*The following post may contain affiliate links. Please know that all opinions are 100% my own and I would never suggest anything I would not use myself or believe in fully.
1. Regal Value Nights
If you don’t have a Regal theatre in your area, you should seriously consider moving.
Just kidding, but seriously, this is our most used date night. Which is why it’s at the top of the list. On Tuesday nights, Regal Theaters in our area have movies for $5.50. Not just matinees, we’re talking ALL movies. This night may be different in your area, but if you go to the Regal website and scroll to the bottom you can search your area for what the value days/prices are.
(To make this deal better, you can bring in your own popcorn, drinks, and candy in a giant purse or wrapped under a fluffy blanket. Not that we would ever do such things…)
2. Craft/Puzzle and Audiobook/Crime Podcast
If you think your SO wouldn’t be interested in doing a craft, hear me out. The word “craft” will illicit ideas of bedazzling coasters and knitting scarves, but there are actually a fair amount of things under the “craft” name that you both might enjoy. Such as:
You can also pull out that old Star Wars lego kit from your childhood!
If none of these sound appealing, consider putting a puzzle together. Here are some cool ones below:
Maybe because we’re grandparents/nerds at heart, but cracking open a bottle of ginger ale, piecing together a good puzzle, and listening to an audiobook on Youtube or the Serial podcast sounds like a great date night to us.
Here are some good free audiobooks on Youtube-
3. Video Game Night
Think video games are only for your kids? You may be surprised how much fun it is to problem solve and beat the bad guys with your SO. You’ll feel like a team ready to take over the world when you’re finished. Of course you can only do this for under $15 if you already own a device, but consider going on eBay or Amazon together and pick a fun-looking two player game to try and beat one night. Heres a few of our favorites (check the “other sellers” tab for prices under $15):
4. Cook Dinner Together
Theres a few different couples cookbooks out there, but one of my favorites is Date Night In by Ashley Rodriguez. If one of you primarily does the cooking, this is a fun way to get the other involved. Date Night In has easy to follow recipes with delicious gourmet meals made out of your basic super market ingredients. With 120 recipes for only $13, theres no way you won’t find something you both can enjoy.
5. Nerd Movie Marathon
You are never too old for a classic nerd movie marathon. You can rent Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or Star Wars on Amazon, or you can check out your local library’s dvd section.
Fill a big bowl with popcorn, make some egg rolls, and build a blanket fort. Two thumbs up.
6. Used Book Store and Coffee/Smoothie/Yogurt Shop
This is another one of our favorite dates. In our city theres a super cool locally owned coffee shop right beside a super cool locally owned used bookstore. While in your case they may not be right beside each other, this date idea is still definitely worth doing.
First, find a used bookstore and find 3 books that interest you. A good book for this activity is something informational or with a lot of pictures like an art book. Don’t show your SO what you got!
Next, go the coffee/smoothie/yogurt shop. I recommend something a little cooler than a Starbucks. Find a place with secret sitting areas or an outdoor patio and then show each other what you found. Plan an imaginary trip to a place in one of your books, quiz each other on history facts, or read aloud funny excerpts.
You’ll learn a lot about each other from what you picked, and the cheap books will always be a fun reminder of the day you spent together. Also if you got an art book you can cut out and frame some of the pictures in it!
7. The Swapping Game
This game is most fun with another couple(s), and you’re way more likely to get responses when you knock on doors if you’re not alone.
Knocking on doors? Let me explain.
This works best if you live near a college student complex or large apartment complex.
First, set a time limit of an hour or so and get each couple a paper clip.
Secondly, start knocking on doors. This will feel awkward at first, but hang in there. The objective of the game is to get someone to trade you something for a paper clip, and then trade your way up until the hour is over. Trust me, people will be way more cooperative than you’d think. Especially college students.
So for example, when I played this game, my team started with a paper clip and we traded it for a banana. The banana for an old basketball, the basketball for a Garfield movie, a Garfield movie for a CD, and a CD for a set of Halo action figures.
Feel free to turn down trades that you don’t think are of at least equal value or trades that won’t move well. The worst decision we made was to trade for the Garfield movie because it took us 15 minutes before someone was willing to give us something for it.
At the end of the hour, compare your item with the other couple(s) and see who won. Afterwards go get ice cream together and talk about your experience. One team we played against ended up with a tv, and one team ended up with an electric scooter!
8. “Birthday” Dinner Night
Okay so this one might be a little immoral but not really because it’s basically like spreading all the free food you’d get during your birthday into lasting all year.
So below is a list of 6 restaurants that offer a free birthday meal during the month/week of one’s birthday. You can do this with any 6 restaurants you guys like. All you do is have one of you sign up online for a “birthday” in the months of January-June and then the other one of you sign up for a “birthday” in the months of July-December.
Boom, you now have one free meal per month for a year. Now you only have to pay for one meal at the restaurant for your partner and that can be about $15 for a date night once a month.
Red Robin– one of you sign up for a birthday in January, and the other sign up for a birthday in July.
Moe’s (you have to get the app I think) – February, August
IHOP– April, October
Jersey Mike’s– May, November
P.F. Chang’s– June, December
9. Thrift, Refinish, and Sell
If y’all love thrift stores and treasure hunting as much as I do you are really going to like this idea. You can also make some money!
The title basically explains it all. All you do is go to Facebook Marketplace (the new Craigslist), and see what things seems to be selling best. Right now in summer outdoor furniture is a hot seller. Next, search your local thrift stores for something in that category (I suggest stores that aren’t Goodwill- usually chain thrift stores have been well picked over and their prices are higher). Find something cheaper than $15 so you can afford to buy some paint/sandpaper later.
Next, go home and get to flipping! You and your SO will have fun sanding, painting, and fixing up an old rocking chair, foyer bench, or whatever you find.
Lastly, list it on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist and sell it for more than you bought it for! I suggest trying to get this all done in one day so you don’t accidentally get something and then leave it collecting dust and taking up space forever.
This can still be a lot of fun if you don’t plan on reselling 😉
10. Free Downtown Concerts
If you live near a semi-big or capital city, this is a great, inexpensive date idea. Most downtowns have a day of the month where there are vendors, street food, and free concerts. Take advantage of your tax dollars! Go to your city’s online calendar, and see what’s coming up. In Raleigh, every first Friday of the month offers free concerts downtown. In Asheville, every third Friday has a giant drum circle downtown (love them hippies!).
Grab a couple hot dogs or a fried onion and enjoy.
Why tennis is considered a rich person sport I will never understand. It’s so much fun and so cheap! All you have to do is visit your closest thrift store and pick up a couple rackets for under $5, trust me, you will find plenty. If they don’t have tennis balls too, just get a few from Walmart or Amazon for cheap.
Next, after watching a few Youtube videos, go to your local park and start learning! This is a fabulous way to get fit with your SO while spending time together for dirt cheap. There are tennis courts open to the public at almost every city park, and it never hurts to grab a milkshake together after a long day of smack talk and losing balls.