Top 8 Wallet-Friendly Date Ideas

Top 10 Wallet-Friendly Date Ideas

You can have a great, romantic time with your significant other without spending a fortune. Whether you're planning a Valentine's Day outing or quality time any other day of the year, here are at least eight cheap date ideas that won't make you look cheap.

8. Take a Hike

Top 10 Wallet-Friendly Date Ideas

If the weather's nice, head to the great outdoors. Depending on your partner, hitting the trails could be fun or you could just have a nice picnic in the park. Price of admission: $0. Bonus points if you can feed the ducks at the park, rent a canoe, or watch a free movie at night in the park.

7. Check Out Local Comedy Nights And Gigs

Tickets to stand-up shows can be expensive, but if you're willing to endure the luck of the draw, you can look up regular comedy nights in your town or city. For example, the Local Taphouse in St Kilda has shows featuring an assortment of comedians every Monday, with a reasonable $15 entry fee.

Alternatively, if you're willing to wait, the Melbourne Comedy Festival is coming up — scope out the acts and grab some tickets for a future night out.

6. Go Back to School

Top 10 Wallet-Friendly Date Ideas

Universities and TAFEs often hold open-to-the-public events and classes. You might attend a free poetry or book reading, student music recitals, or an interesting lecture. You might even sign up for both of you to take continuing education class, such as photography classes — an ongoing dates option that's usually pretty inexpensive on a per-class basis. Check the special events pages for locations near you.

5. Go on a Guided Tour

Top 10 Wallet-Friendly Date Ideas

Go stargazing at night with your partner. Some observatories, parks and universites offer these tours for free. If you have a nearby nature centre, check to see if they birdwatching or other edifying tours. You'll likely find a free historical tour in just about every major city. For a DIY tour, check out WunderWalk for iOS and Android, which can plan out a walking tour based on your (and your SO's) interests.

4. Go to a Free Movie Screening

Top 10 Wallet-Friendly Date Ideas

Free advanced movie screenings > paying to see a movie in the theatre. Frequent a few sites or check publications that share RSVP codes to screenings or try other tactics, such as joining a pre-screening program or following advanced movie screenings Twitter accounts and you and your significant other score a movie date for free — seeing a movie before everyone else does.

3. Go Out to Brunch

Top 10 Wallet-Friendly Date Ideas

Dining out is the classic date experience, but it can be really expensive depending on when and where you go. Weekend brunch FTW! It's cheaper than going out to dinner at the same restaurant, and many places offer unlimited mimosas or other alcoholic beverages. Plus, you get to choose between breakfast and lunch options.

Brunch is the best meal of the day. If going out to eat seems too ordinary to you, perhaps take a cooking class together or go to a food festival (there are beer and bacon festivals, coffee and tea festivals, food truck festivals, and all sorts of food-driven events you can attend). Those don't all tend to be cheap, but perhaps worth the experience and excuse to go out and eat. Again, you can find some of these events discounted on daily deals sites.

2. Cook a New Dinner Together

Top 10 Wallet-Friendly Date Ideas

As an alternative to dining out: Cook something together. Cooking is fun! We're fans of making homemade pizzas together, but any kind of meal would suffice (sushi?). You could also use a meal kit delivery service to send you the meal ideas and date night ingredients already prepped for you.

1. Stay in for Dinner and a Movie

Top 10 Wallet-Friendly Date Ideas

We'd be remiss if we didn't include this classic "dinner + Netflix" option. Apparently, it's the second favourite activity for Valentine's Day, after having a fancy dinner at a restaurant. "Netflix and Chill" might have a different connotation these days, but it's hard to go wrong with a date night movie at home — unless you both can't agree on a movie.

In that case, consult Date Night Movies, which helps find a movie you'll both like. Now if we could only figure out what to order in.

Illustration by Steven Frame (Shutterstock). Photos by Martin Cathrae, Rdikeman, Quinn Dombrowski, International Banana Museum, Lars Plougmann, jus10h.


    "many places offer unlimited mimosas or other alcoholic beverage" C'mon really....

      I had copied that exact sentence to post, too. It may be true in the USA (and I enjoyed unlimited mimosas on multiple occasions in LA!) I don't think it's true here in Australia.

      On that same note, I feel like brunch is more expensive than any other meal based on what you actually get. I don't mind paying $30-40 for a nice steak dinner because the meat and sides would cost about half that to buy and I don't own a very good grill, but paying $20 for a coffee and eggs on bread feels like I'm being ripped off!

    You're interested in this person because they're interesting.
    So make a situation where you can both be interesting.

    Picnic at an old cemetery, admire the headstones and read the epitaphs.
    Picnic on an old wharf.
    Visit an art museum.
    Grab two star-maps, a ladder, a blanket and a thin mattress. Go up on the roof, see how many constellations you can find. (A couple of deck-chairs work fine at ground-level.) If you have some decent binoculars, try to spot Jupiter's moons.

    Boring is never attractive.

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