Date Ideas

September 24, 2009

What do you enjoy doing with your husband?  Places, activities, ideas … let’s hear them. Inexpensive ideas are a plus.
Lori <><


PAT
We live near a fairly large man-made lake that has surrounding hiking trails. We find it a nice change of pace to walk one of the trails on a nice spring or fall day. It’s a good way to be alone and just talk. A hamburger to eat on a bench by the lake is fun too.

ANITA
1.) A picnic in a park
2.) Go to the zoo together

DELLAINA
My honey and I went on lots of premarital dates to Starbucks. Two coffees cost a grand total of $4.00! Great atmosphere, good music… we still date there. Sometimes we get our coffee to go and walk through the local home improvement store, holding hands drinking coffee and making long-term plans.

DAWN
* You could make a dinner for your love and serve it to your love dressed in something nice.
* Do a project together around the house, maybe something he wanted to get finished.
* Make sundaes or banana splits at home to enjoy, or one to share.
* Get a timer and do at least a 10 min. massage and then trade off.
* Sight-see around your city and maybe take photographs.
* Play cards or a board game … winner gets a “prize” that you predetermine.
* Cuddle on the couch with a movie that is on and eat homemade popcorn.
* Take a blanket outside somewhere (or even on the roof) and stargaze with your sweetie.
* Put on a CD and slow dance in your living room.
* Do a scavenger hunt for your love around your house and/or yard.
* Make cookies together or another yummy treat and then enjoy!
* Your mission: each of you find a way to stimulate each of the senses of the other using things from around the house.
* Do chalk drawings outside on the sidewalks.

KM
If you live in the So. California area … Downtown Disney has 3 hours free parking and they have live music outside (3 different bands) in the evenings. The Grand Hotel is ‘cabin’ themed and looks like a big woodsy lodge, they have lots of large comfy furniture in the lobby and tables, chairs and rocking chairs outside and large fireplaces, even outside. It is a lovely stroll all around or you can get cozy by one of the fires and even sit and play cards. There are lots of people around, hanging out. You can also stroll around the traditional Disneyland Hotel, it is has VERY romantic ‘mood lighting’ {wink, wink} in the evenings. You can also see the Park Fireworks regularly on the weekends and every night during summer.

Dance lessons…I strongly recommend that. H and I took them for a season and it created one regular night a week that was just for us. Afterward we would go out for a smoothie or shake. It was inexpensive and you can usually find classes offered through the local parks and recreation..

JMHB
This may seem like an odd date night idea, but it was great. My husband is in Law Enforcement and has access to the shooting range for LE’s only. Going to the shooting range is a favorite hobby of his. I suggested for a date night we go there and then to dinner. He literally lit up. It was wonderful to be able to share something he loved … together. I actually had a good time, and learned some new skills. Because I don’t get to see a lot of what his job entails, this was one way to feel connected to that and understand him on his career level. We decided to do it every so often! :)

Both my husband and I are natives of our current hometown. There is a miniature golf place we used to frequent while teenagers and dating. Ten years and four kids later, we decided to go there again … just for fun. We had a blast! It made us feel young and reminded us of our early dating adventures. We laughed, and enjoyed each others company. We took pictures i n the photo booth and played a few rounds of air hockey. It was inexpensive and a lot of fun!

SHERIDAN
* A romantic picnic for two on your lounge room floor or in your backyard under the stars (this could easily be moved to a local park or reserve away from home if there are children to be babysat). I did this one afternoon and baked some pizza, a few little cakes, and purchased a few special chocolates to share with my hubby, who had come down with a cold and didn’t want to leave home for our planned picnic. He raved about our picnic in the lounge for months!

* After dinner, go for a drive and walk about the local shopping centre (late night shopping) holding hands whilst window shopping and dream-building as you look at the different items for sale and what you would like to buy one day.

* Head to the city (I live in Melbourne, Australia) and do some sight-seeing at night. Find a good place to cuddle on a seat or on the grass and admire the city lights and bustle of everyone rushing about the place. You will most definitely be able to find a little café with great, cheap food, or alternatively, you can bring along your own to snack on. On a warm summer’s evening, find an ice cream vendor and have an ice cream! :)

* Open your road map, close your eyes and point to a destination (providing it is within a 45 minute to an hour radius), then drive there! If it is somewhere you have never gone, try and find a local centre where you can find out more about the place. Have a nice walk and spend some time holding hands and talking, but don’t forget where you parked your car (or where the bus stop or train station is!).

* Go out for dessert. There are a lot of cafes and restaurants out there with a decent desert for a modest price, usually large enough to share (meaning you have to sit close to each other and look into each others’ eyes to share a plate!).

WILMA
Now that our children are a little older, my husband and I routinely slide out at night after the kids are in bed and get a milkshake or Cherry Limeade from Sonic then we’ll go for a drive. These rarely last for more 30 minutes, but it’s a great mini date. We have a chance to talk about our day, air frustrations, hold hands, and just enjoy being together.

JOYCE
Run a bath for your husband and offer to wash his hair. There nothing like a good head massage – and apart from the barber you will probably be the only other person who touches his head in such a way. After he gets out of the bath clean the bath for him and then proceed to give him a full body massage. Depending on how you both feel it may lead to more … but he will be blessed just by the care and attention you have showered him with

VAL
My husband and I have been married 28 years and just now have the house to ourselves. We are always looking for new ways to have romantic fun. One Saturday we packed a picnic lunch and I dressed in very short cut offs and a sexy top that I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing in public. We drove up into the hills to a secluded spot and enjoyed ourselves. This only takes a few $$ for gas and your imagination.

AMY
Meet your hubby at the park with a packed lunch or dinner. You can make it as fancy as you’d like. Even if its PB&J and milk, add inexpensive wine glasses and pretty napkins and there you have it. Use your imagination! You could have heart-shaped sandwiches.

ELIZABETH
My hubby and I have only been married a year, and in that time we have fluctuated between having no money and having two incomes – so it has been an interesting year. But here are some of the cheap things we like to do together.

* We have loads of big dreams about our future and how we’re going to bring up our kids etc. My husband is about to start his own business next year, so things will be tight for a little while first – so we keep enthusiastic by dreaming of the kind of lifestyle we want! Quite often during the weekends we will take a drive around the nicer area’s of the city we live in and talk about the kind of house we want to build and point out houses we like as well as how the property is set up. Basically we’re building our dream house in our minds together, trying to incorporate both our wishes – it’s fun, it’s free and it opens great discussions and gives us a chance to really dig deep with each other about what we want in life.

* My husband plays soccer in the weekends, and as our city is surrounded by beaches – one of these weekends (it has been too cold to do it yet here in New Zealand!), we’re going to follow this with a walk on the beach and take-aways for dinner! I don’t go and watch him every week, but I do try to go regularly – often I’ll just sit in the car and have a book with me as it’s a long game, but as long as I am there offering moral support he is happy!

* We live at the bottom of a steep hill, and I am not very fit – so one way my husband has got me increasing my fitness is by walking this hill – and then carrying on over the top of it to a beautiful park, where he will then set up a picnic for us (having carried it all up on his back himself!) and we’ll take some “time out” for just us for a couple of hours before heading home again. I’ll take a book (I love reading) and Luke will take a magazine and we’ll just hang with each other until I can face the walk home again!

* Sometimes in the weekend’s if it is wet and we haven’t got out for a walk or anything, my husband and I will head down to our local mall and just wander and window shop – we’ll finish this off by stopping into a cafe for a coffee (and morning tea if we’re feeling rich that week!) before heading home. If we’re feeling really flush that week we’ll purchase ourselves a magazine each to read when we get home, we normally buy a different one for each of us as we’re into different things – but all up the maximum this will come to is $20 for a morning out together, so that is pretty cheap also!.

DEBBIE
Just last week, and each year early in September, our local music college had a faculty “Gala Opening Concert” free and open to the public. It was an excellent concert with (naturally) top calibre musicians. I thoroughly enjoyed it! If we had chosen to stay, there was a President’s Reception (with free snacks and beverages) following the concert. All we had to do was show up.

CHRISTINA
My husband and I live near Washington DC so we have discovered that going downtown and enjoying the free monuments and museums have been great dates for us. So, try enjoying the local tourist attractions in your town!

DMG
Buy (or make) sandwiches and sides to go. Then, pick him up when he gets off work, but don’t tell him where you’re going. Take him to a nearby park and picnic while watching nature in peace and quiet. Then, take a hand-in-hand walk around the park, and let others there wish they were you!

MARY BETH
A free date my husband and I have enjoyed since we were dating is to go to the library together … we both enjoy reading and learning, so we’ll find a few books and spend an hour or two browsing. Then we’ll make our selections and head to the park to lie on a blanket and read. Sometimes we’ll choose something romantic or poetic and read to each other, other times we’ll make our own choices and just read side by side. We both agree these have been some of our most intimate dates.

COLLEE
One of our favorite free date nights starts with sending the kids to over night with family and not answering the phone. We make a living room picnic, watch a movie and start a fire. (in the fire place also) :) We just spend time enjoying each other.

TAMLYN
My husband and I are watching what we spend our money on with my new business so here are a few things that we do …

1. We pack a fun meal and head down to the beach to do some sea shell hunting. This has such sentimental value to us as it was our second date and I know it both makes us think about the past. :)

2. We have just moved to the South and so we jump on our bikes and get all our crabbing gear together and spend a day acting like little kids getting muddy, catching crabs and laughing. By the end of the day whatever worries were on our mind are usually gone!

3.We will have a nice dinner at the house then go downtown and walk dinner off and then go to an ultra fancy restaurant and get a drink and split a dessert. You still get to dress up and go out but without spending a $100 on dinner.

DiGi
DH and I go to weightwatchers meetings together, after we go shopping. We have both lost a significant amount of weight since starting this in January. No one in our family knows we do this, it is our little pact. In these ways we support each other in a constructive, creative way. In addition, these practices reinforce our healthy lifestyle. We don’t like movies, we are both gourmet cooks, so no need for expensive meals. So, this works for us.

SARAH
If you live in or near a college town, check the school’s website for musicals, plays, dance or music recitals, concerts, operas, etc. Many of the events are free or very cheap, and you may find something that you never knew you enjoyed.

DC
Our favorite inexpensive date is to wait until the kids are asleep (don’t have to pay for a babysitter), pop our own popcorn and get out the ice cream the kids aren’t allowed to have. Then we put in a favorite movie or get out a board game and play.

VERONICA
With now beginning the fall season there are lots of fall festivals in our area as probably all over the country. Check out some of the fall festivals in other areas (within driving range) and enjoy the time together just walking through the booths holding hands.

TRINA
This is good, especially for this time of year, when the weather is cooling down – find out where the parks are in your area and take an evening or afternoon stroll, you can pack a light dinner to take with you. Also some places have free/inexpensive entertainment in the park, plays, music, etc.

WGAL
One date that my husband and I just recently went on was to play putt-putt. We had such a great time. It was inexpensive but also gave us time to hold hands, talk, and occasionally kiss. And it also felt like we were dating again.

ALICIA
My husband and I like to go to Borders and grab some books to look at while sitting in the cafe together for a couple of hours. We also like to get a coffee drink from the cafe, which ends up being less than $10. We have also gone to Starbucks for coffee and each take a book along to read while being with each other, or we play a card game.

There is a local state park which we like as well, and to go hiking there for a couple hours is free except for the gas up and back.

NIKKI
Here are a couple of our “free dates” -
1. Picnic in the park at lunch (in fall and spring when weather is beautiful here).
2. We have a 2 mile nature trail at the local college here that we stroll hand in hand.
3. We have dear family friends who live on the river here so sometimes we go there, sit on their dock, fish and talk.
4. We occasionally have our children spend the night with grandparents or friends so we stay home, grill out, watch a movie and … !!! ;)
5. My husband gets off work half a day each week so we try to spend that time together just being together. I usually fix a nice lunch and await his arrival or if money is not tight, we do go out to lunch alone on those days. We also use that time for a little fun before the kids get home from school!

RAE
Volunteer together. You will grow closer while helping someone else feel better at the same time …

Also here is another idea for a keep the fire burning night …
1. Write your husband a letter telling him how special he is to you, send it to him at work.
2. Write a second letter inviting him to meet you in the bedroom, leave it in his car.
3. Write a third letter of all the things that you want to do in the bedroom and read it to him while sitting in front of him.
4. You take it from here.

BRIANA
We like to play tennis as a free date or go on a walk by the river.

KRISTI
My husband and I have been married for 6 years and one of our favorite things when the kids are gone is “free date night”. Usually we will pick up a movie (or watch the travel channel or a Little House on the Prairie marathon) and a few munchies … cheese, summer sausage, crackers, grapes, and get either grape juice, ginger ale, or an occasional bottle of wine. I like to dress up for him, as well. The fact that I am all fixed up and he will be the only one who sees me that way lets him know it is all for him. We make a pallet out of blankets in the floor and give each other massages by candlelight and watch our ‘show’ while munching. Sometimes the romantic mood leads to other things and sometimes it doesn’t. The point is, it’s basically free and we are able to spend time together … just the two of us.

JULIE
Your request for “free date night” tips arrived on the day my husband and I were spending the night in Laguna Beach, so we walked on the beach that night. It was very romantic and very free.

KAREN
If you already have a GPS, geocaching is a wonderful cheap/free date. It’s a great activity for those who like the outdoors and a little puzzle to solve. Fun for your body and your mind! Check out www.geocaching.com for more information.

JE TAIME
I have an idea for a free date night. I usually do this when I know my husband has had a particularly stressful day, but, then again, I don’t have children.

I like to give my husband a full body massage. After a hard day, he usually isn’t too much in the mood for one, so I nearly always surprise him. I light candles around the room and turn out the lights, play a “rest and relaxation” CD a friend gave me, and then I dress in an inviting nightie. My honey will lay down on his tummy a little reluctantly at first, but after the massage begins (using a little baby oil), he starts relaxing. We talk about things that will let him forget his day, and I cater to him as much as I can (if he needs a drink/snack or if he is too warm/cold, etc.). He is particularly excited when I can give him a surprise treat like a cookie, chocolate, or cake.

While I make him the center of attention, a few minutes usually turn into hours of relaxing together without the stress of everyday life. Usually, I am next for a massage, and we follow your tips for the “Full Body Massage”.

Something else we like to do is head out on our bikes to the park, playing frisbee, laying on the grass, watching people, or reading. This is more of a summer type date though.

Also, we like to build models. While there is the initial expense, we would sit down and construct a vehicle from the di-cast parts 5-6 times before it is finished. We chat and remain jovial since it is something we enjoy. I am sure that this can be replaced with a puzzle, scrapbooking (my friend and her hubby do this!), board games, etc.

SARA
I did this for my husband for an anniversary. I made little hand written cards with clues such as “Our lips fit together so naturally now, it’s hard to remember there was a first. But if you can think back head over to where it happened.” And there a friend waited for him with a lil trinket (flowers from our flower garden, a votive and holder from the house, a CD I put together of songs from our CD library) and I sent him places like where we had our first date, first kiss, ate dinner regularly, he asked me to marry him, etc. The only cost was gas and the town is not terribly big. At the last place (where he asked me to marry him – on our college campus) I was there and we walked to a spot with all the things he’d collected and had a wonderful picnic (foods I’d made at home) by candlelight.

If you don’t live near your courting days (we are just lucky to have moved back here) it could be firsts of what you experienced in your area ~ first house/apt there, first place you got lost in your new town, fave restaurant (have the friend outside), something special you share together (church, hiking, etc), etc. Just think about what makes your area “home” to you and share how he makes your life more complete. :)

GAL-IN-LOVE
We have gone on several trips to parks and lakes. They normally aren’t overly populated, and are free. If you like nature and photography, like my DH and I do, these places are perfect, plus they are a nice environment to just walk and visit with each other.

We also enjoy digging out a movie that we haven’t watched in a long time and viewing it together. Or, reading books on sexuality in marriage – which normally leads to a fun, free night with each other! During good weather, we have gone bicycling together, which is fun, good exercise, and free (if you already have a bike).

One of my favorite places to go is our local bowling alley. It is family friendly, and cheap. It normally costs around $10 for my DH and I to bowl two games. From personal experience, you don’t have to be good at bowling (or any sport) to have fun with your DH doing it.

AMY
Something that my husband and I did recently as a “date” was to go to the zoo together. Entrance is free and it was just so much fun, like we were dating again after 5 years of marriage. We had a great time and did it all for basically free. We both had a really great time.

ALLISON
A good almost free date is to go to Sonic or another favorite snack place and get your fresh fruit slushees to go (or whatever else you like). Then drive to a park and watch the ducks and snuggle on a park bench; or our favorite, go to an airport and watch the planes land and take off. That is what we were doing when my husband proposed. It was wonderfully special!

JACKI
Here is an idea that my husband and I have used a few times and always had fun with. We each take a given amount of money, say, $10 or $15. Then we go to the mall and in an hour, we buy as many things for the other person as we can with that money. It can be a challenge, but if you look for things on sale, you can get a few. Then we meet at a predetermined coffee shop or ice cream place in the mall, and exchange gifts. One time, I even had all of my gifts wrapped. The stores were very willing to do this for me when I told them what we were doing. They loved the idea.

BETH
My husband and I have no money for movies or restaurants, so we go to a hotel. Not to spend the night, but because they have pool tables that only cost 75 cents a game, and ping-pong that is free to play. We have gone there for our date nights for a very long time and we enjoy it and look forward to it. We also do a lot of walks on hiking trails in our local parks, and whenever our congregation has a pitch-in, we treat it like an evening out at a restaurant. It is about mind set and not budget. If you treat it as special, it will be special no matter what it costs.

MARILYN
1) A lot of ideas come from who we naturally are. My hub and I are readers and we love classics, especially Dickens, though as we are older we get so busy we don’t go back to those classics … except we get these urges, 2 -3 times a year, to sit down and read each other excerpts from our favorite books. This really works for us with Dickens, but also – surprise – with Winnie the Pooh (the original books).

We also like to read in our side-by-side chairs and share interesting sentences from whatever we ARE currently reading. Think, cozy fall or winter night, tea, armchairs, maybe fire in fireplace.

Call this a reading date. Do lots of snuggling in between quotes (I just inch my way into his lap and do some kissing). Then it’s back to Dickens.

2) It’s fun to be spontaneous. We live in an area not far from the metro area but also within an hour or two of many smaller towns … all of which should have a road we’ve never been down, a store we’ve never browsed, an eatery we’ve never had coffee and sinful treat in.

That of course would make it not “free”, but you can always SHARE a piece of pie.

KIMBERLY
We will go to different parks to walk or walk different routes in the neigborhood. We take our own water and maybe a pack a cooler with a pop for when we are finished. Sometimes we take a picnic before our walk. It’s good exercise, free, and gives us time to talk.

VIRGINIA
When our kids were little and we REALLY had no money, we would pack a simple picnic lunch and go spread a blanket out under a tree in a secluded place at the park. If it was raining, we’d spread the blanket out on the living room floor after the kids were in bed for a romantic evening picnic by candle light. Another option was to take the picnic and park in the car and then go for a walk afterwards. Some of those “poor” times gave us the best memories!

LAURA
* Go for a bike ride together.
* Go for a walk.
* Design a scavenger hunt around your neighborhood and do it together as you go for your walk.
* If you have a college campus nearby, go for a walk there and look at the old buildings.
* If you have a college campus nearby, get a schedule of their fine arts performances. Most music and theatre majors have to do some sort of senior project – a concert, a play, a collection of monologues. Often they are free or very inexpensive.
* If you have a college campus nearby, get a schedule of their art exhibitions. Go look at the art together.
* Take a picnic to the park.
* Play Frisbee at a nearby park (or any other game for which you have the equipment).
* Rent a movie, or borrow one from someone else.
* Go to a concert in the park.
* Often times wine tastings are free, or very inexpensive.
* Look for a “dollar theatre” in your area and go to a movie.
* Go roller or ice skating.
* Go to the mall and people watch.
* Go to the mall and make Wish Lists for holidays as you window shop. Then exchange the lists so you have something to choose from when birthdays and Christmas roll around.
* Go to a local elementary school and play on the playground equipment.
* Take a class together. Many communities have adult education or community education centers that offer fun classes, such as cooking and dance. Frequently you can get a discount for couples. While it’s more money upfront, it takes you through 6-8 weeks usually so the cost is minimal when you break it down. Plus, you learn something new together and have a new skill you can employ on future date nights

NADINE
Drive or walk somewhere you’ve never been before. It can be nearby, just pick a place you’ve never stopped in or stayed awhile. Experiencing new sights together makes for great memories and something new to share together.

DEB
* pizza by candlelight, and a good movie = total cost under 10$ (the pizza can just be frozen)
* for hot summer days, water balloon fights can always lead into other things total cost = $ 2.00
* board games at a coffee house. total cost = under $10 depending on the drink you get.

SANDIE
What ever happened to just going for a walk and holding hands? My husband and I will go for a walk in our neighbourhood, at the park or on a place we call White Avenue. It’s nice to just hold hands and talk. On White Avenue we can stop for coffee or check out the shops, or just walk and not say or do anything at all. The exercise is invigorating and helps distress you. This is a date we make quite often, anytime of the year. It gets really cold in the winter, but we just dress warm. On cold days it’s nice to go home and make a cup of hot tea or hot chocolate.

KIRSTEN
Pick a book you have both always wanted to read (something romantic such as poetry is good, if you both like it). Throw a blanket down on the ground (outside if the weather’s good, inside, maybe next to the fireplace, if the weather’s bad), and read out loud to each other and have some good finger foods to eat. For special nights try Song of Solomon or other poetry that’s “sexy”.

I bought a paddle ball set as a surprise for my husband when we were dating. One of our favorite dates is to take the set and go to the park to play what we call “Battle Ball” (since we tend to be competitive). It’s fun and gets you moving.

CATHERINE
My husband and I have a picnic basket that we never use. So one day I made a picnic lunch with grapes, cheese, some finger sandwiches, chocolate covered strawberries and lemonade and packed it in the basket. In our bedroom I laid a blanket on the floor and played some soft music and laid all the food out. When he got home I made sure I was wearing something eye-catching and met him at the door. He loved being surprised and even though we were just home alone, the mood was more intimate and special but we still enjoyed the privacy of our bedroom.

NICOLE
I am writing to tell you about our weekly “date” night. We have set aside Thursday night each week to have NAKED date night. We make a point to spend the time together naked in bed or on the couch while we unwind and watch our favorite show. We have a limited budget, but we have committed ourselves to our weekly date night, which often times leads to other “activities”. And yes, we do have kids (ages 6 & 7) and we have been naked dating for three or so years and I don’t think we have had any interruptions by little ones.

CBO
My free/in-expensive date night suggestions: 1) A bubble bath. 2) My husband and I took a couples’ massage class through a local hospital. Not only did we enjoy the class, but now we have another option for future free date nights (wonderful massages from each other). If I remember correctly the class was around $20-$25 per couple and you had to bring your favorite lotion or oil (which this could be another date night if you want to go make your own scented oil together).

SHARON
As for free dates, we were married while my husband was going to Bible college. We used to go out on Friday, go to the grocery store, walk up and down the mall, either getting what we needed, or just window shopping. Then, it was so good just to have the time together. Between working a full time job, and going to college full time, we didn’t have a lot of time together. We were spending money, but I could have done it on my own, we just enjoyed having the time together.

We have a pass to a national monument that is nearby. It is 30 miles of winding roads to drive, and spots to pull off and view the scenery. It is only $15/ yr, but once purchased we can go there whenever we want for no additional expense. It is a beautiful drive, several hiking trails, and has romantic memories (we went drove there after our wedding).

We just enjoy spending time running errands together. Not always a free date, but still fun being together. My daughter doesn’t have insurance right now, so I’m giving her a ride to work. When he is home, my husband and I will go together.

We instant message each other for a romantic conversation. It does get the electricity flowing, and no one is aware what is going on but him and I. It is a private time together, in a house full of noise and activity.

We have homeschooled for 16 yrs. With kids always home, although not always in the house, we have learned to take what time together we have. My youngest is 11, the next youngest is 18, and working nights (they are the only two home right now). Our dates can occur at home after the 11 yr old goes to bed, before the 18 yr old gets home. We read together, talk, cuddle, and just enjoy being together.

MAUREEN
1. Pack a picnic dinner and go to the park – without the kids. Swing on the swings, slide down the slide, take a walk, lay on a blanket and count the stars.
2. If you live near the coast take a sunset stroll along the waters edge.
3. Community baseball, football and soccer games are always fun. Pack some popcorn and a blanket and cuddle.
4. Just get in the car and drive somewhere that is special to you, or somewhere you’ve never been. Go exploring.
5. Window shop at the mall.
6. Go to the local card store and read the cards and pick out the ones you’d give to your loved one.
7. Play tourist in your own town and hit the local tourist stops, find historical markers.
8. Contact your local visitors bureau. They have a lot of “things to do in your city” books and ideas.
9. Each of you pick out a TV movie that YOU want to see one night a week. When it is your night you are responsible for picking the drinks and snacks too. Get cozy on the couch or on the floor.
10. For a little bit of money go to a paint your own ceramics store and buy each other a coffee mug and paint it for your spouse.
11. Go walk around your local pumpkin patch and pretend you are a couple of kids picking out your favorite pumpkin. At Christmas time do the same thing at the “cut your own tree” place, or just at the Christmas tree lot. You don’t have to buy, just lookie loo.
12. Contact your local city parks department and get a list of all the parks in your city. Make it a point to go to each of the parks for a walk, a picnic, or play on the equipment.

J or V
We have a fairly new drive-in in the town we’re in, but can’t always afford it, so we make our own. Drop the kids with a neighbor (we have a couple who watch ours out of kindness), bring a movie we haven’t watched in awhile to play on our portable DVD player, and a dessert or fresh-popped popcorn. Find a safe, quiet spot to park once the sun starts to set, put the DVD player up on the dashboard (or if you’re in the back bench seats, put it between the front seats with the screen angled so you can see it) and enjoy your private theatre. Made even nicer if you have tinted windows. ;)

MELANIE
1) Trade off with other couples for babysitting and date nights.
2) Go to a coffee shop/internet cafe’ and talk or surf the ‘net looking at dream vacation sites or researching something interesting to you both. Enjoy a drink or pastry while you’re sitting close together.
3) Get your town’s activities publication. Look for free concerts, lectures, art exhibits, grand openings, sporting events.
4) We use a credit card (and pay it off every month) that earns points toward gift cards for movies, dining, etc. Then what we don’t give as gifts, we use for dates. It feels like free money.
5) Pack a picnic dinner and go on a tour of your first date, where he proposed, where you got married, etc. On our 10th anniversary we had a candlelight dinner at sunset in the church parking lot on the tailgate of our pick-up. The youth group band saw us and serenaded us.

SHAWNASI
This is something that we do if we get a chance away from the kids, we go and do our grocery shopping and Wal-Mart shopping together. It gives us time alone and lets us look at things that we normally can’t with the kids. We may go to the snack bar and get a treat just for us to share. And then it is home to enjoy a movie or favorite show!

AUDRA
My husband and I will be married one year on Sunday. We are also on a very strict budget, but we set aside Thursday night as “our night” and once a month we try to take one of those nights as a date night.

#1 We like to go get ice cream at a locally-owned ice cream shop. They have a more relaxing environment, better prices, and larger portions than chain ice cream stores. We spend about $6.

#2 We like to go to bookstores and get coffee. We look at the books together. It is about $6.

#3 We went to an arcade/fun park. You can find lots of coupons for these places in Zoo Book and Val Pak. We were able to play miniature golf and play the arcade for $12.

SARA
My husband works 6 days a week and we have church on Sunday. Since he doesn’t get a full day off we like to take “half days” off. We will get up early on Saturday morning go get some coffee and rent a movie. Then we will come home and make breakfast and snuggle on the couch watching the movie and eating our meal. He is able to get to work by noon and still put in 4-6 hours. It makes him feel like he is getting a day off and I get to just hang out with my hubby before starting the Saturday chores.

SUSAN
We live near the beach, so every so often we head to the beach with a blanket and just gaze at the stars and satellites. It’s so calming, wonderful and romantic. Also, if there’s a college or university near you, they often have free movies once a week. (Our nearby school has “Movies on the Lawn.” ) It’s open to anyone and you just show up with your blanket and popcorn and enjoy. The local university also has regular student performances of jazz or classical music at minimal cost and that’s always a fun date. If you have children, maybe a friend can babysit for you (you’ll return the favor later) and you and your husband can play Twister. Bike rides are always fun, or just walks around the block. Local nature sanctuaries sometimes have nature walks, or bird walks and that’s a fun way to get outside and learn more about your spouse. I want to get to know all of the facets of who my husband is. And these new adventures will help you do the same.

KATIE
We borrow movies from the library. A lot of them are older but they have a surprising number of more recent films as well and we still haven’t seen a lot of the old movies either. Also, sometimes we like to adjust the rules to some of our board/card games to make them “strip” board/card games. Obviously this would have to be done when there are no kids around, but it’s a lot of fun.

MEGS
Free dates:
Cooking dinner together
Baking treats together
Taking dog (via walking or bicycles) to local trails
Soak in muscle-soothing salts
Massages (full body or specific parts)
Visiting family
Making ‘dream trip’ lists
Snuggling/ watching TV

MARY
This is my idea for a cheap fun date. Have a fun kids night. Do some kid things. Have a water fight together. Blow bubbles. Build a sand castle. Play hide and go seek.

ANN
We don’t always want to leave the house, but we do like to make weekend nights special. If we have decided to stay in, (which is a little more intimate anyway!) we both work together to get the kids asleep, and set the mood for our night “in”. We’ll have either a late candlelit dinner or a decadent dessert. Now to the theater – we have certain series shows that we TiVo and reserve only for when we can watch them together. “Empire” was a good one; it had lots of drama and action, plus it gave us discussion material afterward. We both love Roman History! Or we’ll just find a good flick on Pay Per View. I usually refrain from sappy films, so as not to put him to sleep!!

Sometimes you just want to get all dolled up and get out, but we prefer this kind of date the majority of the time. No need to stress over a babysitter. We always have the money for it. But the best part is we don’t have to be reserved in showing our affection, and if we need to cut the movie short we don’t have far to go for the “special feature”!

SUZANNE
My Dear Husband and I like to go to flea markets/yard sales together. It’s fun to browse through all that stuff and meet interesting people. We have even started a collection of etched silver trays as mementos of our trips together. Ten dollars and your bargaining skills can last you many a companionable hour!

And I would also recommend the reverse of this – have your own yard sale. We spent a wonderful morning chatting with neighbors and buyers, we got rid of some unwanted stuff and made $65 which we then used to take ourselves out to dinner! :) A definite win-win!

JESSICA
One day when Hubby and I were planning on going to the park for a picnic, he surprised me by picking up some window sun-catchers that you paint yourself. He had thought of everything – he even had the extra paint brushes so each color could have it’s own brush :) We sat in the park for a couple hours painting these silly sea animal shaped sun catchers, but we both LOVED it, and enjoyed doing something silly together.

NOELLE
If your husband is into video/computer games, arrange a date night to learn to play his favorite one with him. Then play with him every once and awhile. He’ll love that you’re doing one of “his” things with him and probably brag on you to his friends! :) The only expense there would be is possibly having to buy a second copy if it’s a computer game (think of it as an investment). I even joined an online Christian Gaming Clan with him.

HIS WIFE
Because hubby and I, most times, have to have inexpensive dates – we may use one of our date days/nights to stay home. We tell our family and friends (the ones who like to drop by and call a lot) that we are having alone time for one whole day and do not want to be disturbed and we turn the phones OFF, stay in ALL DAY- watch movies in the bedroom and/or in the sitting room and order out. We don’t even check the mail. We love it and we never leave the house.

CHARLOTTE
My husband and I like to go on what we call “redneck dates” … we go to a department store (Target, Lowes, Walmart, Kmart) and look at appliances, electronics, cosmetics (for me), and house stuff. It’s really fun. and doesn’t cost anything unless you decide to splurge on a good buy. :)

THERESE
My idea is to set aside “game time” – time to watch my dh’s favorite sport together. My husband loves football. I’ve been learning about football by listening to sports talk radio and watching ESPN with him. He loves that I’m able to talk to him about his favorite sport. I have impressed him with my knowledge more than once!

HOLLY
We like to play frisbee golf at area parks or go letterboxing (see letterboxing.org for more info).

DAPHNE
My husband and I have four children. Because a babysitter isn’t always an option, our dates sometimes take a little extra planning. When a date is planned, I will work especially hard to make sure all children are bathed, fed, and ready for bed EARLY (like 6:00). We will have devotions together as a family, then help the children select a movie to watch. Our oldest is a teenager, so she is in charge. They may stay up watching the movie or doing some other quiet thing until the time we have said that they should go to bed.

Hubby and I then usually have a nice, soaking, bath together, with music, candles … the works. Then we retreat to our bedroom for whatever our hearts desire. We trained our children at an early age NOT to disturb us for ANY reason other than an emergency, and it has proven to be a wonderful blessing.

Our time together as husband and wife is priceless, so training our children to respect our “date night” has been invaluable! Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

AM
My DH loves to go fishing. I enjoy it also but am not quite as enthusiastic about it as he is. One afternoon, I called him at work and invited him to go on a date with me that evening. I packed a cooler of bud light and snacks, bought bait, gathered the gear and stashed it all in the trunk of the car. When he came home, we hopped in the car and I drove us to his favorite spot. At first, he was confused and thought I had lost my mind. When I opened the trunk, his face lit up like Christmas morning! It was one of the best dates we have ever had. We enjoyed the sunset and talked and talked … sure, we fished … but that took a backseat to our fun together.

ANGIE
One thing that we think is fun is to test drive cars. If you are thinking of buying a new car, do some research or if you just enjoy driving different cars it is fun. We really like to test drive vehicles that are fast. All it costs is the gas to get to the dealership and putting up with a possible annoying salesman.

KATHY
Check with the local high school and see what plays their drama department is putting on and when. I used to go a lot with my family growing up but we haven’t gone too much since we’ve been married. I just found out about a good one next weekend and we plan on doing that. Sometimes even the local community theater is fairly inexpensive.

HEIDI
This is kinda silly, but we do it all the time! We can’t always afford to buy each other cards like we like to. Sometimes when we go to the store, we will go to the card aisle. There we read cards and “give” cards to each other to read and let the other know how we are feeling. Sometimes we give each other romantic cards, sometimes they are funny. At any rate, it doesn’t cost anything and we have fun spending a few minutes in the card aisle!

TERRI
Our library will let you check out passes for the local museum, including special programs.

JENNY
Just the other night, we decided to head over to Starbucks for coffee and dessert, and at the last minute, I grabbed a deck of cards. We sat at Starbucks for a couple hours playing our favorite card games and enjoying a relatively inexpensive date compared to the movie we thought about going to!

VAL
Although this isn’t romantic it can be done together. Plan to go donate blood together. This not only gives to a need we have in the nation right now, but it lets you spend time together as you give.

EDITH
My daughter was talking with a friend who is dating a young man, both avid animal lovers, and she told her what they had done on a recent date. It was castrating five pigs. “People think it’s kind of strange,” she told my daughter, “but it was something we both enjoy doing, and we were doing it together.”

KATE
We asked ourselves:
What to do when we retire? The only rule was no boundaries. So sometimes we got out a map and blindly pointed. Other nights we wrote wild lists. A trout stream through the living room – sure, why not?

4 years ago we discovered a long discarded dream we had each had, unbeknownst to the other, when we were young. And that idea felt right to both of us instantly. We have worked towards creating it since that moment. Each time we discussed it was fun, but planning it is down right exciting! (And a further benefit? We have seen many friends retire already and not one of them are as well prepared as we are already. Retirement brings huge changes, the better prepared you are the better you will handle – and Enjoy! the rewards of all your hard work.

REBECCA
* If you and your husband are new to a city, take time to walk around and explore the neighborhood or city. My husband and I live in a small town where we can walk to many new places and explore together. It is a time to talk after a long day of work, get exercise and learn about the city!
* We live right next to a college. There are many free events at the college that we can attend such as speakers, performances etc. They also open up facilities for the community to use at specific times. All you have to do is look for the “perks” of the college!

CHRISTINA
This Saturday for our 5th wedding anniversary we are going to a sidewalk chalk art show. It’s free to get in. We can see other people’s art and for only $3 we can create our own 4X2 masterpiece.

BRENDA
Here is my idea. When my husband and I were in college we didn’t have much money so for an inexpensive date we would grab an inexpensive (but tasty) bottle of wine and some small pieces of gourmet cheese and crackers at our local cheese shop (Wegmans also works well) and sit and watch a movie while we had our own wine and cheese party! Lots of cuddling was included! Now we can afford some nicer bottles of wine and some fancier cheeses but the idea is still there and it brings us back to the beginning days of our relationship and always makes us feel closer!

ONEY
Several years ago (my sweetheart and I have been married 19 years) we were very low on money on our anniversary. What little money we did have we needed to use for groceries. Our anniversary “date” that year consisted of going to the super store with our grocery list. We finished the shopping by stopping in the card aisle and choosing an anniversary card for each other. We exchanged cards, read them and put them back in the rack. We laughed all the way home at our “creative” way to give each other a card.

MAURA
Here’s a cheap date idea I wanted to share. We have young children and usually getting a sitter (if Nana can’t do it) can be expensive. So we cut out naps (or shorten them), put the kids to bed early and then sit in the family room on our comfy couches with our favorite snacks or a special dinner and talk about silly things the kids do, what we’d really like to do on our next vacation, struggles we’re having and we like to go over our blessings. Then we go to bed and end the date with another type of intimacy. I really cherish those nights and there’s only the cost of a nice bottle of wine if you want it or other special treat.

LISA MARIE
My husband and I read pregnancy books together and pray for our baby.

MEMORY
My inexpensive date idea: On Friday evenings after dinner we go out and sit by the lake (which is situated in front of the mall), having ice cream. We enjoy the warm evenings outside, especially watching the moon and the stars and we each choose a star and make a wish. Some of the wishes are quite interesting … to be continued at home!

SERA
Give junk mail a second look. We frequently get coupons for free movie rentals from two of the big movie chains. The last flier we got had 3 coupons for free movie rentals! Even fast food restaurants have some good coupons like a cheap soft drink or ice cream treat. So at least give your junk mail a quick look before you toss it – you just might get a free or really cheap date out of the deal!

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy September 27, 2009 at 11:52 am

We try to do something that gets us talking. Usually we just curl up on the couch & talk. Sometimes we play “fishyball”–we have a clear ball that has a floating plastic fish inside that we roll back & forth across the floor while talking. That usually becomes “kittyball” when our two cats get in on the act! If the weather’s nice (& it’s not too dark!), we go for a walk (hand-in-hand).

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erin April 7, 2010 at 6:23 am

We love (if we can get a babysitter!) to visit different cities and go to their home baseball games. It’s so much fun, laid back, relaxing, it brings back childhood memories, and you get to see different places. :-) I always keep any tickets, brochures, etc from each game and am working on putting together a scrap-book of our “baseball adventures” :-)

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Debi - The Romantic Vineyard June 28, 2010 at 11:32 am

Oh my, I have too many ideas to list here. In fact, this is one of the reasons we started our blog. It provides a place to record great date ideas as well as links to resources we find extremely helpful in keeping romance alive in marriage.
http://theromanticvineyard.wordpress.com

God bless,
Debi

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Kathy September 13, 2010 at 7:25 am

I’ve just started a new blog about these…http://domestichurch.wordpress.com/
We signed the “52 Date Nights” contract & have been having a lot of fun with it!

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Inez March 27, 2011 at 11:32 pm

We have a hot tub just outside our garage and it’s surrounded by a little privacy fence. We will sneak out for 20 minutes of soaking under the stars in all but the most extreme weather. Sometimes we talk and sometimes not. Reliable sitters keep growing up and getting jobs around here, so this has been our mini-date time. When the kids were small we’d take a baby monitor with us.

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barbara May 9, 2011 at 7:59 am

I got this idea from Debi at the Romantic Vineyard but I have been dating my H through the alphabet: A involved athletics (Wii) the Alphabet (scrabble)and a dinner of Aphrodisiac Appetizers…we are up to F and Fondue and Fire is the next theme. Planning is a big part of the fun and my H tells me a) that my enthusiasm is contagious b) that he is grateful that I take him out of his comfort zone to do fun things…like the dare to dance on the dock in the rain on our “D” date.

We also have hot tub dates from fall to early spring and we enjoy watching DVDs of TV shows from when we were kids.

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Paula May 14, 2011 at 2:19 am

@Barbara, I love your alphabet suggestion! What sorts of food do you serve for aphrodisiac appetizers?

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Barbara June 6, 2011 at 9:04 am

Hi Paula! I have two cookbooks all about aphrodisiac meals one is called “Intercourses” and the other is called “The Seduction Cookbook” both have a variety of recipes for dishes ranging from starters to desserts and “The Seduction Cookbook” I know for sure has breakfast recipes too. Can’t remember if “Intercourses” does or not.

Anyway I used ingredients like asparagus, anise (fennel) and artichokes for the appetizers and all of those recipes came from “The Seduction Cookbook”

You can find recipes on line as well. Have fun!

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LaTonya August 5, 2011 at 6:01 am

You could make up a new game. Me and my husband put romantic thoughts, phrases, and and other words (examples: I love you my darling, you make my heart sing, and, for, love, kisses, hugs, you are genuine)into a cup, rolled the dice to see who would go first, and drew out about five strips of paper with a phrase or a word on them. On a separate piece of paper, we made sentences out of the words and phrases we drew. Some made us laugh and some were amazing! Each round, whoever made the best sentence got kisses, hugs and could make the other person do little chores for us like: “get me a drink”, “give me a back rub”–that sort of thing. It was really fun!

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aimee August 5, 2011 at 11:05 pm

1. Go to a big bookstore like Barnes and Noble. Spend 10 minutes by yourself picking out a book that interests you, then meet up at the coffeeshop (coffee optional). Share interests, look at pictures, spend time together. It seems like this could work for a family with kids, too, but I haven’t tried it yet.

2. We like to visit PetSmart and watch all the adorable animals, from fish and frogs to kittens.

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Chris September 5, 2011 at 4:35 pm

@Aimee We used to enjoy the bookstores as well. Unfortunately, it seems like more and more of them are closing down in our area. It is such a shame. It was a wonderful cheap date while my wife is looking for another job.

Thanks for the PetSmart idea. We’ll have to try that one out.

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Jennifer October 2, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Go see the movie COURAGEOUS! But take lots of kleenex and be prepared to be challenged in your Christian walk and testimony!

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Nancy Courtney October 17, 2011 at 10:18 am

My husband and I like to go to the museum. It’s a beautiful area and although we didn’t meet there, it was one of the first places we visited together before we got married. It’s a great quiet place to kick back and share memories.

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Sharon Collins November 2, 2011 at 4:40 am

My husband and I would love to go swimming and after that have a wonderful candlelight dinner. For me, it’s very romantic.

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