When Phillip and I first got married, we were broke. Like hadn’t even graduated college, and working full time, barely keeping the lights on broke. It was such a crazy time in our lives, but it was also a period that holds some of our sweetest memories. We had to get creative when it came to having fun, especially where date nights were concerned. And although, I love a good fancy night on the town, some of my favorite date nights were the creative ones we came up with when we were dating on a budget. So in honor of Valentine’s Day being around the corner, I thought I’d share some of my favorite dating on a dime ideas with you.
1. Old school game night: this can be anything from Scrabble to Sorry, but make up some yummy comfort food for dinner and pop open a bottle of wine. You, my friend, now have the makings for a fabulous date night. Mario Kart was also played on more than one occasion in our household.
2. Picture scavenger hunt: do a quick google search and find a scavenger hunt list where you and your date have to go around finding and taking pictures of all the items on your list. Doesn’t matter if the list is a bit cheesy, half the fun is just getting out and exploring together.
3. “If” Book and coffee: I can’t tell you how many times Phillip and I would head over to our local Barnes and Noble, order some coffee (or split one if we were really tight that night) and grab the “If” book. The beauty of the “If” book is that it is hundreds of pages of nothing but obscure questions. You will be surprised by the conversations you end up having while laughing over coffee. Because really how else are you going to logically bring up what body part you’d trade with your favorite historical figure?
4. Movie and picnic on the beach: I only say beach because we live in Florida where beaches are readily available. Really this can work in any outdoor area that allows you after dark. But pack a picnic and grab your laptop with your movie of choice, and you have instantly created your own romantic night out for little to nothing.
5. Money making scavenger hunt: This one is something we’ve done not only for a improtu date night but also as an excuse to get baby girl out of the house. But before you guys think I’m crazy hear me out. If you haven’t heard of Shopkick yet, it is one of favorite apps out there. It gives you a list of stores that will give you “kicks” just for entering, and then more “kicks” for scanning certain items. Once you have accumulated enough kicks, you can cash them in for various gift cards (Target, Old Navy, TJ Maxx, etc). So on more than one occasion when we’ve wanted to get out for the evening, but didn’t really have much money to spend, we ran around town earning kicks, and sometimes by the end of the evening, we had enough to cash in for a guilt free treat. Date night and “free” gifts?! Score.
6. Checking out local museums: a lot of areas have museums open to the public for free, or if they do charge, have days during the month that are at a discounted price.
7. Drive-in movies: we lived on drive-in movies before we were even married. Look online to see if you have one close by. Even though they aren’t free, a lot of times they’ll be showing current movies at a drastically cheaper price. We would be able to see up to three current movies in one night for a total of $10. It was amazing!
8. Memory lane date: this works if you live in an area that you’ve been in for awhile. Phillip and I would occasionally jump in the car and drive out to places that held special meaning to us, where we met, our first date, where we went to school, etc. It was always a night of memories and also a reminder of how much we’d gone through together.
9. Build a fort: five-year-olds have it right, seeing life under a fort instantly makes it more fun. So stay in for the night, grab your movies of choice, open up your bottle of wine and enjoy your fort. I promise it will be a date night you will remember for years to come!
The key to dating on a dime is being open to creativity and not taking yourself too seriously. I can say we have done each of these dates on more than one occasion, and they all have made for really great memories. So much so, that even when we didn’t need to, we still opted for some of these dates after we had more room in our dating budget. But it was the experience that made them so memorable. It’s not about how much you spend right, but the company you’re with?
Speaking of date nights, I smell a pizza cooking in my kitchen thanks my cutie of a husband, maybe tonight would be a good night for a fort…
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