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They say that there’s no romance without finance. And this is why young lovebirds these days have the false misconception that romantic dates are all about the money.
In a single night, for instance, more than $50 can be spent on a meal at a luxurious hotel and a movie right after that. So, yeah — typical dates nowadays can be overly expensive.
Unfortunately, not everyone lies on a bed of disposable income. The thought of a date night rarely crosses one’s mind when they’re settling student loans, saving for a down payment, or trying to sort out their little one’s needs.
Romance doesn’t always have to be coupled with lots of cash for the perfect date night. Love with frugality is often more creative and genuine compared to that with money to splash around.
With this in mind, there is no point in wasting your life’s savings on a date that will probably last for a couple of hours. So, what can you do instead to make that date the most memorable one ever without spending a fortune?
Here are affordable date ideas young couples can put into practice that are sure to help keep that romantic spark alive.
1. Cook Something Special Together
Whether or not either of you has a knack for the culinary arts, get into the kitchen and prepare a meal together. Cook up something fancy from Allrecipes, Yummly, or Simply Recipes; something you’ve never cooked before.
This easy-on-the-pocket idea is a great way to promote effective communication. As you cook, you get to know each others’ likes, hobbies, and every personal detail about them.
Don’t be carried away by the smooth flow of things that you want to know pretty much everything about your date’s life. As it goes with all relationships, take it slow. They will share what they can when they are ready and so will you.
When dinner’s ready, extend your conversation to the table. Make it as memorable as you can – as if you were in the most expensive restaurant. Play some slow relaxing music in the background as you dine in candlelight.
2. Go for a sundown drive
Head out into the peaceful countryside and look back at your favorite road trips with your partner. Have the windows down, have some romantic tunes blaring in the background and marvel at the beautiful sunset.
Let’s face it; we don’t appreciate sunsets these days as much as we used to back in the day. A sunset drive would be the best way to relive your childhood memories. Your date drive should not necessarily have a particular destination.
Just park your ride at the highest point possible and watch as the hazy orange sunlight sets into the horizon. At this point, either of you can share memorable life events.
You could make this a once-in-a-lifetime thing, or make it a weekend tradition – depending on the weather. Spice up things a little by carrying along an already prepared dish and one or two drinks.
3. Binge Watch Your Favorite Shows
This is probably the best date idea if you’re both die-hard tv series buffs. If there’s a show or movie either of you has been meaning to watch, this is your best chance to do that.
Before meeting up, plan a day and date that will work for both of you. Agree on the series to binge before the actual day to avoid snoozing or shifting positions at your date’s choice of movie/show.
As most millennials have a subscription to Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, YouTube TV, and other streaming services, there should be no problem watching what you’ll both enjoy. From Game of Thrones to Mr. Robot, the list of exciting TV shows is practically endless.
If neither of you has an active subscription, the internet is full of sites where you can watch your favourite TV shows or download them for later.
Stock your kitchen with a few eatables, i.e. popcorn, candy, etc. a few hours in advance to avoid last-minute shopping.
4. Play a Few Games
If you’d love to see your date smile more than usual, why not engage them in a series of fun games? Though game nights are fun with a bunch of friends, it can be even more fun with only two people.
The venue could either be at your place or theirs. The games to play are practically endless. If, however, you only have a pack of cards, that’s okay; there are hundreds of card games that need only two players for the ultimate fun experience.
You or your partner may probably have a collection of board games. Look through each of them and pick out the one(s) that you’re bound to enjoy the most. Classic and simple board games are considered to be the most fun.
If neither of you is into board games, video games can be just as fun – provided you don’t get too involved in the game and forget to communicate with your opponent.
5. Explore Your Artistic Side
Most of us may find it hard to remember the last time we ever held a pencil or paintbrush to express our inner thoughts or emotions on a piece of paper.
There’s nothing wrong with getting in touch with your artistic side on a date. You stand to gain your partner’s admiration more and more.
It doesn’t matter whether neither of you has a knack for drawing, it’s your creativity that counts. Go ahead and introduce some artistic fun into your relationship by getting an adult colouring book.
Take turns to color one or two illustrations or do one at the same time. Alternatively, you could enjoy an art-filled date at Pinot’s Palette. Here, you’ll get step-by-step painting lessons while you sip on some wine, enjoy some upbeat music and get to know more about your date.
6. Have a Romantic Picnic Date
At the mention of a picnic date, the first thing to come to mind should be a mouth-watering meal set up in a breezy and peaceful picturesque location. Sounds romantic, doesn’t it?
Surprise your partner and put together everything from finding the ideal spot to packing the essentials. A special day like this should be planned days or weeks in advance. The weather should be agreeable, and the choice of food should be easy to prepare.
During the date, don’t be in a rush to go home. The whole idea behind having a picnic date is to make the most of the great outdoors and connect on a natural level.
Take this time to know each other on an intimate level. Spend a considerable amount of time conversing, savoring the food, sharing your ambitions, and having tonnes of fun.
7. Go for a Hike Together
If you and your special one are nature enthusiasts, consider going on either a challenging or relaxing hike experience – depending on the trail you choose to take.
The essence of taking a hike is to express just how essential enjoying nature and being physically active is to you. This is a splendid way to set yourself apart and create a memorable yet personal experience for you and your date.
Engage your partner with an exciting conversation as you take in the beauty of nature. Alternatively, enhance your discovery excitement by impressing and educating your partner on geological stuff you read about the area a week before the hike.
The most romantic hikes you can take your date include scenic overlooks or waterfalls. If none of these is present in your locale, stepping outside together is more than enough.
Leave the electronics at home and soak in nature’s beauty that you’ll otherwise never find indoors or some fancy restaurant.
Most hikes won’t cost a dime, but if you wish for your date to take a more magical path, state parks will do – though you’ll need to pay for parking fees.
8. Take a Casual Stroll
Simple-sounding, as it may be, taking a walk with your partner, is beneficial in many ways.
Whether it’s your first date ever or your hundredth, these three reasons will make you reconsider booking a spot at a high-end hotel:
Share personal experiences
Learning more about your date is intensely romantic. The more you share, the more you might have shared experiences. This will bring you two closer.
No awkward silence
On typical hotel dates, there’s always a point where there’s nothing left to say. When you’re out and about, you don’t even have to try. Research has proven that you can deliver inspiration for fresh ideas and improve your creativity just by taking a walk.
Walking induces the release of endorphin
Endorphin is released in our brains each time we engage in any physical activity, walking included. You’re more likely to get some positive vibes after your walk as a result of the healthy endorphin rush.
A walk of even, say one hour, can do a lot of good to you and your date’s body. If you prefer not to be disturbed during your walk date, leave your phone at home.
9. Take Fun Photos
A couple’s photo shoot is a fantastic way to strengthen relationships. The pressures and rigours of everyday life often make us neglect to take a real look at our partners and appreciating their good looks.
Take time from your busy schedule and schedule a photoshoot session. Photos capture both of your facial features at an intimate level that solidifies any new and old relationship.
For any memorable photo, the choice of location is everything. You’ll want the setting to be an attractive place where you’re both comfortable.
Smartphones come equipped with somewhat decent lenses and cool downloadable photography apps, so there’s no point in hiring a photographer or renting extra equipment. For distant photos, a selfie-stick or tripod will do just fine.
If you want, you can have a double date with another couple and take lots of photos of each other. In all your photos, cuddle up with your date and give your best smile. After all, you’ll look back on that memorable day ten years from now. Make it count.
10. Visit a Museum
Museum dates are by far the best dates to add to your knowledge with someone special beside you all the way. This will work if you’re both history buffs and have a passion for learning something historical.
Having a date at the museum is especially unique as it inspires intellectual conversations, rather than the same old stuff over and over. Talking about a particular topic in an in-depth manner will even build your confidence.
At some point, you may even feel like a historian or art expert, even though you’re not. As you will be walking, you’ll never experience any moment of awkward silence.
Art professionals will advise you to use these Visual Thinking Strategy questions to make conversation and know more about your date: ‘What do you see?’ ‘Why do you say that?’ ‘Anything more to add?’
As they answer these questions, you will have a clear understanding of how your date perceives life as a whole.
11. Look Back on Past Photos
Take a walk down memory lane and look back at how far you’ve come as a couple and as a person. Go back – way back – to when you started dating. The journey from there is sure to be a long and emotional one.
The point of this is to remember places and moments that hold precious memories of you as a couple. You also get a chance to reminisce and the lessons you’ve learned from it.
Craft a systematic timeline of places as well as events and talk about them. Whether it was that time that you had your first kiss, how your first apartment looked or the people present at your proposal.
Don’t leave out your childhood photos. Blow the dust off your photo album(s) and share the unique story behind each photo.
12. Count the Stars
Don’t literally count the stars. In other words, marvel at the night sky with your significant other. What could be more romantic than this?
On summer nights, enjoy an oh-so-romantic evening of chocolate and cuddling. Stargazing can be as simple as either of you would want it to be- no interruptions, just the two of you.
Lie down on the grass (or blanket), admire the stars on a breezy night, and have a slow conversation while cuddled up together. Don’t be clueless at this point. Learn as much as you can about the different stars and constellations days before your date.
Alternatively, you can download the Night Sky app, NASA App, GoSkyWatch Planetarium, Sky Map and SkyView for free if you don’t have time to read enough about Betelgeuse, Polaris and other familiar stars.
For the best viewing experience, choose a spot far away from foggy emissions – your backyard will probably do just fine.
13. Have Fun at the Beach
A beach is an ideal place for old and young couples alike, no matter the time of the year. Even in winter, it can be enjoyable and memorable to come together in front of a campfire; all snuggled up.
If you wish to have the beach all to yourselves, plan your date as early as sunrise. The magnificent array of colors in the sky coupled with no one on the beach, but the two of you can make for an intimate, romantic moment.
Later on in the day, you can become cheerful, playful kids. Engage in fun and engaging activities; throw a Frisbee around, play a game of volleyball, or play tag. There are many games you can play on the beach.
In the evening, start a fire, lay out a blanket and sip on a glass of champagne. At the end of it all, your date will be super impressed that you sacrificed your time to plan the whole romantic getaway.
14. Have Fun at the Zoo
Visiting the zoo is a fun, unique and special way to use the day’s perfect weather to good advantage. You can make your zoo date extra special provided that you make an effort to make it all a success.
Learning about the animals a few days before your special day is a great way to impress your special someone. Most men and women consider intelligence an attractive feature. This is the ideal chance to talk about some interesting animal facts you know that your partner doesn’t.
15. Spread Your Love to Others in Need
Going out on a date that involves extending a helping hand to help out is pretty romantic and a perfect way to spend some time together. So, how can you be of service to others in need? Here are a few ideas:
16. Charity Run or Walk
Do the 6-mile Crop Walk for Hunger as a couple. Take a couple of photos that may serve as a reminder of your good deed in future. You can raise $150 or more, which you can give to charity.
17. Volunteer at a Sanctuary/Beach/Local Park
Go to your local park or look in your local newspaper or search the web for community service ideas. Doing this alone can be tedious. When doing this on a date, it’s super fun, romantic, and adventurous all at once.
18. Visit a nursing home
Stop by any local assisted-living community and ask for a chance to help out the seniors. As you offer your assistance, you’ll also get to see the soft side of your date that you’ve probably never seen before.
Studies have shown that acts of kindness increase one’s level of happiness and well-being. Any good relationship needs both of these to thrive in the midst of various challenges in life.
19. Burn a Few Calories Together
It’s time you put into consideration how physical fitness can not only impact your health and well-being only but that of your relationship as well. Tired of doing it alone? Then why not propose a workout date for your partner?
Research shows that young couples who work out together stick together in all aspects of their life. How so?
Studies reveal that shortly after engaging in physical activity, young couples report being more in love with their partners. They also feel more satisfied with their relationships.
Romantic attraction is brought about by physiological arousal, rather than the intensity of the workout. What this implies is that having a sweat-together date at the gym can boost the quality of your relationship.
Physical fitness could be about you, or your partner. Why not share this unique aspect of your lives and explore the new dimension it can bring into your relationship? You could do it as a one-time thing or on a regular basis.
Do some digging and settle on the best gym with the lowest rates and sign up to new fitness challenges as a couple. You could as well download a couple of fitness and workout apps and work out from the comfort of your home.
20. Enjoy a Fun-filled Date at the Bowling Alley
Bowling alleys offer a pressure-free, fun, environment that enables you and your date to be at ease and have an enjoyable night together.
Bowling alleys have special discounts including midnight bowling, glow-in-the-dark nights and 2-for-1 discounts, so its best if you do your research.
When you land on the right one, call ahead of time and reserve a specific lane and time slot. Don’t forget to have socks on. You can remind your date to wear socks as well. You can’t trust the shoes worn by hundreds of strangers – athlete’s foot is real.
The best part about having a bowling date is free food and booze. Most bowling alleys will offer dinner and drinks to participating teams. Just like that, the need to plan for a meal or drinks elsewhere has been ruled out.
Get your bowling groove on and order a beer or two, embrace the fun-filled atmosphere, and share your meal with your date.
It’s All About Simplicity
In the end, the only thing left is the love you have for each other. There is no point in going all-out on a date night that is probably not within your reach. Keep your date fun, simple and best of all, unique.
There’s no need to do all the cliché stuff that your friends and family have done a thousand times before. Keep it simple, with the sole intention of connecting with your partner on an intimate level.
From here, you’ll learn to appreciate your relationship even more, along with all the little things that life brings your way.