Not Just For Valentines: 28 Easy, Cheap, Intentional Date Ideas
You’d have to be living under a rock not to know that this month is the month of love. Hearts abound in supermarkets, local shops and all across our social media channels. I’ve never really been one to celebrate Valentines; the idea of a forced day of sending cards and buying tacky gifts hasn’t ever appealed.
Now seeing as my love language is gifts, this is probably something of a surprise. However I’d much rather have or give something meaningful randomly as a surprise throughout the year, or look forward to regular date nights and its for that reason that I thought I’d put together this post.
Because I also know that sometimes external pressures can get in the way; whether that’s a financial constraint or the fact that being a parent (and the scarcity of babysitters) means you can’t get out of the house so easily, I’ve tried to put together a list of cheap and easy date ideas, without losing any of the intention behind spending time with the person you love. I’ve asked a few other bloggers for some ideas too, and have included those below.
James and I have been married for 13 years (13!!) as I write this post and I know the struggle can be real to keep things exciting and fresh, so these ideas are as much for us as everyone else. This isn’t how we feel about one another by the way but it is one of my favourite photos of the two of us. You are welcome 🙂
So here are 28 ways to enjoy a cheap, easy and intentional date:
1. Have a pamper evening
Everyone likes to feel pampered so why not turn your home into a mini spa for the evening? You can pick up oils, face masks and creams fairly cheaply these days…you could run a bubble bath, put some relaxing music on and spend time focusing on one another.
2. Play board games
This may not work if you have a serious competitive streak (like me) but how often these days do you take time to play board games with one another? I like this idea as it can be done during the day or in the evening. I personally like the idea of brunch and board games one Saturday morning.
3. Go through old photos
4. Visit an antiques store
You don’t need to spend any money but simply wander around your local antiques store and see what you can uncover. Perhaps you can split up and see the most random thing you can find? Or simply enjoy taking a look at some past objects together.
5. Write a love letter to one another
6. Have a breakfast date
7. Talk about your hopes and dreams for the future
So often we are busy, busy, busy with our lives and we don’t find the time to sit down and talk. Turn off the distractions and just chat about anything. One of our favourite things to do is talk about what we would do if we were to win the lottery. It always amazes me the things we can dream up!
8. Take turns to plan a creative date
One of my favourite things when James and I were dating, was when we took it in turns to plan a date; and we followed the letters of the alphabet to make things really challenging. Some of our best included an Indian-themed evening (complete with colourful floor cushions and Bollywood movie), a day spent at Chester Zoo and the evening we learned how to do origami (one of us more successfully than the other…let’s just say I do not have the levels of patience required!)
9. Recreate Your First Date
I love this idea as many of us will no doubt have spent many an hour reminiscing about those early first dates. Ours was a trip to a Greek Taverna which involved plate smashing and plenty of garlic (obviously ideal when you are hoping for a smooch!). Jenni from Chilling With Lucas has a cute spin to offer: why not recreate your first meal at home? Purchase the ingredients, spend time together in the kitchen cooking and then sit down to a romantic trip down memory lane.
10. Visit an art gallery
11. Go on a night walk through your neighbourhood
12. Take a free class together
Often your local library or community centre can be great sources of free classes and courses, or at the very least ones that only require a small donation. Doesn’t matter if neither of you are any good, it’s the bonding that matters.
13. Hold your own book club
This one requires a little bit of planning ahead as you both need to have read the same book but why not spend the evening discussing your latest read? To keep costs low you could borrow copies from your local library. Make it more interesting by perhaps recommending a book for each other to read, maybe one of your own favourites?
14. Take random online personality quizzes
And giggle at the results.
15. Visit your local animal rescue centre
16. Binge watch an entire TV series
17. Take photos of one another
18. Romantic Meal at Home
If you enjoy the opportunity to sit down and enjoy a quiet meal together then why not dress the table? Simpy the addition of some candles with dipped lights and some gentle music can make all the difference to the ambiance. Emma from Life According to Mrs Shilts even has some tips on how to keep it cost-effective; she likes to make use of the M&S Meal Deal. It means they don’t have the stress of taking their boys with them, or finding a babysitter, the cooking involved is usually minimal (giving you more time to spend together) and you get a three course meal and a bottle of wine.
19. Paint a room
Heck, just paint a wall. Or a piece of furniture which might need a new lease of life.
20. Forgo dinner and enjoy a chocolate fondue
21. Have a picnic indoors
22. Movie Marathon
With the increasing accessibility of movies through streaming services like Amazon Prime and Netflix, enjoying a movie marathon has never been easier. I appreciate that parents may not have so much time to dedicate to a marathon but really it can be as long or as short as you like! Why not forgo a traditional dinner and enjoy sweet treats instead? Or blogger Emma from Ready Freddie Go suggests sharing a dipping camembert with some garlic bread, paired with a nice red wine and followed with a melt in the middle chocolate pudding for some added decadence.
23. Have a karaoke evening
Relieve your teenage years, grab those hairbrushes, find some old school music and live it up!
24. Camp in your garden
Not one you can do with the kids (unless you want the kids in tow) but when the weather gets warmer, why not set up a tent and sleep outdoors. If you aren’t brave enough to weather the elements, or you don’t own a tent then why not build a fort indoors instead…the only rule, you have to spent the night in it!
25. Go to open mic night at a local bar
26. Visit a voucher site and book the cheapest, and most random experience you can find – then go do it!
27. Write poetry
28. Spend the day at home in bed
It’s actually my dream to one day book a hotel room and spend the whole entire day in bed, ordering room service and watching crappy hotel TV. Don’t ask me why, it just is. For the free version, why not just refuse to get dressed and spend the day in bed?
So there you go, just some ideas to get the ball rolling if you want some cheap, easy and intentional date ideas. Whether it’s to help you celebrate Valentines or just celebrate one another throughout the year, I hope you’ve found this helpful. Let me know what you would add to the list.