Planning fun dates can be hard, especially when you're on a budget. A steak dinner at a fancy restaurant isn't a weekly option, but it doesn't (or shouldn't) take a lot of money to enjoy time with the person you love. If it seems like you're running out of new activities to try, check out these 37 date ideas that cost $20 or less!
1. French fry/fast food date
This is by far my favorite date I've ever been on with my boyfriend. We literally drove to all the fast food places up and down one road and got a small order of French fries at each of them. We proceeded to compare each restaurant's fries based on price, salt content, grease, time waiting in the drive thru, crispiness, warmth, flavor and extras offered (ketchup, salt packets, etc.). We even got a free chocolate shake at Steak 'n Shake (either because they made an extra on accident or forgot to hand it out to the car before us).
2. Roller or ice skating
No matter how many times you fall, this one is always fun!
3. Volunteer in your community
You can never go wrong with helping out at a soup kitchen or local nonprofit. You get to spend time together and help make the world a better place.
Go to a local orchard or fruit farm and pick berries, peaches, apples, pumpkins, whatever's in season. After that, you can make a pie out of the fresh fruit you've gathered together. This also supports local farms and businesses!
5. Do a puzzle
The more pieces, the better! If you like the design, you can use puzzle glue, frame it and hang it somewhere.
6. Create a recipe
Even if it's a disgusting disaster, the fun is what matters.
7. Go for a walk/hike
Take a stroll through nature and be active, rain or shine!
Whether indoors or outside, put away your phones, spread out a blanket, unpack some snacks and just spend time alone together talking.
9. Paint along with Bob Ross or a YouTube tutorial
You don't need to buy the highest-quality paints or brushes, just get what's on sale at the nearest craft store and get painting. It's a lot easier to follow along than you'd think.
10. Board game night
Make this a double, triple or quadruple date with friends. Another option is to go out to a local trivia night and show off your knowledge.
11. Movie marathon
Now's your chance to marathon Marvel movies, "Harry Potter," "The Lord of the Rings," "The Hunger Games," "Star Wars" or any franchise you two share a love for.
12. Play with the animals at a pet store or local animal shelter
Spread the love to some animals looking for homes. There's a pet store near where I live that lets you play with the puppies if you make a donation to The Humane Society.
13. Take a trip to a thrift store or antique shop
Cheapest shopping spree for bargain prices!
An underappreciated classic.
15. Mini golf
Simple, yet fun and relaxing.
16. Drive-in movie
Drive-in theaters are making a well-deserved comeback. Add an interesting variation to dinner and a movie, or take a short road trip to a drive-in in another city and sightsee while you're at it.
17. Go to a museum
Some museums are free or offer free/discount admission days. It's never a bad time to learn something new!
18. Go to a play or musical put on by a local high school
Tickets are cheaper than at professional productions, and you're supporting kids in the community who are passionate about theater. You could also see if any dance schools in your area are putting on performances. You don't have to know anybody in the show to enjoy it.
19. Go out for coffee or milkshakes
Again, put the phones away and just talk.
20. Video game night
Whether you want to stick with basic, easy-to-learn games (Wii Sports, Mario Kart) or one or both of you are trying to learn something new and more complicated, let your competitive side shine through.
21. Check out coupon sites like Groupon
They can spark more inspiration and help you save money.
22. Make a fire and roast s'mores
There's nothing like cozying up to a warm fire with chocolate and marshmallows. This works for an inside fireplace, an outdoor fire pit, winter, spring, summer or fall!
23. Go to the beach or lake
If you're lucky enough to live near a beach or lake, you should be taking full advantage of it.
24. Build a blanket fort
You are NEVER too old to make a fort out of couch cushions, chairs and blankets. You can also combine this with other ideas, like the movie marathon, puzzle or picnic.
25. Karaoke night
There might be one going on somewhere in your area, or just host one at home. If you're brave enough to sing aloud, then embrace it!
No matter how cheesy and cliché it's become thanks to movies and TV, stargazing is still cool and romantic.
27. Go fishing
Another idea for couples that prefer to spend time outside.
28. Try a couple's dance class on YouTube
You don't have to pay for expensive lessons to learn the basics.
29. Plant a garden
Or just go buy some succulents to take care of together. Something to liven up the place.
30. Repaint a room
Maybe it's just me, but I love changing up the color of my room and repainting. You could even try a more creative project than one solid color like painting a mural or sponge painting with multiple colors. And if a paint fight happens to break out, then what can you do?
31. Check out a used bookstore or the library
For some couples, just being in the room with each other while doing independent activities like reading brings enough contentment.
32. Water balloon, water gun or Nerf gun fight
An opportunity to show who really wears the pants in the relationship.
Find a beautiful place and just relax.
34. Paint your own pottery
At a paint your own pottery studio, you can each make your own artsy piece or work on something together.
35. Run or bike together
Some couples like to exercise together. I'm not a member of one of those couples, but I've heard it's true.
36. Road trip to another city in your state and sightsee
You don't have to spend a lot of gas money to go exploring. Go to a nearby small town or big city that you've always wanted to see but haven't gotten the chance to. Discover what's waiting only a few towns over from where you live.
37. Go on a Pokémon Go adventure together (or play another AR game)
While Pokémon Go is no longer as popular as it was when it first came out, it's still a fun game to go back and relive. Re-download the app and go on a Poké-perfect date. A Harry Potter AR game is currently in development, and who knows what adventures will await there!
Hopefully these ideas have provided some inspiration for your next fun date. As long as you're spending quality time together and having fun, there are no bad date ideas.