Budget Friendly Date Night Ideas at Home
I love when we find awesome, cheap date ideas we can do at home, especially as our family and finances have changed.
When we were first married, we loved being able to go out for date nights every week. The newly-wed phase plus the freedom of it just being the two of us made it easier to have regular date nights.
But then we started having babies, and we were in dental school (AKA SUPER poor). And suddenly spending extra money to go out for a date, and pay a babysitter, no longer worked with our budget and finances.
Enter the budget friendly date night ideas we can do at home! Over the years we have had lots of at home dates, and I want to share them with you.
Some of these ideas we do over and over–because we enjoy them so much, and enjoy doing them together.
I hope you find some good ideas in here for some awesome date night ideas you can do at home too.
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Cheap Date Night Ideas
Have Game Night
This is by far one of our favorite ways to have fun together and connect (and throw in a little healthy competition). And the great thing is, there are SO many options for every kind of “gamer” out there.
For exmaple, my husband loves Risk. Me, eh not so much. But I love a good game of Settlers of Catan. SO whatever your skill or interest level is, there is surely something to match it. Here are just a few of the many games we love.
DragonWood–We recently acquired this game and already love it so much! It is fun, easy to learn, and great for adults and kids alike.
Exploding Kittens–SO FUN! And if you actually read the cards, you will be laughing so hard. It is kind of like Russian Roulette with cards and no gambling. Seriously, if you like games at all this needs to be one of them.
5 Minute Dungeon–if short is the name of the game, look no further than 5 minute Dungeon. We love this one because it is a game to work together to beat the board–and you only have 5 minutes to do it!
Jenga–Awesome, classic game. We get a weird thrill out of seeing how tall we can make the tower go.
Settlers of Catan–As I mentioned above, I love this game. It is part strategy (that I am still working on…) and part luck of the roll. To make it work better for just the two of us, we will each have two colors to manage–just a tip.
Small World–We were introduced to this game in dental school, and absolutely love it. It is like a silly, watered down version of Risk. Definitely give it a look if you are hunting for a new game.
Ticket to Ride–Another classic game we love to play. It definitely brings in some fun competition and we try to complete our routes, and block each other of course!
Monopoly Deal–I don’t know about you, I can’t remember the last time I played Monopoly, let alone actually finished the game. But Monopoly Deal is an awesome short, fun version that will want you playing it again and again.
Cook Dinner Together
I will be honest, I don’t love cooking. I do it because my family needs to eat dinner. But I do like getting and trying a new cookbook or recipe. So that can get me excited for cooking.
What also gets me excited for cooking is doing it together as a couple. There is something about working together, trying a new recipe and spending time together.
You can even take this one step further and make it romantic–use the fancy dishes, light some candles, turn the lights down low and enjoy the delicious meal you made, and the time together.
Picnic in the Living Room
Sometimes just changing up the way you do things can make it special, memorable and fun.
Instead of eating dinner at the table, lay out a blanket in the living room and make it a picnic.
You could also make it a real picnic and lay out the blanket in your yard–if you have one. Right now we don’t have a yard so the livng room makes it silly and fun.
Whether you eat a dinner you made together, or pick up take out and bring it back–either way making it more fun with a picnic will make it special.
Want to tap into your inner child? Set up a fort in the living room and eat dinner in the fort.
Another of our favorite at home date ideas is to set out some chairs, or lay out a blanket and star gaze.
We also like to add our favorite sparkling cider drink, and maybe some chocolate.
But use the time to relax, talk, reconnect and enjoy the time together.
Make a Dessert Together
Similar to making dinner–make a dessert together. This is really great when the kids are in bed and you can share the dessert JUST between the two of you.
We have made several new kinds of cookies and desserts doing this. It is fun to do it together and it, of course, tastes SO GOOD.
Try a New Activity
Is there a skill or activity you have wanted to try? Do it together!
Maybe you want to try Yoga, or Zumba, or learn the guitar or Salsa dancing. Thanks to what we call “YouTube” University, this is totally possible from within your own home.
Pick an activity, find a video and give it a shot.
You can mix it up so that one person picks the activity one week and the other person choose it the next.
Taking turns planning dates is a must, after all.
Read Aloud Together
Do you love to read, but never seem to find the time? Have a stack of books you are hoping to get to? Or want to try a new book genre? Why not make a date of it?
We have spent several wonderful evenings together reading some of our favorite books. My husband loves to add voices as he reads (I struggle with that). But it makes the activity fun.
Bust Out the Wii
Do you have a Nintendo Wii that is collecting dust? Ours certainly doesn’t get as much use as it did in the past.
An at home date night is the perfect time to pull that Wii back out and play some classic games on it.
Seriously, spend one night and have a good “old fashioned” tennis, bowling and just dance contest. You get some exercise, get to laugh with each other and overall have a great time. Win win!
During the crazy COVID-19 Stay at Home Order, several museums are offering digital viewing of their museums for educational and recreational purposes.
Taking the chance to sit down together and explore some of these amazing locations, that you might not get the chance to see in real life, is an incredible opportunity.
Check out this website to find some Museums to tour digitally.
Love Note Scavenger Hunt
This is a date night we created while we were in dental school. It is fun, a little romantic, and silly.
To do this date, each person spends a couple of minutes writing small love notes to the other person. You can set how many you want to do of course–5 each, 10 each, 15 each. However many you want.
Once both people have written their notes you go around your house and hide them.
Obviously don’t make the hiding too hard. But don’t make it super easy either.
Hide the love notes, being careful the other person doesn’t see where you put them. If you live in a small apartment (like we did at the time) that will take careful maneuvering around each other.
Once all the notes are hidden, come back to your living room. Then you need to go and find the notes your partner hid–the notes that are written to you.
The first person to find all of the love notes written to them wins!
This is a fun, sweet, silly, romantic date night that is easy to do at home and costs nothing!
When was the last time you sat down as a couple and plan out some goals, or dream together. Why not make a date night out of it.
Pull out some paper and dream of what you want your life to look like in 1 year, 5 years and 10 years. Think about how you can reach those dreams.
Maybe use the time to plan your next vacation or activities you want to do as a family.
So often we go through life without a plan. Well, use the time to plan together so you can achieve goals together.
Do A Project Together
Is there a project you have been wanting to get to, or create? Tackle it as a team. This could even spread out over a couple of date nights.
One of the ways we did this was we refinished an old dresser for our sons’ bedroom.
We found a super cheap dresser on craigslist, sanded it down and painted it with a fun design. It took several nights, but it was fun to do together. And we got to enjoy it for a long time.
Now you don’t need to jump into a big house project–maybe start with a craft like a birdhouse, or learning how to make string art. Something that you can create and enjoy together. Who knows, you might even find a new hobby.
At Home Movie Theater
Throughout this post I have shied away from the traditional movie option. BUT if you can make it non-traditional, then it becomes more fun.
In this case, create an At Home Movie Theater. If you have a projector, or can borrow one, then this date works great.
Find a large blank wall, or hang up a sheet. Grab some snacks and enjoy a movie on a “big screen” for the night.
Final Thoughts on Cheap Date Nights at Home
Just because your budget or circumstances might require a date night at home, that doesn’t mean it needs to be lame.
There are so many great ideas for an at home date night. I hope this list has inspired you and given you some ideas you can do for your next date night at home.
Truly, we end up doing date nights at home more often than not (babysitters aren’t cheap!). But we try to mix it up, have fun and connect with each other. That is the most important part, after all.
What is your favorite date night idea you can do at home? Let me know in the comments!