Coming up with fresh date ideas can be a challenge for anyone. After adding kids and a budget to the mix, planning a date can seem nearly impossible! With a typical date night costing over $100, it’s easy to see why date night slowly took up residence on the back burner in our home.
Feeling burnt out and in need of some quality time together, Erik and I re-evaluated our recent “budget cut.” There had to be a way for us to date again while making it work with our monthly spending plan. Finally, we said “enough is enough!” Knowing how important that time is for our relationship, we became determined to find a way to make it happen again on the regular.
50 51 different dates that can be done for around $50, and are husband approved… If you are lucky enough to built-in childcare with awesome friends and family, you’re one step ahead in the savings department! If not, I totally understand…and I’ve got you covered there too. Believe it or not, many of these dates can be done right around the $50 including childcare! Read on to learn how.
Quality Childcare on the Cheap
1. Parents Night Out Events
This concept is becoming more and more popular in our city. Cost-wise, it ranges from free (yes!) to $30+ for three hours at a local kids gym, recreation center, YMCA or play cafe. Our YMCA includes a three-hour Parent’s Night Out once a month with our membership. We’ve found this service to be invaluable. Whether we’re looking for a fun couple of hours on the town, or some quiet, kid-free time at home together, this has been the perfect solution for us. So, if you’re a member of the Y, find out what yours has to offer! Additionally, My Gym and The Little Gym have monthly Parent’s Night Out events. As do our favorite local play cafes. And, if you end up spending $45 or so on the parents night out, you can stay in-budget with some of the practically free date options listed below. You can find them marked with an asterisk.
2. Babysitting Co-ops
My parents belonged to one of these when we were little, and I remember it being SO much fun! Our parents and their friends established a system where they would take turns babysitting each other’s kids. We had fun, and they got fee-free babysitting. Win/win. So, if you have a group of friends with kids around the same age, get this organized ASAP! You and your friends will be so happy that you did.
3. Recreation Center Childcare
This is different from a Parent’s Night Out event because parents are required to stay on-premises or very close to the vicinity. There are a number of items on my list where you can take advantage of this option! Grab a basketball, and go play HORSE during open gym, check out a yoga class together, take a walk or have a picnic in the nearby park or simply grab a cup of coffee and play Scrabble in the cafe for an hour.
The Nifty 51 Under $50
- Try a subscription box. We’ve really enjoyed both Datebox and Night In Boxes. This is a fun option because its like a gift date to you, from you! With little to no effort on your part, it arrives in your mailbox each month! All you need to do is set aside the time to do it. Not to mention that this is a very cost effective way to bong and have some fun together! You can even get half off of your first Datebox and $20 off of 3 and 6 month subscriptions when you use promo code KRISTAL50.
- Cook a romantic dinner together. You can put as much or as little effort into this as you’d like. If I know we have a night like this coming up, I’ll splurge on a Hello Fresh order. That gets us three meals for $59. I love the simplicity of just being able to open the box and have everything we need for a truly delicious meal. I’ll pick our favorite one and pair it with a great glass of wine and a few episodes of our favorite binge-worthy tv show. New to HelloFresh? Get $20 off your first box by clicking here.
- Stargaze*. This can so easily be done after the children go to sleep. Grab something delicious to drink, a cozy blanket, and your honey and head to the backyard. Getting lost in the wonder of the universe together will be as magical as the first time, I promise.
- Play a board game* Board games are so simple, and allow us to be silly and fun together! My personal favorites are Scrabble, Jenga or even Monopoly.
- Do a small home improvement project. I said small, because it should be easy and fun! One night, after moving into our new house, Erik and I dove into changing lighting. And not just any lighting…but an intricate crystal chandelier with a million pieces for Emerson’s room. That, my friends, I do not recommend! Choose something simpler, like painting a room, if you enjoy it. Or hanging a few pictures around the house.
- Watch an old, favorite movie*. There is something so light, fun and familiar about watching a move that you both love. The night is more about being together and connecting.
- Walk in the park*. One of those great options that can be done while the children are at the recreation center childcare. Check with your facility about their particular rules.
- Create a vision board*. What are your family goals for the next 1, 3 or even 5 years? Have fun talking about your hopes and dreams and find pictures to inspire you and keep the dream alive! Then set an action plan of how to turn your vision into a reality together.
- Teach each other something new and fun*. Erik was an amazing baseball player in college, and you know what’s crazy? We’ve never just thrown a baseball around together. Granted, my subpar athletic skills will probably drive him crazy. BUT, it would be so fun to learn a thing or two from him about the sport that meant so much to him for so long. Get curious. What would you like for your spouse to teach you more about?
- Create a photo collage. Grab an inexpensive frame, or even a bulletin board. You can print pictures out at your local CVS or Target, or grab a really cool picture printer off of Amazon and have it to use for years to come! We’ve had a Canon Selphy printer for over two years, and love it. It’s not cheap, but has been well worth the investment. You can check out the one I have by clicking here.
- Give each other a massage*. This is something so simple that often times goes by the wayside. Human touch is so important…and it’s a great way for us to get to know our spouse, and their needs on a more physical, and personal level.
- Have a spa night*. Not too far off from #11, but you can have some fun with this! Guys secretly love the thought of being pampered. Indulge in a detoxifying face mask and an essential oil & epsom salt foot soak while sipping champagne and eating strawberries. You can make this as simple, or as indulgent as you’d like!
- Make a decadent dessert. Go ahead. Make the brownie. Then top it with ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream. Heck, throw a cherry on top! Or, find a recipe in a fancy cookbook and conquer it together!
- Plan your next vacation*. When was the last time you sat down with together to dream up your next vacation. Oftentimes, the act of just dreaming and planning can offer up almost as much relaxation as sitting on that beach together! Besides, it helps provide you both to realize what you’re working so hard day-to-day for…and that carrot at the end of the stick.
- Watch your favorite TV show together*. No explanation needed here! Simple and fun.
- Roast marshmallows over a fire pit in your backyard*. When was the last time you did this? It takes things back to that simpler time of dating, and just being present in the moment, enjoying each other’s company.
- Brunch. Said simply, brunch—and mimosas—are always a good idea.
- Church or synagogue*. If your church offers childcare, there you go! Instant date! Sitting next to each other hearing God’s word for an uninterrupted hour has a way of making us feel stronger and closer as a couple…and more grounded as individuals.
- Hit the gym*. Have your husband spot you while you lift some weights—or work out side by side in your gym’s cardio theatre! Do your own thing and just meet at the water fountain to flirt a little.
- Yoga class*. Admittedly, this isn’t one I’ve gotten Erik to do with me quite yet…but I’m wearing him down slowly! I see plenty of cute couples at my yoga class, and think it is SUCH a great thing to do together. Your hubby may be surprised at how great he’ll feel after this class.
- Bowling. Who doesn’t love to bowl? Especially now that the smoke-filled bowling alleys are a thing of the past…Grab something great to drink and make it interesting by putting some stakes on it! Whoever wins gets to sleep in that weekend while the other fields the 6 a.m. wake-up calls from the kids.
- Historic tour of local town. I’m always amazed by how many nearby towns offer this, if you look for it! Historic tours add a new dimension to the place you call home. Haunted tours can be a ton of fun too! They also tend to incorporate some local history into their stories.
- Have a picnic*. Get fancy with a cheese and cracker tray and bottle of vino or sparkling water or throw some PB & J’s, potato chips and cans of soda into a lunch box! It’s all about that special one-on-one time you’re getting together here. One of our local YMCA’s offers childcare while visiting a local park, making this easy to do with a little planning on the front end.
- Volunteer at local animal shelter*. There is something so incredibly special about giving love an affection to animals who really, really need it. You and your hubby will bond over your adorable, furry new friends—and just thinking about it will bring a smile to your face for weeks after the event.
- Grab a coffee and go to a playground*. If you want to go retro, like all the way back to your first few dates with each other, this should do it. Take it to the next level with a list of get-to-know you questions that you ask each other while hand-in-hand on the swings.
- Play a game of HORSE*. This is another date on the cheap that can be done at your local YMCA or recreation center, while your kids are having a ton of fun at the childcare center. Just like bowling, make it interesting!
- Go for a bike ride at a local park*. Again, take it way back to the simple and fun first few date ideas! This may be something you haven’t even done since then! Incorporate a picnic while you’re at it.
- Walk around a college campus*. Any date that involves a leisurely stroll, good cup of coffee and opportunity for some quality convo and I’m a fan. This checks all three of those boxes.
- Go to the beach or a pool together*. How relaxing does this sound? Build a sand castle or search for dolphins at the beach. Sip on something delicious and enjoy the calm at the pool.
- Grab a drink and appetizer at a hip, new restaurant. Meals can add up quickly, but a great drink and an appetizer should make you feel like you splurged, and set you back very little. Get dressed up, and go to the coolest new place in town.
- Hit up Groupon! Groupon offers the ability to get a lot for a little while introducing you to places you had never thought to visit before. You can usually find Groupon on Ebates as well, getting you additional cash back on your purchase (I’ve seen it as high as 10%)! If you’re not on Ebates yet, you’re missing out! You can read more about what it has to offer in my post, Fun Ways to Save Money on Everyday Purchases, Without Really Trying. Then, click here to get $10 in Groupon Bucks.
- Visit a botanical garden. Our local botantical garden has so much to offer. Be sure to pack a picnic to take with you as well!
- Go to the zoo. Yes, this is a ton of fun to do with kids! But, imagine being able to watch your very favorite animals for as long as you darn well please…without having to keep a constant eye on each kid to make sure none of them took the other up on the dare to climb into the penguin cage.
- Pick berries, apples or pumpkins. Take your fresh-picked produce home and make a delicious seasonal treat for the whole family.
- Pick out cards for each other to read at the Hallmark store*…or whatever store. Cards tend to perfectly say what we are feeling, but find hard to put into words. After your walk or picnic in the park, stop by a local store and pick out cards for each other. Exchange them, read them, and then put them back! Trust me…you’ll have fun and the warm fuzzies will last long after you walk out of that card shop empty-handed.
- Minor league baseball or hockey game. Grab a couple drinks and hot dogs, and you should still be under your $50 budget. Allowing for a few hours of great entertainment and time to bond.
- Concert in the park*. A classic summertime date night. Take a blanket and some delicious snacks, and you’re all set!
- Go canoeing. It’s relaxing, and offers up an element of team work.
- Peruse a local farmer’s market together*. Just like the zoo, this can be done with kids—but is so much more relaxing, even romantic, without them. If you can find some good childcare on a Saturday or Sunday morning, give this one a shot.
- Miniature golf. Or putt-putt as the mid-westerner in me wants to say, is a light and fun activity that can be done on the cheap.
- See a movie. You can opt for a matinee to save some cash or check out Groupon or your Entertainment book. Oftentimes, they’ll have specials on cinema cafes and other deals.
- Paint pottery. Depending on what you decide to paint, this one can get a little pricy. Check out Groupon, Yelp or your Entertainment book for discounts. I’ve also found that if you go right after a major holiday, you can paint items for up to 75% off (and tuck the finished product away to enjoy for years to come).
- Go ice skating or roller skating. Another seasonal favorite! Go ice skating and grab hot coco to warm up together afterwards.
- Go to a local high school football game. The brisk air, bright lights and sense of school spirit are magical. The thought of a high school football game is enough to give me butterflies all over again.
- Go to a drive-in movie. If these still exist by you, DO it! Drive in movies offer such a nostalgic sense of fun. And since the movies don’t start until after dark in the summer, you could totally take your kids—they’ll fall asleep in the back seat before the movie starts, and your “date” can begin!
- Have a scavenger hunt*. Just Google this and you’ll get a ton of PDFs you can print out with different scavenger hunt ideas.
- Hit golf balls at a driving range. If you have clubs, this is a great low budget thing to do on a nice Fall or Spring day!
- Go to a sports bar and root for your favorite team. So simple, yet when was the last time you actually got to do this?
- Visit a museum. Bonus points if you attend a seminar together! When I was growing up, our local art museum had some fantastic seminars once a month, on a Friday night.
- Walk around the mall*. When was the last time you and your husband went to the mall JUST to enjoy it? Window shopping can be so much fun! We usually end up shopping for the kids, because we can’t help ourselves. But we have such a great time doing it.
- Watch the sunrise or sunset. Get up early and experience the magic of the new day by watching the sun rise together. In a place where it’s better for watching the sunset? That works too!
And there you have it! 51 fun and inexpensive ways to connect with your spouse! No excuses to let your monthly date-night go by the wayside. Get a free printable with this info by filling out the short form, below.