Dating and Relationships

7 Romantic Date Ideas on a Budget

7 Romantic Date Ideas on a Budget

I am a firm believer that what counts in dating is the total investment from each party that’s expressed in time, attention, intention, gestures, kindness, affection, etc. Nice restaurants and events can be a lot of fun, but we don’t always have to break the bank to have an amazing time with our dates.

Often, what is more important than the total investment of money is the thought and the intention behind the date. One time, I had a killer second date on the beach. My date and I just sat on a towel and talked for more than 3 hours. Then we walked around and talked some more. I have a great memory of it, and we spent zero dollars. I liked that he didn’t feel the need to impress me or “wine and dine” me, but he spent half of the day getting to know me and enjoying my company. I believe that most people value connection over fancy experiences, and I trust that the list below can offer a good springboard for creating that connection.

I’ve listed some of my favorite ideas for dates that make me feel more connected to my date than a nice dinner and drinks (that tends to be getting a bad reputation as it could get costly).

Also, planning something that is outside of the ordinary shows a level of intention. It feels flattering to know that our date spent some time thinking and planning something to surprise us, show us a good time, or even impress us.

  1. A simple meal in nature: It may sound cheesy at first, but I’ve seen some absolutely lovely setups:

-A blanket, beverages in pretty cups, and snacks on the grass in the park. It happens so rarely these days that your date would be absolutely delighted if you surprise them with such attention to detail as a comfy blanket, fancy reusable cups, creative snacks, and pretty napkins. A 5-minute Google Images search would give you some creative ideas.

-Ocean, river, or lake views. One time I saw a couple posted up on Sunset Cliffs in San Diego with 2 lounge chairs, fishing poles, a cooler full of adult beverages, tacos, and … drumroll … the SUNSET! Everyone nearby was jealous for not thinking of this as well!

-Setting up your spread in your backyard adds that extra touch without having to go anywhere else. This way you can get fancy and add some candles and flowers.

-Dinner around a safe firepit would be the ultimate romantic get-together. You have so many options here — roasting marshmallows, sipping on drinks, snuggling in front of the fire, etc.

  1. A drive out to a nearby town that has a unique coffee shop, petting zoo, thrift store, gift shop, park, viewpoint, or something of interest. I think that the idea of driving away, even if it’s 20 miles, adds a significant level of excitement. Removing yourselves from your usual environment could be extremely fun and romantic. Just asking your date to be ready for a half-day adventure would create so much excitement.
  2. Pool/resort pass. Most resorts or hotels sell a day pass for people who aren’t guests at the hotel but would like to use the other amenities. ResortPass.com is a popular website with participating resort listings for different cities.
  3. Rooftops: You can choose a rooftop bar or restaurant, or just a rooftop of a building that has free access, and then bring your own bottle of champagne. You can get pretty creative here with your setup or just keep it simple.
  4. Groupon services or experiences: shows, rides, amusement parks, cooking classes, dance classes, sound healing classes, massages, sports … you name it. You can get discounted services or experiences to enjoy with your date. I love paint night classes, but there are so many offerings to pick from. You can keep the fun and romance going on a budget.
  5. Be a tourist in your own city: Often, we overlook some of the sightseeing spots of our own cities. Sometimes I pick up a free brochure with all the tourist attractions and choose something I haven’t visited yet. You can pick between nature, historic sights, museums, or anything that’s unique to your town.
  6. The movies at your house. Rent a DVD from a Redbox nearby, use big popcorn buckets to make a statement, have special soda cups, and maybe even some candy. Set up big pillows, comfy seating, and blankets, and try to re-create those fancy theaters with the reclining seats at home. The idea is to make it a theme night, so do your best to re-create the feel of a movie theater. You may even offer more choices of snacks and beverages that you usually have around the house to provide the sense of picking from a menu.


There you have it! These 7 easy ideas for romantic and creative dates on a budget are sure to impress. Remember to have fun with it and enjoy the experience, from planning to execution! What are some of your favorite date ideas on a budget?

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