52 Budget Friendly Date Night Ideas

Share with a Fellow Dad

Someone queue up Alanis Morissette.

Isn’t it ironic?

A little back story…

In May of 2018, Amanda, my girlfriend of 8 years and mother of our two children, told me she had given up on the relationship years ago.

It was devastating, however, I was not terribly surprised, as the writing was on the wall.

Now, I did not point fingers, nor place blame. I 100% accepted that the relationship didn’t work because I wasn’t the man/leader of the household that I should have been.

I knew I had work to do, so I started checking out some books on being a better man, partner and Dad.

Books included Wild at Heart, Sovereignty, 12 Rules for Life, The Untethered SoulThe 5 Love Languages and Be the Man.

If you have other suggestions, please post them in the comments below.

On September 21, 2018, a friend of mine recommended a book I had never heard of. The author was new to be. The book he recommended had 1,300+ reviews on Amazon, with the far majority of them being 5 stars.

I purchased it at first glance, as that kind of social proof is telling.

It was a Friday evening, and I was sitting on the couch. I started reading the book from my iPhone, and I was absolutely hooked. Little did I know how that book, and author, would go on to transform my life.

The book is called How to Be a 3% Man by Corey Wayne. I would go as far as saying that it’s required reading for any man on the planet who is looking to improve himself. Whether you’re single and dating, or have been married for 40+ years, there is something to be learned from the book. Corey dishes out practical advice, in a no bullshit way.

I fact, I listened to three of his podcast episodes today. I have read the book five times now, and about to start it once more. It’s a book I plan to read a dozen or so more times, it’s that damn good.  I have never read another book more than three times.

A lot of men come to Corey when a relationship or marriage goes bad. That is how the far majority of men find him, typically form his YouTube channel. You can check out his channel here. 380,000+ subscribers can’t be wrong.

He finds that most men in that situation stop dating/courting their girlfriends or wives. This is typically the cause for the separation and/or divorce. The men get complacent, comfortable.

Maybe that’s why I like him so much, because he calls me out on my bullshit through his book, podcast and/or YouTube videos.

That is one of the things I did a horrendous job at, and 100% own that. We rarely went on dates, and I always had an excuse — typically not enough time.

No time is a bullshit excuse! If it’s important, you make the time.

No money is another common excuse I hear. For that reason, I am going to share 23 ideas that cost very little (a lot of FREE ones).

You simply have no excuse not to date your partner/wife on a weekly basis.

A quote I heard from someone, somewhere:

If you don’t date your partner, someone else will.

A terrifying thought, so I have broken it down into 4 different categories:

10 FREE Date Night Ideas


  1. Take a walk. Simple, but can be a great time to have a wonderful conversation. Leave your phones at home. Kids, too.
  2. Have a picnic. This could be in your backyard, or go to the local park.
  3. Watch the sunset (or sunrise)! This could be done at home, or if you don’t have a view, take a drive somewhere.
  4. Take a stroll through IKEA. This is a fun place to walk around, and get ideas of the home.
  5. Serve at the Homeless Shelter.  This is something that’ll make you both feel great once you leave. The look on the people’s faces are something you’ll never forget.
  6. Cook dinner. This is a fun activity that one of you is most likely doing anyways. Why not do it together?
  7. Plan a vacation together. Disney, A roadtrip, camping, a ski trip, whatever! Sit down and brainstorm ideas together.
  8. Create a bucket list together. This is a fun individual activity that every person should do, but why not create one together?
  9. Give each other massages. This can be done while watching TV, or better yet, in the bedroom with music on.
  10. DIY project. Paint that bedroom you’ve been putting off, organize the garage or re-arrange the closet. The possibilities are near endless here.

15 Outdoor Date Night Ideas


  1. Go hiking. Exploring nature is always fun, but doing it with your partner.
  2. Go camping. Grab a tent, a sleeping bag, a couple of pillows and some hot dogs. This is an inexpensive activity, that is a lot of fun. Putting up the tent certainly might test each other’s patience ?
  3. Go stroll the outdoor mall. Grab a coffee, tea of your favorite beverage and shop the outdoor stores.
  4. Go horseback riding.
  5. Go putt putt golfing. Put a wager on the game to make it even more fun. I’ll let you come up with your own ideas here.
  6. Go pick apples. 
  7. Attend a local festival.
  8. Take a drive. Get outside town and stop at the first place that interests you.
  9. Star gaze.
  10. Go check out a concert. 
  11. Take a bike ride. Take a stroll around the neighborhood, or uptown for ice cream.
  12. Drive in movie. This can be a relatively cheap date, and a lot of fun.
  13. Swing. Go to the park and push each other on the swings.
  14. Go to garage sales. Have fun with this. Maybe flip some of the items on eBay and see who can find the best flip.
  15. Go ice skating. Go tot he local ice rink and lace up some skates. Might need knee pads, and possibly a helmet.

18 Stay-at-Home Date Night Ideas


  1. Have a picnic on the living room floor. Or in the backyard.
  2. Play a boardgame. 
  3. Watch funny YouTube videos. Laughter is good for the soul.
  4. Play a card a game. 
  5. Rent a movie. Pop some popcorn and cuddle up on the couch.
  6. Have a bonfire. Roast marshmallows or make smores. Smores are good for the soul as well.
  7. Sit and talk. Sit across each other at the kitchen table and discuss your dreams and desires.
  8. YouTube karaoke. 
  9. Enjoy breakfast in bed. Do this before the kids wake up. Which would be anytime before 5:17 am for me ?
  10. Sip wine on the patio. This is a great summer evening activity.
  11. Play truth or dare. WARNING: Things can get interesting….fast!
  12. Share a bubble bath.
  13. Play hide and seek. No kids, just the two of you.
  14. Play Twister. 
  15. Make an ice cream sundae. 
  16. Play strip poker. This is not just a game for high schoolers.
  17. Learn a new language together. 
  18. Read a book together. 

10 Inexpensive Date Night Ideas


  1. Go bowling. 
  2. Ice cream. Visit your favorite ice cream shop.
  3. Go canoeing. This is another activity that might test each other’s patience.
  4. Go fishing. Rent a boat or find a pond to go cast a line in.
  5. Go to a minor league sporting event. These games are still a lot of fun, and much cheaper than a major professional sport.
  6. Take a cooking class together. 
  7. Go to a wine & canvas. The painting class with cocktails.
  8. Brewery. Take a tour of a local brewery (or winery).
  9. Go check out a local band. Dive bars typically have local bands playing on the weekends.
  10. Play an outdoor game. Shoot a basketball, play catch (baseball, football, frisbee).

Wrapping It Up

I know it’s not easy making time for date night, but it’s absolutely crucial for the health of your relationship. Learn from my mistakes. Hopefully, the lists above gave you some ideas on how you can do this on a budget. Be sure to check out Groupon for deals at local places.

A great date night does not have to cost a fortune (or any money at all). The important part is setting time aside each week (recommended) for each other. Most of the ideas on the at home date night list can be done once the kids are in bed.

If you have ideas to add to the list, please post them in the comments below. Or if you’ve tried any of the above, let us know your experience in the comments below.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.