8 Amazing Dates for Couples on a Budget

“Money can’t buy me love,” a famous philosopher once said.

No, but money can buy nice dates. Still, the reality is that most people are not where they want to be financially, and the importance of dating your partner is just as important as it will ever be.

What to do?

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, you don’t have to sacrifice fun because of funds. Check out these eight creative (and inexpensive) date ideas to keep love alive—on a budget.

1) Play a Music Game

Come up with a list of song categories, write them down, and draw them out of a hat. (Fine, it doesn’t have to be a hat.)

Here are some examples:

  • “Your second favorite song.”
  • “A song that transports you somewhere else when you hear it.”
  • “The Billboard number one song from the year you were five.”
  • “A song you really want to like . . . but you just can’t.”

Take turns drawing a category, then choose a song to fit that category. You have to listen to it all the way through.

There’s no winner in this one (although you could probably tweak the rules to make it competitive), but you do get some amazing insight into the way your partner thinks and what they associate their favorite music with.

2) Subscribe to a Date Box

There’s a box for everything these days. You know the drill: pay a monthly subscription, and a company will send you a box of everything you need for a meal, your pet, your geek fix, and so on.

Google “date in a box” and you’ll see that nearly the entire first page is filled with different date box subscriptions. That means you have options, and one of those should fit you perfectly.

Datebox is perhaps the most common, but you can also try DateBox Club, Crated With Love, and Unbox Love. Subscriptions range from $19.99 to the upper $30s.

3) Picnic/Hike

A lot of couples turn down date nights because they would have to pay for dinner while they were out. But think about it: you have to eat anyway, so why not take the meal you were already going to have and eat it in a new environment?

As everyone knows, picnics immediately enhance romance. The wind across your hair, the front-row seats to nature’s majesty, and the unblocked time for quality conversation. Just don’t pick a spot near a lot of dirt . . . the wind is nice and everything, but no one likes a gritty sandwich.

If you want to get really crazy, you can add hiking to your picnic night. There’s this thing that humans can do called walking. It’s awesome; you should definitely try it out.

4) Visit Museums/Art

Most areas will have some form of free or inexpensive museum or art displays. Before you write this off as a snoozer, just know that museum and art are amazingly all-encompassing.

Depending on you and your partner’s personalities, you can either

  • Engross yourself in the past, in the art style, or in the stories behind them (if you’re a straight-shooting learner type). Walk around and talk about how life was different in the past, or what the artist must have been thinking when a piece was created.
  • Make fun of everything you see, if you’re the art-makes-no-sense-to-me type. Pay special attention to the art that looks like your 4-year-old niece could have drawn it, and try to pretend to be amazed.
  • People watch, if you’re the inventive type. Sit on a bench together and watch people as they approach the displays. Make up a conversation about what they’re thinking and why they came.
  • Use some combination of these.

5) Plan a Themed Date

What do you have around your house? Chances are, you can string some things you already have together to plan a pretty neat theme for an in-house date night.

For example, if you own Forrest Gump, why not don running outfits, scrounge up whatever chocolate you have in your pantry and put it in a shoebox, and play Sweet Home Alabama while you cook your pre-movie dinner. If you can afford it, whip up a few different types of shrimp!

Movie themes are always great, but you can also do the same with books, video games, TV shows, Youtube videos, or even different countries/places around the world.

Books on a desk

6) Use Your Library

A surprising amount of people don’t know that libraries offer way more than books. Most also carry DVDs, and the check-out system works just as it does for books.

That means you can check out a handful of movies from your library for free, and you might be surprised at how good the selection is. Many libraries also show newer movies within their walls throughout the year. Ask a librarian about their movie schedule or about community events in which movies will be projected for anyone to see.

Of course, you could always just read a book together, too…

7) Run Together…

…Unless you hate running. Then definitely don’t do that.

8) Drive Around and Play “If You Could Have…”

If you’re a couple who likes to imagine, or just generally wants to understand each other, this is a great game. It’s also free—minus the gas you use.

Go around town and ask each other what they would have if their choices were extremely limited. The categories can be anything:

  • If you could have one car in this parking lot, which would it be?
  • If you could only have two albums (or movies) in this store to enjoy for the rest of your life, what would they be?
  • You’ve got to pick one outfit here for a punk rock concert tonight. What are you wearing?

And so on. You can adapt the game to whatever types of stores/restaurants/activities you have nearby. The point is to dream together.

A very important note, though: this could easily become all about the stuff you don’t have, which is no fun. Instead, make it about escaping everyday life together or even pretending to be fancy. The stuff isn’t important: the quality time spent talking about the stuff is.

No Couple Left Behind

A wimpy budget doesn’t have to make for a wimpy relationship. Less money requires more creativity in your dating life, but hey, isn’t that a good thing to have anyway?


By Ryan Drawdy
Feb 6, 2017


Did you know CenterState has a variety of financial tools available online. From our Financial Calendar to our 12 Step Budget plan, we’re here to help you stay money smart. Learn more here http://centerstatebank.com/financial-tools