No matter what stage you’re at in your relationship, date nights are important to keep the spark and intimacy alive – it’s an opportunity to take time out from our busy lives to focus on each other, and spend quality time together.
And while it’s nice to indulge in a fancy meal or glamorous night out with your partner, date nights don’t have to always be expensive productions. It’s just not feasible if you’re trying to save money, especially considering the cost of living crisis.
The important thing is spending quality time together. And there are ways to spoil your significant other without breaking the bank, whether it’s heading out for a picnic in the neighbourhood park or even a quiet night in where you intentionally plan an activity together.
Here are our favourite low cost (or even free) date night ideas that are guaranteed to be fun.
Picnic at the park or beach
One of the best low cost date ideas is a sunset picnic. Not only does it make for a gorgeous, romantic backdrop, it is the perfect opportunity to get out of the house for next to nothing – all you need to buy is snacks and drinks, and bring a blanket along! And what’s better than toasting to your love over a glass of champagne and strawberries?
“Pack your favourite snacks and drinks and head down to a local park or beach at sunset to have a romantic picnic,” says relationship coach Beck Thompson.
If you want to elevate the occasion, go the extra mile with a pretty picnic basket and some candles and flowers – it will still be cheaper than a restaurant meal.
A walk or hike
There is plenty of research pointing to the benefits of being out amongst nature, including how it can help improve connection and communication. Not only is exercise good for your physical and mental health, there’s also the opportunity to explore a new place – all for the low, low price of $0.
“Get on your walking shoes and go visit somewhere with a beautiful view, you could even pack that picnic for when you reach the top,” suggests Beck.
We are so lucky to have some incredible hikes and walks all around Australia, and in the backyards of some of our biggest cities.
One of the most timeless date ideas is a games night. It’s cosy, competitive, and cheap! The more people, the better, so invite your couple friends around, pour some wine, and battle it out.
“Dust off the board games, or cards, and have a bit of fun and healthy competition,” Beck tells us. “You could even make this a double date night with your bestie.”
Museum or gallery visit
Looking for intellectual date ideas at a low cost? A museum or gallery is always a great bet, and their tickets are usually at an affordable price point. This is a great way to explore specific interests while also learning new things about history and culture. Learning things together is proven to strengthen relationships.
“Visit a museum or art gallery to have a look around and learn more about your partner and the type of art they like,” says Beck.
Another one of the best free date night ideas is a question game. It’s never too late to learn something new about your partner. And the more you know, the closer you two will become.
“Grab an empty jar and each add 10 questions that you want to explore with your partner . For example: What would you like life to look like in five years?” Beck explains. “Take turns answering and asking questions.”
One of the ultimate low cost date night ideas has to be an outdoor cinema. They’re becoming more and more popular and it’s not hard to see why. Through spring and summer, there are plenty of outdoor movie nights across our cities, and if you want to DIY it, all you need is a projector, a sheet, a comfy seating arrangement, and your favourite romcom.
“Borrow or rent a projector, hang up a white sheet and get your popcorn ready to watch a movie under the stars with your loved one,” suggests Beck.