15 Dates That Won't Break The Bank

As fun as it is to hit the town for a dance performance, the theater or a movie followed by an epic dinner, most of us can't do that every time we go on a date. Thankfully, there are tons of affordable date ideas, and they are just as fun as a more expensive, luxe night out. The fact of the matter is that if you're with someone great, you'll have fun together regardless of what you choose to do — but it's always nice to do something new, and you can't stay home every night.

If you live in a city, you'll have to take some of these ideas to the rooftop or living room, and if you live in a smaller town, you won't have as many options like discount cinemas or huge museums nearby. But no matter. The point is that there are hundreds of great, affordable, super fun, extra awesome date ideas at your fingertips, and there is no reason to say "I'm bored," ever, because there's always something exciting to do. Here are 15 excellent options for dates that won't cost an arm and a leg — but just might make you grin from ear to ear.

1. Take A Walk

If you live near a mountain range or a nice hiking path, you can hit the trail with your partner or date. But if you live in an urban setting, you can also just take a long, meandering stroll through your neighborhood and the adjoining nabes. You'll have plenty of time to talk, hold hands, and you can even window-shop as you walk if you're in a city (or take photos of trees if you're in the forest). It's easy, fun — and free.

2. Have A Picnic

Assembled, of course, with foods foraged from your own fridge. Make a lunch of a couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a thermos of tea and a pair of apples or oranges, grab a blanket (checkered optional) and find a quiet place for a picnic hang. If it's as freezing where you are as it is where I am, have an indoor picnic by doing all of the above suggestions indoors, on the floor in your living room.

3. Go To The Movies

But not the regular movies. Most cities have theaters that show older films for way cheaper than the usual cost of a ticket. Near my apartment, I can see flicks such as Lars and the Real Girl or Her for $3 a pop.

4. Watch A Film — In Bed

If you don't have a discount theater nearby, you can always go with something on our computer or TV. Make it feel special by popping popcorn and snacking on your favorite candy during the "showing." Watch a few film trailers on YouTube to feel like you get some "coming attractions" too.

5. Beach Day

If you're in a warmer climate, the beach has the tantalizing plus of being free (unless you're near a beach that costs money, which is highly annoying but usually not bank-breaking). You can spend an entire day lolling in the sun (or the shade, if you're like me) for zero or very few dollars.

6. Volunteer

There's nothing more rewarding than donating your time for a good cause — and nothing more romantic than doing it alongside your partner. From a dog shelter to a homeless shelter and anywhere in between, the cause doesn't matter — just showing up does.

7. A Meal For Two

Whip up a meal at home on a shoestring budget. There are hundreds — possibly thousands — of recipes online that are cheap, delicious and filling. Some promise that you can feed four people for $10, so make it a double date.

8. Fall In Love

Do that 36 questions to fall in love thing. It costs nothing, but could be incredibly fulfilling. At very least, it sounds fun.

9. Curl Up At The Library

Whether you are a couple of bookworms or just have a lot of work to do, repair to the library and hang together. Bonus: When you're done, check out a book you've both been wanting to read, then go home and read it aloud to each other.

10. See Some Art

Galleries are free, and lots of museums are by-donation or have free days (or are free for residents, like Dia:Beacon). Holding hands, strolling from gallery to gallery — what could be more lovely?

11. Be Someone Else For The Night

As one personal finance blogger suggests, you can pretend to be someone else — and so can your partner. Plan to "meet" at a bar, and when you see your partner there, really pretend to meet them for the first time. As the blogger suggests, you can adopt someone else's persona for the night — or you can be you, and they can be them, and you can just act like you've never met before.

12. Look At The Stars

Bundle up, take a blanket and camp out on the roof or in a park to watch the stars for a while. If you have stargazing skills, impress your partner by pointing out the Pleiades — and if not, there's an app for that.

13. Work Out

Play tennis, frisbee, basketball, do some yoga, or just take a run together. By playing a game, you'll induce your inner competitive spirit, which can be really fun in a date setting; yoga or running goes more inward, but you can still share it with a partner, and it's totally free.

14. Go Biking

This is its own date, though it is also a form of exercise. But a long bike ride can be incorporated into so many other dates, or can be a date in and of itself. Ride to the top of something, or the end of something, or just ride along a body of water. So fun, and so free.

15. Hit The Dollar Store

Here's a hilarious (but also fun) idea from YourTango: Go to the dollar store, each armed with $10 (or $5, or whatever works), and buy things for each other. Then trade presents, and see what your partner thinks is perfect for you.

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