How to Take the Bite Out of Date Night

by Jamie Simmerman · 3 comments

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and even those of us who rarely go on a date will be venturing out to celebrate love (or support Hallmark Holidays so we don’t feel like losers). If you’re in the same boat, you may have a regularly scheduled “date night” with your spouse, significant other, or best friend coming up as well. Here are some tips for taking the budget bite out of date night.

  1. Know your partner or friend’s love language. If your BFF values gifts, then you know that buying something small to serve as a keepsake of your important date nights equates a huge boost in the love department. However, some people could care less about gifts and purchasing items for these people is a poor investment of your time and money. Understanding the other’s needs and how best to meet those needs is the best way to invest in the relationship.
  2. Invest in memories. One of the best ways to kindle emotions in a relationship is to replay fond memories. Watch a video of your prom, wedding, or other special event together. Read old love letters, look at photos, or share cherished stories over a bottle of wine.
  3. Set the mood. While what you do on date night is important, how you do it is what makes the night special. You don’t have to spend your whole paycheck on bungee jumping, dinner at a five star restaurant, or a diamond necklace. If you’re staying in, tidy up one room of the house and light some candles. Have a picnic in a scenic location, or go for a drive that showcases something you both enjoy – like the historic district, old majestic residential neighborhoods, wildlife preserves, or your childhood stomping grounds. Setting the mood generally costs very little yet adds great value to your date night experience.
  4. Plan ahead. While putting together a great date night at the last minute is possible, planning ahead allows you to carefully plan out your budget and make date night choices that are a good trade-off between frugality and fun.
  5. Borrow a movie you haven’t seen from a friend or visit your local library’s media section. Pop your own popcorn, and dress up as movie stars for the evening.
  6. Learn something new together. Research your family’s genealogy, look for buried treasure in the backyard, try out a new elaborate recipe, or visit a museum or educational center. Spend 20 minutes performing independent research on a topic, then share your findings with each other. See who can find the wackiest fact or the best photo of a given topic.
  7. Dream together. Plan a vacation for 5 years down the road. Visit the travel agency to view exotic places you’d like to visit someday. Pick out baby names, test-drive your dream car at the dealership, craft a floor plan of your ideal house.
  8. Do something outrageous. While each of our definitions of outrageous is subjective, decide on something together that pushes your comfort zone and makes lasting memories. Go skydiving, kiss in public, go salsa dancing- whatever fills your definition of new and outrageous to keep the spark in your relationship.
  9. Serve together. Something special happens between a couple when they serve together. Volunteer at the local soup kitchen, homeless shelter, animal shelter, or community outreach program.
  10. Get physical. Play your favorite sport, go kayaking, take a kickboxing class together, or learn to Zumba.
  11. Go romantic. One of the easiest ways to make date night memorable is to write your sweetie a love letter or poem. Paint a portrait of your loved one, create a collage of your favorite photos, or make a scrapbook of your life together. Even if your painting or poem is awful, it will still serve as a source of humor and a running inside joke for years to come.

What date night tips do you have? What was your favorite inexpensive date night experience? Share your stories with others and help our your fellow lovelorn budget keepers.

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Marbella says:

    Would I be like this romantic on Valentine’s Day will I be in big trouble, my dear going to think I have an affair with someone and want to compensate me with all these ideas.

  • Jean says:

    True, not everyone values expensive gifts. In fact, some frown on them and prefer the gift be something that comes from the heart, like you said, with things like old memories rekindled with a photo collage from days gone by.

    Planning ahead is definitely important. If you’re planning on going to a movie and dinner make sure you leave adequate time so you’re not late and read up on traffic reports so you can leave sooner if you have to.


  • KM says:

    Since it’s on a weeknight this year and my husband comes home from work around 11pm and I have to wake up at 6am the following morning, we can’t really do much. I was planning to make him his favorite chocolate cake and set a candlelit dinner on the table to wait for him. Cheap, but thoughtful and special. We also agreed that our presents to each other are the new modem and router we bought a while ago.

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