cheap date ideas

Let’s be real, my friends. My hubs and I? We’re not made of money. We don’t have the extra cash to go out regularly or to plan big trips (in fact, in the last seven years the farthest we’ve gone was a three hour car ride to Mystic, Connecticut). We’re working hard to get there, but right now romantic getaways and regular date nights aren’t really in the cards for us.

Still, there’s no arguing with the fact that one-on-one bonding time is essential for a healthy relationship. If it’s all kids and work and stress, how can you enjoy each other’s company? With that and my limited budget in mind, I decided to put together a list a five super cheap date ideas.

cheap date ideas

1. Coffee Date

If there’s anyone around to watch the kids for an hour or two, running out for a cup of coffee is the perfect cheap date idea. Head to your local coffeehouse, order your favorite variety of coffee (decaf skinny vanilla latte, thanks) and split a muffin or a cookie.

Like going to a restaurant, you get some time to sit down and talk. The difference here is that you have the added perk of not having a big bill to deal with at the end of it.

If you’re anything like my husband and I you’ll be totally distracted by the conversations of people around you and you’ll start injecting your own snarky responses and plot lines into these strangers’ lives. As silly as it sounds, it’s kind of a perfect bonding opportunity.

2. Game Night

We’re big fans of game night in this house. We love to have friends over to play Apples to Apples or Balderdash or Taboo. We forget far too often that a game night with just the two of us can be just as fun.

This Sunday we put the girls to bed, put on the Superbowl and broke out some snacks and the Scrabble board. And you know what? We had a blast. For free.

There’s nothing like a little healthy competition for some quality bonding time. And in case anyone is wondering, I totally won thanks to a triple word score on frozen.

cheap date ideas: game night3. Candlelit Dinner

Who says a restaurant is essential for a candlelit dinner? All you really need is dinner and candles. Put the kids to bed, whip up his favorite meal (or in my case, have him whip up my favorite meal ;)) and break out some candles and the cloth napkins.

If you want to get extra fancy, who’s stopping you from getting into a little black dress and going all out? The more you put into it, the more special it will feel.

4. Picnic

This is another one that you can do at home if need be, but you could also sneak out somewhere if there’s someone around to sit with the kids for a little while. And it doesn’t have to be elaborate. Grab an old blanket and some snacks and you’re good to go.

Whether it’s in your backyard, a nearby park or your living room (um, it’s cold out there right now) doesn’t really matter. It’s the fact that you’re going out of your way to do something different and special together.

5. 10 questions

This last one can be done anywhere, anytime. You can do it on a long car ride when the kids fall asleep. You can do it before bed. You can do it over dinner.

It’s simple. You just ask each other ten questions. They can be about absolutely anything. The point is, it gets you talking about things you might not have talked about. And you might be surprised at the new things you learn about your partner–no matter how long you’ve been together.

What do you think? Do you have any other cheap date ideas to add to the list?

Written by Jennifer Garry
Jen is a freelance writer and girl mom from New York. When she's not knee-deep in glittery crafts and girl talk, you can probably find her sprawled across her couch in the middle of a Netflix marathon with dark chocolate smeared on her face. The struggle is real.