If you know anything about the five love languages, you know about quality time. It’s my thing when it comes to relationships. Any kind of individual focused time I can spend with my honey gives me all the feels; but, I admit, it’s easy to slip into mundane routines and let the real quality time pass us by. Sometimes you just have to turn off the Netflix, put on a little lipstick and head out on a real date.
While a fancy dinner, trip to the movies, or going to see a show are great, we’ve been trying to be more thrifty about how we spend money, especially on entertainment. It takes a little creativity (we definitely got in an eating-out habit), but if you think outside the box just a bit, there are some great inexpensive date ideas out there.
I realize these are not mind-blowing earth-shattering ideas, but this is a great go-to list for those times you’re wanting to spend some quality time together without breaking the bank.
Free Local events
It might take a little digging, but look for those random free activities hosted by local attractions. Already this year we’ve seen Shakespeare in the Park, visited the museum, and gone to a local historic village all for free. And that doesn’t include the free concerts at the library, Open houses, historical landmarks and year-round free museums that are in our area. And we live in a small town. Jump at the opportunities when they come up and you won’t regret it.
We have a sweet little downtown with coffee shops, bookstores, and western gift shops. Most cities have a historic downtown area whether you live in a big city or a small town in the middle of nowhere. Try a new coffee shop every time you go or take turns picking which stores to browse.
Play a Sport or Ride Bikes
Owen has been slowly teaching me to play tennis since before we got married (I say slowly because I’m a slow learner, not because he’s a slow teacher). It’s nice to go out after dinner in the summer and hit a few balls around the court. We also have some great mountain bike trails around town that I am mustering the courage and energy to ride.
Take a Hike
It’s no secret that we like to hike. Sometimes it just takes that extra push to get up off the couch and find a new trail, or blaze your own. Maybe you just go out to a park and walk the sidewalks. Either way, it’s a great chance to get out, talk, and see something new.
This concludes the exercise portion of the date ideas. Now onto the food-related ideas!
McDonald’s Ice Cream Dates
That’s right, I said it. If you’re not a regular fast-food junkie, getting a sweet treat at McDonald’s or Dairy Queen can be surprisingly special. Especially if you love ice cream as much as I do. We live within walking distance of DQ so it makes for a lovely evening of walking through the neighborhoods with some ice cream. We’ve also been known to grab a cone from McDonalds and walk around the local Kmart looking for deals (we’re real party animals).
Pizza and a Movie
We’re now deep into the food portion of dates. We take advantage of the Domino’s $7.99 offer more than I care to admit (in fact, I asked for a Domino’s gift card for Christmas; is that weird?). Sometimes it’s nice to plunk down on the couch, devour a pizza and watch a movie. And Netflix doesn’t have to be just for reruns of favorite TV shows; every once in awhile, you can find some great unexpected movies to watch together.
Fondue Date Night
Do you sense a theme here? Junk food may also be my love language, but I try to indulge only on the rare occasion so it makes it that much more special. Fondue is our special Valentine’s day tradition, but it’s great any time of the year. Search the cupboards for things to dip, and indulge.
I know this is not life-changing, but if you don’t have the time or money for a full dinner with appetizers and the works, head out after dinner and grab an extra indulgent dessert from a new restaurant.
Make Something Together
I have to admit, this is not something we do very often, but we definitely need to add this to our repertoire. Everyone has their level of creativity, so find something you can make together, whether it’s a new recipe, a craft, or a home improvement project.
As a self-professed non-game player, I almost never allow this to happen, but we will occasionally pull out a deck of cards or a board game (preferably Junior trivial pursuit to which I will not keep score) on an evening. If you’re really creative, you could create your own Minute to Win It type game and work together or challenge each other to see who comes out on top.
See any new ideas on the list you want to add to your date night list? Do you have any free and inexpensive date ideas to add? I’d love it if you shared in the comments; I’m always trying to think of new things we can do to spend some quality time together.
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