If your military family is like ours, you are trying to make smart financial decisions and are watching your spending. When you are watching pennies it can be difficult to calculate date nights into the equation. While you work on stuffing your piggy bank, it’s also important to fill your love tank by spending quality time with the one you love. So we’ve put together some cheap date ideas for you!
In this day of tight budgets and a tough economy, how can couples spend time together without breaking the bank? You need some inexpensive date ideas! With a little brainstorming and planning, “date night” can cost little or nothing, and quality time can be plentiful.
Cheap Date in The Great Outdoors
For couples who like spending time outside, nature offers a variety of options for a cheap date. Walking, hiking, bike riding, and rollerblading are great ways to reconnect while getting healthy at the same time. Check out what your base offers for outdoor recreation! Other options include playing a game of catch, frisbee, tennis, one-on-one basketball, or go to the base gym for a workout together.
For those who prefer being a fan and watching others play, try catching a local team. Some of our favorite dates have been to watch minor league, high school or college teams play. They offer the same high-energy excitement of the major leagues for a fraction of the cost. Added bonuses are better seats, less traffic, and more flexible schedules.
Outdoor activities don’t have to require sports, however. Try packing a picnic and eating at a park or by a lake. (Ok maybe not a lake for those of you stationed in florida! Those gators can be a bit crazy!) Picnic dates don’t always have to be at dinner time – you may find a great spot on base for a lunch picnic. We’ve found squeezing in a lunch date can be a great way to go. Plus when the kids are at school you save on having to pay for a sitter!
Many communities offer free concerts at nearby parks. Often the base MWR will have an outdoor movie event on base as the weather gets warmer.
When the sun goes down, try a little stargazing. We’ve even planned date nights at home that included stargazing and roasting marshmallows in the backyard once the kids were in bed!
Going Out For Less
For those who prefer a night on the town, check out bars and restaurants in the area to find happy hour specials or off-peak savings. (Changing your date night to a weeknight can help you find deals on food and drinks.)
For a quieter excursion, try checking out local cafe or bookstore events. Many will offer musicians or readings at little to no cost. If you are at a stage in parenthood where you are knee-deep in kids who require energy from sunup to sundown, sometimes just going to sit at a coffee shop to have a conversation or play a board game is a great way to connect with each other. Enjoy a beverage and just relax.
Museums can offer opportunities to broaden horizons, and couples can find museums just about everywhere that are either completely free or offer free or discounted days. Browse the internet for ideas.
To learn something new, check out continuing education classes. Options cover the spectrum, and couples can take up anything from ballroom dancing to computers. Cooking classes are a fun way to combine food and date night without just sitting at a restaurant. (There are even virtual cooking classes available if you’d rather learn together at home!) For one of our dates we took a sushi making class that was fun, informative and tasty!
Staying In For Date Night
Weather or moods can drive couples indoors. Instead of zoning in front of the TV, try watching a movie. OnDemand choices or Netflix are low-cost alternatives to the box office. You can even check out the library in town or on base for a large selection – for free.
Keep your minds active by trying out a jigsaw puzzle or crossword puzzle. The large variety of board games available means there’s an option for every personality. When it’s just the two of us enjoying a board game we love to play Othello or Battleship!
You can get crafty and try building something together, painting, or making a scrapbook. Or how about taking up photography and then taking turns posing?
Head back to the library and check out cookbooks. Try a new recipe, with the added benefit of being able to enjoy both the preparation and the dining together. When we were first married we had a fun date night that was Top Chef themed where we each picked a couple recipes we had never made before!
Keep It Inexpensive and Get Romantic
Nothing says romance like a little candlelight and a bubble bath for two. Extend the romance with a massage. Don’t know how? Borrow a book from the library or check out online resources. See where the romance leads.
Cheap Date Ideas On Your Military Base
Check out what date opportunities exist on the base where your family is stationed. Bowling is a fun activity on many bases. Often bases have theaters with discounted movie tickets. We’ve lived on bases with beaches and marinas that offer canoe, kayak, and boat rentals which make for a fun way to spend time together. Many bases have golf courses as well. Some of our favorite times together have been going to the driving range to hit a bucket of balls and then grabbing a drink or bite to eat at the clubhouse. Swing by the Information Tickets & Travel (ITT) office on base and see what discounts they are offering on local event tickets.
Date Your Spouse While Saving
The possibilities for cheap date ideas are endless. Think of shared interests you have with your spouse as well as new things to try. Whatever date idea you choose, enjoy the most important part – spending time with the one you love!