When I was in high school some of my friends and I would try to find activities that were free, or close to it. Even though I’m pretty sure I had way more spending money back then (the general lack of bills), I was saving up for other things and didn’t want to sacrifice fun when trying to pinch pennies. We got pretty creative at times (all legal).
Whether you are starting out dating or are in a long-term relationship, but still make time for date nights (I strongly suggest it), you can wind up doing the same things over and over. Most common ‘date-like’ activities like going out for dinner or to the movies can get expensive over time. So, I thought I would share a few ideas with you that you can try when you are trying to save money or are bored with the usual and are in need of some new ideas!
- Picnic Challenge: The usual park picnic can be lovely, but I challenge you to think outside of the box on this one. Try having a picnic in a different place like your family room, a historical site in your town, a baseball or football field. You can even theme your picnic to match the site. When one of my bff’s, Hannah, and I first moved to Australia years ago we tried to eat dinner in a different room/spot in the house every night. We even had a picnic in the bathtub (sans water). I think our Australian roommate thought this was some weird Canadian custom :)
- Star Gazing: Grab some quilts and a thermos of hot chocolate and go find a spot for star gazing. Fields, hills, and even the hood of your car are good spots for this. Play a fun word game like ‘Twenty Questions’ or write different topics on pieces of paper and draw from a hat.
- Make Sundaes: Who doesn’t love a good ol’ fashioned sundae? (lactose intolerant people likely). Be creative.
- Thrift Store Dress-Up: This was a fun game we invented in high-school. Split up in a favoured thrift store (bigger ones are better for this). You each have an allotted amount of time to dress-up and then meet back in an agreed spot in the store. The challenge is to come up with the craziest outfit. The winner has to buy the other a hot drink (or cold one, depending on the season). Make sure you return all items, or better yet, buy some things while you’re there!!!!
- Costco Dinner: Have a Costco Membership? Why not plan on going on a Friday night with a date and eat some samples, while doing a bit of shopping. Dinner, check!
- Make a Fort: Forts are endless fun. Gather pillows, blankets, candy, whatever you want to build the ultimate fort. This is a great exercise in teamwork!! Read or tell stories.
- Poetry Reading: What ever happened to romanticism through the great art of poetry? Grab some Byron or Whitman and read aloud. Or, write each other poems or limericks. When Ry and I first started dating I wrote him all sorts of funny stories and poems.
- Dollar Store Crafts: Each pitch in a few dollars and go get some fun children’s craft packages from the dollar store like paint-your-own-piggy-bank or felt puppets. Make together and then exchange.
- Scavenger Hunt: Take turns going on a scavenger hunt. If you are still getting to know each other, try taking the other to all your favourite places or childhood landmarks. You can make this as creative as you want.
- Movie Swap: Ry and I love watching movies but we have watched ours soooo many times. Try swapping movies with another couple to save on rental costs. This way you can have a new selection of films and also contribute to someone else’s date night.
Ry and I have a date night every week and I find this is absolutely key. With me running a small business, which can leave me always in ‘work-mode’, and Ry starting a new job, we are both very wrapped up in our work. So, date night lately has looked more like this: come home and work, break for dinner, work some more, met up again in bed to watch Colbert or Chappelle. Fun, but not exactly what we created Date Night for. I really suggest treating date nights as a total change of pace from your usual routines. Go out, or make intentional activities at home. Sometimes I even have Ry pick me up like a real date. This really is important and something I feel pretty strongly about for long-term couples; you should never stop dating!!!
***** Post-Script: When visiting thrift stores (or any place of business really), please respect the items and the shop. I also suggest doing some shopping and not use the store just for dress-up. We started this game in highschool because we thrifted so much already, so we made it more of an event with adding the game!