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101 Thrilling & Free Date Ideas For 2024: Romance on a Budget!

Whether you are just getting to know someone new and planning a first date or you have been married for 40 years, it can be hard work coming up with new and romantic date ideas on a small budget. Keeping the spark alive is essential to any relationship, old or new, and it will be a whole lot easier with these fun free date ideas or cheap date ideas that will only cost you a few dollars!


Couple on bike in love

These free or cheap date ideas are the perfect way to spend quality time with your loved one even if you don’t have a lot of spare cash to splurge with.

After all, some of the best memories are made when you don’t spend a thing!

And why not step it up a level and make your own DIY date jar by adding all these fun ideas and having a little surprise each time you pull one out of your jar?

  1. Walk on the beach – If you live close to the beach, take a romantic stroll along the shore. This is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors.
  2. Have a picnic – Raid the refrigerator and pantry or whip up a special meal to share just for this occasion, grab your picnic rug and head to a peaceful spot to enjoy a meal together with a change of scenery.
  3. Movie night at home – Turn your living room into a comfortable home cinema experience with loads of comfy pillows and blankets, popcorn and prepare for a movie marathon together.
  4. Cook dinner together – Preparing a meal together can be fun, intimate and romantic. Cook something you both enjoy for a wonderful date night at home experience.
  5. Go for a hike or bushwalk – If you enjoy the outdoors, take advantage of a beautiful day and go for an adventure. Get some fresh air while enjoying each other’s company. As far as dates that don’t cost money, this one ticks the fitness option too! Bonus.
  6. Eat breakfast together watching the sunrise – Who said dates only happen at night? Start your day with romance by getting up extra early to see the sun come up as you enjoy your breakfast together. This is a perfect date for couples who struggle to find time to spend alone together by getting up before the kids do!
  7. Board game night – Let your playful and competitive sides take over with a board game night. Check out these must-have classic board games if you need some new ideas. Turn up the spice by adding a sexy twist like strip chess.
  8. Get active with favourite sport – If you’re both sporty, organise a game of tennis, go for a swim or play mini golf.
  9. Visit your local library – Libraries are full of fascinating facts and interesting books. Spend some time browsing and learning something new together.
  10. Volunteer together – Doing something to help others is a great way to spend time together and feel good. Look for local organisations that need volunteers and give some of your time to a worthy cause.
  11. Go on a road trip to somewhere new – If you have a car, take a drive to somewhere you’ve never been before. Stop at a few different places along the way and make some memories. It does not need to be an overnight road trip to be memorable and fun! There is a lot you can see and do in a single day.
  12. Have a star-gazing session – Find a spot away from city lights to lay down and look up at the stars. It’s romantic, free and you might even spot a shooting star! As far as free date night ideas go, this one is pretty easy to do anywhere.
  13. Visit an animal shelter – Spend some time cuddling kittens or puppies at your local animal shelter. It’s a great way to relax and de-stress, plus you’ll be helping out these little guys who need love and attention before they find their forever homes.
  14. Go for a walk – Sometimes the simplest date is the best date. Hold hands, talk about your dreams together, absorb some vitamin D and breathe in the fresh air.
  15. Bake cookies – Baking is a fun activity to do together and you get to eat your delicious creation afterwards!
  16. Give each other a relaxing massage – Use some scented massage oil or body lotion to give each other a relaxing and sensual massage. This is a great way to end a long day and spend some quality time together reconnecting as a couple.
  17. Have a staycation at home – If you can’t get away for a romantic weekend, have a staycation instead! Dedicate a weekend to each other where you focus on relaxation, enjoyment and quality time together without distractions.
  18. Do a photoshoot – Pretend you’re models for the day and have a photo shoot around your neighbourhood or at home. Be creative with your poses and backdrops and have fun with it!
  19. Visit a botanical garden – stroll hand in hand through a local botanical garden admiring the flowers and greenery. This is a perfect date for nature lovers.
  20. Feed the ducks at a park – Take some bread to your local park and feed the ducks. It’s a fun, free activity that will make you feel like kids again!
  21. Play tourist for the day – If you live in a big city, there are probably plenty of fun things you still haven’t seen or done. Be tourists for the day and explore your own backyard!
  22. Visit a museum that has free entry – Learn something new together by visiting a local museum. Many museums offer free admission or have discounted rates on certain days or for specific exhibitions, so there’s no excuse not to go!
  23. Play video games together – If you’re both into gaming, spend some time playing your favourite games together. It’s a great way to fit in that tech time while still enjoying each other’s company. You could even dust off the old favourites from your childhood for a little nostalgia!
  24. Watch the sunrise or sunset – There’s something magical about watching the sun come up or go down. Find a spot where you can see the sunrise or sunset and enjoy the moment together being fully aware of your surroundings and letting the stress of the week fade away.
  25. Attend a free festival or local event – There are usually plenty of free events and festivals happening in most cities and towns. Check out what’s happening in your area and go along to something that interests you both. Invite some friends and make it a double date for even more fun!
  26. Have a moonlight picnic in your backyard – Add a romantic twist to your usual picnic by enjoying it in the moonlight. Bring out a lantern or candles (taking care not to knock them over) to illuminate your evening meal.
  27. Go swimming at a beach or lake – Take a dip in your local lake or ocean (if you’re lucky enough to live close to one!) or a lake that is safe for swimming. Going for a swim is a great way to cool off on a hot day and it’s free!
  28. Head to the art gallery – Become a pair of art critics for a day and visit your local art gallery. Many galleries have free entry or discounted rates on certain days and it’s a great way to spend a couple of hours exploring some creative works of art.
  29. Have a binge-watching marathon of a favourite TV series – Binge watch a TV series. This is a perfect date idea for a rainy day. Get comfortable on the couch with some snacks and spend the day catching up on a show you both love.
  30. Start a garden together – If you have some space in your backyard (or even on your balcony), start a little garden together. Plant some herbs, vegetables or flowers and watch them grow over time. This is a great way to get outside and enjoy some fresh air while creating something new together.
  31. Teach them your favourite hobby – Take turns to share your favourite hobbies with each other. It could be anything from cooking and baking to playing a musical instrument or painting. This is a great way to learn more about each other and bond over something you each enjoy. Bonus points if you discover a hobby you both end up loving enough to continue doing together.
  32. Go out just for dessert – Going out for meals can get very expensive, but if you go out just for dessert, you don’t have to spend a lot. Get a decadent dessert to share for a special treat!
  33. Look through family photos and memorabilia – Reminisce and share stories as you browse through old photo albums and souvenirs you’ve collected during your lives while taking a walk down memory lane.
  34. Play a 20 questions game – Get to know each other better and have a little fun while you’re at it with a couples 20 questions game. You can make up your own too for this fun home date idea!
  35. Throw a frisbee at the park – A frisbee or kicking a football at a nearby park is a fun way to feel young again and have some active time together. Often these simple moments remind us how much we don’t make time for in our busy lives.
  36. Share your favourite music and listen together – Create a playlist of your favourite songs and share it with each other. Take turns adding songs to the playlist and then listen to them together. It’s a great way to discover new music while also sharing what you love with each other. Even if you think you know one another’s music tastes, you might be surprised to discover something you had no idea they liked!
  37. Borrow a boat and head out on the water – If you have a friend with a row boat, kayak or canoe, spend a few hours on the water enjoying the scenery and experience. Even better if you already have your own water activities to use!
  38. Watch a local team sports match – Attending a live sports match can be really expensive, but you can easily see local teams play for free instead!
  39. Take a free class together – Learn something new together that gets you both outside of your comfort zones! It might be yoga in the park or a free parenting or cooking class.
  40. Set up a scavenger hunt for your date – Scavenger hunts are so much fun, and you can make them as simple or complicated as you want. Get creative and come up with a list of things for your date to find, taking them all over the house or your local town in the process.
  41. Karaoke at a local bar – Love singing? Even if you are terrible at it, a karaoke session is sure to have you laughing together in no time!
  42. Play card games – Card games are a great way to have some fun and spend time together without spending any money. Whether you opt for a classic game like Go Fish or something more complicated like Poker, you’re sure to have a good time.
  43. Go geocaching in your local area – Geocaching is like a real-life treasure hunt and it’s a lot of fun! Use your smartphones to find geocaches hidden in your local area and see how many you can find together.
  44. Create a meal together using only ingredients already in the house – This cooking challenge not only uses up ingredients from your fridge, freezer and pantry, but it gets the creativity flowing. Here are some recipe ideas
  45. Take your laptop or portable DVD player and create an outdoor cinema – Find a spot in your garden to set up with a picnic rug, pillows and blankets and create your own outdoor cinema. Use your laptop to watch or a projector if you have one and enjoy a film together. Don’t forget the popcorn!
  46. Go somewhere public and pretend to ‘pick up’ for the first time – Relive that first meeting with a little adult role-play. Go to the same spot you met or somewhere public and pretend you are meeting for the first time. It can be fun to see how things might have been if you’d met under different circumstances.
  47. Have a super long make-out session to feel ‘young’ again – Kissing is good for your health! True story! This is a free date idea you can add to your schedule regularly!
  48. Explore a nearby town or city together – If you live close to a big city or town, spend a day exploring everything it has to offer! It’s a great way to discover somewhere new and find some hidden gems. Often the best dates are the most simple ones!
  49. Build sandcastles at the beach – Who says sandcastles are just for kids? Challenge each other to see who can build the most epic sand creation!
  50. Attend a free concert – There are often free concerts happening in town squares or parks during the summer months. Check online to see if there is any happening near you that you can go along to for an exciting free date night.
  51. Camp in your backyard – A backyard camping session can feel like a weekend away without having to go anywhere. You still get your facilities at home but with extra time in the great outdoors together.
  52. Test drive your dream car – If you’ve ever wanted to test drive a luxury car, this is your chance! Many dealerships will let you take their cars for a spin, so long as you seem like you’re interested in buying. Shhhh… so head to your local dealership and start test driving.
  53. Try free samples at a foodie festival or market – Who needs lunch if you can taste your way around the free samples? Even Costco is a great option for this one!
  54. Attend a free trivia night at a local venue – Many community trivia nights are free or low cost (around $10 to participate) and you may end up heading home with the prize if you’re a trivia guru!
  55. Make your favourite food for each other – If you’re both foodies, spend an afternoon whipping up your favourite dishes for each other. You can alternate who is being the chef for the night.
  56. Head out for a bike ride – This is a great way to explore your local area and get some exercise in too! Make it a sunset bike ride for some added romance.
  57. Catch a free movie in the park – During the summer months, you can often find free outdoor cinema sessions. This can be a fun night out and affordable if you take your own snacks.
  58. Go people-watching – Visit an airport or shopping centre and create amusing stories about strangers you see
  59. Learn a new skill from a book or online tutorial – YouTube videos are great for learning new things and if there is something you’ve both always wanted to learn, this date is the ideal chance to do so.
  60. Snowball fight – If you live in a place that snows in winter, head outdoors in your winter gear for a snowball fight or snowman-building session to feel young and adventurous together.
  61. Create a couple’s bucket list – Spend some time coming up with all the things you want to do together in the future. This is a great way to get excited about planning more adventures together.
  62. Go fishing – If you have fishing gear, this is a really cheap date idea and you might even catch yourself some fresh fish for dinner!
  63. Go skating – Pull on your skates or head to the local skating or ice skating rink for a few hours of fun together.
  64. Make a date jar – Plan your year ahead of fun, surprise date ideas by making your own date jar. Fill it with ideas from this list and other date ideas and take turns pulling out a date at random next time you’re planning some romantic time together.
  65. Try barefoot lawn bowls – Often a cheaper option and a fun activity for outdoors, barefoot bowls is a popular alternative to lawn bowls aimed at getting the younger crowd interested.
  66. Watch street performers in your city – Street performers are often found in busy areas of major cities and they provide great entertainment while you’re walking around.
  67. Go fruit picking at a farm – This is a great activity for fruit season and you can take home your bounty of fresh fruit to enjoy later.
  68. Join a free dance class – If you’re both keen to learn how to dance, look for trial adult dance classes in your area. This can be a fun way to spend an evening together while getting some exercise too.
  69. Help each other do crosswords or puzzles – Often found in cafes, these can be great fun to do together while enjoying a coffee or tea.
  70. Toast marshmallows with a bonfire – A classic date idea that’s perfect for winter. You can even make s’mores if you’re feeling extra indulgent!
  71. Check out local garage sales – You never know what treasures you will find at garage sales. You can also visit a local flea market to see what you can discover there too.
  72. Have a backyard BBQ – If you have a backyard, this is a great opportunity to fire up the BBQ and enjoy some time outdoors together with a meal.
  73. Make homemade pizzas – This is a fun activity to do together and you can get creative with your toppings.
  74. Get soaked with a water fight – This is a fun way to cool off in summer and you can have water fights in your backyard or at a local park.
  75. Grab an ice cream – Try a new flavour at your local ice cream store before taking a stroll together. Not free but only a few dollars!
  76. Head to the zoo – There are lots of free or cheap smaller animal reserves to visit for your date. Many of the large zoos also have an annual free entry day too so keep an eye out for these events.
  77. Watch favourite movies from your childhood – Reminisce about your favourite movies from when you were younger and see if they hold up today. A little old-school date night fun is always a good idea.
  78. Make a list of things to do in your city – If you’re new to the area or just want to explore more of what’s on offer, make a list of all the things you want to do and then start ticking them off.
  79. Give each other a pedicure and foot massage – Feel relaxed and pampered with this at-home spa date.
  80. Have a candlelit dinner at home – This is a classic date idea that you can make as simple or fancy as you like.
  81. Write a song or poem together – Even if you aren’t creative writers, this can be a fun activity to do together and you may surprise yourselves with the end result.
  82. Complete a DIY project – Work on a simple DIY project together. It can be something as small as making a picture frame or as ambitious as building a piece of furniture. Head to the hardware store and get your supplies and away you go!
  83. Go out dancing – If you enjoy dancing, head to a local club or bar that has a dance floor.
  84. Check out a local comedy act – Many comedy clubs or an open mic night have free or cheap tickets for local acts. This can be a great way to spend an evening together laughing.
  85. Make breakfast in bed – A classic date idea that’s always enjoyable.
  86. Head to a winery for some free wine tasting – This is a great way to spend an afternoon together and you may find a new favourite wine.
  87. Birdwatching – Grab a pair of binoculars and a bird-watching guide and see how many different species you can spot.
  88. Play truth or dare – This classic game can be a lot of fun and may lead to some interesting conversations.
  89. Take a factory or behind-the-scenes tour – Check out your local factories to see if they offer any free behind-the-scenes tours. This can be a great way to learn more about how things are made, especially for favourite foods such as artisan chocolates, cheese or wine.
  90. Make a scrapbook of your relationship so far – This is a fun way to look back on all the happy moments you’ve shared together.
  91. Play darts or pool at the local pub – This can be a fun way to spend an evening together, especially if you make it a bit of friendly competition.
  92. Write a list of your favourite things about one another – This is a romantic way to connect with your partner and will make for a sweet keepsake.
  93. Play out a scene in a romantic book or movie – This one could be as sweet or spicy as you want it to be!
  94. Write each other love letters – This is a timeless way to express your love for one another.
  95. Ride on public transport and get off somewhere interesting – This is a fun way to explore somewhere new by hopping off a bus, train or ferry at a stop you’ve never been to before.
  96. Play strip poker – This is a naughty twist on a classic card game but you can add the strip element to any game you want with a little extra creativity!
  97. Read together– Find a cozy place to chill out together or put a picnic rug down in a shady spot and enjoy each other’s company while you each read a good book. Or take turns reading to one another for something different!
  98. Go thrifting – Head to your local thrift store and see what you can find. You could even set yourselves a fun challenge to find yourself a date outfit to wear out for fun. Not free but you can usually find some total bargains if you’re trying to keep costs down. You might even find a cheap piece of furniture you can makeover together for your next date. Or just go window shopping instead.
  99. Make a time capsule – This is a fun way to capture your relationship at this moment in time. You can bury it in the ground or keep it safe in a box to open up in the future.
  100. Tell ghost stories – See if you can scare each other with some creative ghost stories. A good excuse for some cuddles!
  101. Have a fondue night – Melt chocolate or cheese feed each other yummy food.

There you have it, 101 free date ideas (or at least really affordable date ideas) so you can keep the passion going without worrying about the expensive costs associated with extravagant dates.

And of course, if it happens to be a special occasion, make sure you check out these DIY Valentine’s Day gifts. These simple handmade gifts can be for any special occasion… no not just Valentine’s!

Printable date jar cards.

Conversation starters for families can be helpful to get kids talking. Try these conversation starters for kids, teens, and couples, conversation starters for family dinner & Would You Rather questions for kids to get everyone talking!

The Importance of Dating Your Partner

101 cheap or free date ideas

Setting aside time together as a couple is essential to a healthy relationship. It means time to focus on just the two of you, regardless of work, kids, and other responsibilities if you have them.

If you are a couple that has been together for many years, it can become easy to let things like date nights slide. Especially if you have kids.

So many married couples stop dating each other and this can have a negative impact on your intimacy, closeness and communication.

Going on dates is great for stress management, for helping us to feel connected and valued. Plus who doesn’t want a little extra fun and adventure in their life!!!

Just as we want to feel connected to our kids, this is equally important with our romantic partner!

Staying home? Check out 15 ways to make at home date night more fun, even if it means waiting until the kids are in bed first!

The 5 Love Languages & What They Mean for Your Relationship

We all know that communication is key in any relationship. But did you know that there are different love languages?

Just like we have different native tongues, we also express and receive love differently. And if you’re not speaking your partner’s love language, it can lead to some pretty big misunderstandings.

Here are the five love languages, according to Dr Gary Chapman, and what they mean for your relationship:

  1. Words of Affirmation -If your partner’s love language is words of affirmation, they likely feel loved when you tell them how much you appreciate them. This could be through verbal compliments, written notes or even just a text message saying how much they mean to you.
  2. Acts of Service – If your partner’s love language is acts of service, they feel loved when you do something to help them out. This could be making them breakfast in bed, taking the dog for a walk or mending their pants for them.
  3. Receiving Gifts – If your partner’s love language is receiving gifts, they feel loved when you give them a present. This doesn’t have to be an expensive gift. It could be something as simple as a handmade gift or a bouquet of flowers.
  4. Quality Time– If your partner’s love language is quality time, they feel loved when you spend time with them. This could be going on a date, taking a walk together or just sitting and talking.
  5. Physical Touch – If your partner’s love language is physical touch, they feel loved when you touch them. This could be through holding hands, hugging or a shoulder massage.
Free printable 30 day relationship challenge.


When you know your partner’s love language, it makes it even easier to plan cheap date ideas that you know will speak to their love language! You can incorporate these acts into your date night plans to keep your relationship thriving! You might also enjoy this 30-day couple challenge!

What are your favourite free date ideas you enjoy with your partner? 


101 free date ideas you don't need to spend for romance.


Thursday 6th of September 2018

If you are looking for something nice to do as a couple


Friday 16th of October 2015

Love this :) My husband and I have been together for eleven years this year (married for nine), and we still love to go for walks together, have candlelit dinners at home, play video games (our favourite is to do some Halo in co-op mode, but we've also played through the Monkey Island games together etc.), and make our own at-home movie nights complete with buttery popcorn and sodas! To the list I would add "write a story together" (can be silly, serious, or "adult" ;) ) and "read aloud to one another."


Monday 19th of October 2015

I love your story idea! My hubby is probably not one to do that but it would be such a laugh. And co-op Halo is the best. While we don't do that sort of thing as often now with the kids, some of our best weekends were spent having gaming or moving nights. The simple things since it's all about the company.


Thursday 9th of July 2015

Holly 6 & 21 are the same


Thursday 9th of July 2015

Lol late night writing with a newborn isn't always great.


Tuesday 7th of July 2015

Great list. I think my hubby and I have done a lot of the things on your list over the last 19 yrs.


Wednesday 8th of July 2015

That's lovely Erlene. Just shows you don't need to spurge to have fun as a couple!


Tuesday 7th of July 2015

Wonderful ideas!! I'll have to try a few (or 10!). Thanks for doing the hard part (thinking) for me! Here from Merry Monday.


Wednesday 8th of July 2015

Hope you have some lovely experiences working through the list. Making memories is the best part of being a couple :)

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