Have a Free Date Night {Day 26}


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31 Days of Living Well & Spending Zero. Freeze your spending. Change Your Life. Awesome way to reset your spending patterns or kick-start your budget!

This is the twenty-sixth day of my 31 Days of Living Well & Spending Zero challenge. To read all the posts in order, start with Day One or visit the Overview Page.

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 So far we’ve sold our stuff, found free money, gotten free stuff, & learned to barter. For the next two days we are going to shift our focus just a bit to spending time with the most important people in our lives, starting with our spouse.

When money is tight it can be hard to justify paying for a date night. Between the babysitter, dinner bill, & movie tickets, “Dinner and a Movie” can easily set you back $100 or more. Yikes! At the same time, however, we all know that alone time with your spouse is not just important, but critical for a healthy, happy marriage. So what’s the solution? How can we get the quality alone time we need without breaking the bank?

Now that you’ve mastered the art of bartering, you have hopefully at the very least been able to line up some free babysitting. (If not then your first task is to get right on that!)  With that out of the way, here are 20 creative ideas for a free date night.

  1. Go stargazingfind a place away from city lights. Bring a blanket & pillows & cuddle while you soak in the night sky. Make the evening even sweeter with a thermos of homemade spiked cocoa.
  2. Tour a local brewery or winerymost breweries and wineries offer free tours which usually include free tastings at the end!
  3. Donate blood together & get a free movie ticketI’m not sure if this is done anywhere else, but in my town anytime you donate blood you receive a free movie ticket. Why not make an evening of it? First do some good, then enjoy a free movie!
  4. Volunteer togetherServe together at a local soup kitchen or food bank, spend a day building together for Habitat for Humanity, or perhaps simply just spend a few hours picking up litter in a neglected area of town. There are SO many opportunities for giving back!
  5. Go hikingThis is one thing I really miss about living in the Pacific Northwest! Research some local trails, then head off to explore. For most trails you won’t need any special gear–just comfortable shoes and a backpack with water and a few snacks.
  6. Do a crossword togetherBefore kids, this used to be our favorite Saturday morning activity! We’d cook a big breakfast then break out the crossword puzzle, refusing to give up until we had filled in every last square.
  7. Have a picnic in the parkPack a few treats and a bottle of wine and spend the evening dining al fresco at your favorite park. Even when the weather gets a little cooler, this is a great option–just take a few extra blankets for cuddling!
  8. Cook or bake togetherWhy not spend the evening trying out a brand new recipe? You could learn to bake bread from scratch, make cookies, or simply prepare–then share–a gourmet meal. If you want to “eat out” at home you could attempt a few of these wonderful restaurant copycat recipes!
  9. Attend a free concert, speech, or book readingmost communities have free events happening every week, whether it be a concert in the park, a reading at a local bookstore, or a speaker at a local library. Check your library or chamber of commerce website or the local paper to see what is going on.
  10. Attend a free art show–along that lines, you could explore the works of up  & coming artists by touring one or two local art galleries. Check museums for free entrance nights as well!
  11. Play a gameBoard games and card games are such a nice way to spend time as a couple. Our favorite 2 person games include Scrabble, Bananagrams, Skip-Bo, Phase-10, & Canasta (played with 2 decks of playing cards.)
  12. Have a movie night at homewatch a favorite movie you already have, or check one out for free from the library–most libraries have an extensive selection of both popular and less-well-known movies to choose from. Make it a special event by adding homemade popcorn, hot chocolate, fondue, & other goodies.
  13. Go to the beachspend the day basking in the sun, or, if the weather is cooler, simply walk along the shoreline holding hands, or sit and watch the waves crash onto shore.
  14. Visit a farmer’s market or street fair-spend a morning checking out the work of local artisans. Most food booths give out free samples of their wares, and there is often music or entertainment going on as well.
  15. Go for a driveif you live in a relatively scenic area, spend a few hours just driving around to check out the sites. During the fall this could mean a drive to look at the changing colors of the forest, or during the holidays this could be a tour of lighted homes.
  16. Have a spa dayuse these recipes and these instructions to create a romantic spa date for two. Enjoy a romantic candlelit bath together, then take turns giving each other foot rubs or back massages. Even the most masculine of men would have a hard time saying no to that!
  17. Take a free classcheck out free classes offered by local community colleges, libraries, or retail stores. Shops like Pottery Barn & Williams-Sonoma offer free decorating and cooking classes, while colleges & libraries often have free classes available on a variety of topics.
  18. Wash the car togethernothing says romance like a bucket of soapy water and a nice clean car! Doing chores together can actually be very meaningful. You get quality time in plus much needed tasks checked off the list–a double bonus!
  19. Explore a nearby tourist townIs there a popular town nearby that you’ve never visited simply because it is “just a tourist trap?” Stop by the visitor’s bureau or chamber of commerce for some informational brochures, then spend a day taking a mini vacation in your own backyard.
  20. Attend a local drum circle or jam nightmany parks and beaches host jam nights or drum circles where local musicians, both professional and amateur, get together and just play. It is generally open to anyone and you don’t have to play an instrument to simply sit and listen.

Your assignment for the day is to plan a free date night (or day) for your special someone. Use one of these ideas or choose something on your own, but make an effort to carve out some alone time for just the two of you.

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Do you have any other fun ideas for a free date night?

{Go to Day 27}


  1. Alisha
    October 26 at 11:01AM

    Ruth, I am LOVING this series (and I’m a little sad that it’s almost over!) — but my favorite part is knowing that I can come back and do it again any other month that I want to do a spending freeze! Thank you for all you do — it is sooooo appreciated by so many!

  2. Dolores Smith
    October 26 at 02:43PM

    I wish I had seen this earlier – went to a free piano concert at noon today and they had a special guest “International Virtuoso”!!! The 2-piano group hosts a free lunch time concert on the last Friday of the month. I know – it’s a weekday and at noon, but if you can get away – there’s a free date – or lunch with the girls. Gotta wait ’til end of November for the next one. See you there, perhaps!

  3. October 26 at 04:02PM

    One thing we like to do when my parents have the kids is to go to Barnes & Noble and just explore. We love reading so it’s just so fun to go and get lost in all of the books. And then we head to the cookbooks since we both love to cook and get inspired with new recipes. Not going to lie, we usually each get a little coffee drink at the Cafe (I get monthly coupons and get 10% off with my B&N membership) so sometimes we spend about $7 – not bad for a night out, but if you skip that step it’s just free book browsing fun. 🙂

    • October 26 at 04:03PM

      PS: I added your button to my site. I think I did it right! lol 🙂

  4. Mckenzie
    October 26 at 04:39PM

    GREAT IDEAS!! When my husband and I first got married we were pretty broke and one of our favorite weekend adventures was looking at all the model homes that were all over the area we lived. It was fun to see how the house were decorated. Have us something to do that was free on a other wise boring weekend.

  5. Sophia
    September 28 at 11:24PM

    Love these! Another fun thing to do is go to a play reading. They are free (some have suggested donations, but that’s not required) and you get to listen to actors read up & coming local writer’s plays. It’s not as much fun as a full theatre production, but it’s free!

  6. Melissa
    September 29 at 03:18PM

    These are awesome ideas though hubs and I are too competitive to play games lol chess is fighting words in our house 😉 usually by weeks end we are b

  7. Melissa
    September 29 at 03:26PM

    These are awesome ideas though hubs and I are too competitive to play games lol chess is fighting words in our house 😉 usually by weeks end we are both exhausted mentally and physically. We are sleep deprived and just worn out. Once in a while the grandparents will take all the kids (4 and very rowdy) for the day… We start our date day with making a snack we can enjoy in bed while we watch a show we enjoy and taking a nap!!! Don’t underestimate the joy of a short snugly nap with your spouse with no kids to wake you!!!! After the nap we usually go window shop or browse through the stores we cringe at taking the kids in once in a while we go out to eat. For this I plan in advance, some grocery store give bonus perks ($ off gas) for buying gift cards their so I keep back a few bucks every week until I have enough to buy one of the $15 3 pack gift cards to our favorite places and stash them away for special occasions or last minute gifts. Let me tell you how good it feels when you are dead broke and need that date out to be able to sit down in a restaurant and eat a favorite meal and not feel guilt about the money.

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