Date night often goes out the window when you are on a budget. The cost of a sitter, dinner, movies etc. can end up being one part-time wage for a night out! Not very practical for the average family. We’ve collated a selection of free or cheap date ideas to help you, plus a few budget friendly childcare tips at the end. We do use affiliate links on this site, however, we are really strict on what we will and won’t refer to. We only recommend products or services personally used by us.
First, two extra tips, if you eat at home or choose to order in you can get $10 off with Deliveroo using this link. Deliveroo is our favourite. We have tried other delivery services, but had numerous issues so we stick with Deliveroo.
Always check Groupon for discounts to comedy clubs, restaurants etc.
1.) Freel local entertainment
Check out events in your are through Facebook, Meetup or your local gig guide to see what is happening, what free festivals and things are on then book one in.
2.) A comedy club
Local comedy clubs often have discounts on Groupon such as two for 1 tickets, free nights or free drinks with a ticket. They are under $15ea normally and the big, headlining comedians from around the world test their new material in small clubs so not only do you get new comedians, you can get some of your favourites!
3.) Trivia nights
Check your local pub to see when their trivia night is. Go yourselves or get together a table for a fun night out. You never know, the prize could outweigh any cost if you win too!
Pick a show that will be a show you watch together as a sort of date night.
5.) Dinner at home with the kids as your waiters
We did this one night and my kids loved it. They helped cook, set the table, picked music for us and giggled being our waiters.
6.) Play games
Uno, board games, cards, whatever games you enjoy, have a night playing them.
7.) Picnic at the park
Our local park often has people with picnics, including wine. Sometimes there is live music too. Find a spot you like, pack a picnic and enjoy yourself.
8.) Nerf gun wars
If you don’t already have Nerf Guns, why not???? They are so much fun. You can set it up without your partner knowing and leave a note with a nerf gun on the bench when they get home for ‘game on’.
9.) Do each other’s hobby
Take it in turns, one night do your hobby, the other night your partners. Go fishing, shopping, do some art, whatever your hobby is, share it with each other.
10.) A cooking class
We did a cooking class in Vietnam which was surprisingly fun. It was not something my partner was overly interested in initially then he ended up being amazing at flipping the pancakes and things. He looked pretty good in his chef hat and apron too!
11.) Go hiking
Research pretty, historical or interesting hikes in your area then head out and do them. Take some snacks, water and your camera.
12.) Visit a museum
Many museums have visiting exhibits, free entry or cheap entry. Check out your local one or look for one that specialises in an area you are interested in such as fashion, history, culture of certain areas etc.
13.) Check out local food trucks
Food truck hot spots are popping up everywhere. Head to your local one, pick a few treats to share and find your new favourite meal. Or find out when a food truck festival is on in your area and head to it.
14.) Dinner at home with special questions
Have a dinner at home, but do one of those activities like the 36 questions that lead to love everyone was doing a few years ago.
15.) Do a Photowalk
Take your cameras and explore an area, taking pictures of the scenery, each other and enjoy the moment. Don’t worry about posting to social media right away, just get the pics you like, edit them at home then upload or print later.
16.) Double or triple date
Go out or stay in with other couples. Do drinks or a potluck style dinner then play games like cards against humanity for loads of laughs.
17.) Go out for drinks only
Dinner, drinks and movies add up quickly. Head to a new bar in your area and try one of the drinks only instead of everything. It’s not the cheapest option, but cheaper than going the whole hog and still fun.
Head to the beach, river, lake or pool near you and go swimming, diving and have fun.
19.) Be a tourist in your city
Have you ever done the touristy things in your city? Walked around and explore all it really has to offer or because you live there you take it for granted. Check out your local tourism board and do the local attractions. Many are free or locals sometimes get a discount.
20.) Matinee or preview show
The early shows are cheaper than the evening shows but just as fun. Some even offer rehearsal tickets at a discount while they practice.
21.) Arcade games
When is the last time you hit the arcade? When you were a teen? Pick a budget, then head out and play all those games you used to love. Most guys I know love the opportunity to play games and while you might look like big kids, it’s lots of fun. Or have a games night a home.
22.) Tech free night
Switch off your phones, the TV, computers, all technology and go old school. Games, candlelit dinner, give each other a massage or something like that. Spend quality time together.
23.) Do a class together
I mentioned a cooking class, but what other things have you wanted to learn? Find out if there are classes available in your area you could both attend.
24.) One on one basketball
Grab a basketball, head to your local court and play a game of basketball, or tennis or any other sport that you can do one on one.
25.) Attend a local sports match
Cheaper than professional games, but still fun. Head to a local club and watch them play – football, cricket, ice hockey, netball, whatever sport you are into you should be able to find a game to watch.
How to get a babysitter so you can date
Often the cost of a sitter can be more than the date itself. A few options to reduce the expense are:
– Childcare swap. Look after someone else’s kids one night, they look after yours on another.
– Have an au pair or demi pair. They both are live in options, where they assist with childcare and things daily instead of a one off babysitter. Au Pairs get paid plus free room and board. Demi Pairs get room and board in exchange for up to 20 hours help.
– Friends and family. While you probably can’t get them to sit all the time, every now and then they usually don’t mind.
– Pay a sitter. In my area it’s $20 to $25 per hour for a sitter. Not a cheap option for most.
What free and cheap date ideas would you add?