Simple Cheap Date Ideas That Fit Your Budget and You’ll Enjoy

Dating can be expensive, especially in our inflationary environment. Those dating are going on fewer dates due to higher costs. All bets were off for dating during the pandemic, as six feet apart was the standard, but hopefully, lockdowns are in the past.

The average date cost in the US was $97.68, much higher in California, New York, and other parts of the country.

Five Most Expensive Date Costs By State

  1. New York City, New York: $150
  2. Honolulu, Hawaii $130.50
  3. Boston, Massachusetts: $126.00
  4. Seattle, Washington: $122.00
  5. Los Angeles, California: $121.00


Five Cheapest Date Costs By State

  1. Des Moines, Iowa: $72.00
  2. Charleston, West Virginia: $74.00
  3. Sioux Falls, South Dakota: $75.00
  4. Oklahoma City, West Virginia: $77.50
  5. Cheyenne, Wyoming: $78.00

Unless you’re willing to move to Iowa for low-cost dating, you’ll need to change it up or pay through the nose to meet people.

There is an urgency to please your partner when you are in the early stages of your relationship. You believe the person will love the five-star restaurant where you reserved a table. Couples are spending more money on transportation, gas, and clothing as restaurants hike prices on menus. With creativity, you can have the best first date without having to spend a lot of money.

We have some cheap date ideas that are less costly but more valuable. You don’t have to go to four and five-star restaurants to impress your friends. You can find ways to save more money and fit a tight budget despite high inflation. 

Let’s look at a recent survey that discovered more about the current dating landscape.

Dating Disrupts Your Budget, Especially With High Inflation

According to the latest LendingTree survey of Millennials and Gen Zers:


  • More money would ease dating, according to 77% of daters. This view is more common among men (83%) than women (73%). Still, about a third will go on a date despite it being unaffordable. Men (36%) are more likely to continue on the date than women (30%). 
  • Millennials (22%) will more likely to rely on debt to pay for their dating spending habits. That means borrowing, especially on expensive credit cards, likely to be more costly with rising interest rates.
  • Among those dating, almost 1 in 5 (19%) will go on fewer dates due to inflation, while an additional  14% will reduce spending.
  •  54% of men indicate that their gender should pay for the first date. This statistic contrasts with 26% of women who say the couple should split the date costs.  Gen Zers differ, saying the person who initiates the first date should pay (34%) or split the expenses (32%).
  • 12% of Americans never want to know how much their partner makes. About a third (34%) of consumers want to know their partner’s income amount when they’re in a committed relationship, and 26% prefer to do so beforehand.

55 Cheap Date Ideas

Dating is about getting to know the other, snagging subsequent dates, and forming a romantic relationship. That being so, there are many ways to get excited about learning from each other and spend half the cost of the average date in any season.

These ideas are not just for young people in the early stage of their relationship. Those in the long-term stage who have been together for years can energize their partnership with different experiences. You can start anywhere, from your comfort zone to something more daring.

  1.  Gaze at the beautiful views from the hotel rooftops.
  2.  Walk to a museum that interests you.
  3.  Introduce your partner to your favorite places growing up in your town.
  4.  Are you a LEGO lover? Engage your date with your building block of choice.
  5.  For a date night at home, entertain yourselves with 1000-piece puzzles.
  6.  Plan a game night and play board games.
  7.  Go window-shopping with a hot chocolate with marshmallows or apple cider in a fashion district.
  8.  Take a ride to a harvest fair or festival.
  9. Take an air balloon ride.
  10.  Eat an unusual cuisine by finding a new food truck.
  11.  Find a beautiful library where you can whisper.
  12.  Picnic at your favorite park or indoors; bring a bottle of wine and cheese.
  13.  Feed ducks (not swans) at a nearby pond, or watch little kids and their parents play with remote control sailing boats.
  14.  Try out a tram or trolley and enjoy the sights.
  15.  Play miniature golf and invite friends as a double date.
  16. Go to a driving range and practice hitting balls
  17.  Take a scenic drive somewhere you haven’t been and discover the town.
  18.  Get a Fall foliage map, and go leaf-peeping nearby.
  19.  Find literary landmarks of your favorite authors, like Mark Twain’s house, in Connecticut.
  20.  Go to a karaoke bar or open mic, and have a hoot even if you can’t sing.
  21.  Bake cupcakes or a pie of your liking. 
  22. Go on a coffee date and have a leisurely time snuggling on comfortable couches.
  23. Use your culinary skills and cook a meal.
  24.  Make wings, chips, salsa, and milkshakes, and have a movie marathon.
  25.  Shop for groceries together, and see who’s more frugal.
  26.  Snuggle in front of a fireplace or an outdoor pit at a favorite restaurant with just dessert.
  27.  Go where you can watch planes take off at sunset. (I loved dates at the airport, but that’s no longer allowed).
  28.  Form your own book club, and read a book to each other.
  29.  Visit a pier and watch the boats go out and come back.
  30.  Go on an antiquing adventure to learn about various eras or collect things that build memories.
  31.  Roam through thrift shops and try on vintage clothes.
  32.  Pick apples or other grown fruit, and then make a pie.
  33. Go to your neighborhood high school’s football game.
  34.  Take an online language, music, and art class together.
  35.  Go to a bird sanctuary and listen to their sounds. 
  36. Take dance lessons at the Y, and get yourself moving together.
  37.  Volunteer or visit an animal shelter.
  38.  Go to a working farm, buy their milk and vegetables, and visit their animals.
  39.  Write fun letters to each other after a date.
  40. Binge-watch free movies online.
  41.  Find your favorite stars on a clear night. 
  42.  Take a ferry to a beach, park, or a new destination.
  43. Go bouldering or indoor rock climbing.
  44.  Visit waterfalls or public gardens to tour.
  45.  Go to a farmer’s market and make a terrific salad.
  46.  Look for exciting hiking trails that you both can do. 
  47.  Take a nature walk and admire the trees and outdoors.
  48. Go bowling together or double date with friends.
  49. Try roller skating at a nearby rink.
  50.  Play pickleball or a sport you both enjoy.
  51.  Browse through a bookstore or a record store, and share your favorites.
  52.  Create a playlist of favorite songs and dance with each other.
  53.  Build a birdhouse, brew your beer, or make crafts together.
  54. Play free video games online, and make money.
  55. Have a wonderful adventure at the planetarium.

Final Thoughts

You don’t have to break the bank, borrow money, or worry about paying your bills. Together, you can decide where you want to go and build a list for future dates.

There are endless things to do. Many of these date ideas are very healthy, like taking walks, playing games, laughing, and learning about each other. Not every fancy restaurant lives up to your expectations, and then disappointment can overhang your date because of the hole in your pocket. You can impress your date with your creativity and sensitivity.

Thank you for reading this article! Please visit us at The Cents of Money for more articles of interest.


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