6 Ideas for No-Cost Date Nights


There have been seasons in my life when, for various reasons, budget was tighter than usual and when we were literally living paycheck to paycheck. Of course, we did our best to cut out unnecessary expenses, and one of them was date nights.

It wasn’t always easy for me. I tried to be tough, willing to make sacrifices for our family and telling myself that our marriage relationship was strong enough that we didn’t need regular date nights. But to be honest with you, there were definitely times when it was nice to have some time alone with my husband.

A big lesson we learned was that date nights really did not have to cost anything. During lean financial times, this doesn’t have to be a sacrifice that couples have to make. After all, there’s more to a romantic night out than a fine dining experience or even a movie.

So, here are six ideas for date nights that won’t empty your pockets.

Shop but Don’t Buy

If you have really good self-control, this would be a fun thing to do for a date. We like going to Ikea (to get organization and home ideas), to Costco (to get some free samples), and to the farmer’s market (to check out the different vendors and products). If you don’t have much self-control, you can still do this … just leave your money at home.

Search for Free Admission Days

Many places, like museums, designate certain free admission days throughout the year. We’ve taken advantage of this for planning field trips with our kids, but why not do this for a date with your spouse? Looking up your city’s events calendar can turn up some free community events as well.

Stop by Homes for Sale

We live in an old house, but there are many areas around us where new housing developments are popping up. Sometimes, we like visiting the model homes, where we can get some decorating ideas. On weekends, properties that are up for sale usually hold open houses. A word of warning: I wouldn’t suggest this activity if you get too tempted to covet these other homes.

Stroll Along a Favorite Spot

We love going to our downtown Main Street to take a leisurely stroll. I love the uniqueness of all the stores and shops and seeing the history of some of the buildings and architecture.

If you have a university campus nearby, this can also be an interesting walk. Trails, parks, or even the streets around your neighborhood are all great options for your stroll. An unhurried walk, will not only give you some time to talk to each other, but is also an opportunity to hold your sweetheart’s hand.

isn't she a beauty...I'm talking about the lens!

Sign Up for Loyalty Programs

If you have a favorite restaurant or other establishment, consider signing up for their customer loyalty program. If you don’t mind receiving email notices from them, you may score some coupons and great offers. (Hint: creating a separate email address dedicated for things like this will help keep your inbox under control.)

Often, these places will give you something free, at least for your birthday or anniversary. I’ve received free desserts and dinners at favorite restaurants and received emails announcing free admission at the drive-in theater.

Stay Home

Though you may be itching to get out of the house, staying home is probably the best way to assure that you won’t spend anything. Just because you’re at home, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a fun date night. Check out my post on How to Have a Date Night When You Don’t Have a Babysitter for some ideas, from reading a book together to gazing at the stars.

What do you do for date nights when you are short on cash?


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17 thoughts on “6 Ideas for No-Cost Date Nights

  1. We love taking the strolls by ourselves when we can grab a babysitter for a few hours. Perhaps just stop and eat some ice-cream along the way. We can really talk and simply enjoy each others company. . . Okay, now I really want to go call my babysitter for tonight! 🙂

  2. Fun ideas! Our dates are pretty much stay at home ones. Once or twice a year we’ll do dinner or something when are kids are with friends. Mostly it’s popcorn or ice cream and a movie after the kids are in bed, a game, and occasionally we’ll do a late supper after they are down.

    1. You do some of the same things we enjoy when we have a date night at home. It’s nice to keep it simple.

  3. One of my goals this year is to actually have one date night with my husband per month. Thankfully my idea of a date night has evolved from going out of the house to a simple time together at home. Because you’re right, what can we do if we don’t have someone to leave our kids to? We can’t really force ourselves all the time. Hehe. About 2 months ago, we took advantage of the restaurant GCs my husband won from his office and it was an instant date night minus the expenses! 🙂

    1. Free giftcards! Nice! That reminds me … we a couple of movie theater giftcards that have been sitting on our dresser for a while.

    1. Like I said, you have to have some good self-control to do this one. We don’t have that much in our bank account anyway, so that helps with the impulse buying.

  4. We often stay in and watch a show/movie together after the little ones are down. I love going for walks and we also will run errands together. These are great ideas! Thanks

    1. At-home movie dates are great! Sometimes it’s hard to keep our little ones in their rooms because they could hear the TV and want to make it a family movie night. 🙂

    1. It is nice to get out of the house sometimes, but we’ve been doing a lot of home dates lately, which I don’t mind at all. Sometimes getting ready to go out (for me and the kids) can be such a big production that it’s way easier just to stay home.

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