5 Fun Date Nights That Cost $20 or Less

Today’s post is by our regular Wednesday contributor, Catherine Alford!

As some of you know, I am expecting twins in April, so I have been asking around for some good parenting advice. When I asked one friend in particular for advice, she told me, “The only advice I have for you is to go on as many dates as possible before the babies come!”

I started thinking about her comment, and I realized that I’ve only been on three dates this year! That’s before I even have kids!

So, since our prospects for date night in the next 20 years seems a little dismal, I thought I should brainstorm about some inexpensive date nights that my husband and I could take. That way, we wouldn’t go over our entertainment budget and we could even come up with some ideas of dates to have at home while our babies are asleep (if they sleep? The jury’s up on that one!)

Here are some ideas:

1. Homemade Pizza Picnic

I think it would be really fun to make a homemade pizza together and eat it as a picnic in the backyard. It would be fun to grab a few blankets, the iPod, and some pillows and just enjoy an hour or two of pizza, good conversation, and good music.

2. Harry Potter Movie Marathon

I think it would be awesome to watch all of the Harry Potter movies in a row. We might have to split it up in two, but how fun would that be? You can even pop popcorn, grab some movie candy, wear a cape, and draw scars on your forehead. (Come on, you know you want to.)

3. Nature Walk

The fall weather is so pretty right now in most parts of the country. Why not get out and enjoy it? Look up nature trails or national parks in your part of the country. A nice morning or afternoon walk with snacks packed and pretty views is a great way to spend time together.

4. Out for Dessert

When people think of a “date,” I think most feel like it has to be an elaborate dinner and a movie combination. However, if you are busy people (or busy parents) you might only be able to sneak away for dessert.

It’s a great solution, though. You can hit up a nice restaurant and only spend $20 or less total on two desserts. You can relax and chat for an hour and be home before you have to pay your babysitter for extra time.

Plus, you can dress up just as you would for a nice dinner and enjoy each other’s company.

5. Free Museum

I often talk about going to free museums because I love them and used to work in museums. Plus, there are so many free ones! Where I used to live in Richmond, the fine arts museum was free every day, and they always had new exhibits. It’s a lot of work to keep a museum running if it’s free, so a $20 donation would be a nice gesture of appreciation for a fun afternoon date.

What are some other date ideas that you can think of that are under $20?

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About Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford is a personal finance freelance writer who received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. She enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog, www.BudgetBlonde.com.


  1. Great advice from your friend, but I would also force yourselves to go on dates after the babes come. This will be difficult, as you’ll love them SO much you won’t want to leave them, but it’s good for you as a couple. Not sure if you could do this where you’re at, but here there are several good “hole in the wall” type of restaurants where we can get a great meal, tip and all, for $20. Do some detective and see if there are some around where you live.

  2. We like to do Movie and ice cream sundaes. Of course it also morphs into a family event instead of just date night. 🙂

  3. Now that we have kids, our dates are slightly more expensive since we have to hire a babysitter. It’s still worth it to get that time alone, though. We like to go to the mall and walk around or see a movie.

  4. I really love working out/exercising with my partner. He doesn’t love to run, but he’ll bike along side me through the park or along the water and we’ll chat. So fun… and healthy 🙂

  5. I especially love it if my husband cooks and cleans up a nice dinner for me. That was still one of my favorite Valentine’s Day memories!

  6. My favorite under $20 dates are work day lunch breaks. Because we both work only a few blocks from each other, it’s nice to meet up and grab an inexpensive meal from a food truck. It’s something to look forward to during the work day that keeps me feeling good after it’s over! Another idea is volunteering! It’s not only free to sign up, but there are endless options and it’s great to do something great for others with a special someone!

  7. Kendal @HassleFreeSaver says:

    Great ideas! My husband and I enjoy making homemade pizza so much that store-bought or restaurant pizza just doesn’t cut it anymore. Getting out and walking or hiking together is another great idea, especially this time of year. When it’s too cold, sometimes we just go for a scenic drive, listen to music and chat a bit. Anything to get you away from the daily grind to focus on one another is considered a “date” in my opinion!

  8. The wife and I have to do things like this, but usually have to wait until we can get a babysitter. We just go out of hikes or little things since we don’t get to spend much time together without the baby.

  9. Nature walks are the best! Maybe bring a small backpack with snacks and a blanket. With parking for parks being minimal, going for a moonlit stroll is a great cheap date.

  10. My wife and I will grab lunch at a grocery at the beach which totals about $20. After we have lunch we take a walk along the beach which is pretty romantic. BTW, it is a small beach adjacent to the famous Malibu Colony.

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