Cheaper by the Dozen

12 Best Budget-friendly Date Ideas


February 2019 Issue

If you’re fortunate enough to share love, it takes a conscious decision to nurture your relationship. Don’t put it off because you think it’s too expensive to go on a date. Consider these cost-conscious ways to spend time with your love.

1. Enjoy a classic movie marathon. Borrow DVDs from the library, or swap with friends. Serve hot buttered popcorn. Build a fire. And turn the lights down low.

2. Learn something new. Check with the local home improvement store for free do-it-yourself clinics. Typically, these are offered on Saturday mornings, so get up early. Go out for coffee and bagels. And then learn a new skill together.

3. Check the local university and attend the lectures, films and concerts. Spring is when performing arts students give their senior recitals. Be there to witness the start of a budding artist’s career.

4. Play a few rounds of miniature golf. You just might hit a hole-in-one and win a free round.

5. Create a time capsule. Bury it in a secret place. Record the details and location. Then seal this information in an envelope and put it away with special instructions for your kids or others to open at a future time that you decide.

6. Play a game of Scrabble by candlelight. Any favorite card game or board game will do. Spring for a great bottle of wine to spice things up a bit.

7. When’s the last time you lay down on the grass and stared at the stars? Probably years ago, right? Grab a blanket, and try to find your favorite constellations. P.S. If you need some guidance, you can download apps like Star Tracker.

8. Hit some thrift stores. You don’t have to buy anything, but it would be fun to have a theme of what to search for—like funny coffee mugs or baseball cards. It’s fun to look around at antiques and nostalgic products from eras gone by.

9. Look up the events calendar of your local paper, town website (or here in Pink). You’ll discover tons of free events like art shows, block parties, farmer’s markets and festivals you can go to together.

10. Find a coffeehouse that has live music, and go there for a night. Even if you have two drinks each, coffee is inexpensive, and you’ll have paid less than $20 for a whole night’s activity.

11. If either of you is interested in photography, spend the day walking in nature, at the beach or around a nearby town trading the camera back and forth, and see who comes out with the best shots.

12. Go to the beach. Walk, talk, or build sandcastles. Enjoy the relaxation the salt air brings. No matter what, be sure to hold hands at least once.

Mary invites questions, comments and tips at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a personal finance member website and the author of Debt-Proof Living, released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at © 2019 CREATORS.COM

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