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My wife and I have recently started budgeting in order to pay off debt and save some money. If you’ve ever taken a stab at budgeting before, you know it brings money to the forefront of your mind no matter what the activity. Dates are no exception.  Unfortunately, dates are usually expensive, but they don’t have to be. Here are some ideas for some fun date ideas for under ten dollars (gas not included).

Photo Adventure & Froyo

Do you enjoy photography, or at least enjoy having photos of and with your significant other? Perhaps a photo adventure is in order. What is a photo adventure? It can be as simple or complex as you want. Maybe you just want to go to a picturesque place and take photos while talking. Perhaps you want to theme it and take pictures in front of old buildings or interesting doors. If you’re really feeling adventurous, you can go on a photo scavenger hunt by creating your own list of funny and cool things to get pictures of. What great memories that will bring! At the end of the night, grab some frozen yogurt and look through the photos you took. It will be a night to remember, but start slow… you don’t want your first date to be your best, keep some tricks up your sleeve for later!

Community Events

A lot of cities have community events throughout the year. I live in Sacramento, CA, and there is a site called www.sac365.com that has listings of all the events going on in the greater Sacramento area. This can be a treasure trove of cheap or free activities. Show your date you are classy and take them to a free day at the museum. Share a blanket at a free outdoor concert and talk the night away. These are just a couple of the numerous things you can do. Check local websites and newspapers for ideas. Be creative… tailor your outdoing to your significant other.  Made it through an event without spending money? Try to find a local dessert or coffee shop where you can sit and chat for a little while longer. Oh, and bring board games!.


I know what you’re thinking, picnics are expensive. Typically, this is true because you have to buy food. However, if you already have food that would work for a picnic you won’t need to spend much. Maybe shell out some money for a red and white plaid sheet. Picnics are great especially when a little planning goes into them. Make sure to scope out the perfect spot where you can have some privacy and shade to relax.

Discount Movies & Walk

I love movies… maybe too much. Many cities have some kind of discount movie theater playing old-ish movies. I know three in Sacramento. Does your date like movies? Maybe this would be a good starter date for you. After the movie, if you’re in a safe area, go for a walk and keep talking. Real conversation makes for great connections and lasting memories.

Meet Up

Are you a social couple? Do you like meeting new people and having new experiences? Meet Up might be for you. No, it’s not a dating service… Meetup is a service where you can connect with groups of people that have similar interests to you. Do you like hiking? How about board games? I myself enjoy cycling. Whatever you’re into it’s likely that some other people are as well. Meet new people and have a fun new experience together! Check out their site, download their free app and find some cool meet ups!


Do you live on planet Earth? It is likely there are some sweet geocache spots within 20 miles of your home. What is geocaching? Think of it as treasure hunting for the tech savvy. The official geocaching app for iPhone and Android costs $9.99 so make sure to bring your own food and drink to stay on budget! It would probably be best to make up a list of some easy to find caches. It may even be good to scope some of them ahead of time so you at least know you’ll find some. Who doesn’t like a treasure hunt? No one!

Visiting new cities or towns

Want to kill a day and explore new areas? Find a town nearby that you’ve never been to and explore it. Use Google to see if there are any fun photo spots or landmarks. Search the downtown area for antique shops and thrift stores. Grab ice cream at a local creamery, and bring some food to eat throughout the day! You can easily spend five hours there, and spend very little money.

Sunrise/Sunset & Coffee

Everyone goes on dates in the evening, but not you oh creative soul! Wake up early, get in warm clothes, find a hill and watch the sunrise. What better way to start the day than to spend it with your main squeeze. Need a little kickstart? Grab some coffee before hand, or grab a cheap lunch after. It’s not hard to only spend ten dollars if you’re willing to share. “But Bryce,” you say, “I’m a conformist, I don’t go on dates in the morning.” What a sad life you live. That’s okay you can do this same thing at night time as well! Don’t want to think much? There are apps that tell you when the sun will rise and set based on your location. Have fun!

Outdoor Activities

Chances are there are places you hike, bike, raft or kayak near by. If planned correctly, these can all be done for free. Sometimes you may need to walk a little further to get free parking, and you may need to borrow some kayaks from friends, but it can be done. Don’t forget to stock up on plenty of water, sunscreen, and snacks, before embarking on any of these adventures.

Dinner & Redbox

Want to watch a movie, but don’t want to go out? Release your inner chef and put together a delicious meal using the ingredients found in your cupboard. Don’t know what to make? Check out these useful sites that give you recipes based on what you have: Recipe Key & Supercook. While you’re cooking give your significant other a Redbox.com coupon code to rent whatever movie they want! Since you aren’t spending any money may I suggest some ice cream, or dare I say wine, to go with your meal?

What do you think of these ideas? Do you have any ideas of your own? I’d love to hear them! Please comment below!



Author Bryce Cooley.