40 Cheap Date Ideas for Couples on a Budget

"Love don't cost a thing" —J.Lo

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Getty ImagesDesign by Betsy Farrell

Because fancy dinners and costly ticket prices all add up, here's the ultimate guide to dating on a real-person budget ($), from stay-at-home options for the true homebodies to outdoorsy adventures that only require a little bit of spare cash and the right attitude.

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Tandem Bikes

Yes, as cheesy as it may sound, riding a tandem bike (AKA the bicycle built for two) can be quite the adventure for a super-coordinated couple who want to experiment with something more unconventional than your typical scenic trail ride. You can usually rent them online, hourly, for an affordable rate.

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A Poolside Hang

Not a care in the world, a drink in your hand, and a good book. All are ingredients for the ideal poolside date (but don't trust us, just check out these celebrity floatie Instagrams as evidence).

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A Ferry Ride

Speaking of water views, relocate your date to the nearest ferry if you want a change of scenery with some breezes bowing. Aim for an unexplored area for a longer day trip or try a short round-trip ride for a first date where you're still—literally and figuratively—testing the waters.

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Go Antiquing or Thrifting Together

You never know when you'll find your next one-of-a-kind furniture piece, so spend a few hours perusing a dedicated antiques mart or thrift store. There's a good chance you'll find some kooky clothing options there, too.

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Volunteer Together

S.O. with a heart of gold? Find a local charity, like a soup kitchen or pet shelter, and volunteer for the day. Studies say that acts of generosity increase well-being and happiness, and couldn't you use some more of that in your life?

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Culture Shock

While certain museums post steep ticket prices, many hold free or discounted days or hours during weekdays so you can get cultured on a budget.

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At Home Spa

Recreate your own spa experience by drawing a bubble bath, lighting a few candles, and maybe throwing in a soothing massage. Bonus points if you can coax your parnter to wear a sheet mask.

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Hitting the Bases

Head to the stands to cheer on your favorite team and munch on some hot dogs.

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Arcade Night

All you need is quarters for an awesome time at an arcade. Make things more interesting by betting a round of drinks on the person who can win the most prizes.

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Sing It

Karaoke is a *guaranteed* fun night, even if you can't hold a note to save your life. Stick to duets like 03 Bonnie and Clyde and What's My Name? for an extra hilarious time.

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Look Up

When's the last time you lay down on the grass and stared at the stars? Probably years ago, right? Grab a blanket and try to find your favorite constellations. P.S. If you need some guidance, you can download apps like Star Tracker.

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Brewery or Winery Tour

Most local brewery or winery tours are free, and you'll leave with knowledge you can impress your friends with—plus hopefully some free sips of booze.

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Hobby Swap

Spend an afternoon sharing your talents and hobbies. You can demonstrate your musical chops by giving your date a guitar lesson while they show you how to throw a free-throw.

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Attend a Reading

Feel all the feels at a poetry reading, or try to find performances of works by a specific writer by searching local book readings.

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Go Bowling

Yes,the shoes are disgusting, but you'll have a great time with a little friendly competition.

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On the Water

Test your sense of adventure by renting out a kayak, canoe, or paddle boat at a local lake or beach. Rentals should be around $20, and you'll snap the most magnificent Instas.

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Find a Carnival

If there's a carnival in town, find one near you and bring your date for a few rides on the Ferris wheel plus cotton candy.

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Cookie or Chocolate Factory Tour

Go on a cookie or chocolate factory tour to pretend to pay attention when they explain how your favorite sweets are made, and actually pay attention when they hand out samples.

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Have a Wine and Cheese Night

Take a moment to decompress and relax by grabbing a bottle (or two) of wine, plus snacks, for a cozy night in.

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Sweat Together

Working on your #fitnessgoals? Do some research to find classes with great first timer rates, or "consider joining" a gym and ask to try out their facilities.

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Pull Up to a Drive-In Movie

All you need for this date is a tank of gas and a companion.

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Discover Dive Bars

Switch up your weekend routine and head to a dive bar for a few rounds of darts and cheap drinks.

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Foreign Film Night

Black and white foreign films are oh so romantic, and usually the tickets are slightly reduced for art-house flicks.

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Try Fruit Picking

Is there any thing that says fall romance quite like apple picking together? We didn't think so.

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Hit the Trails

Outdoorsy types can get their workout in with a morning hike on the nearest wilderness trails. Endorphins + scenic views = a guaranteed good time.

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Laugh it Out

When you just want some light-hearted entertainment, scoop up tickets for a comedy club amateur night or improv show. You can't guarantee that the jokes will always be on-point, but when tickets are only $5, you're not risking too much.

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Strategic Cooking

Don't want to blow your food budget on eating out? Pick a recipe and team up ­on the chopping and stirring.

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Concert Under the Stars

The perks of an outdoor concert? You can chill out on the grass even if you didn't make it right to the front and center of the pit area. Pack a blanket and enjoy the good music.

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Go Mini Golfing

Pretend that you're both PGA champs on a putt putt course and see who can come closest to par.

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Find Local Art

Local galleries tend to have public events when they acquire new works and free nights on week days. You'll get to mingle with interesting, like-minded people, while also scoring some free wine. #Culture

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