Planning dates on the regular is uber-important no matter what relationship stage you’re in. But between all the busy and all the expensive, it can be challenging to plan dates in general, never mind ones that don’t cost as much as your car. The best thing about budget-friendly dates isn’t so much the money you save, but the fun you have in knowing you’re safe from credit card bill-inspired aneurysms.
1. Visit a fancy-schmancy coffee shop
Hit up a specialty café together and order the weirdest-sounding coffees on the menu.
2. Pick a coupon, any coupon
3. Celebrate a random holiday
Choose a ridiculous holiday — such as National Tweed Day or National Deep Dish Pizza Day — and get your celebration on.
4. Head to a pub
Fancy clubs and raging parties are not where the fun is. Go to his (or your) favorite dive bar, order a pitcher and play pool together. It’s the perfect mix of one-on-one time and… well, beer.
5. Train for a 5K together
According to a 2013 survey by Wakefield Research, couples who run together may have more sex. Word is hitting the pavement releases adrenaline and endorphins, which are the same brain chemicals triggered by love and arousal. Grrr, baby.
6. Play photographer
Remember back in the day when we’d flood our bedroom with photos in cutesy frames? Pick up an old-school disposable camera, head around town and take fun snapshots of each other for your respective pads. Not only do you get to score extra quality time as you wait for the shots to develop, but they’ll become special memories just for you — and not every member of Facebook.
7. Go to the library
Not just to make out in the stacks, but to check out the dating and love section together. Browse for new material to try in the bedroom — then meet up at your place and take your research for a spin (maybe literally).
8. Go shopping
With 10 dollars each, buy gifts for each other and see how creative you can get with such little coinage.
More: 16 Creative date ideas
9. Try a new recipe together
Browse through (budget-friendly) recipes and pick one you’d like to make together. Shop for the ingredients as a twosome, and you know, make sure your fire alarm works. Just in case.
10. Go for a walk
Go for a walk together with no specific destination in mind. Just see where your feet take you.
Choose a cause you both believe in and sign up to do good deeds together. Check out the opportunities in your area that suit both your interests by browsing volunteermatch.org.
12. Plan a movie night
Choose a theme for your movie night, shut off your phones, pop some popcorn and crack open a beer. Bam.
13. Pretend you’re tourists
Grab a map or an information booklet of your area and jot down all of the places you want to check out together. Explore!
14. Hit up the bakery
Set your alarm and head to the bakery together when it opens and indulge in any dessert you want. You’ll have plenty of fresh picks to choose from.
15. Design coffee mugs
Pick up two white coffee mugs from the dollar store and some Sharpies. Design a coffee mug for each other that you can leave at each other’s places.
16. Share your hiding spots
We all have a favorite hiding spot — that one place we go to get away from all the craziness. Introduce each other to your hiding spots and what you love most about them.
17. Plan a naughty game night
Choose your favorite vintage board games and make up dirty rules for them. (Pants are overrated.)