12 Cheap Date Ideas To Get To Know Your Boo
Man, dating is not what it used to be. All you have to do is watch an episode of “Friends” to realize that the dating world has changed in the last 10-20 years. Back in those days, you might actually have to call someone to ask them out. If you left a message with someone, your interested party might not receive it. It was even appropriate to ask someone out that you had just met. Can you believe that?! And even if he/she said, “yes” after all that risk you took calling and putting your pride on the line, cheap date ideas were not easy to come by.
Nowadays, you get to swipe left or right as opposed to being denied. A simple “Netflix and chill” request almost constitutes real social engagement. Calling someone and asking them out to dinner?! Christ, that sounds expensive AND unnerving.
So today I’m going to take you through 12 cheap date ideas that you can do pretty much anywhere. But these aren’t your run of the mill cheap date ideas. I’m not going to propose taking someone to a dinner. Nor am I going to propose the “Netflix and chill” argument (that hardly classifies as a date).
The goal for these cheap date ideas is not just to take it easy on your wallet, but also give you the opportunity to get to know the person you’re with (#gasp). I know, it’s a crazy thought. But bear with me…
I can think of no better way of getting to know someone than by seeing how they treat others less fortunate than themselves. I wouldn’t recommend this for a first date as it might be a little “heavy”, but after a couple dates I think you’d be safe to do this. Some ideas:
Humane Society/Animal Shelters – If you tend to prefer the presence of animals over people (a parrot is never going to cut you off at an intersection or get your order wrong at McDonald’s) then this might be a great choice. You can see how well your partner reacts to animals. It’d be good to know if you’re going to be able to have an animal in the future (and how he/she feels about taking care of, well, the gross stuff). This will also give you a pretty good reading on how compassionate your date is. WARNING: DO NOT TAKE AN ANIMAL HOME WITHOUT SERIOUS CONSIDERATION. YES, EVEN IF THEY BARK, MEOW, AND WHINE AT YOU WITH LONGING EYES THAT MELT YOUR HEART LIKE BUTTER IN JULY!!!
- Cost – $0
- Pro’s – You get to see how compassionate your partner is, how they deal with kind of gross situations.
- Con’s – It’s going to be smelly, and potentially gross.
Habitat for Humanity – Maybe you (or the date) is a bit better with a hammer and screwdriver than with dog food and animal baths. If so, check out Habitat for Humanity, and spend the day building houses together! Of course, if that’s not your style they always need office support, but that’s probably less “Date-y”. Habitat for Humanity operates in all parts of the country, all year round!
- Cost – $0
- Pro’s – You get to learn how to build houses, for free. Good to see if your partner can put in a hard day’s work, or if you’ll be bringing home the bacon for the remainder of the relationship.
- Con’s – It’ll be a long day, and you probably won’t finish a house within a day. If you’re working outside, you also won’t be looking too cute.
Red Cross – If you and your partner can handle the site of blood and want to help save lives, this could be an awesome option. If you can’t handle the blood thing, there are many other options available, such as grant writing, public speaking, warehouse work, office work, etc. Make sure that if you do volunteer with a date, that it’s something where you guys will be interacting a bit. Something like greeting donors or becoming instructors might be more “date” like.
- Cost – $0
- Pro’s – It’s a huge organization, so you’ll be sure to find something. You’ll be able to see if your date will be able to handle your boo-boo’s or just push you away as they gag at the thought of putting a band-aid on your papercut.
- Con’s – You have to be careful what you sign up for. I don’t think disaster relief could qualify as a “date”.
Tutor – I know for a fact that there are lot’s of schools out there that would relish having
free more help to get their students prepared for examinations. If you have a background in English, Math, Science, or History, you and your honey could find a school at which to volunteer. It wouldn’t last that long, and you’d get to see how your SO reacts around kids!
- Cost – $0
- Pro’s – You’d get to see your partner in a children’s environment, which is a good thing to know before you start thinking about putting a ring on it. This will also show you how patient they are, because school children are born to test adults’ patience.
- Con’s – If you’re not that patient, you’ll look like a total dick in front of your date if you yell at a kid. Also, you might tutor for an hour or two and the kiddo’s still won’t get what you’re talking about.
Now, of course there are lot’s of organizations, and a lot of them are local. A simple google search will tell you what’s available. A few guidelines for volunteer dates as you’re looking them up:
- Keep it light – Don’t take your Bernie Sanders lovin’ latina girlfriend to a Trump rally. Don’t take a potential boyfriend to clean up orphanages hit by a tornado. Christ, the goal is to get to know each other, not feel like shit afterwords.
- Keep it simple – Volunteering at NASA might be a bit much.
- No religion – …at least not at first. You’re never sure how uncomfortable you’d be making your date, and he/she would most likely not even tell you.
Learn/Create Something Together
I don’t mean head over to the local community college and take a course together. I literally can’t imagine a worse date then sitting through a two-hour lecture about the “Foundations of Western Civilization” or “Calculus for Business Majors”. #Yawn.
No, I mean that you and your date should learn how to make something, or create something together. There are lot’s of different mediums for doing this:
Cooking – There are not many better way to get to know someone then trying to cook a meal with them. It can go amazingly, or it can absolutely suck. Either way, you’ll have a pretty good idea if you have a “lifer” situation or a “Take this disgusting Quiche and get the fuck out of my house” situation.
- Cost – $10-$20, depending on the costs of ingredients
- Pro’s – Lots here. First, you get to see how picky of an eater your date is. Second, you get to see how well you guys work together. Third, you get to see how much of a leader/follower your date is. Do you have to get all the ingredients, or can he/she contribute in a meaningful way (more than watching the pot boil). Fourth, you get a quick overview of how smart/dumb your date it.
If this is their idea of cornbread…
…then get rid of them quick.
- Con’s – It might get real awkward if you both suck at cooking. And if you’re working in a small space, your frustration levels will probably hit epic proportions and end the date before you even turn the oven on.
Art – Throwing clay, painting, drawing, and lots of other options can all be pretty fun date ideas. I’ve been to a couple “Painting with a Twists” and they make painting so easy a bear with no hands could make something pass for art. Plus you get to drink while you’re doing it… that’s my kind of art.
- Cost -$10-$30, depending on what lesson you do.
- Pro’s – Chances are you’ll have a good laugh if you’re both terrible. It’s also the perfect time to have a conversation without it turning into an interview. It’s a really relaxing atmosphere that allows people to open up.
- Con’s – Your clay pot might look like a butt, your palm tree painting like a bag o’ dicks, and your drawing like a dog smeared it’s shit all over the paper. But hey, you’ll get to keep it at the end!
Learn A New Language – I’m not proposing that you sit down at a desk for four hours and pore over dictionaries and Rosetta Stone tapes. Find a creative way to try to learn at least a couple of phrases in another language. For example, maybe you spend an hour or so going over Duolingo, then try to watch a foreign movie in that language (with subtitles of course).
- Cost – $0 (more than enough info on language acquisition on the internet)
- Pro’s – If you learn a really uncommon language, then you two can go out in public and talk shit about anyone who walks past. You’ll both sound like complete idiots as you learn, which will be fun. And foreign movies can get REAL fucking weird real quick, so you’ll always be able to talk about that time you watched the Polish film about the fish, the bowling ball, and the 1972 Miami Dolphins.
- Con’s – If one of you is a faster learner than the other, the other might be kind of put out. Plus if you don’t plan it right, it might seem kind of weird. This takes some planning in advance.
Indoor Cheap Date Ideas
A lot of what I just listed were “indoor” ideas, but there are some other cheap date ideas that I wanted to list here that didn’t quite fit into the other categories.
Karaoke – A time-tested favorite, Karaoke is fun for pretty much all involved. It gives you a chance to be Mariah Carey or Michael Buble without the years of vocal training or being Canadian.
- Cost – $0 – $20 (depending on drinks)
- Pro’s – You get to see how shameless your partner is. Total bonus points if they can actually sing.
- Con’s – You might tell each other your first lies when you tell them how awesome they were. Also, one of you might be really uncomfortable singing in front of people.
Museums/Art Exhibits – Again, not a new idea, but one that can prove a pretty good time. Maybe you have a friend that’s doing an art expo. Maybe there’s a new exhibit on space at your local museum that you both would find interesting. You’re going to have to be a little creative with this on based on where you are, but you’re more than likely going to be able to make something work.
- Cost – $0 – $20 (anything more and you’re probably paying too much)
- Pro’s – You get to learn something, and maybe even have deep conversations about a piece of artwork. Plus this will help you distinguish if you’re seeing someone with some depth or another biddy/bro that just wants to drink and do… other stuff.
- Con’s – Museums and art expo’s do have a reputation for being boring, so do your research before you take anyone to make sure it’s something they’ll like.
Outdoor Cheap Date Ideas
While indoor activities can be fun, getting outside often provides a much cheaper alternative. Free outdoor activities are like Kardashian selfies; there are just too many to count.
Hiking – Now, I’ve recently moved to Colorado Springs, and there is a huge culture here around hiking. So yes, I’m probably a little biased. If you’re somewhere where you can take advantage of hiking trails, I say do so. Good for the body, good for the soul, and potentially good for your relationship.
- Cost – $0
- Pro’s – Obvious health benefits, but it allows you to see how tenacious your date is. Can they handle a 5 mile hike, or are they going to putter like a 1920’s car engine? This will also allow you to note how they react to nature. Maybe there WILL be some sexy camping trips in your future…
- Con’s – One of you may be way healthier than the other, which might prove embarrassing. Be on the lookout for bug bites, poorly marked trails, and sprained ankles.
Any sort of sport/game – I would say this is almost a must for anyone you’re seriously considering as a partner. There is a ton of information you can get from a tennis match or a quick round of put-put. And of course, a lot of these sport activities are free, so you really have no excuse. Well, you might have an extra ten to fifteen pounds of excuses, but it’s still a great date idea.
- Cost – $0 – $10 ($10 for put-put)
- Pro’s – Well, the first and most important is you get to see how competitive your partner is. This can be a HUGE deal breaker later on down the road. You also get to see how fit they are, which could be an indicator as to how well they… do other stuff. Finally, you get to see if they’re a good sport if they lose. For example, I’m a TERRIBLE loser when it comes to games. A fact I’m sure my girlfriend wish she knew before we started dating…
- Con’s – You might get so mad about losing that you put your putter through his car window. You might realize she let you win and your pride will never be the same. You might actually end up hurting yourself and looking like a big ol’ dumb-dumb. All risks that you’re going to have to take.
Festivals These can range anywhere from Renaissance to Music in variety. Often just the price of admission can get you to see some pretty cool stuff, be it axe throwing, Deadmau5, or terrible carnival food.
- Cost – $10 – $30 ( I wouldn’t pay anymore for a date)
- Pro’s – You and your boo will be in a very social situation! This means you get to see how awkward they are, or how fun. You might get to see if they like roller coasters, if they can eat a whole turkey leg, or if they can crowd surf their way up to the stage!
- Con’s – If you’ve got a really big introvert as your date, you might find this a stressful experience. There’s also the threat of being embarrassed if you toss your cookies on a ride or if your (male) partner screams like a little girl in the haunted house.
Cheap Date Ideas – The Wrap Up
This is definitely not the end all, be all list. I’m not Casanova, y’all. It’s just meant to give you some fresh ideas on dating, without breaking the bank. Again, if you’re looking to really get to know someone on a budget then I suggest:
- Volunteering – Just make sure it’s nothing too depressing or heavy (politics, religion).
- Learn/Create something together – Just be ready to be laughed at.
- Indoor activities – Do your research before hand.
- Outdoor activities – Be sure you’re on roughly the same activity level.
What was the best date you’ve ever been on? The worst? Do you think there’s a correlation between money spent and how good the date went? Comment below!
For more tips and tricks on how to achieve your version of financial freedom, check out:
- The Seven Steps to Avoid Being a Money Moron
- The 7 Vegetarian Meals That Are Saving My Budget
- How Much Is Half A Million Dollars?
- The 10 Best Finance Books Money Can Buy
- 9 Credit Score Hacks You Must Know
- Why I Never Want To Retire
- The Laziest Way to Riches – Investing In Index Funds
- Budgeting Basics – Allocating $$$ Like A Boss
- Fuck You, Frugality
- Why A Million Budgeting Tips Will Never Be Enough
Keep trying to crack the code (of love…). JK, it’s still “riches”.
Paul AndrewsFollow me on social media!