Cheap date ideas are hard to come by. And, unfortunately, we don't all have endless amounts of disposable cash to spend on wining and dining the people we fancy. It's a crying shame tbh. But, rest assured, with a little imagination there are some really fun things you can do for a date on the cheap, plus they're super cute as well. Here are a few ideas to try. Thank us later.
Cheap Date Ideas
- Don't just do a coffee
- Go on a bike ride
- Browse at a market
- Go for a picnic
- Create an at-home restaurant
- Make a blanket fort
- Play a board game
- Skip straight to dessert
- Visit a museum
- Find a great view
- Play tourists
- Create a home spa
- Get crafty
- Play video games
- Have a distraction-free date
1. Don't do just a coffee
Coffee: the classic daytime alternative to a drink. However, "'Let's grab a coffee...' can be a bit of a passion killer," says London dating coach Hayley Quinn. "If you want to stand out on your dates mix up the classic coffee date by going to somewhere non-chain, swapping to a hot chocolate, and then head out for a scenic walk. Much better than navel gazing in Starbucks." Ask for whipped cream on top if you want to make it extra cheeky...
2. Go on a bike ride
Bikes are super cheap to hire, and if you're in London the Santander cycle hire scheme means you can pick a bike up on the street for as little as £2. "Bike rides are great for taking in some amazing scenery, and for taking the pressure off the conversation," says Hayley. "Plus if you don't fancy them, at least you got some exercise!"
3. Browse at a market
Markets are usually free to walk around and can unveil a treasure trove of interesting things, from food to clothes and antiques. Similarly, thrift shops or charity shops are a great place to go shopping together without breaking the bank. You don't even have to buy anything, but if you do Hayley suggests, "set each other a £10 max budget for the day and hunt around to find the best bargains."
4. Go for a picnic
An easy way to have dinner on the cheap is by going for a picnic. Plus, the added romance can't hurt. Hayley suggests keeping it equal by both bringing a dish each, and, "even if you can't stretch to the full experience just having some wine, cake or berries can be a nice treat."
5. Create an at-home restaurant
If you're not a big fan of the outdoors, you could try having a picnic or creating your own restaurant in the comfort of your own home. "My husband and I do a thing called 'fake restaurant' where we will clean up the house, dim most lights so the atmosphere is romantic, he'll put on a really nice record and I'll cook something semi-difficult/French/or a steak," says one Reddit user. "We open a bottle of wine and look our best and never leave the house, but the effect is the same- we enjoy each other and life is beautiful!"
Meanwhile, "cooking together, even if you're the worst cook in the world, can be seriously good fun," says Hayley. "Try playing Masterchef by each choosing an ingredient you have to cook with, or getting all your ingredients for £5." Game on.
6. Make a blanket fort
Another at-home alternative to a picnic is the good old blanket fort, which is a firm fave for a lot of people. One Reddit user says, "My husband makes the BEST couch/blanket/table forts complete with the TV and a mattress inside the fort with an 'outdoor' picnic area for dinner before settling down with snacks and a movie in the fort." Adorable.
7. Play a board game
"Board games are having a renaissance and can be a great lo-fi way to pass a winter's evening," suggests Hayley. "Try out a classic like Cluedo, or a new game like Catan. Plus if you really like someone you can choose to get engrossed in a longer game like Monopoly or Risk Legacy which will require multiple dates to complete!" Just don't get into an argument when one of you goes bankrupt, okay?
8. Skip straight to dessert
"Going out for dinner can feel awkward at the best of times for a first date, then there's the question of who pays the bill," says Hayley. "Instead opt to skip straight to dessert: it's cheaper, shorter and more indulgent, so makes for a great first date." Any excuse to eat a cheesecake and we're sold tbh.
9. Visit a museum
Plenty of museums and galleries are free to enter and, even if you have to buy a ticket, they're usually cheap with plenty of student discounts on offer. It's also a great chance to soak up some culture and get a sense of what the person you're dating is into. "Museums provide plenty of talking points," says Hayley, "so can be a great way to get to know someone on a date, and up your general knowledge at the same time."
10. Find a great view
"Sometimes, if you're with someone you're attracted to, having a great view and a good walk is all you need," Hayley reckons. "Up the romance factor by heading out at sunset and taking some blankets for star gazing." Good chance to get that perfect Insta shot as well.
11. Play tourists
We're all culprits of never actually seeing the sights in the city we live in. "Get outside of your normal routine by pretending to be tourists for a day in your own city," suggests Hayley. "Ride a tram, ferry, streetcar, then head to some local tourist hot spots. Being playful and having a sense of adventure are also always attractive qualities."
12. Create a home spa
There are tonnes of ways to treat yourself to some relaxing (SFW) time at home, like giving each other massages or foot rubs for a fraction of the professional price. As one Reddit user suggests, "Play fake massage parlour, with a clean-made bed all freshly laundered and smelling warm from the dryer, massage oils, and soft music/candles. We're not always (okay most of the time, but really not always!) making it sexy, it's just so relaxing." Plus, it makes you excited to clean up the house. Everyone's a winner.
13. Get crafty
Paint-along YouTube videos are a great way to unleash your artistic side, and laugh at how terrible each of your paintings are. Meanwhile, undertaking a craft project together can be a fun bonding experience. "My fiancé and I aren’t terribly artistically inclined, but we like to go to craft stores and get packaged projects to do," says one Reddit user. "We made a mosaic stepping stone, painted coffee cups, and etched beer mugs and wine glasses. I taught him how to crochet once, and we both tried sewing together."
14. Play video games
If you fancy a night in, upgrade your usual Netflix and chill to a video game sesh. Get your fave food in, make cocktails, and play a cooperative game together (if you're not the competitive type).
15. Have a distraction-free date
It may sound basic, but so many of us neglect to do this with our S/Os. One Reddit user suggests "unofficial distraction free date nights. Phones are ignored and the TV is actually off. It's great, we end up sitting at the table for hours talking instead of migrating over to the couch and watching TV all night." Here for it!
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