How to Date When You Have No Budget for Dating: Our Favorite FREE Dates!

This is part of the Date Night Series <--Click to view all posts in this series!

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This is the third post in our date night series!

FreeDates (1)One of the biggest reasons I hear for couples not dating (other than not being able to find a sitter) is that they don’t have the money in their budget for dating. “We can’t afford it, after paying a fortune for a sitter, dinner and a movie we have spent over $100!” A dinner and a movie is a nice, classic date but that does not have to the be a normal date. Some of the best dates we have ever done have either been completely free or cost a few dollars for a coffee or ice cream! 

Dating is extremely important to your marriage. It is important to put your spouse first over your kids and not give them the “leftovers” at the end of the week. I think it’s important to splurge on dates occasionally. It’s nice to get dressed up and grab a nice dinner without the kids. I know many couples that budget cash out of each paycheck for dates. If they do the Dave Ramsey method they will have an envelope labeled “date night”. 

What if you have no budget for dating?
We are self employed and we don’t get a regular paycheck. We have to wait for checks to come in to pay ourselves. When customers pay late it really messes  things up! It seems impossible to set aside extra money for dates when we could use that $40 to put gas in the van! There have been many times when we didn’t have the extra money to go out. This is when FREE Dates come in to play!

I am sure you have seen tons of post on 50 Free Dates, 100 Free dates, 25  Outdoor Dates etc… I am not going to give you a list like that. There are millions of ideas out there. I just wanted to share with you some of our favorites and why we love them.

Our Favorite FREE Dates:

Bookstore Date:
My husband and I love books. We are book nerds. When we were young, before we were married we used to go to bookstores together all the time. Going to a book store brings back lots of memories for us. With digital media so widely popular I have seen many wonderful stores go out of business. Finding a sweet, bookstore to browse through just gives me warm fuzzies inside! There is a HUGE used bookstore here in town that gives you store credit or cash for your used books. This store is like a maze. You literally can get lost inside! It has floor to ceiling homemade bookshelves and lots of little nooks and crannies to steal a kiss in! My husband usually disappears to the history section and I can be found in poetry or natural living. It’s fun to get lost and run into each other later in another spot in the store.

Costco Sample Date:
We love all the free samples at Costco! Some days you can almost eat a whole meal’s worth of food! We like to look at some of the extravagant more expensive items, and get ideas for gifts for birthdays and holidays. It’s fun to eat samples and wander around without kids or feeling stressed or rushed to check out. If we have a few extra bucks we may grab a cheap hot dog and a fountain drink, or share a frozen coffee and a Chicken Bake. Then we just sit in the food court and chat.

Coffee Shop Date:
This isn’t 100% free, but it’s very affordable! This is another one we used to do when we were younger. I am aging myself now, but we were teens in the 90’s when coffee houses were all over the place. I sure miss those days of listening to open mike night and hanging out on old, comfy couches together. There is still one coffee shop in town that we like to go to for the live music. We’ll usually get a cheap cup of regular coffee and share a pastry. We can sit there for hours chatting and getting free refills. We have also done this at Panera. There is no live entertainment there, but we usually have a free pastry on our rewards card that we can redeem and it’s free refills all night!

Town Center/Shopping Center Window Shopping and People Watching Date:
There is a really fancy town center in our city that is expensive and beautiful! It’s usually lit up at night with music piped in from the many restaurants that adorn the pedestrian walkways. There are fountains and little lakes with koi fish and pretty mallard ducks. It’s just a really nice ambience. We have had so much fun going to Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrell looking at all the high end items and getting some fun DIY ideas for our own home! It’s fun to sit on a bench and watch other couples walking by too!

Outdoor Dates:
I won’t give you a list of 25 free outdoor dates, but no matter where you live, there are beautiful, natural areas that are special to your part of the country. You can go on day hikes together, visit a pretty park, take a walk on the beach, go rock climbing, take a walk on a pier, the sky is the limit! We love to pack a lunch and some homemade treats and go on a picnic together. These are so laid back and relaxing. We usually have some great conversations on these types of dates.

Museum/Art Walk Dates:
Most big cities have art museums that offer FREE admission days. We love checking out a museum by ourselves without the kids. We always feel so refined, and like grown ups! There are usually some really fun and neat pieces of art to giggle over or discuss. Most art museums have beautiful garden areas to stroll through as well. There are also cities that do monthly art walks. These are usually outdoor events full of free live music, food samples, and entertainment. It’s hard not to spend money at these events, but it can be done.

Community Service Dates:
Some of our more memorable moments have been we have served together. Find an organization that you are passionate about and pick a day where you can serve together. This could be organizing clothes for a clothing closet, passing out blessing bags to the homeless or serving a hot meal in a soup kitchen. It’s a nice way to spend time together and give back at the same time. It also really opens your eyes to the needs of others and how well you really have it. It brings a good perspective to your life and helps you to feel grateful for what God has blessed you with!

If you are looking for a fun free date night adventure you have to check out this post:
Mini Adventures for Frugal Couples from The Road to 31. There are lots of great ideas as well as FREE Scavenger Hunt Date Night Printables when you sign up for the email newsletter!
Mini Adventures for Frugal Couples

Don’t miss the other posts in our Date Night Series!
Our New Weekly Date Night Plan
Fun and Silly Group Date Ideas

What are some of your favorite FREE dates? We’d love to hear them!

Written by Sarah


Sarah is a wife, daughter of the King and Granola Mama to 4 children ages 16-5. She is a Charlotte Mason style homeschooler and has been homeschooling for 13 years now. She is still trying to find the balance between work and keeping a home and says she can only do it by the Grace of God, Coffee and Green Smoothies!

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