Dating can get expensive, fast.
The cost of a few drinks, a couple of admission tickets to a big attraction, and dinner can quickly add up.
If you are on a budget, you’ll need to get creative and come up with some cheap date ideas that are still romantic and memorable.
Here are 12 cost-effective yet impressive dates:
1. Have a picnic
Pack your date’s favorite food and drink, choose a romantic location, and spend a few hours outdoors.
If it’s too cold or wet for a conventional picnic, spread a rug on the floor, light some candles, and have it indoors instead.
Don’t forget the cutlery and napkins.
2. Look around for a cheap course or class and take it together
Learning something new together will strengthen your bond, give you something to talk about, and could even be the start of a new shared hobby.
Community colleges and adult learning centers often have affordable classes and workshops.
3. Do a photoshoot
All you need is your phone and a bit of creativity. Keep it G-rated, X-rated, or anything in between – it’s up to you.
If you’ve been together for a while, perhaps it’s time to take some new photos together – you could even edit them, print a few, and compile a collage in a cheap frame.
4. Have a book club meeting
Reading may not seem the most romantic of activities, but sharing your favorite books can provide you with an insight into one another’s characters and start some deep conversations.
Pick a book a week or two in advance so that you both have time to read and think about it.
5. Psychoanalyze yourselves
Find some free psychometric tests online and take them. Compare your scores, but don’t take them too seriously – the point is to have fun.
Start with the tests at Open Psychometrics.
You can take personality quizzes, intelligence tests, and more.
6. Plan a 50:50 movie marathon
Pick two movies each, and settle in for a movie marathon.
You can learn a lot about someone from their taste in films, and watching a movie gives you both a good excuse to cuddle on the couch.
7. Give each other a massage
Look up some free massage tutorials on YouTube and give your partner a relaxing, free DIY treatment.
You can keep it simple with a shoulder rub, or give a more intimate full-body massage.
8. Build a pillow fort
Relive your childhood by constructing a fort made of pillows and blankets.
Turn off the lights, get out your torches, and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate together.
This is a perfect date night for the winter months; you’ll both love the cozy feeling.
9. Go to a museum or art gallery
Some cultural attractions have high admission prices, but many of the world’s finest galleries are free of charge.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a lover of art or history, exploring an exhibition is a great idea for a date.
You can spend as much or as little time there as you like, and you’ll find it easy to start a conversation.
10. Create some artwork of your own
If you both love arts and crafts, why not set aside a few hours one day and make something of your own?
Basic art supplies don’t cost very much, and they can provide hours of entertainment. For example, a few pencils and large pad of paper will see you through several drawing sessions.
Try drawing portraits of one another.
11. Go stargazing
This is among the most popular date ideas, and for a good reason – there’s something romantic about looking up at the night sky and taking in the sheer size and wonder of the universe.
Take a rug and a telescope, or just drive to a secluded country spot and identify constellations that are visible to the naked eye.
12. Go on a nostalgia trip
If you are in a well-established relationship, take a trip down memory lane – literally.
Drive around the places that are special to you, and reminisce about the great times you’ve had together.
This can rekindle feelings of romance and nostalgia, reminding you why and how you fell in love.
You can’t buy memories, and you can’t buy love.
Lavish dinners and expensive trips are fabulous, but it’s the quality of time spent together that builds a happy relationship.
Whatever you do on your dates, have fun getting to know the other person better – even if you’ve been together for years – and exploring new activities.