Every couple needs to invest time in their partnership and some great, affordable date night ideas can come in handy for the snippets of time when you’ve got to plan on the fly. When you have a few hours but not a lot of cash to spare, hopefully these date night ideas can eliminate the planning and give you more time for each other. This post does contain some affiliate links so, if you buy anything linked within, you’ll be helping to support my big, fun family. Thankya mucho!
So you two used to be so in love, all over one another, madly romantic and insanely passionate about your relationship.
Kids- that’s what happened.
Pre-child date preparation takes an entire afternoon full of shaving every bit of unsightly hair, making sure your ‘do is perfect, ensuring your legs look fantastic in your thigh high pantyhose and your make up takes 3 applications, four hours and a total of nine million dollars in product to complete. You take out that brand new dress you just bought that afternoon, slip it on over your svelte body and admire yourself for a couple of seconds while putting on your new shoes, accessories and that perfume that he bought for you (as he always remembers your anniversary). Yeah, you smell good, you look good, you feel good and your underwear matches your bra. We all know what that means ladies- It’s on!
Your man shows up, looking coiffed and sexy, smelling of your favourite cologne and he takes you out for a night on the town. If you’re living together, he may join you in the shower before you head out, then wait patiently on the couch, happy as a clam, while you style your hair whatever way you choose. After you’re both presentable, ready to head out and happy- you leave, stay out however long you want, do what you would like to do and then spend the entire night intertwined in one another’s arms after making love wherever your bodies landed. A glass of wine, a late night snuggle, chatting with intertwined feet and sleeping in the next morning follows.
Ah, coupledom! If things continue going so well, you’re going to end up married, able to do this more often and happy forever, right?
Post-child date preparation is jumping at the opportunity to spend a few moments out of the house when someone offers, off the cuff, to take your plethora of children. You rush around, attempting to bathe, shave and not remove a layer of skin while trying to slough off some picky leg hair with a razor that has dulled due to neglect. While bathing, your toddlers run in and out of the bathroom, ripping back the curtain and staring at you while you’re posed in various obscene, embarrassing positions trying to make use of that razor (which is part of the reason it’s dulled to begin with). You rip your only pair of good, control top pantyhose all of three minutes after putting them on and, swearing loudly, you scream for your spouse to not leave the house to obtain new ones because there’s no time, you can’t finish getting ready if he’s not going to help with the children and it wasn’t in the budget. You run around, trying to find something else to wear- something that hasn’t been stained by greasy toddler fingers, outgrown due to the “mom ponch” and that still covers those post-partum body flaws.
Attempting to cover up the deep, dark bags under your eyes that come from broken sleep and being on call round-the-clock, you slather on a wide mix of lotions, cover up sticks, creams and powder. You cobble together some long-forgotten, old nubs of make up and hope your eyes will still pop, even if you’re tired. Your underwear doesn’t match but, hey, at least the bra lifts your post-nursing lovelies up and the underwear covers your newly widened behind. You have reached the stage in your sex appeal where, instead of focusing on accentuating the positive, you’re trying to hide the negative. We all know what that means, ladies- It’s not on… unless you’re ordering courage (wine) at dinner and putting on his t-shirt before the deed is done in the dark.
You rush out on your date, which can be no more than 2 hours long because your sitter has provided a limited window…you have a lovely time, even though neither of you is wearing a new outfit and your dinner is not the lengthy, chatty, romantic meal that you had envisioned. In fact, it’s somewhat routine because this is what you jump to every time you have a moment to spend some time alone together. Once finished, you rush home…already 10 minutes late, if you’re really honest, and pick up the children. They’re high-strung from being given sugar at the sitters, fighting, arguing about going to bed, each stalls for twenty minutes and one’s up four times in the next 3 hours. You still had to prepare lunches, do a load of laundry and finish the nightly clean up, which all went by the wayside while you were out for dinner. After that, another break is well-deserved so you catch up on prerecorded sitcoms while your husband dozes on the couch and, when you’re finally fed up with him bursting into snores beside you, you demand that it’s bedtime (while he claims he’s still watching something that ended an hour ago without his knowledge). You collapse, happily intertwined in one another’s arms, but with no thought of sex because it’s already way past your bedtime and the kids will be up in about 5 hours. Perhaps tomorrow.
Sigh. The life of a parent with multiple children and a budget, for both time and money.
Need some new date night ideas?
I know I did.
30 Affordable Date Night Ideas For Parents
Below is my list of relatively inexpensive things that you can do with your spouse without a long period of child-free time being required. I say this is for couples with children, just simply because I know (having a lot of them) that there isn’t as much time, or funds, for dating once you have a family. Really though, this list works for anyone and could even be handy for the teen on a budget. Stick around for my FREE PRINTABLE at the end of this post, so you can make your own list too.
Indoor Date Night Ideas
- Virtual Vacation. I know this sounds silly but, when on a budget, it’s nice to make plans or dream about something that’s possible, although not immediately obtainable. Do you know, for certain and right this very moment, where your partner would choose to go if they could fly anywhere in the world? If not, ask them…and then plan for it, together. If you itemize every need for the trip, every place you would like to see, all of the things you would want to do, little restaurants you would want to try and where you would say, you’re already halfway there. Now print out some snippets and pictures from that, make a shadow box, hang it up somewhere and drop your change into it. Set your sights on that goal and work towards it together. Eventually, it may be a real date, rather than a virtual one. In the meantime, you’ll have fun planning while snuggled up together and it gets you talking about something outside of your daily routine, as well as saving. No sitter required.
- Volunteer Together. I feel most connected to my husband when I see him helping others; whether it be bent at a third of his size to assist a tiny toddler, or hunched over something he’s fixing for my Gramma. It makes me remember that, even when he’s a pain in the butt, he generally means well and has a kind heart. I love him for it. Pick a children’s sports team to coach, a soup kitchen to serve at, a retirement home to visit, some local schools that may need assistance or you could even try story time at your local library.
- Make a time capsule. It can be so much fun to put together the things that are important to you right now, messages you would like to leave, or things that you may want future family members to find. My husband and I want to do this, then add it into our will that the youngest married couple in the family when we pass has to scavenger hunt to find it.
- Spa Day. This can be done, more expensively, at an actual spa- or you can stay within the comfort of your own home. Depending on your budget, you could go for a couples massage, have some mimosas in the salon and get a facial together. You could also transform your bedroom into a spa experience and exchange massage services with one another. I recently did a Moroccan clay body mask with my hubby, which ended up with a sexy, shared scrub off afterwards. He doesn’t know it yet but I’ve got a couple of face masks and foot treatments for this weekend that, even though he’s a gigantic, blue-collar guy, he’ll still do with me- and I know he will end up remarking about how much he enjoyed it.
- People Watching. This is free and actually really fun! Depending on your sense of humour, the running commentary on one of these dates can have you both giggling to the point of tears. It’s really too bad Wal Mart didn’t have a bar, or even a Starbucks, because that would be prime people watching real estate. Even if you aren’t inclined to poke fun at anyone, you can sit together and make up stories about where you believe these people came from, where they must be going, what their lives are like or discuss how cute old couples are and what you want of your relationship when you’re that age. Grab a coffee outside, or a glass of wine, and try it!
- French Night. This was one of my favourite dates and it took place inside our home. We decided to choose a language, or culture, and make an authentic meal together. We had fun looking up a delicious dish, shopping for quality ingredients together and we prepared a meal side-by-side while having a glass of French wine. This ended up cheaper than going out for dinner and was more enjoyable. After a delicious meal, we set up a beautiful array of French snacks (a yummy cheese plate) and we watched Chocolat. I know it’s not a proper French film but my hubby’s a little rusty and we opted to do without subtitles for the evening. If you’re up for that though, go for it!
- Read Together. One of my favourite things to do is sit on opposite ends of the couch, each reading a book while in constant physical contact. Every few chapters, stop for a kiss and to chat about what’s going on in the book. Add wine, or swap foot massages and you have an incredibly relaxing couple of hours together.
- Game Night. I always thought these evenings were lame, to be entirely honest. I found Cards Against Humanity, fell in love and changed my tune. We’ve also played Jenga, Scrabble, What Do You Meme and a game meant for couples, called Bedroom Rockstar.
- Explore a new religion. I’ve always been interested in the church, although I am not at all religious. I love the buildings and enjoy being surrounded by the gorgeous, stained glass, rich wooden details and the beautiful architecture. The routines, communion and boring sermons that make up an Anglican Sunday morning are not exactly my cup of tea. Although I do have faith, I would rather connect with the universe in nature. However, I find it incredibly interesting to check out other religions, their practises and places of worship. Especially today, I think this is actually a very important, necessary endeavour that will help people better understand one another. There’s an absolutely gorgeous, welcoming Buddhist temple in my area and that’s the religion that I feel most connected to outside of Paganism. This date made my list as a result of my wanting to attend their service.
- Fondue date night! (You thought of Monica, from Friends, didn’t you?)
- Bowling. This is an often-forgotten, very fun date! You can get competitive or just have a great time together without breaking the bank. Try going when the music is turned up and the place is in blacklight. I never think of going, don’t care to do so when it does come to mind and I always enjoy it when we do.
- Bookstore date. I know I could spend all day wandering around in a Chapters but it also makes for a wonderful couple of hours with a spouse. Browse some topics you would like and, perhaps, choose a novel for the reading night I listed above. Better yet, pick out a book for your significant other to read.
- Treasure Hunt. Set out with each of you having an “allowance” and hit the flea market. I didn’t realize we had one locally until about a year ago and we have scooped some incredible wedding pieces since. It’s always fun to see what your partner is drawn to and, who knows, you may just walk out with a real gem (apart from your spouse, of course).
- Mall Bingo. I originally heard about this being played as Wal Mart Bingo but, as our town is quite small, we don’t get nearly the amount of traffic or, ahem, unique individuals through the local store. You pick out specific things to see, like a man with a fedora or whatever you would like to decide upon and then you set out to see who spots these things first. Make a prize for the winner. My husband always suggests something dirty so, if your man is insatiable, ante up like that and yours will be taking you out shopping more often, I can guarantee you that!
- Children Again For A Day. My very first date with Bryan, he asked to take me mini golfing. I thought it was so silly and I loved it. We’ve made it a habit to take the kids whenever possible, although we haven’t yet been back out to play as just the two of us. I think doing all of the things you would have gravitated towards as a kid would make for an awesome adventure; Play at the park, try paintballing, eat cotton candy, go to a waterpark, play lazer tag, ride go-karts, visit a candy store and binge or have your faces painted.
- Candlelit Night. This one you can do right at home, for only the cost of a couple of bags of tealights. Light up your bedroom, livingroom or whole house as if the power’s out. Crack a bottle of wine and maybe exchange massages in the dimly lit glow. Love this one.
- Comedy Club. Thinking back on some of my favourite dates, the ones at the comedy club are usually right up near the top. Tickets are relatively cheap, shows are never very long and some adult humour is sometimes exactly what’s needed after a long week at home with the littles.
- Museum. Visit one! It doesn’t have to be artsy either, if that’s not your thing. There’s one in my area to do with the ship locks, many historical ones and some army museums as well. See whatever you’re interested in.
- Puzzle together. This sounds like something a senior couple would do and, admittedly, my husband and I might be aging before our time. I have no idea. What I do know is that doing a jigsaw puzzle together is actually fun, especially when you get to chatting while figuring things out. You could do crosswords, Sudoku or solve some brain teasers. Get competitive and pit yourselves against one another, if you’d like.
- Movie Marathon. Netflix and chill?
Outdoor Date Night Ideas
- Drive In. This is a cheaper date, especially on car load night, and you can even take the kids if you would like. They usually fall asleep by the second film so, if you’re lucky, you get a whole movie “alone” together, in the nostalgic setting. You could bring chairs and sit outside the car together if that happens, still close enough to stroke a stirring tot through the window.
- Hiking. This is another family friendly date, in case you can’t get a sitter, where the kids can go off a bit ahead and you can bring a thermos, enjoying a coffee with your hubby while you let the children take the lead. If you’re in my neck of the woods, I recommend Niagara Glen. It’s incredibly beautiful, all year round.
- Petting Zoo. What’s not to love? Bring the kids or be big kids yourselves. Two words; baby goats.
- Port Dalhousie. If you’re not from my area, feel free to substitute a small, quaint town to explore in your own neck of the woods. If you lived nearby, you would know that this is a beautiful place full of little shops, quaint cafes, a beach and a lovely boardwalk. It used to be far nicer when I was a child, prior to much of the downtown closing, but the location still makes for a wonderful couple of hours together. You can take the family, especially if going to see the Lakeside Park Carousel, or pop away for an afternoon alone.
- Explore Main Street. Check out your city, what it has to offer and some of the little shops you have never visited before. Maybe stop for a meal at a Main Street venue and play tourist in your own town centre.
- Farmer’s Market. Shopping local is helpful, rewarding and makes for a good date too! On the Saturday mornings where we can pop out to the market, my hubby and I enjoy going for breakfast in the cafe that’s on site. It’s such a simple idea but thoroughly enjoyable.
- Star-Gazing. You need a warm blanket, a snuggle buddy and an open space of dark sky. That’s it. Some of my deepest, most intimate and fulfilling moments with my husband have been while camping and looking up at the sky.
- Home picnic. Once, while very overwhelmed and having a bad day, I walked out to my husband having made a nighttime picnic on our front yard. The kids were asleep, the blanket was surrounded by little candles and he had put together some cheese, crackers, fruit and wine while I was getting our girls to bed. He knew how badly I wanted to be out of the house, how stressed out I had been and he did what we could do with limited funds, no sitter and very little privacy. I cried like a baby and it is one of my most treasured memories- we brought out the baby monitor and stayed outside for hours, getting slightly buzzed from sharing a bottle of wine and full of mosquito bites. I just remember loving him so much that night. Sometimes, the best dates are the free but thoughtful ones.
- Historical Tour. I really love tours, especially wine ones, but my area boasts quite a few about history and taking advantage of them is an inexpensive, educational and interesting way to spend a couple of hours in the day. Depending on the season, there are some ghost tours that you can go on, to get the adrenaline pumping and you huddled up together.
- Get out on a bike. It’s been ages since I’ve ridden a bike- I actually need to buy one. For now, I will simply rent a bike from Cycle-Logical Rentals. It’s owned by a lovely, local lady that even delivers them to our city! There are so many trails that you can explore, regardless of where you’re located, and a little exercise never hurt anyone.
If you like this date night ideas list, feel free to pin my post! Be sure to leave me some of your own suggestions in the comments, as this Mama needs all of the help she can get. Go ahead and grab my FREE DATE NIGHT IDEAS PRINTABLE and create your own collection to hang up, check off and add some spice to your life!