17 Cute Date Ideas For When You’re Totally Broke

Going on dates is so much fun… except when you’re broke. Then, it can be just flat-out stressful. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. It’s possible to have fun with your date without breaking the bank. Here are 17 date ideas that won’t make you reach too far into your pockets.

  1. Hang out at a bookstore. It might not sound fun to everyone, but some people will absolutely love this idea. Plopping down to flip through books is such a dreamy idea. You could even go to an interesting section together and flip through books with one another. The possibilities are endless and don’t require you to purchase anything.
  2. Have a Netflix marathon. Choose a series that the two of you both want to watch and hunker down for a marathon. Watch a bunch of episodes all at once over popcorn and snuggles. It’s fun to get into a series with a partner, it becomes a bonding experience. Plus, hello, Netflix is the best.
  3. Attend free or reduced night at a museum. Museum tickets can be expensive, but there’s always a way to get them a little bit cheaper. Libraries often offer museum tickets at a discounted rate, especially in bigger cities. Check it out and go enjoy the museum together.
  4. Volunteer together. Who says that dates have to be just the two of you? It’s possible to bring in other people by volunteering. Perhaps at a homeless shelter, with animals, or on some environmental project—whatever you choose, you’ll get some warm fuzzy feelings from giving back.
  5. Go to a thrift store and try on ridiculous things. Macklemore said it—thrifting is a ton of fun. Laughing together is a huge must in a relationship, so it’d be fun to see what kind of wacky things you can dig up during your thrifting visit. You may find something vintage that’s just totally over the top and he may find some laugh-worthy shoes. It’s all in good fun. Maybe you’ll even find something to take home!
  6. Go for a scenic walk outside. Nature can provide a sense of calm and peace. As a result, it’s a super romantic activity. Plus, most places in nature are free to visit. Check out a local park or a place to hike and do it together. Even if you have to pay for parking, it’ll be a very small fee. It’ll be worth it to hang with mother nature.
  7. Play with puppies at the pet store. Alright, so the employees at the store won’t appreciate this one so much, but that’s okay. You can ask to see the puppies and take one out to play with it. You two can do this together, then once you’re done, you can check out the other animals in the store. Bunnies need visits too.
  8. Go sledding when it snows. Nature’s a lovely (and often free) playground. If you find yourself in a place where it snows and it’s that time of the year, take advantage of the powdery fun. Grab a sled—hell, make one if you need to. Don’t you see them in movies using trash bags or the tops of garbage bins? If you have a sled or can borrow one, that’s even better. Lots of laughs and fun to be had with this date idea.
  9. Go on a brewery tour. Most brewery tours are either free or very cheap. They make for a great date idea if the two of you drink. Learn about the process of how beer is made, but more importantly get some free samples.
  10. Pretend to be a tourist in your own town. You’ve probably heard this one, but it’s such a fun idea. You can Google your town to find all of the important tourist spots, choose a few, and head into the chaos. It’ll be a lot of fun to learn new facts about the city or town you live in, but it’ll be even more fun to pretend to be from out of town.
  11. Go to an open mic night. Artsy and fun, an open mic night is a great option for date night. You can go and buy a few drinks or not buy any at all. Most places don’t charge a cover for open mic, so you’re free to just enjoy the show. There may be some serious talent or just entertainment. Either way, you’re there together.
  12. Go to a playground. I suggest doing this when there aren’t many children around. You can remind yourselves of your own past children by swinging on the swings together. I don’t know that much else will be appealing, but if anything, you can definitely give it a go.
  13. Do a Pinterest cooking night. Rather than ordering pizza, you could try putting together that wonderful Pinterest recipe you’ve been drooling over. Get creative together and do a recipe that’s challenging. This could even be a regular date night thing because the cost is minimal, you’ll only have to buy the ingredients.
  14. Go see a matinee. Movie tickets can be ridiculously expensive these days. Who wants to spend that kind of money? Matinee tickets are at least a bit cheaper. You still get to see the movie, you just have to go early in the day. No big deal! Movies are a classic romantic date. You can even bring your own snacks and drinks if you hide them.
  15. Throw a game night. This one may be reserved for nerdy couples. There are two player board games and video games that you two could geek out over. It could be a tournament with a few different games—maybe some old school Mario Kart. The world is your gaming oyster.
  16. Have a picnic. Picnics are so romantic! All it’d cost is whatever the price of the food and drink is, which will be much less than a restaurant. You can bring your own blanket and hang out in nature. Your partner doesn’t even have to know you’re trying to save money because it’ll be extravagant anyway.
  17. Stargaze. Lying beneath the stars together is a classic romantic activity. If you live in the city, you can drive out to a place where you can see the stars more clearly. You can even bring your own blankets as well as snacks.
Ginelle has been writing professionally for more than six years and has a bachelor’s degree in digital marketing & design. Her writing has appeared on Birdie, Thought Catalog, Tiny Buddha and more. You can follow her on Instagram @ginelletesta, via her Facebook page, or through her website at ginelletesta.com.