07 Nov 10 Cheap Romantic Date Ideas for Frugal Couples
We all love entertainment
Who doesn’t like concerts, movies, going out, and spending money? I enjoy all of these things, I just don’t want to spend a ton of money if I can avoid it. About three years ago, I started budgeting with a goal to save more money. Until I sat down and put everything into an Excel spreadsheet, had no idea I was spending so much money on my top three worst offenders: housing, food, and entertainment. I lump a lot of things under entertainment, but this would include going out to eat, buying lunch instead of bringing it, going to movies (including expensive iPic and IMAX) theaters, concert tickets, and drinking.
We can do better.
I was doing everything I could to cut back on expenses. My wife and I split monthly rent so we pay $500 each to live in a beautiful home in South Florida. I cut back on my crazy $600 a month grocery bill (they call it Whole Paycheck for a reason). But after we had a few conversations, I realized I could do more, a lot more! After reading the Frugalwoods blog, it dawned on me I was wasting hundreds of dollars a month on nothing. Literally, I would have ZERO to show for almost all of my purchases. That inspired me to hack our entertainment budget and here are 10 Cheap or Free Romantic Date Night Ideas.
- Check your local neighborhood calendar for free or cheap events. Near us, we have Food Truck nights once a month where they serve free draft beer! Last Saturday we had a free Polynesian cultural festival within 2 blocks of our home at the park. Score! We shared a shaved ice for $3 and that was the only money we spent on entertainment that weekend. We live near the ocean, so the state park offers free movie nights. Our neighborhood even offers a dog and wine night occasionally. Go to these free events and support your local community.
- Netflix and chill. Yes, we love Stranger Things, Forensics Files, and Making of a Murderer (I love true crime). For $7 a month, we have almost free entertainment and I can watch my favorite shows at the gym while I work out. Cut the cord. We went from $80 a month to a shared $23 a month. We purchased a great little Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote for only $39 and now had access to tons of free TV and movie apps and entertainment.
- Cook a romantic dinner. I surprised my wife with a home cooked meal and she surprised me by letting me know it was one of the best meals she ever had. It was a simple roast lamb with a balsamic reduction, mashed potatoes, greens, and grilled asparagus. I lit candles and we played Billie Holiday on Pandora. She loved the romantic meal and it cost 1/4 of what we would pay to dine out. Did you know action is the love language for many people? Show you love your sweetheart and your wallet by cooking your own meals.
- Talk a walk. Since we live in Florida, we can walk in beautiful parks, intercostal areas, and the beach. One of our favorite things to do together is to take a 2-mile walk in our neighborhood. We get housing ideas, chat about our day, share our dreams, and gossip during our walk. How many couples plan their lives and discuss their goals for 40 minutes a day while staying in shape?
- Host a friends’ night at your place. A lot of our friends love board games so we’ll nerd out and host a potluck. For the cost of one homecooked dish, you can enjoy hosting your friends for hours and catch up with your favorite people.
- Friends’ Night Part 2 – Spawn of Friends’ Night! Ok maybe you haven’t seen the movie, so why not rent it or watch it together? We cook our own organic popcorn with coconut oil and feed 8 people for pennies! BYOB of course 🙂
- Hit the library. The library is the great equalizer for society, everyone has access to it and you can learn anything there. They also offer a lot of new released DVDs, audio tapes, and books. Cozy up with your sweetheart and a glass of wine a cup of tea and enjoying something you haven’t read or watched before.
- Free days at the museum. Your city musuem will often have a free day or night once a month. Find out when this is and take in a new exhibit. We’ve seen Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Picaso, and Warhol at our local museum. We also get free entrance since we’re students.
- Picnic and poetry. We have a beautiful Japanese park about 30 minutes away. My sweetheart surprised me and packed a full picnic basket full of goodies, beer, and a blanket. It’s one of my most memorable romantic dates with her, it was Instagram worthy, and very inexpensive.
- Dine out occasionally with Groupon. Groupon has led us to some memorable new restaurants and we can try anything from Japanese to Ecuadorian. Just be sure to start at eBates first to get cash back and use promo codes on Groupon to cut your bill by at least 20%.
Bonus! Enter contests for your local college radio station and alternative weekly paper. We’ve won 4 pairs of concert tickets to Tegan and Sarah, Weezer, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Foster the People, and one of these came with a VIP tour bus, open bar, and food! Yes, you can win these contests. Just enter them and see what happens.
Since we're in grad school, we don't need a lot of entertainment and it should be cheap.