13 Fun Low-Budget Date Ideas: Creating Closeness In A Time Of Distance

So, you want to keep your dating life alive, but the global pandemic has changed more than a few things. Not only do you have to figure out ways to create closeness from a distance, but you may be money-conscious, too. And, you don’t want to appear broke or stingy, but you desperately need low-budget date ideas.

Most people around the globe are feeling the uncertainty of the times. There are those who are out of work entirely and may be collecting unemployment for the first time. Many who are used to living comfortably are having to pull from savings or retirement funds.

Couple going for a hike as a low-budget date.

And many who are heavily invested in the stock market are wondering if it will ever fully recover. After all, a lot of businesses are closing their doors for good.

And all of this uncertainty may carry over into relationships — both established and budding.

Singles who are out searching for and finding true love may be convinced that amore makes the world go ‘round. But let’s be realistic….so does money. The very topic of money can lead to heated discussions, TED Talks, and late nights at the office.

As a matter of fact, research shows that how your partner spends and saves money affects your well-being. I think my clients already know this. Most of them say that one of the most important qualities they’re seeking in a partner is financial responsibility.

Personal money management is rooted in a lot more than just salaries and paying bills on time. It reflects personal history, belief systems, and even self-esteem. So it’s no wonder that, when marriage-minded people are looking for a life partner, the topic of money is front-and-center. How could it not be?

The early days of dating someone can bring up a lot of uncertainty about money. How much should be spent on a first date? Who should pay? How do I strike a balance between impressing someone and being conservative until we know one another better? Are there budget date ideas that will have the same impact as spending a lot of money?

One undeniable truth about dating is that it has underlying costs before you even reach the restaurant. Consider some of the possible costs you may already be incurring:

  • Membership fees for dating sites and apps.
  • Entry fees for singles or social events where you can meet eligible people for dating.
  • A dating coach to help support you during your dating journey.
  • A dating service to introduce you to available candidates.
  • A photographer to update your photos.
  • Wardrobe updates and personal services so you look and feel your best.

And if you’ve been actively dating and footing the bill, you know how the tabs can add up.

Cosmopolitan found that men spend, on average, $80 on a first date. (And that was in 2015!) Add on ongoing date nights, and you can see how costs can pile up.

Thankfully, Match.com found that women don’t really even want an expensive date. At least not at first or all the time.

So that leaves the door wide open for impressing someone new with creative, fun, low-budget date ideas! After all, if you’re truly marriage-minded or at least seeking true love, you want someone who appreciates you and your time. You want to connect on a soul level, and that means paying more attention to one another than to fancy surroundings.

When my husband Alan and I started dating, he was very thrifty. In fact, our first dates were under $25 each. I recognized that it cost a lot of money to take women out, so I didn’t mind his thriftiness. And I still remember those dates today.

On one date, he took me to an outdoor concert and brought a picnic for us to share. It was wonderful! Then he took me to an outdoor play and bought us ice cream.

When it was my turn, I made him dinner to show my appreciation for all the fun times we had shared.

And the rest is history!

It really is easy to have a wonderful date without spending a lot of money.

Here are 13 fun, low-budget date ideas for post-social-distancing and beyond:

  1. For winter fun, look for free indoor concerts and community theater.
  2. If winter means snow where you live, bring out your inner children. Build a snowman and/or a fort. Invite other singles and have a snowball fight. Have coffee, hot chocolate, snacks, and a fire pit waiting for later.
  3. Find mom-and-pop restaurants that don’t get the usual fanfare. Make a point to help small businesses while trying ethnic foods you may have never tried.
  4. Get a state park pass and start learning about the geography of your area. As you get to know one another better and feel more like a couple, venture further away.
  5. Grab some friends and go bowling or ice skating. Wear fun clothes fitting for what you’re doing to add an element of humor.
  6. Visit the local arboretum.
  7. Visit local museums that have discounted visitation times. Some museums (e.g. in DC and Cincinnati) have museums with free admission. Others have special student and senior rates.
  8. In the summer, brush up on your Shakespeare with Shakespeare in the Park.
  9. Find free or low-cost outdoor concerts during the warm months. Take a picnic and a set of chairs.
  10. Go to local and state fairs. Get out your Sherwood Forest garb and go to a Renaissance Fair.(Granted, fairs can add up with admission and food, but you can find creative ways to enjoy them without spending a ton of money. And they are a great way to spend an entire day together while moving around and interacting with other people.)
  11. If you are active, you can go boating or biking or play tennis. Many activities like biking, kayaking, and paddleboarding allow you to be “together” while also social-distancing.
  12. Volunteer together. Few things will bring you the satisfaction that working together for the benefit of others will. Volunteers are needed now more than ever and in countless ways.You can maintain social distancing and stay outside by cleaning up a beach or walking shelter dogs. You can help to build a Habitat for Humanity house or deliver Meals on Wheels.

    All these choices offer you the opportunity to talk and get to know one another better while working toward a common, compassionate goal.

  13. Check out Groupon and other coupon sites for deals on activities and performances that may otherwise not get a lot of traffic.

If you still want other fun, budget date ideas, check these out.

My favorite dates didn’t cost lots of money. It was more about the interaction and having fun with the person I was with. And I know I’m not the only one who feels that way.

What are some low-cost dates that you have had and really enjoyed? Please go to the Motivated to Marry Singles Facebook page and share your thoughts.

Your life and relationship coach,


PS: If you’re not yet in our Facebook group, go to https://motivatedtomarry.com/fbgroup and join us. We are almost 800 men and women.  See you there!

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