June 04, 2018

Day 4: 7 Cheap Date Ideas for Couples

Today is Day 4 of a challenge I made for myself for June--write a blog post every day. I have a list of random topics, so I'll choose one each day to write about.

Jerry and I started dating in high school. I was a junior, and he was a senior. At that age, we each had part time minimum wage jobs, but we didn't have much money for dates. In fact, our first date only cost us $4!

As we got older, we continued our trend of cheap dates. Jerry lucked out in the sense that I'm not at all into the traditional romance--flowers, jewelry, expensive candlelit dinners, and elaborate "The Bachelor"-like dates. Here are some of our favorite "dates" we do regularly to spend time together...

1. Our first date was a simple walk in the Metropark. It only cost $4, which was the park entry fee at the time. If we had gone on a Wednesday, it would have been free! We went at dusk, so a picnic wasn't necessary. We just walked the trail and talked. We got lost in conversation and the Metropark police actually stopped us for being there past closing--we had no idea that it was nearly 11 pm!

2. Picnics actually are another one of our favorites. We don't make elaborate dishes to bring--we just throw together some PB&J sandwiches, grab some fruit, chips, and water bottles, and throw it all in a bag. We bring a big blanket (the denim quilt I made from my old jeans is perfect!) and head to our favorite park to picnic. There is no entry fee, so if we don't buy anything special for our picnic, the date is essentially free.

3. Although they are getting scarce these days, we like to go browse around a bookstore. Even when we were teens, we would go to the bookstore while we waited for our movie showtime at the theater. We both love browsing through books, and can easily spend a couple of hours in a Barnes & Noble. Sometimes we'll buy a book, and other times we leave empty-handed, but we always enjoy going.

4. Speaking of books, we love to fill out those books for couples (What were your first thoughts when you met me? What is your favorite date we've been on? Etc.). Once in a while, we'll buy one for each of us and then spend a few months filling it out now and then. Eventually, when we've each completed our book, we have a night in with some cheap wine and we read our answers out loud to each other. We usually end up laughing hysterically.

We recently found a book that was SO fun to go through, and I recommend it for any couples who are looking to share a laugh. It's a visual compatibility book, and each page has two photos--similar, but with one difference. (See the cover of the book below for an example). Then you each choose which is more like you (I'm totally an "over the roll" person!) and see how compatible you are (just for kicks).

Here is a link to it on Amazon (affiliate link). Jerry and I learned we are pretty much 0% compatible, hahaha.

5. In the summertime, one of our very favorite things to do is to relax on our back deck in the evenings with a cold beer and just talk. I know that calling this a "date" is pushing it, but who says you have to leave the house to have a date with your significant other? We also like to make a bonfire in the backyard if we have stuff to burn, and we'll sit in front of the fire. Or we'll play yard games like corn hole. Basically, we just enjoy each other's company.

6. We love to get together with other couples, so when we have an opportunity to do that, we usually host a game night. We buy some snacks and drinks, but it doesn't cost much and we always have a great time. We will choose a game of Euchre over a candlelit dinner any time!

Or perhaps candlelit Euchre. The power went out, and we made do with a candle and a super bright flashlight when Renee and Dave came over one night.

7. We haven't done this in a long time, but it just popped into my head and now I want to do it again! We used to do a blind taste test of different foods. I would go in the kitchen and prepare a plate of things like a pickle slice, a dried cranberry, a couple of pieces of different types of cereal, a bite-size piece of cheese, etc. Basically whatever I can find! And then I would blindfold Jerry and give him one thing at a time and see if he could guess what it is. This is so completely ridiculous, but so much fun! And then we switch roles.

Clearly, Jerry and I have fun doing all sorts of random, goofy stuff. We've been doing a lot more of it over the last year since we started our budget! Anyone else have suggestions for fun, cheap dates?


  1. Love it!! My husband and I (also married for a thousand years, since we were very young, and also with simple tastes :) like to do grocery shopping dates. We meet at the store, browse the aisles together, eat the free samples, and often buy some "grocery dinner" from the prepared food section and eat it out front and that's our date. SO not a chore, grocery shopping!

  2. We are fortunate that one of our local bars has no cover and live music most Friday and Saturday nights with decent cover bands that play everything from current pop to old rock to wide range of country. We used to go out about once a month and for the cost of like one or two drinks (about $10-$15), we'd have a lovely evening together. I'm not sure why we fell out of this habit of late, but your list is definitely a reminder to put down the phone or the remote and seek out more opportunities for some one on one time with each other (and walking together is another big one for us - park or neighborhood or wherever - so summer challenge here we come!)

  3. Do you have the link for the couples books you mentioned in #4?

    1. Hi Laura! We've filled out several over the years, but our most recent one can be found here: https://amzn.to/2xP9Q20 . If you search for "fill in the blank books for couples", you'll probably find lots of different ones!

  4. So while I'm not part of a couple right now, some things my ex and I used to love to do were: gym dates, walks to the beach 1/2 block away, dessert dates (so not dinner and a fraction of the cost), movie matinees and hanging out with his parents, playing cards, BBQ'ing and generally acting crazy.


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