Get creative to go out without going broke.
Whether you’re planning the perfect first date for someone special or looking to spice up your marriage with date-night plans, you can make a great impression without burning through your budget.
First, cast aside the typical dinner-and-a-movie scenario. That traditional date could cost you upwards of $150. These suggestions may provide inspiration for new and original date ideas.
- Cook for your girl (or guy). Prepare pasta with marinara, garlic bread and a small green salad. Pair it with a tasty, inexpensive wine or chilled water with lemon slices, and you’ll create a romantic night that rivals any meal on the town.
- Skip dinner and indulge in a decadent dessert to share at an upscale restaurant.
- If you’re set on having an upscale meal out, make reservations in advance using websites such as DinnerBroker or OpenTable, which offer discounts if you dine within certain hours.
- Find second-run theaters, matinees, drive-ins and small indie or art theaters that screen different movies from the usual blockbusters. You’ll share a new experience and gain plenty of fodder for conversation afterward.
- Find out if your city or town offers free or low-cost outdoor screenings of popular movies in the summer months.
- Turn your living room into a movie screening room, complete with popcorn, drinks and theater candy.
Concerts and Culture
- Check your favorite radio stations to see if they sponsor inexpensive concerts featuring local or up-and-coming talent.
- Want to catch a big headliner in concert? Splurge for lawn seats. You can usually bring a blanket and picnic basket to make the experience more intimate.
- If you live in a town with interesting history or folklore, sign up for an inexpensive walking or bus tour with your date.
- Check local events calendars for free gallery openings and events.
- Hit the links together, but play nine holes instead of 18.
- Head to your local park to toss around a baseball or Frisbee. Bring along your dog or invite a couple of friends to join you.
- Explore a neighborhood in or near your town that you’ve heard about, but have never visited.
- Bargain-hunt at a flea market or thrift shop. The experience is fun and free, and you may even find a deal or two.
- Don’t discount the fun to be had at minor league or specialty sports events. Tickets and refreshments are significantly cheaper, whether you’re into hockey, baseball or football. Attend a ski jumping event or go to a motocross race or a rodeo for a new experience.
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