Whether you’ve just met or have been married for decades, going on a date is one of the most exciting experiences of a relationship! But… When it comes to planning a date, things can get rather stressful. Not only is it difficult to continuously think of new and exhilarating things to do to surprise your partner, but it can also seriously affect your bank account! In this article we tackle both of these issues: we present to you over 80 free date ideas that should last you and your special someone at least a year!
Why You Should Always Prioritize Date Nights, Even When Money Is Tight?
We get it, it’s tough to make time in this crazy world that seems to move at a hundred miles per hour. With a full-time job, two side hustles, household chores and self-care, it seems impossible to find time to spend some quality time with your significant other.
Moreover, there’s always that niggling thought at the back of your mind: ‘Can I actually afford it? Could the money be better spent on a pair of new trousers that I so desperately need?’
But here’s why you should always make an effort to go on a romantic date with your second half despite money or time constraints.
“Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.”
― J.K. Rowling
Whether you have just started dating, or have been married for years date nights should become one of the things you make regular time for. Recent research by Marriage Foundation shows that couples who schedule a date night regularly have a reduced risk of their relationship breaking.
“Researchers analysed data from the Millennium Cohort Study data relating to 9,969 couples with nine-month-old children, 30% of whom went on date nights once a month. This group had 14% lower odds of splitting up than couples who rarely or never spent an evening together without their children”.Glasgow Law Practice
According to the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, cultural trends in the Western World in the 21st century increasingly raise people’s expectations of “levels of intimacy, communication and personal fulfilment”, and romantic date nights can help you achieve them with your special someone.
Here are some reasons why you should always make an effort to go on a date, even when your budget is tight:
- Date nights can reassure your partner that you put them first. With so many commitments, limited resources and time constraints, any person would appreciate their partner taking the time to plan a date and efforts to spend time together. Taking your loved one on a date acts as a ‘You’re my priority’ statement, which can be extremely reassuring in a relationship.
- Spending alone time with your partner doing fun date activities will create positive memories, that will help you through potential future troubles. Having a bank of positive memories to fall back on when things get turbulent may really help preserve the relationship.
- Date nights may be a way to broaden your horizons as a couple and find new common ground. Trying new and undiscovered activities could help you and your partner find a hobby that you both enjoy, leading to more understanding, better communication and an incentive to spend even more quality time together.
- Dates can be a wonderful time to escape everyday routine and stress (just like a mini holiday on a Friday night).
Planning a Free Date
Planning a date can be a demanding task, especially when the budget is tight and the need to impress is high! Whether you are looking to dazzle your spouse or a newly discovered love interest, we think everyone can have a wonderful time on a date without spending any extra cash! After all, quality time together is about building memories, getting to know each other better and growing closer as a couple.
How to start planning a free date night, you ask? Well, there are a few things to consider:
- Time of the year and outdoor temperature! Obvious as it may sound, planning a perfect free date may involve checking the weather forecast to ensure your lovely picnic on the beach doesn’t end up in a rescue mission from a sand storm 🙂
- Things that both yourself and your partner will enjoy. And it may be a difficult thing to find! Whilst some dates can be designed for both of you to enjoy, others could be planned with solely your partner in mind. The benefit to you is opening your mind and broadening your horizons. For example, dancing may not be your thing, but try and be open: even if you don’t enjoy the dancing part, you may find a wonderful song that you will enjoy on your long drives for years to come. And the smile on your partner’s face will make it all worth it anyway, right?
- Your resources and time constraints. We get it, it’s difficult to find time, but even if it’s 30 minutes you have to spare, you can definitely go out to pick up a wild flower from outside, make a cup of coffee and sit down in the garden to have a deep and meaningful conversation! A date is not about specific places or time frames, it’s a mindset! And as you are about to discover, there are many free things to do on a date.
Free Things To Do For A Date
Led by a strong belief that dates don’t have to cost a penny to be special and memorable, we have put together a list of free date night ideas: most tested and enjoyed by us, some still in the future plans. Whether you’re looking for outdoor or indoor date ideas, we think you will find a romantic idea here for you and your special someone to enjoy!
So let’s jump right in!
Free Date Night Ideas For Foodies
- Cook a Michelin Star-Worthy Meal Together. No, you don’t need to spend money on expensive ingredients or fancy plates. Take whatever you were going to have for dinner and elevate it! Making mashed potatoes and baked chicken? Rename your mash to pomme puree, smear it on a plate in an arty fashion, cut your chicken breast into thin strips and arrange them into a tower! A fun free date idea that will get your creative juices flowing and you will end up with a very good-looking dinner!
- Play Master Chef. If you’ve ever watched Masterchef The Professionals, you will probably remember the Technical Challenge where chefs walk into the kitchen not knowing what they will have to prepare. They get given the name of the dish, a bunch of ingredients and a set amount of time to make the dish. Obviously, they don’t have access to any recipes. Replicating this game in your kitchen is a brilliant no-sped date idea. Gather the ingredients, put an apron on your partner and get the challenge on. Your partner then may set you a similar challenge and ask you to make a dessert! When we tried this date last year, we had so much fun making Chicken Holstein (which I never heard of before, and had to figure out just looking at ingredients) and Japanese Gyoza dumplings.
- Dinner in the dark for one of you. Prepare dinner for your partner and eat it in the dark, tasting the food as you go. You will be surprised how much more sensitive your tastebuds are when you cannot clearly see what you’re eating.
- Blindfold sensory experience. A similar idea to Dinner in The Dark, this free date night involves blindfolding your partner and giving them various spices, fruit or other foods to smell and guess what it is. Continue the date by giving them fruit and vegetables to hold and guess what they are based on their shape and texture. A tasting challenge could follow. What a fun sensory game and a free date idea!
- Indoor picnic. When the weather is horrible, and you don’t want to step foot outside, serve your dinner in a form of a picnic. Set up a picnic blanket in the middle of your living room, surround yourself with house plants, hit play on that ‘Nature Sounds’ playlist and let imagination do the rest!
- Choose a country and go there in your own home. Every now and then, plan your meals to include a date night based on a different country of your choice. Why not treat your partner to a Japanese Poetry Reading for a pre-dinner show, and then serve sushi for your meal? Or get dressed in a stereotypical French style (is it too much to put a beret and a stripy black and white top on???) and make a souffle!
- Recreate your favourite restaurant at home. What is the most memorable restaurant you ever went to together? Was it the food that made it special? Was it the setting and the views? Whatever it was, that made your date extra special back then, you can recreate it at home. Make a similar meal to what you had, put a photo of the view from the restaurant (from your own phone or google) on your wide-screen TV and wear the clothes you wore that night! Sounds cheesy? Even if it doesn’t feel like you’ve been taken back in time to your favourite date, you will surely find it entertaining recreating the moment!
- Skip the takeaway and make it at home. Is it going Chinese Chicken Kung Pao? Pizza with perfectly customizable toppings? Maybe your favourite Indian curry you can create with all the neglected spices in your cupboards?
- A breakfast date in bed. Plan a breakfast date with your loved one. Why not get up an hour early, sneak out to make a romantic breakfast dish (our vote goes to French Toast if you’re looking for ideas) and surprise your loved one with a wonderful breakfast in bed and some extra time to chat).
Free Dates At Home For Active & Energetic Couples
- Gym class at home where one of you is the trainer. Choose your favourite exercise routine, put some music on and get your partner to follow your moves. It won’t cost a penny, you will get some laughs and get fitter along the way!
- Build an obstacle course in the garden or across your home. A fun free 15-minute date idea right here. Place books, chairs and other stable objects on the floor across your house and get your partner to go from one side of the house (or garden) to another without stepping on the floor. They can employ any furniture along the way too! You can time who does it quicker, but be careful not to fall over 🙂
- Choose a youtube dance tutorial and learn a routine. Bachata, salsa, cha cha cha, or maybe something like charleston or lindy-hop? You are sure to laugh all the way through it!
- Create a nightclub at home just for the two of you. Lights, drinks, a speaker, and a good playlist are all you need to have a night out in and this date will not cost you anything extra!
- Yoga for couples. A wonderful free activity to do for a date where you get close to your partner, strengthen your muscles and become more flexible.
- Try a new exercise class together. Subscribe for a free trial with one of the well-known Online Exercise Networks, and try something new together. We highly recommend trying Les Mills Barre for some laughs!
- Build a pool in your back garden. Have you got some bricks, breeze blocks or pallets lying around, and a large sheet of tarpaulin? Build a mini pool in your garden, work up a sweat and then relax in it with your loved one! A great way to upcycle your unused items. Here’s a good tutorial on how to do it: This DIY pool only takes an hour to build. – YouTube
Free Outdoor Date Ideas For Active Couples
- Go for a walk in the neighbourhood. Explore local hiking trails, visit local cafes (not free, we know, but just peak inside to keep in mind when you have some money to spend), and peer into other people’s gardens for inspiration for your next project.
- Picnic in the park. Pack your lunch and take it to a local park to enjoy some free quality time together.
- Go wild swimming. See if you can find a beautiful spot nearby and see who can get into cold water without making a face! Warm up with a thermos flask of a hot drink afterwards.
- Play sports together. Find a basketball pitch or a football field and practice some moves.
- Go camping locally. Pack your camping bags and off you go to the most beautiful camping spot you can find within 5k of your house. That way you can walk, and save on fuel.
- City/ town walk with a guide (yes, the guide is one of you – the one who organises a date). Do some research and learn as much as you can about your local area, architecture, history and culture. Take your special someone on an informative walking tour! You will both gain a lot of knowledge with this free date idea, and get those steps in!
- Take a bike ride or dig out those rollerblades! Free date, quality time together and some good cardio right there!
Free Date Ideas That Will Benefit More Than Just The Two Of You
- Volunteer at an animal shelter. If you and your partner are animal lovers, why not have a free date looking after some unfortunate animals at a local shelter? Seeing each other’s kind and caring side will definitely make you fall in love with your partner even more!
- Go litter picking. This may not be the most romantic date idea out there, but bonding over your concerns for the environment will surely bring you closer together!
- Plant a tree. You can even name that tree and treat it as a symbol of your relationship. Visit it once in a while and see how your tree (and your relationship) grows! There are plenty of free (typically, seasonal) schemes, where you can get a free tree to plant. Visit your local council website to see if there’s an ongoing project in your area!
- Clean up a local beach. If you live near the beach, make a day of it and go clean up a beach on a quiet day. Bonding over your love for our planet will make you grow closer!
- Share your meal with the homeless community.
- Go through your clothes and take any unwanted ones to a homeless shelter. Not only will you have fun going through and trying on old-fashioned clothes, you will be supporting someone in need.
- Plan and Bake Sale or Annual Local Charity Event together. Planning good deeds together will help you learn about each other priorities and morals. What is more, it will facilitate better communication and help you feel accomplished as a twosome.
- Babysit for a friend! This is a great free date idea for couples who do not yet have children!
Learning Together As A Free Activity To Do For A Date
- Read poetry or your favourite excerpts from books to each other. You will not only learn about your partner’s favourite authors and types of literature that they like but will expand your own literary knowledge.
- Visit a museum or an art gallery and learn together!
- Teach each other about your hobbies. If you’re a keen sailor, make a date out of teaching your partner how to sail. If you’re an avid baker, teach your partner how to make a perfect birthday cake (and reap the benefits on your upcoming birthday!).
- Join/ go to a local library and choose a book for your partner to read. Take a walk around the shelves in your local library, discussing books you read and books that have changed your outlook on life. Choose a book for each other to read and then have a mini book club to discuss what you thought for your future date! None of it will cost you any money!
- Choose a book that the library has multiple copies of and read it together. A couple of chapters every night before sleep followed by a short discussion will have you spending quality time together every night!
- Teach each other about what you do for your job. Yes, of course, you know what your partner does for a living, but do you really??? Do you know what day-to-day activities of your accountant wife involve? Have you ever heard her talking about non-allowable deductibles and nodded along not fully understanding what she said? Prepare a short lecture for each other and learn from the expert! This free date will be educational and allow you to understand your partner’s professional life better.
Fun Free Date Ideas
- Go to the clothing shop and dress each other from head to toe. See what your partner thinks would look good on you, what their fashion sense is, or simply laugh away trying on the most bizarre latest trends!
- Put a TV game show on and compete with each other. Count the answers you got right and the winner gets a prize (like a 30-minute massage). Game shows that work well include Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, The Chase or other question-and-answer games.
- Photoshoot. Get dressed up, get dressed down, and create different sets and backgrounds. Become a professional couple, a hippy couple, an elderly couple or anything or anyone you want to be. This may require some serious digging in your own and your grandparents’ wardrobes! Pose and shoot!
- Get up early and go to a kid’s playground. Free your inner child and go bonkers on those slides!
- Go foraging! Not only is it a fun free date idea, but you may come back with some ingredients to use in your cooking. Find some resources to learn about foraging online based on the area you live in. Here’s a foraging guide for the UK.
- Karaoke. If you have a smart TV or a laptop, you have a karaoke machine! You can find plenty of karaoke resources on Youtube or various smart-TV apps.
- Watch a concert together. If you love going to gigs, why not watch one on your TV? There are plenty of good free concerts on Netflix and Youtube (not quite the same experience as a live concert, but it’s a wonderful no-spend date idea when money is tight).
- Board Game Night. There are so many board games in the world that you are bound to find one that you will enjoy! Even if you don’t have any board games at home, maybe you have a deck of cards (why not learn a new game). Failing that, when was the last time you played Battleship?
- Scavenger hunt. Arrange a treasure hunt for your loved one! Hide a bunch of clues around the house, and send your partner from one place to another to finally arrive at a small gift (it doesn’t have to cost anything – it could simply be a wild flower from the meadow nearby or a coupon for a breakfast in bed).
- Play video games. Even if that’s something you’ve never tried before, it may be fun to try the game together!
- Replicate dinner and movie at home. No, not ‘Netflix-and-chill’. Cook your partner a lovely homemade dinner, and create a restaurant ambience by setting the table nicely (maybe get the guest cutlery and fancy plates out). Put some effort into creating an illusion of a cinema too, even if it means hanging a red cloth over your TV screen to reveal the screen before a grand premiere of a film on Netflix!
- Date night in a blackout. No gas, no electricity – what are you going to do? A quick tip: pretend your phones are dead too and there’s no way to charge them!
- Draw each other. Get a pencil, a paintbrush or some crayons and draw a portrait of each other.
- Put make-up on each other. or try face painting.
- Act out idioms and common sayings: supercharged charades! You can choose your own sayings to act out and get your partner to guess! Or you can use a list online (like this one), but make sure not to read it before you start (it will spoil oil the fun of guessing).
- Build a fort. Drag the furniture into the middle of the room, make a roof out of a large sheet, during all your favourite snacks, books and music inside and just hang out together!
- Play the classics like Never Have I Ever or Truth or Dare. This one doesn’t really need an explanation. They are classic games for a reason and, most importantly, they are fun without having to spend any money!
- Walk a friend’s dog together or look into Borrow my Doggy. If you dream of having a dog someday in the future, it may be a fun activity for you to do together.
- Remember Wii? See if you still have it in your attack somewhere. Playing golf or tennis with your partner for an hour will be some of the most fun time you’ve ever spent.
- Jigsaw Puzzle and a conversation. If you are craving some relaxing time with your partner, a great way to relax and stop your mind from buzzing is to dig out a Jigsaw puzzle. It may not seem like a lot, but you and your partner working towards the same goal together (even if it’s just finishing that puzzle) will create a sense of unity!
- Read each other bedside stories before bed. A great no-sped date idea if you just cannot find any extra time! 15 minutes together before sleep, reading to each other will make you feel closer. And it’s wonderful being lulled into sleep by your partner’s voice.
Super Romantic Free Dates
- Fill in a relationship milestones notebook together. Grab an old notebook and make your very own relationship book. Visit this beautiful blog for prompts on what to write about.
- Write each other a love letter. It doesn’t get more romantic than receiving a love letter from a special someone! Maybe you can even read the letters out loud to each other.
- Renew your vows. Create a mini ceremony just for the two of you where you look back at what the years together have thought you and what the future will bring to you as a couple! Recommit and reconnect!
- Spa at home? You’ll be surprised at how much you can do with things you have at home to recreate the best spa experience! And it’s honestly one of the most relaxing free date ideas ever! Are cucumbers growing in the garden? Any egg whites in the fridge? Maybe some essential oils in the cupboard? There are a lot of natural beauty treatments you can have at home without having to spend any extra money!
Practical Date Ideas: DIY Projects Together
- Choose a wall and paint a mural. Even if you’re not artistic, find some old paint in the garage and choose a wall that maybe isn’t the focal point in your house 🙂 If you have a garage or a storage space in your home, that may be a good place to let an artist in you go free!
- Make a Christmas Tree out of old fence panels. Tried and tested! A great DIY project for both of you – and a wonderful decoration for Christmas!
- Make holiday cards that you’ll send out together. Get crafty! If you have some paper, a pen or other art supplies at home, not only will you spend nothing on a date with your partner, you will actually save on Christmas cards this year! And what better way to spend quality time with your partner than being creative and fun together?
- Make a Photo Collage for your living room. Even if you don’t have the money to spend on printing the photos, why not create a digital form of a collage that you want to see on your own wall in the future? Go through the memories you’ve created with your loved one and celebrate your love!
- Take some cuttings of your indoor plants and pot them into small planters to use as gifts over the festive period. Gardening and taking care of plants may be something for both of you to try.
- Grab some old clothes and remake them into something new that you can wear: turn jeans into denim shorts together!
Forward-Looking Free Date Ideas
- Plan a dream holiday: Let’s be honest, it’s fun planning a holiday, and what better way to spend time with your partner than daydreaming about your next holiday together? Create a plan on your date and save time later, once you’ve saved up to go on that trip!
- Write your bucket list!
- Test drive your dream car. It’s fun to pretend that you’re shopping for a new car, but it’s even more fun to test-drive something you only dream about!
- Look at houses-for-sale online and see what priorities you may have for your next (maybe forever) home.
- View your dream house together. Yes, arrange a viewing and have fun imagining what it would feel like to live in the house of your dreams! Maybe one day your dream will come true – after all, you’re doing a great job going on a free date instead of spending money on expensive dinners!
10 More Free Date Ideas
- Go down memory lane. Sorting old photos and videos on your phone and going through old keepsakes of your relationship will bring tons of memories and great energy.
- Discover your family roots and draw a family tree.
- Give each other 5 words to write a poem with. Get rhyming! Read the poem out loud to each and either be impressed or laugh away!
- Watch Mr & Mrs and play along.
- Take a virtual tour of a museum you always wanted to go to. Here’s a list of museums that you may want to visit together!
- Paint each other’s bodies: make yourselves into pieces of art! Don’t have any paint? Use body lotion mixed with food colouring!
- Get your partner to do a bunch of simple tasks blindfolded. For example, get a glass from a cupboard and fill it with water, or go get you a blanket from your bedroom. Or make them pick their clothes out of the wardrobe and get dressed!
- Go on a photography walk. Grab your cameras or mobile phones and have a little competition on who can take a better photo of your local landscape, clouds, city skyline or random objects in your surroundings.
- Go on a night tour of your local city. When was the last time you saw your local area at night? If you live in a safe area, go for a walk to see those city lights and empty streets, or grab some torches and have an adventure in your local forest (or as we call a 4:30 am dog walk:))
- Create a date schedule for the year and add the dates to your calendar, so you never miss out on valuable time together!
Hope you enjoyed browsing through this list and now have a bunch of ideas for your next free date night! Let us know what you’re going to do first in the comments below! We’d love to hear about your experiences or any other ideas that you may have!