Married Life

Frugal Date Nights

As many of you know, I’ve been married to my husband, Nathan, for ten years. It’ll be eleven this fall, which isn’t very far away. Time flies! One of the most important aspects of staying married that long is date nights. I love them because it is time specifically set aside for us to hang out together and keep the connection alive. 

Nathan loves date nights because he gets to take me out. Usually it is a nice dinner and possibly some shopping added in. I wrote a post called Date Your Spouse where I talked about the importance of date nights, even after getting married. 

Lately though, all of our money has been going into my business and really being focused on getting it off the ground and becoming profitable. The old saying is, you have to spend money to make money. That is fine with both of us because my business is so important to me, and Nathan loves helping and supporting it. 

The great thing is that even with all this money going out the door, date nights don’t have to be sacrificed! I think far too many people think date nights need to be expensive and elaborate. They really don’t. Here are fifteen of my favorite date night ideas that cost little to nothing to do. 

Movie night at home

Netflix time! There is nothing better than relaxing in the comfort of my own home watching a movie with Nathan. Popcorn doesn’t cost me a fortune, I can pause for bathroom breaks, and cuddle with Nathan. Plus no constant shifting in my theater seat to find a comfortable place. I’ll take it! 

We either go off of a running list in Nathan’s head of movies we’ve talked about watching, or favorites we need to watch again. Sometimes we each pick one of our absolute favorite movies and watch it together. Finding a favorite anything of your spouse can be a lot of fun, and a learning experience. A book, movie, food, the list goes on. 

Picnic in the park

Pack a picnic basket with your favorite foods, a bottle of wine, and off you go! Don’t forget the blanket though. I always go a little farther and take a dessert or snacks with me, because I plan to be there for a while. 

A picnic in the park is always so relaxing to me, because I am in such a big open area and surrounded by people, yet there is only Nathan and me too. If that makes any sort of sense. We can chat, enjoy some great weather, and really reconnect. 

Visit a museum

We are actually doing exactly this today! It is free, and I double checked the hours. I haven’t been to our local museum since I was a kid. It is something I drive by all the time but forget it is there when planning activities. This will be like a brand new experience for me, since it has been so long. 

I’m excited to experience the exhibits and see what they have to offer. I love learning new things, and the museum may be just the ticket today. 

Hiking

Nathan and I have been making it a point to go hiking often this summer. I’ve closed myself off in my office working far too much. Being out in nature is really fun, and fairly easy to do in my town. I am finding I enjoy it a lot, and I’m getting in better shape as we start hiking more often. 

Play video games together

Recently Nathan and I went to a video game store and I found one with both Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy in it. For Nathan to play himself, he thought this was just dumb. I was like, I’m buying it, don’t care what you say. So I walked around the store with it for a bit. Suddenly Nathan realizes, hey! We can play together. Yep. Welcome to my idea. But I let him steal that one and acted like he was a genius for coming up with it. But don’t tell him that. We need to keep that a secret. 

Nathan and I are both highly competitive people, especially against each other. This was a natural choice for us to play and compete against each other to be the best. It is a lot of fun. Sometimes we are even nice to each other and help the other one. Sometimes… 

Put together a jigsaw puzzle

We found some Star Wars puzzles last year around Christmas and picked them up. Once we opened them up, we both remembered how much fun it is! This forces us to focus and really work together. The best part is that it is basically impossible to complete a puzzle while multitasking. No distractions. It is me, Nathan, our kitchen table, and a puzzle. That’s it. Being forced from distractions is such an amazing thing at times. Sure, we both use our phones as we’re doing some things. Other times I want them put away to just spend time together. 

Side note, showers are great for this purpose too. We can’t exactly take our phones into the shower with us, so that leaves plenty of time to actually talk and connect. 

Make dinner together

Y’all have read the recipe section in my blog, right? It should be pretty obvious that I love to cook. I really pushed myself in that area when Nathan and I started dating. It has always been something we’ve done together too. This is one of the easiest ways to get quality time for us. We both enjoy it, and we’ve created some wonderful meals and even new traditions out of it. 

Sports

This can be playing sports together or attending a sporting event. Summer is baseball season for us, and there is a semi-pro team that plays less than two miles from our house. It is so easy to make a simple dinner and then walk to an evening game. 

Attending local games is not expensive at all, and something we always enjoy. Plus the exercise from walking, and saving money on gas. Saves the hassle of parking too! 

Visit a bookstore 

Nathan and I are both avid readers, so this is like Disneyland! We have a ton of fun exploring local bookstores, because we never know what we will find. It could be a classic, a brand new release, or something we’ve been searching for. 

I could wander around a bookstore forever, finding new things to read. 

Garage sales 

Garage sales are a ton of fun because it is like a giant scavenger hunt. The best part of it is most garage sales aren’t trying to make money. They are trying to get rid of things. It can be really easy to pick things up for a great price. 

Sometimes we go with a limit on how much we will each spend, or see who can make that budget stretch the farthest. Again, with the whole competitive thing. But it is so much fun too. 

Thrift stores 

Thrift stores are another great scavenger hunt activity. Thankfully Nathan loves thrift stores as much as I do. The last time we made it a point to go visit one, we came home with our dining room table. That was not an inexpensive date night! But normally it is, and we can find great stuff really cheap. 

There is almost always at least one near wherever we are already, so it is really easy to stop in. Or, we make an entire day out of visiting multiple thrift stores and plan our route from there. 

Live music

In the summer there is an abundance of live music options around town. From an outdoor concert venue to restaurants/bars, fairs, and more. Some can be free or inexpensive as well. It is also a great way to hear some local bands/artists that are just getting started in music. 

Window shopping

Sometimes it is fun to just go look in stores and plan out future projects. Like a home improvement or even furniture store. This is also a learning experience. What I would normally pick out for myself may vastly differ from what Nathan would go for. Then we have to figure out something that is a good compromise. 

That is a challenge, but fun as well. How do you find what works and makes both happy? It really is an exercise in patience and communication. I’m the weirdo that finds organic options to practice that fun. 

Costco samples

 This is the definition of a free lunch right here! I don’t know about anyone else, but I can get seriously full after some Costco samples. If we go at the wrong time of day, it may mean a late dinner because I’m so full. 

Costco is great because it also means exercise. That is no small store! Nathan and I love grocery shopping together, so this is a fun one anyway. But sometimes it is worth it just to stop in for the samples too. 

Exercise 

There is nothing quite look good old fashioned exercise together! This can be as simple as taking a walk together, or even going to the gym. Nathan doesn’t necessarily need any extra exercise, but it is wonderful when he is willing to go with me and make it that much more fun for me. 

We often sit on a bike side by side and turn it into a competition to see who can go farther in the shortest amount of time. Or sit and watch tv together on the big screens and add in our own commentary. It can be amusing, if nothing else. 

Notes 

Date nights are so important to any and every couple, because they help maintain that connection with a spouse. But they don’t need to cost a small fortune every time either. We aim for a date night once a week. Out of those four date nights, one we do something that will cost more money. Like splurge on a nice dinner or go shopping. The other three, we try to make as inexpensive as possible and focus more on just spending time together. 

Do you have a favorite date night activity? Tell me about it in the comments! I’m always looking for new ideas. 

25 Comments

    • The Prepping Wife

      You’ll find that perfect person when you least expect it, Kyra! These are great for college students too, because that is an expensive investment.

  • Renee Thomas

    This is such a great article. As a new mom I personally know it’s hard to find that time to go on a date with your husband, and then to justify spending the money. I think it’s so important that you take that time and these are some great ideas you can do it with spending little to no money!

  • Casey

    My boyfriend and I love watching movies at home together!! It’s one of our favorite things. We are also super nerdy and play video games or just board games often. I think it’s wicked important to have date nights, small or large, with your significant other. It creates a bonding time that is irreplaceable.

    Love these other ideas! I will definitely have to incorporate some. We prefer to spend money on vacation, not date nights!

    Casey

    • Snehal

      Out of all of these….making dinner together sounds very sweet and fun! Who doesn’t love to cook and eat their favorite meal?! And when its cooked with the loved ones it sounds so fun! ❤

  • Brittany

    Costco Samples! We always have the best time going through Costco together, I thought I was the only one! These are some great suggestions and a lot of them we can do with our little one if we wanted, which I love! Spending time together doesn’t have to cost a fortune, I love this list and will definitely reference it the next time we want to have a date!

  • Debra Roberts

    I’m glad to see you added puzzles! I just bought one for my husband and I to do together actually! I can’t even remember the last time I worked a puzzle, so I’m looking forward to a few chilly winter evenings with a fire to work on it. I also want to frame it…all that work and it’s not going back in the box!

  • Mariam

    These are great ideas! I especially love the idea of making dinner together! That, followed by a Netflix and popcorn/ice-cream date sounds like heaven! Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Mariam

  • Quin Cl

    One of the easiest, cheapest and most accessible activities I and my boyfriend can do for our date night is watching movies through Netflix. Sometimes we cook dinner together and eat while watching a movie. Just lately, we decided to buy and play Uno cards or monopoly. 🙂

  • Lyosha

    I love picnics in the park. We don’t do that often but that’s exactly why it spices up our relationship so much. Handing out at home with some games works great on my my husband too – we do enjoy lots of laughs during it

  • Kaye

    I love this list! I’ve tried the puzzle thing… it mostly was just me being insane about putting a puzzle together lol! I love the picnic though – classic. It’s even better if you can find a park with a bbq pit to use!

  • Tracy @ Cleland Clan

    I’m not sure how cheap a trip to Costco would be for us–we definitely would end up spending money. Our favorite frugal dates are visiting a state park with a picnic (and a little hiking) and visiting our local watering hole on karaoke night. I don’t sing, but my husband does!

  • Alexandra

    I’m not married but this is definitely creative. It also sounds like you and your husband have a great relationship after all these years, which makes me happy because I love to see couples stay married and work through problems. It doesn’t sound like you have kids, though, and I thought you did. But you don’t mention anything about what to do with the kids when you have your date night at home, so maybe you don’t have any!

    • The Prepping Wife

      Tigger our cat is the closest thing to a child that we have, and he is pretty self sufficient! Lol. I don’t see kids in my future, Alexandra.

  • Scott DeNicola

    We are definitely at the frugal stage of life right now and these are all great ideas, many of which we utilize regularly especially movie night at home. With streaming services nowadays and the size of televisions, it almost doesn’t pay to go to a movie theater. We are also fans of live music. The problem is the music is free but we wind up buying drinks instead. 🙂 All great ideas for frugal date nights.

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