Cheap date ideas to impress your partner

Dating can cost a pretty penny, but it doesn’t always have to. Try these cheap date night ideas to keep the romance alive without breaking the bank.

It’s no secret that dating can be expensive. Be it fancy dinners or flowers and gifts, the cost of impressing your date can add up quickly.

But spending more doesn’t always correlate with a successful date—or relationship, for that matter. In fact, sometimes cheap date ideas are more effective at creating connections and leading to long-lasting relationships. Here are a few fun cheap date ideas that can fit any budget. 

How to fit dating into your budget

Whether you’re committed to a strict spending plan or simply want to save more and spend less, figuring out how to date on a budget is completely doable with these tips.

Alternate between cheap or free and regular date nights

Not setting a budget for dates ahead of time can quickly devolve into overspending. Likewise, coming up with a cute cheap date idea every time can feel like a chore and take the fun out of planning. Instead, try switching between one pricier and one cheap or free date night activity so you’re only spending a sizable amount on half of your dates. This way, you’ll be able to indulge in going out sometimes and still find ways to save money on date night.

Take advantage of good deals

Just because something’s half price doesn’t make it any less fun or romantic. Instead of splurging on a three-course meal, consider a happy hour date to score lower-price drinks and appetizers. If you’re in charge of planning the date, there are plenty of free or cheap date ideas to help you have fun while staying within budget.

Cheap first date ideas to explore

First impressions matter, so you might find yourself shelling out some cash on a first date. But don’t feel like you need to go overboard to impress your date—here are a couple of fun cheap date ideas that won’t hurt your wallet.

A young couple laughs together in a bookstore.

Grab a casual bite

Ditch the Michelin-starred restaurants and eat like a local, meeting at a neighborhood cafe or a popular hole-in-the-wall spot. Opting for cheap eats over formal dining options can help keep the date lighthearted and the vibe relaxed as you’re still getting to know one another.

Take advantage of free events

Another cheap first date idea may come courtesy of your local chamber of commerce or public library. Most cities offer free outdoor activities like concerts and festivals, while libraries often share free or low-cost passes to state parks and local museums.

Cheap romantic date ideas for staying at home

After you’ve been on a first date (or a few) and you and your partner are both comfortable, you may favor staying in. Save even more with these cheap romantic date ideas you can have at home.

Some cute cheap date ideasat home include visiting a farmer’s market to buy ingredients for a home-cooked meal—and then cooking it together. Or if cooking’s not your strength, keep it simple with a charcuterie board and board game. Host a backyard or rooftop stargazing session to ramp up the romance—bonus points if you align it to a meteor shower or other astronomical event.

Level up your relationship

As you get to know one another, you may feel ready to take your relationship to the next level. Consider these cheap date night ideas that focus on aligning your financial values to help ensure a long-lasting, happy future.

Budget for cute date ideas together

While maybe not the most exciting idea, reserving one night to figure out plans and set a budget for future date nights is one of the easiest activities you can do. It’s also a great way to ensure you’re both on the same page about how much you want to spend and what activities you’d like to try.

A couple sits at a wooden table on a porch in the evening, looking at a bottle of wine together.

Learn about your financial outlook together

Take a financial personality quiz to see how your beliefs shape your financial behaviors. With a clearer sense of how you both view money, you can better align on things—like how much you want to budget for date nights—without compromising your relationship over money.

Plan your financial future together

If you’re serious about your relationship, discussing your financial future on a regular basis can potentially set your relationship up for long-term success. Establish a regular time to talk about your finances—potentially once a month—and keep it casual. Especially if engagement and marriage are on the table, making a habit of talking about money can ensure your financial aspirations are aligned.

Date night doesn’t have to break the bank

Brainstorming fun cheap date ideas can be a date all on its own, and sometimes, the free activities are the most meaningful. Now is also a great time to think about what you can do with the cash you’re saving and how you might use it for your future together. If you’re planning a more extravagant experience, like a trip or big party, consider putting that money away in a high-yield savings account. With a clear budget and plan for staying on track, you can ensure your cheap date nights are just as rewarding as the pricier nights out.

Once you’ve got your date night budget sorted, check out the features of a Discover® Online Savings Account to see how you can make your money work a little harder for your next big date.

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