Fun Ideas for Dating on a Small Budget

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It’s Frugal Friday!

Just because your budget is tight doesn’t mean you can’t do some GREAT dating! The common cliché is that a date consists of dinner and a movie….and a wad of cash. Well, we haven’t had a wad of cash most of our married life and I can honestly say, as nice as it is to go to a nice restaurant occasionally and see a new release, there ARE other options! When I get stuck in the rut of lame or no dating, I have to remind myself WHY I date my spouse.

Let’s just be honest ok? I will do just about ANYTHING to get out of the house and away from the kids! Not very romantic, I know. (just being real folks!)

Time with your kids is wonderful (and happens 24/7). Time with extended family can be wonderful too. Time alone with your spouse just trumps all else! Whether we are just going for a drive, taking a walk, snuggling on the couch to watch a movie, or doing some much-needed grocery shopping (WITHOUT KIDS! YAY!) the purpose is the same…to connect and maintain a loving relationship with the person I chose to spend forever with! Here are some fun ideas for dating on a small budget.

Definitely need to use these to get out of our dating rut! Dating on a small budget ROCKS!


1. Surprise your spouse! When we haven’t done anything special in a while, I like to surprise my spouse. You could show up at their work with sack lunches and chat during their lunch break. I did this more when we were newly married and didn’t have small children. Now that my oldest can babysit, I might need to make a surprise visit again! 🙂 I absolutely love these ideas from Double the Batch for surprising your spouse!

dating on a small budget2. Photo Scavenger Hunt. This is a fun one! Make a list of crazy poses or places or things that you have to take pictures of…together. Then make a photo album of your date and give it to your spouse several months later when they aren’t expecting it. I’m planning on doing this one with my hubby next week (pics to follow!). Here are a few  ideas:

Take a photo of:

  • your spouse balancing a bag of their favorite treats (on their head) at the grocery store
  • riding on a grocery cart
  • pretending to be a spy in a public place
  • pretending to be in a Laundry Soap advertisement

3. Take a hike! It’s free and is the perfect environment for talking (my husband is rolling his eyes right now)

4. Crazy Service. Think of someone close by who is having a rough time and do something crazy and unexpected to make their day. This is especially great if you feel like your own relationship is feeling a little ‘on edge.’ Somehow, helping someone else makes your own problems seem a lot smaller.

5. Movie and dinner at home. Ok, I know it’s still kinda cliché but we have done this a lot when we are just too stressed or tired to be “creative.” We pay my oldest to babysit the younger kids while we go into our bedroom and eat a fast food meal that I picked up and watch a movie on Netflix. If you have younger kids and don’t want to pay a babysitter, you could easily do this one after the kids are in bed. So….feed the kids mac and cheese, say good night, and then chill together. I remember one time we bought our favorite ice cream and then had to ‘sneak’ it back to our bedroom when the kids weren’t looking. (my kids can smell sugar a MILE away!)

dating on a small budget

6. Ok, this one’s gonna make me blush a little but someone’s gotta point out the obvious. If all else fails, just make a little love and call it GOOD! You can’t get more frugal and fantastic than that, right? (well, unless it results in a new addition to your family, which you will pay for the rest of your life but….)

7. Serve your spouse. I can’t tell you how awesome this can be. My husband just has a way of knowing when I have nothing left to give emotionally and I’m on the brink of total exhaustion. He’ll do the dishes after dinner or throw in some laundry for me or put the kids to bed. Last night I could tell he was exhausted. There was a game on but our tv wasn’t hooked up to an antenna because we usually just watch Netflix. I figured out how to get it hooked up and brought him a cold drink while he just chilled. Sometimes we just need to sacrifice our own wants to let our spouse know how much we care. Service needs no budget.

dating on a small budget


What are some fun and creative ways you have found to date the love of your life?