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17 fun dates that won't break the bank

Posted September 13

 (Deseret Photo)

All too often we get caught up in the craziness of life and don’t leave enough time to spend with our spouse. It’s super important that we make time for each other and do something fun together. “Fun” doesn’t have to be expensive, either. I’m not talking about a “Netflix and chill” kind of night; I’m talking about something that will get you out of the house that is not only fun but creative and cheap.

Here’s a list of 17 fun dates that won’t break the bank:

1. Bookstore date

The idea is simple: visit a bookstore and go on a book scavenger hunt. If you’re a book addict, chances are you might walk out with a book at the end of the date, so bring some cash just in case! There are many different versions of what kind of books to look for on your hunt, but here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Find a new recipe you’d like to try
  2. Find a funny joke to tell your date
  3. Find a children’s book you enjoyed as a child
  4. Find a book you once read in high school
  5. Find a book about a place you’d like to visit
  6. Find one of your all-time favorite books
  7. Find a book with an interesting title
  8. Find the best book you’ve never read
Bonus: switch books with your date and have them read your choice for #8!

2. Cook off

If you’re in the mood for food, have a cook off! Choose what you want to cook and compete against your spouse. May the best recipe win!

3. Star gazing

This is a classic date that will forever be fun. Grab a few blankets and pillows, bring some yummy snacks, drive somewhere with little to no light and watch the stars. Get there a little early to view the sunset and watch the stars come out. An even better idea is if you download an app that shows you all of the constellations and names of stars and planets out that night.

4. Game night

One of the more traditional dates on the list is holding a game night. This definitely is a cheap and fun date. Invite some friends over, put together a potluck of snacks, bring your favorite board games, card games, etc., and make the most of spending time with friends and your spouse.

5. Hike and picnic

The best part about hiking is there will always be a hike you haven’t done yet. There will always be a new place to explore, and what better way to explore the world than with someone you love? Choose a hike together or make it a surprise. Make sure to bring lots of water, snacks and perhaps even a picnic for when you reach your destination.

6. Free concert

During the summer and fall, there’s bound to be a free concert or event going on nearby where you can hear some live music. Who knows? You may end up seeing a band who becomes the next best thing!

7. Progressive dinner

This can be cheap or expensive depending on where you go. The cheapest option is to have a progressive dinner with friends and travel from house to house for an appetizer, dinner and dessert. Or you can start at one restaurant for an appetizer, a different one for dinner and another for dessert.

8. Penny Date

If you’re looking for a spontaneous night, the Penny Date is sure to be fun for you and your spouse. Here’s how it works:

  1. Get dressed and ready to go out.
  2. Choose a designated driver. Passenger gets to choose a number between 10 and 20 (this is the number of times you flip the coin.)
  3. Head out on the road and begin! Passenger flips the coin to choose which direction you go. Heads is right and tails is left.
  4. Every time you reach an intersection, flip the penny and turn right or left.
  5. Once you’ve flipped the coin the chosen number of times, stop!
  6. Look around and make a date out of where you are.
9. Campfire date

The idea is simple enough. Start a fire, roast some hot dogs- maybe even have tinfoil dinners. For dessert choose between S’mores or banana boats. Both will satisfy your sweet tooth.

10. Photo scavenger hunt

Go on a photo scavenger hunt around town. Join in with your friends for a bit of friendly competition and meet up afterwards for the award ceremony and some treats. You can find a fun scavenger hunt list here to get you started.

11. Leave notes at a bookstore

Another fun bookstore date idea: bring a pen and paper, walk around the bookstore or library, find your favorite books and write notes to insert into books for future readers.

12. Trilogy movie marathon

If you’re looking for a night (or day) indoors (especially if it’s a rainy day) date, have a trilogy movie marathon. Lord of the Rings, Batman, Star Wars, Bourne, etc. If you’re more daring, opt to include The Hobbit, Star Wars prequels or all 8 Harry Potter movies. Bonus: build a blanket fort to watch the movies in with a stash of popcorn and candy.

13. Geocaching

Geocaching is essentially treasure hunting. This makes for the perfect date because you get to work together to find secret treasure. Find out more here.

14. Breakfast date

Change things up a bit by going out for breakfast or making breakfast for your spouse at home. Bonus points if you make some pancake art.

15. Recess date

We were all kids once and some of us still are. Channel your inner child by going to a park or playground by swinging on the swings, playing on the monkey bars and jungle gym, playing kickball or tetherball, etc.

16. Visit a museum

There are plenty of museums around the world to visit. If you’re a student you can sometimes get free admittance with your student ID and many have discounted days that are perfect for date nights. Learn a bit about science and culture, and you can even make it a fun scavenger hunt or game of “I spy.”

17. Nerf-gun or water-gun fight

If you’re in for a battle, challenge your spouse to a Nerf-gun war. If it’s a hot, sunny day, make it a water-gun fight! Invite some friends to play and set up a course with obstacles to hide behind and make sure to have lots of fun with it. Last one standing wins!

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