10 Great Date Ideas For When You're On A Budget

By: Jonny Hughes

When you’ve got a big date lined up, you will always want to impress. Unfortunately, in the real world, not everyone can afford to go out to swanky restaurants and spend a fortune. However, you do not need to have loads of cash to have a fun-filled and romantic date where you can spend some quality time with the other person and get to know them better. By getting creative with what you do on the date, it can also be refreshing and more fun and memorable than your classic dinner and a movie outing.


10. Movie Night

Although the obvious choice, you can’t go wrong with staying in for a movie marathon. Cheap, entertaining and a great way to spend some one-on-one time together, this can be a much better date than going to the cinema where you have to spend a fortune, sit with a bunch of strangers and not be able to pause the film and talk. Most people have Netflix or a DVD collection to choose from, so you should not be short of options, and you can of course binge watch many of the incredible TV shows that are out there. The movie night can be massively improved with take-out food, but if you do not have the funds for that, then you can cook a meal together (see #2). Homemade pizza is a great option, or stock up on popcorn and sweets.

9. Go to a Museum or Art Gallery

Often an overlooked date idea, museums are a great way to spend a date as they will always spark conversation and are sure to be a memorable experience. Most towns or cities have at least one free art museum or gallery, and often they accept a “recommended donation.” This can make them very affordable, but a great way to get to know somebody better. Ideally, it will be a museum or art exhibition that both of you are interested in, but you could also visit one that neither of you know anything about or one that one of you likes. It is worth noting, however, that many museums are very quiet so you may want to go for a coffee or for a walk after so that you can discuss the experience together.

8. Take a Tour of Your Own Town

The majority of us take our own town for granted and do not know more than where the best bars are, but many big towns and cities have a range of tours which can be great fun on a date. This could include a walking or bus tour of the town, and in addition to learning a thing or two, it can be a fun activity for the two of you to share. These tours can be particularly good if one of you lives out of town, but they can also be enjoyable and an eye-opening experience if you are both from the area. During the tour, you are also likely to discover more great date ideas that the two of you could do which you had never considered before. You can also get to enjoy the experience of acting like a tourist in your own town.

7. Go Wine Tasting/Visit Your Nearest Brewery

Alcohol is often (but not always!) a key ingredient to a fun date, and if you are looking for something different than having drinks in a bar then you should consider wine tasting or going on a brewery tour. Although these are often ticketed, you will find them much more affordable than drinking in a bar all evening. The tours are often very interesting and the tour guide will usually put on a good show, making for a memorable and slightly alternative date, which is always a bonus. You will usually get a few drinks thrown in for free with a ticket, ensuring that everyone has a great time all around. These places are usually located outside of town, so just make sure you have planned how to get there and back, whether it is a lift, a taxi, or public transportation.


6. Volunteer Together

Volunteering is encouraged regardless, but it can also be a great date idea that brings the two of you closer together whilst bringing about positive change. For the animal lovers out there, you can volunteer at your local animal shelter and spend the day tending to dogs and making some new fuzzy friends. Obviously this is a terrible date idea if you or your date does not like dogs, but if not then it is sure to be a memorable experience which will make you both feel good while also doing your part by giving back. By volunteering together, you may have such a great time that it becomes a regular thing for the two of you, which will of course also benefit wherever you are volunteering too. Plus, it is always great to show your altruistic nature.

5. A Games Night

As long as you’re not ultra competitive and likely to throw a tantrum if you lose, a games night can be a fantastic and affordable date. It is a shared activity which can also be great fun, and it also means that you do not have to worry about awkward silences as you will be busy playing the game. Whether this is playing video games, card games, or board games (these are perhaps the best to play and can be nostalgic), a bit of friendly competition can be great and the time is sure to fly by. If it is your first date and you do not want to host it, there are many pubs and cafes that have heaps of board games for you to choose from where you can find a nice corner to play in.

4. Visit a Market

Markets are fascinating places which are full of interesting people, and they are therefore a great place to visit on a date. Conversation will never run dry with so much to see and so much happening around you, and this is particularly true whether it is a farmers’ market, flea market or even a book market. If you visit a farmers’ market, this could be brilliantly tied in with the activity listed at #2 on this list, as here you could buy your ingredients and then head home to cook a delicious meal together. If you are visiting a flea market or somewhere similar, you could go your separate ways and buy something for each other (under a certain amount) which can be a fun activity and provide you with a memento from the date.

3. Local Gigs or Open Mic Nights

You can’t beat some live music, but understandably you may not want to fork out a huge amount to see a semi-famous band. Instead, it can be just as fun to go to a local gig at a bar or small venue. These are often free as the band is trying to get exposure, but if not they can be very cheap. Similarly, an open mic night is free and you might be treated to some great music. If the music is terrible, you can still have fun with your date and enjoy a few cheap drinks (these places are often affordable compared to classy bars). Whether the music is great or terrible, you are sure to have a fun and memorable evening with your date. If you like the music, you could look out for their next performance or buy your date their demo CD.

2. Cook Together

Who needs a fancy restaurant when you can cook for yourselves? For those looking for a cheap date idea but like the idea of eating a meal together, a great compromise is to cook a meal together (including going to the supermarket together to buy the ingredients). This way, you get to have fun doing an activity together (this is always important and can avoid any awkward silences), plus you can then enjoy the meal together afterwards. Some might suggest cooking a meal for your date, which can be a good date idea, but also it means that you will spend a large percentage of the evening cooped away in the kitchen and stressed over impressing your date with a delicious meal. Instead, the pressure is off when you cook it together and it can be much more fun also.


1. Go for a Walk

Broke or not, going for a walk is a brilliant date idea. It can be fun, romantic and it is a great way to get to know somebody better (without the intensity of going for a meal). This is ideal if you live somewhere away from the hustle and bustle of the town, as here you can really appreciate the natural beauty and fresh air of your surroundings, making it a fantastic way to connect with someone. You get to spend quality time with the other person, and your surroundings will provide you with plenty of talking points, but you can also comfortably walk in silence. You could even take a picnic and find the perfect place for a romantic lunch if you wish. Overall, going for a walk is a terrific date idea and is a great way to spend some quality time with someone without spending a penny.