests (and your date's secret "B" movie collection!) A solid $30 can net you and your date a bunch of antiques, trinkets, and other sweet finds you can't spot elsewhere. You can even make a contest out of who lands the best deal.

Go on a spontaneous road trip for the day.

Fill up your gas tank, add some sweet songs to your iPod, grab some snacks, and take your honey where the wind blows. Choose a certain destination (perhaps that historic town you've always wanted to check out) or just drive aimlessly until you hit a landmark or another interesting place.

Check out a local band.

It's time to bust out your hipster glasses and earn your street cred! If you're jonesing for a live music performance but you don't want to spend a ton of money, let local bands come to the rescue! You can find local musicians performing at bars, private clubs, breweries, city parks, local theatres, or any other venue that doesn't charge you a ton of money to walk through their doors. Some performances are free; some cost $10 at most. Grab a few drinks and listen to the music. This is a win-win situation: if the music's good, you and your date will enjoy drinking it in. If the music's bad, you can duck out with your date and spend the rest of the night making fun of the corny lyrics and the drummer's 80s mullet.

Cook a three-course meal together.

If you like a good challenge, this one is for you! With only $30 in cash, visit the grocery store and get a bunch of ingredients you need to create a stunning three-course meal. The lower the total, the better! When your date comes over, start cooking together. This is a good opportunity to show off your culinary skills!

Learn a new activity together.

Have you ever wanted to learn how to build a table? Has your date ever mentioned wanting to master the art of yoga? Enroll into a class, check out a book from the library, or watch a YouTube instructional video together. Buy the supplies you need, and prepare to laugh at each other's mistakes!


Dates under $20

Did you know that a single Jackson (or two Hamiltons, or twenty Washingtons) can bring so much enjoyment to your day? Don't believe us? Read on.

Attend an art show.

You don't have to be among the elite in New York to sip wine and carry pretentious conversations about art. You may not realize it, but art is available for viewing everywhere. You'll find art exhibitions going on all year at libraries, community centers, colleges, hotels, or anywhere else you can think of. Check out the local newspaper or ask your local craft supplier for a list of art shows happening in your area. Often times, admission is free, but they'll ask each visitor to donate a small amount of money to a certain charity.

Draw each other.

Speaking of art, you and your date can pretend to be professional artists for a whole night! Use that $20 to pick up some paper, drawing pencils, charcoal, and other art supplies and spend an evening sketching each other. You don't need to have drawing chops to pull this off. Giggling and poking fun at each other's drawings over a bottle of wine is half of the fun, after all!

Have a picnic in the park.

Take that $20 and buy the ingredients you need to create a light lunch for two. For example, you can opt for fruit, bread, deli meat, cheese, and a bottle of sparkling grape juice. Prepare the lunch, pack it in a picnic basket, and bring your date to a scenic, romantic spot in the park. Spend some time eating, talking, and people-watching.

Pick fruit at a local farm.

Many small family-owned farms open their doors to the public and invite visitors to pick the fruit they've worked so hard to grow. They usually charge by the bag (or weight), and their prices are almost always reasonable. This is a good way to score some fresh fruit, and you can bring your date home to make yummy pies, jam, or other treats together!

Have a movie marathon.

Grab some popcorn and spend a night in watching movies. Choose a theme - Disney movies, horror movies, or Chris Farley movies, for example - and watch as many as you can in one night. If you feel like unleashing your inner child, you can build a fort, too!


Dates under $10

Think $10 can't buy you a fantastic memorable date? Well, prepare to be surprised.

Take a tour of the local brewery or distillery.

Many breweries and distilleries offer free tours. Look at the ones near you and find out which days they open their doors to the public. Even though you don't have to pay anything, it would be polite to give your tour guide a few dollars to thank him for taking time out of his day to show you around.

Go hiking.

Grab some trail mix, fill up a couple bottles of water, and hit the trails with your date. Not only is this a low-key date, but it's also a great chance for you and your date to get to know each other while drinking in all the beauty mother nature has to offer.

Set up an at-home spa.

Brew some green tea, slice a cucumber, buy a small bottle of massage oil, draw up a hot bath, and invite your honey over. This is especially a great date if your significant other is going through a lot of stress at the moment. Play some relaxing music and pamper your date all evening. However, be sure to do this only if you've been dating that person for a while. If it's a first (or second, or third) date, you'd be better off if you…

Grab some coffee and play 20 questions.

This is a fun way to get to know each other. Find a comfortable spot at a cozy coffeehouse and fire away your questions. Don't be afraid to ask your date fun and goofy questions!


Dates that cost nothing

You know that saying, "the best things in life are free"? It certainly applies here! Let's take a look at some of the fun things you can do without having to spend a cent.

Give a tour of your hometown.

What better way to bond with your date than to open up your childhood days with him/her? Make a list of your childhood landmarks and take your date for a bike or car ride around your hometown. Tell entertaining stories at each stop. Top off the date by telling your date that it's his/her turn to give you a hometown tour!

Tutor each other.

Put on your best teacher demeanor and expose your date to a whole new world of soap-making, the French language, or anything else on which you fancy yourself an expert. When the tutoring session is over, you can reverse your roles and have your date teach you how to master something he or she has already mastered.

Visit open houses.

Bust out your most grown-up outfits and scour open houses around the neighborhood (and have grown-up arguments about how big the garage should be)! Not only is it a fun way to spend a day, you can also admire some of the beautiful houses up for sale.

Go sledding.

Got a nice hill in your neighborhood? Grab a couple of sleds, tubes, or even trashcan lids and unleash your inner child!

Go Geocaching.

If the weather's nice, you and your date can partake in a fun treasure-hunting activity called Geocaching. Simply go to their website and search for hidden treasures (or caches, as they would call it) in your area. Enter the given coordinates in your GPS and use the hints to find caches in trees, under rocks, or in other hidden spots! Caches usually consist of a waterproof container holding a logbook for finders to sign and sometimes little toys and other trinkets.

Volunteer together.

What better way to spend your time than to help others? Grab your date and volunteer at an animal shelter, a soup kitchen, or another charity you're both passionate about!

Chiara Fucarino
Chiara Fucarino
Contributing Writer at ExcelLiving.com
A proud resident of the pristine High Rockies, Chiara Fucarino happily spends her days writing in front of a breathtaking view of the mountains. When she's not crafting words, Chiara cooks innovative meals, embarks on scenic hikes, travels to exciting new places, hangs out with domesticated animals, and takes her motorcycle out for a spin.

You might also like this