Dating in your 20s can be hard as is, let alone when you’re trying to save money. It seems as though everything these days inevitably costs money, which can be extremely difficult for those of us living on a budget. As this week is Mike and I’s anniversary, I wanted to write a post to inspire other millennials to find ways to date even when trying to save money where possible. Let me tell you friends, it is possible!
While Mike and I have been dating long-term and we’re now a lot more comfortable with each other and just being together doing whatever, we still feel it’s important for us as a couple to have date nights and actively spend time together whenever we can. Though we may be splurging a bit on our anniversary (hey, occasions like this are special!), I do feel that we’ve found quite a few ways to date while still saving money. Here are some of the date night ideas that we’ve come up with!
1. See a Movie at a Drive-In Theatre Instead of a Cinema.
I’m not really sure when this started happening, but the cinema seems to charge large amounts of money for everything these days! Of course, we still love going to the cinema for the experience itself. If you love seeing movies and are looking to save some money, I highly recommend checking out a drive-in theatre near you. Drive-in theatres have a wonderfully classic vibe that can’t be rivalled, with the extra benefit of being less expensive than a regular cinema! There’s also the bonus of having a bit more privacy when sitting in your car rather than in a theatre surrounded by a few hundred other people, ideal for those in the “newly wed” stage of their relationship!
2. Eat at a Diner Style Restaurant Instead of a Steakhouse.
Yes, we all love those fancy, fine dining restaurants, I know. We will get there friends! For now, there’s a time and a place for that (ie. the special occasions I was talking about earlier). If you have your heart set on eating out but don’t want to spend a lot of money, I recommend checking out some local diner style restaurants in your area. Not only do they tend to be inexpensive, but many often have delicious food that you just can’t find anywhere else! I also personally find diners to have a really nice, cozy atmosphere about them, which is great if you’re looking for somewhere a bit more casual to eat.
3. Netflix and Chill.
“Chill”, whatever you and your partner define that as, is completely up to you. But if there’s one thing I can say about this, it’s that who doesn’t love cozying up with their significant other to a good movie or show on Netflix while vegging out and eating pizza and popcorn? Probably one of the most casual, simplest date ideas, yet there’s a reason that everyone talks about “Netflix and chill” – because it’s awesome to have a cozy date night in with someone you love!
4. Play Video Games Together.
If one or both of you in the relationship are video game nerds, you’ll understand this one! Mike’s absolute favourite thing to do in his free time is play video games. He plays literally everything, from shooter type games all the way to Zelda. I don’t play video games very much, so this was an adjustment when we first started dating. However, we’ve really been able to make it work!
I think it’s extremely important to try and take an interest in each other’s interests and help each other understand our own interests. This is exactly what we’ve done! Mike has showed me some of his own favourite games to play and encouraged me to help with some of the decision making (like choosing outfits for characters and naming them goofy names, ya know, the things I do best!). We also have found a couple of games that we enjoy playing together, Mario Kart on the Nintendo Switch being one of them!
5. Drink and Socialize with Friends at Home Instead of Going to the Bar or Club.
First of all, if you’re going to drink, buying alcohol from the liquor store is a lot less expensive than ordering drinks from a bar for what you get (in general, anyways). That’s why I recommend if you and your partner are partying that you do so at home or at a friend’s house if you’re trying to save money. Not only will you save on drinks, but you also won’t have to worry about cover charges, coat check (if it’s cold outside), or taxi fares! I’m not saying you should never go to a bar or club either, but limiting something like that to once a month as opposed to going out every weekend, and having a budget for yourself on the nights you do go out, will be a powerful way to save some money.
6. Cook Together and have a Romantic Night in.
So Mike and I haven’t actually done this together as a couple on our own yet. We both live at home with our parents (again, trying to save some money where we can until we’re at least somewhat established) and have cooked with family together. Even though we haven’t done this exact date night idea, I do think it’s a super lovely way to spend quality time with your significant other. I have grown to actually really enjoy cooking, and using your creativity together to create something delicious that you can both enjoy sounds ideal to me! Mike and I are definitely what you would call foodies, and once we have our own place to enjoy an activity like this, I think we will definitely try it out!
7. Find Free or Low Cost Events in Your Area to Attend Together.
This may be a bit easier if you live in a metropolitan area (we definitely don’t at the moment), but even if you live in a rural area you can sometimes find activities going on in your area that are of low cost or completely free! I know right? It sounds unheard of! The thing about these events is you just really need to seek them out. Look in your local newspapers, on your area’s local website in the event listings, or even just ask around to see if anyone you know is aware of anything going on. Who knows, you may even find something new that you both enjoy!
8. Go on an Adventure.
I absolutely love the idea of not really having a set plan and just kind of going and exploring an area. If you live in an urban area, you can hop on a bus and see where it goes (although maybe have some sort of idea of the types of areas on that route so you don’t end up in a dangerous situation). I also read another really cool date idea somewhere where you decide before leaving your house what ways you’ll turn at each intersection you come to when driving, and when you run out of turns you’ve reached your destination and have to make a date right where you end up. I thought this was such a unique, fun idea to do with your significant other that is extremely low budget. Plus, it gives both of you a chance to get creative! Go and explore somewhere new together!
One of the simplest classic date night ideas out there, yet such a beautiful one! Stargazing is so beautifully intimate, in that when doing it on a date it feels like there’s nothing else in the world but you, your partner, and the stars. It’s incredibly cheesy, I know, but hey, everyone loves some cheese every now and then! And of course, there’s no cost to setting up a picnic blanket on the grass and lying under the stars, so that’s an incredible bonus! Simple, yet effective.
10. Find an Activity that You Both Enjoy and Do it Together.
Do you both love exercising? Go for a run together. Do you both enjoy putting your artistic skills to work? Attend a painting class. Though you and your partner both probably have your own individual interests, it never hurts to explore activities that might be of interest to you both. Find those common interests and explore them in different ways. It’s a great (usually inexpensive) way to date that allows you to get to know more about the other person.
So there you have it! Those are my ten ideas for us millennials who are striving to save money while dating. I’m curious to know, what are some of the creative date night ideas you’ve come up with to save money? Please let me know in the comments below, as I’d love to try them out!
For more great content, check out:
- 5 Budget-Friendly Ideas for Holiday Dating
- How to Survive an Emotionally Abusive Relationship
- The 20-Something’s Official Guide to Spending the Ultimate Girl Time