11 Affordable Date Ideas To Get You Through January

Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

When it comes to keeping the spark alive in your relationship, making time for date night is a great way to keep things interesting — or continue getting to know someone in the early stages of dating. But if you've completely tapped out your bank account during the holidays, dating can be a daunting prospect. Traditionally, date nights can get expensive — dinner, drinks, a movie, it all adds up. But even if you're broke, that's OK — because a great date shouldn't be about spending money.

A great date is in the details,” Christina Coster, MA, event consultant for Rapport Relationships, tells Bustle. "Everyone loves a personalized experience, as it shows you’ve been listening when your partner mentions what is important to them. Keep your ears perked when you are together — have they mentioned a favorite meal that reminds them of home, a bottle of wine that they discovered while they were studying abroad, or a flower that puts a smile on their face? Integrate that into a cozy night at home. If you prefer an activity, have they mentioned a hobby or sport they really enjoy but maybe don’t get to do much? Head to your local craft store, grab some supplies and a bottle of wine, and set up a temporary studio in your apartment."

There are so many fun dates you can do on the cheap — here are some ideas to get you started.

1Cook Dinner In

Dima Sidelnikov/Shutterstock

You don't have to go out to make it a date night — as long as you make it special. Set the table, maybe even light a candle, and cook a proper dinner together. A little mood music and candlelight can even make chopping onions seem romantic.

2Head Out Hiking

Norb_KM/Shutterstock

Hiking is a great way to have some cheap quality time — just pack a lunch and go. Of course, if you don't have any hiking terrain nearby, you can find a park or just go exploring your neighborhood.

3A Potluck Movie Night With Friends

Africa Studio/Shutterstock

You can do group dates on the cheap, too — just choose someone with a great living room and have them host a potluck. Each couple brings a dish and then you can settle in and watch some Netflix.

4DIY Wine Tasting

YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV/Shutterstock

Wine — and alcohol generally — is stupidly marked up in bars and restaurants. Instead, try getting a few reasonable bottles of wine in the January sale and do your own tasting. Really want to do it on the cheap? Have a competition to see which of you can find the cheapest wine that you actually like — pink and sparkly options encouraged.

5Play A Board Game

Gohengs/Shutterstock

Board games can provide hours of entertainment — and competition — for almost nothing. If you don't already have a favorite board game, pick a classic from your childhood or don't be afraid to explore some of the new ones out there, because there really is something for everyone.

6Head To A Museum

guruXOX/Shutterstock

Museums are a great date idea — and many of them are pay-what-you-want or have certain discounted visiting times. Plus, you'll feel cultured as hell.

7Find A Happy Hour

Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

If you want a more traditional date idea but on the cheap, happy hours normally have great deals on drinks and sometimes even on food. You can also check out Groupon and other discount sites to see if you can find a restaurant voucher at a fraction of the normal dining price.

8Gym And Spa

Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Working out together is a great way to release some endorphins — and a lot of gyms have saunas or jacuzzis to help you unwind. If you're not a member, do a little searching for gyms in your area — many of them will offer a free trial membership you and your partner can take advantage of, even if you have no intention of joining.

9Take A Day Trip

Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Take your car — or your travel pass — and head out somewhere new for the day. You can pack a lunch and some drinks to keep the cost down and discover somewhere totally new.

10Try A Class

antoniodiaz/Shutterstock

A lot of art classes — like live drawing — offer drop-in rates for only a few bucks and some yoga classes do the same, especially for new members. Try something and, even if you're both terrible, you can have a good laugh together about how you tried something new.

11Go On A Breakfast Date

Ann Haritonenko/Shutterstock

Dinner and drinks often are way more expensive than breakfast food options, so take the traditional date night and change it up by making it a date morning. Usually there's a diner around that can provide a killer breakfast on the cheap.

Dating is important for your love life — but it can be a nightmare for your wallet. This January, be creative about your dating choices and explore some cheaper options. Romance can still blossom — even on a budget.