I’m always a little hesitant to tell people how to spend their holidays, especially those that involve dates. Dates are something personal and that’s the way they should be. How you grow closer to someone has to be on your terms and by your own methods. That being said, I know a lot of people are looking to save money this year and Neil and I are admittedly successful tightwads. Having done the first year of our relationship long-distance, we had to get creative to not get our relationship off the ground, but save money while we were spending so much in gas/travel to make it work.
Here are just a few of the frugal date ideas we find to be tried and true:
1. Mystery Mini Trip: Get in the car and drive in a direction. You don’t have to drive all that far, even just to the next town. Explore, take pictures, talk and look around. Try lunch or a snack at a local eatery. It may not be life-changing, but it’s never failed to give us a welcome break from routine.
2. Explore a Local Conservation Area and Literally Take a Hike: Most people live near one and don’t even know it. It’s cold out, so your exploration might not be long, but bundle up and walk a local trail or beaten path. If you’re on the east coast, build a snow man!
3. A day of Service: Take a day and volunteer at a local homeless shelter or humane society. If you’re able, donate blood together and share a cookie and coffee afterward at a local cafe. More ideas in your local area here.
4. Visit a Local Museum or Commemorative Monument: There are tons of little known and under-appreciated museums and commemorative monuments. Take a small drive to a local points of interest and make a small donation toward its maintenance.
5. Make Breakfast: Because Valentine’s Day falls on a weekend this year, take advantage of a day off work and make breakfast. Most people don’t eat breakfast, so even something as basic as cinnamon buns out of the tube will be little off-the-routine thrill.
6. Create Valentine’s Day Cards for Loved Ones: It’s simple, thoughtful and a great excuse to tell childhood and family stories to get to know one another better, even if you’re married.
7. Team Up With Another Couple: A favorite of ours. Team up with another couple and share a double-date or a dinner night at home with movies and games afterward.
8. The Bookstore Date: An easy favorite! A relaxing trip to the bookstore to peruse books together. Might not end up being cheap if you’re like me and can’t resist new reading material.
9. Work Out Together: Enjoy working out not only at the same gym but together as teammates. Design a yoga workout, experiment with new machines or running intervals or be each other’s spotter for a new resistance weight challenge.
Neil playing World of Warcraft while Felix looks on.
10. Game Night: This is by far our favorite date. As we both have World of Warcraft subscriptions we tend to play computer games, but game night night can be anything! We love scrabble, Apples to Apples, and Sequence, and we’ve burned hours on our Nintendo Game Cube. Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to pick up or rent a new game or explore new ways to play games. If you’re crafty, you can even design your own board game together, complete with materials you find around the house.
11. Learn a new Skill or Hobby: Why not endeavor to learn a new skill or hobby together? It could be anything from a complicated cooking feat or craft project to something as adventurous and possibly disastrous as refinishing furniture (more on that soon!).
12. Beautify Your Home: This doesn’t have to cost anything, but focus in on an area of your home and make it more beautiful with paint, a decoration or just picking up the junk you’ve left lie around. Make it a cool place to hang out and enjoy it together!
13. Themed Movie Night: Step out of your comfort zone and make a playlist of movies to watch that fit a certain category or follow a certain theme that you are both interested in. How about classic movie night? Or Kung Foo! Create a drinking game or other game around the theme of your movies or just pop some popcorn and cozy up on the couch.
14. Do Someone A Favor: Suggested by a friend, I myself haven’t done it but would love to give it a try. Help someone else celebrate a frugal well-deserved night out by babysitting for free. Having never done it, I think (think being operative) it would be fun to return to childhood for a night and play with games, toys and a good imagination. The most important thing is that you are helping someone else out.
15. Plan your Future: If you’re frugal, what are you saving for? This idea doesn’t have to mean wedding bells or life decisions, but plan something you want to do in the future and start taking steps to make it happen. How about a spring garden? Or a summer camping trip? Write up step-by-step plan together and make it happen!
So there are just a few of the great date ideas we’ve tried and loved, but there are literally hundreds more! If you have a great idea, or need a great idea, leave a comment! We’d love to hear from you! And stay tuned, a fun filled food idea post is coming up tomorrow!