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Five Cheap Date Ideas

by Lazy Man on 03/24/08

My wife and I are recent newlyweds. While we tried to be responsible with the costs of a wedding, at 200 people, we knew the costs were going to add up. It only made sense to try to save as much money as possible in anticipation of those wedding bills. We found we could save a great sum of money by going out on frugal dates.

I thought I’d share five of our favorite cheap date ideas:

  • Picnic in the Park – Instead of paying restaurant prices for brunch, you pay grocery store prices. Instead of paying $20 and up for wine, you look for cheaper options under $10. If you have a radio, that can certainly add to the romance.
  • Tour a Factory – In Northern California we have Jelly Belly and a Budweiser factories. When we lived near Boston we had options of Sam Adams and Yankee Candle. I recommend the book Watch It Made in the USA, which should be available from your local library.
  • Movie NightRed Box and DVD Play each have the latest DVDs available for about a dollar. Add a cozy blanket, microwave popcorn, and your favorite beverage… fun.
  • Camping or Hiking – My wife loves the outdoors so this is one of her favorites. I don’t mind the outdoors, I just think that every tree should be Internet-enabled. I’m building up into liking this date more and more. In a year or two, I might be there.
  • Minor League Sporting Events – Here’s a slightly more expensive option. My wife and I went to a Modesto Nuts baseball game last year. Tickets are around $7-10. Food was reasonably priced and the team gave away shirts and souvenirs in between innings. Even though we didn’t know any of the players, we still had fun inventing nicknames for them. We still associate any clutch performance with Jose Chavez, a player who got a huge hit in the game.

A good general rule of thumb is to opt for outside activities. If your wallet is looking a little thin, you might want to trade in your standard Saturday night restaurant date for one of the above options.

Lazy Man has been a lender at Prosper since February 2006. He is the author of the personal finance blog, Lazy Man and Money and the health and fitness blog, Lazy Man and Health.

  • http://www.onemillionandbeyond.com Matt

    A lot of local community centers put on plays that can be pretty good and often pretty cheap. Granted its not as seeing a performance on broadway but it can be a cheap night out that has the potential to be fun.

    Also a lot of museums and galleries are free one day of the week; that’s another idea for a date (though you have to like those things).

  • http://www.lazymanandmoney.com Lazy Man and Money

    Matt, that’s a great idea. I’ll need to look into my community calendar.

  • Anthony Imperioli

    Squirrel fishing. Hell, you don’t even need a date, all you need is:
    1)A peanut.
    2)A fishing rod.
    3)A tree.

    Actually, in all seriousness, the Nintendo Wii has opened up a lot of dating possibilities.

  • http://moneydork.com/blog Eric

    An idea my wife and I love to do, is dinner and a movie. We go to a local fast-food place and eat inside the resturant so we can talk and catch-up. We get something off the dollar menu. We then go to the “cheap seats”. It’s a local theatre that shows movies that are out of theatres and sometimes out on dvd. It only costs $1/person to watch them. We generally can eat and go to the movies for around or under $10.

  • ChrisFS

    Northern California also has a chocolate factory that gives tours and Trumer Pils and Anchor Steam breweries, both of which give tours. And that’s not even mentioned the wineries which will give tours and/or tastings

  • Becka

    Oh my goodness the Wii is amazing. I’ve learned you want to do something that gets your adrenaline pumping. And wii is fun, entertaining, funny (with the mii characters) and its an interesting way to play sports.
    I’d like to add miniature golf its like 5 bucks at Boomers or Family Fun Center lots of fun, more so if you’re no good.
    Also in the summer lakes that are out of the way get your other out of their clothes and into the water

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  • http://www.masteryourcard.com Rachel @ Master Your Card

    A date at home is certainly cheap but I think we would probably end up either getting out our laptops or falling asleep!! Seriously though, I do think a picnic in the park is a fantastic idea – we also love having a day trip to the seaside.

  • Nicolas

    And if you have a University/College in your area, music departments regularly offer superb concerts. Actually, most departments offer something good.


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