by: Anna Compagine Cohen
An empty wallet doesn’t have to mean the end of date nights! Let’s be honest, 2020 was tough on everyone’s cash flow, and so far, 2021 is no better. But that’s when it’s time to get creative. Not another Netflix marathon (although that works, too). But it’s time to try something different, something that feels more like a date and less like just staying in.
We have your guide to fun and affordable date night ideas that will WOW your date, without busting your bank account!
This one is so simple, yet so romantic. All you need is a blanket and some outdoor space, preferable somewhere where there aren’t too many lights that interfere. Download a free stargazing app such as SkyView Lite, so you know what you’re looking at. You can find the different stars and point out your zodiac constellations.
Check the weather conditions to find a cloud-free night. And evenings do get chilly, so make sure you bring extra blankets and something warm to drink. This is the perfect date for sharing hot cocoa!
Fancy Dinner Date
When you go out to an expensive restaurant, you’re paying more for the name over the door and the ambience than you are for the actual food. You can save money by recreating the experience at home, either by cooking your favorite meal or using a delivery service such as GrubHub or DoorDash. Then play soft music and light pretty candles for that intimate corner table-vibe.
But just because you’re eating at home doesn’t mean you should eat in pajamas in front of the television! You can make it more of a date by dressing up as if you were going to your favorite “impress your date” restaurant.
Yes, it’s silly, but it’s also fun. And date night should be fun! Pick a theme and go all out, from your outfits to food to music and even a movie. Italian is a classic - your mother’s lasagna recipe would be perfect with a Chianti and a romantic movie set in Italy, such as Il Postino or Roman Holiday. Or how about a sports night? Pair A League of Their Own or The Replacements with your favorite stadium fare: hot dogs, peanuts, and beer.
The possibilities here are unlimited, so think of what the two of you enjoy the most and have fun with it!
Not everything has to be overly romantic on date night. This one is for the couple that like to work out together. The class rates at your favorite yoga studio can be as high as $25-$30 per person, but there are some fantastic instructors offering free classes on YouTube. Unroll your mats, burn some sage, and get your zen on for a yoga session with Yoga with Briohny or Yoga with Adriene - two of the best instructors, online or off.
When you’re done with your workout, make the date a little longer with a healthy meal or snack. Opt for something nutritious and hydrating such a green smoothie or a bowl of fresh fruit.
Photo Album Date
This one is perfect if you’ve been together for a while or are celebrating a milestone (5 months since your first kiss!). You just need to do a little prepwork. Send your favorite phone pics to a printing service such as Shutterfly or FreePrints so that you’ll have them ready to go beforehand. Then pick up a photo album or scrapbook. Looking at pictures of all the fun, romantic times you’ve had will surely inspire you to make more sweet memories together!
Bucket List Date
Here’s a fun date night for the dreamers and the planners, both: planning out a bucket list. Get out the pen and paper and start writing down everything you want to do. Climb Everest? Learn to speak Russian? Go for it! The more outrageously big your dream is, the better. You’ll learn so much about each other just talking about your biggest dreams. And when you see how they overlap, you’ll know what you can plan on doing, together, in the future.
Indoor Beach Date
Regardless of the weather outside, you can have a tropical date inside. Move the furniture out of your living room and set out beach blankets or chairs. Put on your favorite bathing suit, play some steel drums on your phone, and hit up Netflix or Amazon Prime Video for an oceanside movie. You can go for rom-com (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Blue Crush), action (Point Break, The Shallows), or the classic: Jaws.
For food, think fun and tropical: fish tacos and an umbrella in your drink.
At Home Dance Party
Get dressed up in your favorite clubwear and hit the club! Amazon sells colored lights and disco balls that you can program with a remote; they’ll turn your living room into a light-strobe dance floor. Set up a bar with your favorite drinks. Then download a free music-mixing app like djay and take turns spinning tunes. Just as much fun as clubbing, but without the door fees and overpriced drinks.
Low on cash doesn’t have to mean low on excitement, so don’t settle for popcorn and a tv binge. Use our list and your imagination to make your at-home date night fun and special!