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23 budget friendly date ideas

23 Budget-Friendly Date Ideas

When you become a parent, you put your kids first. Sometimes that means sacrificing the time and money you spend on adult stuff. With Valentine ’s Day approaching, I thought it would be nice to compile a list of date ideas you can do for very minimal cost. I was actually surprised at how many ideas I found! Some of these also include options for daycare if you don’t have a sitter! An alternative is if you have friends who have kids, you can take turns having sleepovers at each others houses so the other parents can have a date night.

I read through a lot of similar compilations for this collection. Many blogs claim to have lots of ideas for date nights (one had over 90!) but they’re redundant; slight variations from other ideas. I wanted to compile a list that was as concise as possible. I hope I’ve succeeded. I sorted all of these ideas into three categories: date night at home, going outdoors, and exploring your community. So here goes…

Date Night at Home

8 ideas for a stay at home date night

  1. Rent a move. You can get a movie for $1.50+ at Redbox, $2.99+ through VUDU, or even FREE with Hulu or Netflix.
  2. Hit up the dollar store for your snack desires: popcorn, hot chocolate, soda, ice cream, candy, etc.
  3. Pizza can be picked up cheap at your local Little Ceasar’s. Don’t like Little Ceasar’s? Check the newspaper ads to see if there are coupons for your favorite pizza restaurant.
  4. If you’re a T-Mobile customer, sometimes they give away free movie rentals with their T-Mobile Tuesday app also! (I’ve even gotten free tickets at the movie theater!)
  5. Make a Special Dinner. I could write a whole post on ideas for this (hmmm, we might still have time before V-Day?), but for now I’ll give you one: DIY pizza. Very inexpensive and fun to do together! If you buy the dough that you can make at home, shape it into a heart.
  6. Invite friends over. This might not sound like a great date idea, but hear me out. If you have kids and no daycare, you can invite over friends who have kids. This way the kids can entertain each other while adults get a bit of adult time! Might not work for everyone, but definitely an option.
  7. Have a game night. This could be with friends or without. Board games, cards, strip poker? Video games are also great to play together! We have Just Dance on our PS4 and it’s awesome for parties or kids sleepovers. Download the app onto a smart phone and use your phone as a controller!
  8. Spa Night Together. Bubble baths, foot massage, lotions/oils, candles… Sounds romantic! You can even pick up supplies at the dollar store!

Going Outdoors

6 date ideas for going outdoors

  1. Go on a day hike. Depending on where you live, could be in the mountains, forest, desert, or even at the beach.
  2. Go to the park. Take a walk, fly kites, swing. If you’re the athletic type, play games: basketball, soccer, frisbee, catch, or even climb a tree. Invite friends and you can make it a game of mud/snow football.
  3. Go ice or roller skating. Here in Denver there is a public ice rink downtown that is free if you have your own skates. If you need to rent them, it’s only $2. Even if you want to take your kids with you and make a family night of it, it’ll only cost you $2 per person ($8 in my family). Getting a family night out for under $10 is a pretty rare find these days!
  4. Take a bike ride. To the park, pack a picnic, stop for dinner or coffee, or just ride around to enjoy the view.
  5. Fishing and/or camping. Have you ever listened to “Fishin’ In The Dark” by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band? That about sums it up. Seriously though, if you already have the equipment it doesn’t cost much to go fishing for a day/night, or even camping. Here in Colorado there are many places where you can just go park and camp without paying anything. Just bring your own supplies and take your trash with you when you leave. If you’re not sure where to start, call your local bait/tackle shop. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction.
  6. Drive to a lookout point. Be sure to bring a blanket, some wine, and maybe even a picnic (or some sort of food?). Sit on the blanket and enjoy the scenery! If you time it right (and your geography allows) you might even be able to watch the sunset.

Explore Your Community!

9 date ideas to explore your community

  1. Try out a free local class. This is where you become resourceful. You might want to check your local government’s website (city, county, or state), schools, or whatever the free local paper is in your area. Many times you might find a school that’s giving away classes so that their students have opportunities to practice. Or there might be a community event to encourage art, dance, or music. Sometimes yoga studios will give away a free first class to get you interested. You could even sign up for a free first week at a gym where they let you check out their classes.
  2. Beer tour. This is one of my fav! I know for a fact here in Colorado, as well as in Northern California, there are a plethora of breweries. Most of them will let you take a tour (and sample along the way) for free!
  3. Local free music. Again, check your local resources. There might be a festival happening with live music. Or just a local band/artist playing for free. Either way, there’s no shortage of free music as long as you know where to go.
  4. Local art show. Again, these things happen all the time. There was recently a free art show here in Denver with a Star Wars theme. The artist had hundreds of pieces for sale, plus gave away a free print to everyone who came! Not mention the free wine & hot chocolate! There is also an event that happens throughout the summer on the first Friday of the month called the Art Walk. They have food and art merchants set up along the streets for people to check out.
  5. Visit your local animal shelter. If you’re both animal lovers, this could be a lot of fun! Just be sure to agree beforehand if you’re willing to take a new friend home; it can be hard to say no!
  6. Discover your local happy hour. Many times you can get an appetizer for around $5, and beers as low as $2. Look up what bars and restaurants are in your area that you’re not familiar with, and call around to see what their options are.
  7. Matinee move. The movie theater we like to go to is only $6 before 6 o’clock, no matter what day of the week! It’s worth it to do a little research and figure what times count as matinee in your area. Don’t just check one theater and quit either! Another reason we like the Harkins theater near us is that we buy a souvenir cup for $5.50 the first time we go each year, and you can bring it back for refill all year long for only $1.50! They also sell t-shirts for $25 (I think) that will get you free popcorn! The more you plan ahead, the more you’ll save! Oh, and if you thought it couldn’t get better, they also provide free daycare (during specified hours)! So $13.50 and we get a movie, drink, popcorn AND daycare? Sign me up!
  8. Drive-in movie. You’d be surprised at how reasonable drive-in movie costs are these days. Our local theater costs about $8 and you get to watch 3 movies (if you can stay that long).
  9. What better way to spend some time together than wearing silly shoes and eating junk food? Sounds like a great time to me!

I hope this helps you spend quality time with your special someone on Valentine’s Day! Please comment with any feedback or ideas that you’d like to see here!

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