Let’s be honest: rekindling the romance in the 21st century requires cash and lots of it.
Today’s date night mean splurging on a nice restaurant, cafe or bar with an IG-worthy ambiance and food presentations. Valentine’s Day means burning cash on useless teddy bears, perishable flowers, and expensive jewelry. Anniversary celebrations are associated with traveling far away and spending a hefty amount on accommodation, dining, and getting around.
Since when did spending time with your significant other become so expensive?
Well, you know what? It doesn’t have to be. Just because you, your partner, or both of you are broke (or just extremely frugal) doesn’t mean you can’t have an amazing, unforgettable couples therapy a.k.a date night. And no, we’re not just talking about Netflix and chill.
A little creativity merged with frugality can go a long way. Check out these 14 bare-minimum date ideas for you and your partner.
1. Cook together
If you love bonding over good food, this makes a lovely date night. Craft a dinner menu, with the dishes you both enjoy. Shop together at your local grocery and cook together. Test out each other’s skills in the kitchen. You can even have a cooking competition and let a family member or friend be the Gordon Ramsay,
2. Go out for dinner – literally
Because eating your dinner in the dining room is boring.
Do you have a patio or a garden? Recreate the best dishes from your favorite restaurants and set up a romantic dinner table, with fine tableware, cutlery, and candles, under the stars. Use fairy lights to set the mood. Don’t forget the bottle of chilled wine and soothing music.
3. Plan a game night
A couple that plays together, stays together. Do you have a video game you both enjoy? Perhaps a card game to test your skill? How about an old-fashioned board game?
4. Visit flea market and thrift shops
Skip the fancy shopping malls and head to a flea market. Hunt down bargains, like vintage toys, old comic books, retro electronics, and other treasures. You don’t have to buy anything – just make the most out of your treasure hunting experience.
5. Take a creative photo walk
Are you two photography buffs? Go to a place with a plethora of photography opportunities.
It can be a picturesque heritage town with an old-world charm, filled with century-old buildings, cobblestone streets, and horse-drawn carriage. You can also go to a red-light district, with vibrant neon lights and cityscape. Another idea is catching a festival and capturing festive scenes.
Take your sightseeing to the next level by taking pictures of the sights – including your partner. You can also have a friendly competition to make it more exciting.
6. Go on an unplanned road trip
Escape the hustle and bustle of city life and just head somewhere quiet and peaceful. Driving to the countryside is perfect. Listen to your favorite tunes while on the road. Discover new awesome places.
Find a perfect parking space and share stories over beers and snacks. Pack your sleeping bags, portable tent, and power banks, just in case.
7. Go stargazing
This is another activity to include on your road trip.
Escape to a place where the sky isn’t covered with smog and light pollution. Lay back and just marvel at the sky, filled with countless stars. You can even bring a telescope, or a camera and tripod, and do some astrophotography. Or you can just talk and catch up after constantly ignoring each other for days due to your hectic schedules.
8. Hike anywhere with a great view
Get those endorphins flowing by finding a lovely hiking and camping site you can visit without having to pay anything. Feast your eyes on picturesque views along the way.
9. Beat the cold and get active
Is it snowing? Why not take advantage of the cold weather by sledding down a hill? You can even find outdoor rinks and go ice skating.
10. Explore the city via bikes
Not only cycling is free – it’s eco-friendly and healthy too. Go ahead and explore the town on bikes. You may also pack light snacks and go on picnics in the park or riverside.
11. Visit art exhibits and museums
Whether or not you’re a lover of art, literature, anthropology, history, and science, you surely won’t forget a museum date with your spouse. The best part? They’re usually free of cost.
12. Find free local gigs
From free outdoor concerts with a collective of your favorite performers to bars with live music from local, independent musicians, a date night filled with music is surely a night to remember. Visit on a happy hour to enjoy cheap beverages while listening to great live music.
13. Interact with animals together
When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a date that involves animals. Drink coffee at a dog or cat cafe. Visit an attraction with fish ponds. Go to a park where you can feed the ducks. Visit a wildlife sanctuary or an animal shelter. Who knows? You can help a creature who needs a forever home.
14. Set up your very own spa at home
Still can’t figure out what to do on your date? Why not stay at home and pamper yourselves? Buy those cheap face masks, body oils, and other spa essentials. Google how to give a great massage and take turns. Who knows? You don’t need marriage counseling – you just need a nice spa session to rekindle the romance and bring back the intimacy.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is one of the writers for Relationship Room Couples Counseling, a couples psychology institution specializing in relationship counseling and therapies for couples and families. She may be hopeless romantic but she’s got some straightforward pieces of advice about love, dating, and relationships.