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25 Frugal or Free Date Ideas for You & Your Husband

25 Frugal or Free Date Ideas for You & Your Husband

I will be the first to admit that I am pretty bad at planning any sort of date. Mainly because I work such long hours that an amazing date for me involves staying home, not getting dressed and simply snuggling on the couch not doing much of anything.

I know, I know…just lost major romantic points here.

The great thing is Keith is very similar in his sensibilities. Sometimes he wants to go out. Most of the time he wants to stay in.

Many years ago, however, we did a competition for who could create the best dates for $50 or less. We swapped off weekends and each week, one of us would be responsible for planning our next great adventure. It was some of the most fun we’ve ever had.

One of his dates involved taking me to a Patti LaBelle with Frankie Beverly and Maze concert. But for less than $50, you can imagine where we were seated, right? At the very top row of the auditorium. And I mean the absolute last row. Let’s not talk about the group of guys seated below us who missed the memo that marijuana wasn’t legal in California.

Our date quickly went up in smoke…literally and figuratively…and we got out of there pretty quickly.

Over the years, we’ve gotten much better with our frugal dates. Some of these ideas are home grown, and many are as a result of scouring the web for some of the best inexpensive date nights out there.

So without further ado, here are: 

25 Frugal or Free Date Ideas

1. Take a Free Fitness Class.  Have you noticed that nearly every new fitness studio has a “first class free” special?  Many of them even have 2 week free passes.  Take them up on their offer! 

You’re never committed to buy anything and they just gave you at least one free date with your honey.  Workout together and then come home and get washed off together (I’ll let you decide what that means).  And if you want to stay in, while still getting in a great workout, have fun with a little Sexercise.

2. Kid-Free Slumber Party: Make a cozy pallet for you and your spouse on the living room floor [with] lots of blankets, pillows, snacks, and movies. We call it a ‘slumber party.‘  It’s a little silly, but super fun and makes us enjoy the little things in life.

3. Fill the Bucket (list, that is). Last week, I met a man in his mid-70s who put on his bucket list 40+ years ago to travel to more than 200 non-US cities in his lifetime. He was at #182 and was hitting the road this summer to travel to another 10 more. Talk about inspiration! Grab a couple notebooks and write down all the dreams you hope to accomplish before you ‘kick the bucket’ and decide together which ones you will tackle first (and which ones you can do for free).

4. Fake Vacation. Virtual vacation, anyone? Short on time, short on money, can’t get away? Love this idea HWC contributor Paula Rollo came up with when she and her hubby were in a similar predicament last year.

5. Make Love Under the Full Moon.  Now, if you have neighbors who can see into your backyard or if you’re in an apartment, it may be best to just open the window in your bedroom.  But for those lucky enough to have a private backyard, pull the comforter off your bed, grab a bottle of wine and two glasses, and take your date outside.  You have just a few more times to catch a full moon before the year ends so take advantage now.

6. A Moment in Time  Seal your time together by constructing and burying a time capsule. Gather memorabilia that symbolizes your love for one another. A wedding invitation, saved wine cork, concert/plane ticket, copy of children’s birth records, meaningful photos, love letters and anything else that is unique to the story of your love.  Do one of the other date ideas here and take pictures to remind you of this summer.  Be sure to include a note to the capsule’s future retrievers.

7. Got a pickup truck?  Make some good use out of it! Load it up with tons of hay (if you have some available), sleeping bags, some snacks and a bottle of wine.  Lay down the tailgate and just enjoy looking up at the stars and talking. And if there is a concert series or sporting event nearby, why not pull your truck right up to that?

8. Create a DIY Photoshoot:  When’s the last time the two of you were in the same photo? Using your tripod or Apple photo booth, snap pics together in various rooms of your home for memories you’ll never forget.

9. Become Cook-Off Champions! Have you ever been to a restaurant proudly displaying a plaque that read, “Winner of the (So and So) Cook-Off” and thought, “I could make this better!” Well, here’s your chance!

Scour the web for award-winning recipes for chili, cheesecake, carrot cake and anything else you think you and your spouse could make well, and spend the night perfecting that award-winning recipes (think Bobby Flay’sThrowdown).

10. At Home County Fair. When was the last time you attended the country fair? My favorite part: candy apples! So while you might not cover the ground of your backyard with peanut shells or sit on haystacks, you can do almost everything else (use this at-home county fair date night checklist idea list) – including make homemade caramel apples!

11. Have a breakfast picnic.  So romantic!  I’d never even thought about this but it makes so much sense.  Hardly anyone is out early at the local parks and you’ll enjoy the lovely light of morning as you sip your steamy lattes, munch on some fruit, take a stroll or just sit around and smooch.  (“One thing to remember,” Kris “Kroll” Woods who submitted this idea reminds us, “The ground is dewy, so plan ahead for shoes, towel for the table, etc.)

12. Good Ole’ Fashioned Fish Fry. Bet you never thought about this one! This is especially fun if you don’t live in the south and have only seen a fish fry on television. In the south, when you tell folks you’re having a fish fry, everyone you know shows up! But there’s nothing better than a fish fry for two.  

Fried catfish, hushpuppies, everything your heart desires.  You can even go all out and purchase one of those red and white checkered table clothes and a “fish fry apron.”  There’s no limit to your fish fry night of fun and if you’re feeling fully southern, try this ‘smack your mamma good’ peach cobbler to cap off your evening of fun.  I’ve been craving some good ole’ fashioned southern food (yams, mac & cheese, greens, cornbread), so if you’re in Southern California and decide to do this, please invite my husband and me for a double date ;) .

13. Play Librarian.  Drive to your local library and once inside, walk up and down the aisles looking for books that remind you of your school years.  Bring as many back to the table and share with each other your various stories of why each book made an impression on you.  Books, like music, have a funny way of sending us down memory lane.  And your spouse will love learning even more about you.

14. Rediscover the Newlywed Game! See how well you really know one another. If you can, have homemade or really inexpensive prizes for every correct answer.  You can check out some fun questions here.

15. Create a Homemade Spa. The simplest, most relaxing date ever.  Pick up some lightly scented candles (lavender is a good choice), a CD with tranquil music and a bit of oil for your couple massages.  Fill the bathtub with warm water and bubbles and treat one another to a nice soak followed by a relaxing massage.  If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try giving each other facials or scrubs.  And if you’re really feeling generous, give each other manicures and pedicures.

16. Write out the story of how you met (and fell in love): Better yet- video tape it! Your kids and future posterity will be so grateful and it is so fun to go back and read (or watch) years down the road. It’s amazing how much we all later forget!

17. Trilogy Movie Marathon. Who knew there were so many trilogies out there?! The Lord of the Rings. Raiders of the Lost Ark. Mission Impossible 1, 2, and 3. The Mighty Ducks (not kidding, there really was three). Get out a huge bowl, pop some of your favorite popcorn, stream or rent the movies, make your own movie theater Icees (oh yeah, these can be made at home!) and enjoy the best date night at the movies ever!

18. Service For Two  Sometimes when things aren’t going the way we want them to in life, we get SO involved with worrying about ourselves that we forget the very thing that we can do to help us feel better: serve others!  If you want to feel closer to your spouse, do something for others with your spouse.  Sounds a little crazy, but IT WORKS.  Even small acts of kindness performed side by side with your spouse can bring you closer together and help your marriage be more fulfilling.  Don’t believe it?  Seriously.  Try it.

19. Take a Walk on the Beach, Lake or Riverwalk.  If you live near a beach, lake, stream or riverwalk, this is perfect for you – the stereotypical “walk on the beach” isn’t actually cliche at all.  Some of the greatest memories I have with my husband are holding hands walking along the water somewhere in the world.

20. Create Your Own National Holiday. Did you know there is a Married to a Scorpio Support Day? Yep, it’s November 18th. What about No Socks Day. Uh huh…May 8th.  Last night, we were at a Pan-Asian restaurant and they were promoting the upcoming National Noodle Day (October 6th for all you noodle lovers).  So why not create your own national holiday, mark it on your calendar and celebrate it each and every year?  It’s not too late to declare tomorrow National Lazy Day?

21. Exchange New Marriage Vows. There is something incredibly sacred about vowing to love one another til’ death do you part. And the many commitments between your first words and that final line are something worth celebrating.  Sit across from each other and set the timer for 60 minutes.  You can use a dictionary, the computer, and anything else that will inspire you to write the best vows.  After they’re done, spend time reading it to one another and then toast with a glass of champagne (or apple cider).  My husband and I renewed our vows in front of friends and family for our 10th anniversary and it was simply the best.

22. Strip Scrabble. SO happy my Scrabble-loving mother didn’t discover this while we were kids! The rules are simple: The spouse who cannot score higher than the other must remove an article of clothing. If a spouse ‘challenges’ a word and wins, s/he can put an article of clothing back on; if s/he loses, s/he must remove an article of clothing. Winner may make any one request of the losing spouse (make it a good one :) ).

23. Take a Nature Hike.  My husband and I lived just a couple blocks away from one of the most picturesque hiking trails in California for years before we actually laced up our shoes and decided to ascend the rugged terrain.  One of our best dates ever.  We walked for hours.  Ever since then, we’ve been finding hiking trails all over the world and take the opportunity to climb one as often as we can.  You can discover more than 50,000 trails here with some undoubtedly in your neck of the woods.

24. Sunrise, Sunset.  This date will get your spouse excited first thing in the morning and ensure you end the day that exact same way.  Pre-pack a bag with your morning coffee or tea, bagels (or whatever you and your spouse enjoy for breakfast) and have it ready to go. Check to find out exactly what time to set your alarm for (or you can just pretend you’re still a teenager and stay up through the night).  Set the alarm before sunrise but don’t let your spouse know what you’re doing.  Then when the alarm goes off, help him get dressed (sleep still in the eyes and all), grab his hand and the pre-packed bag and head to your nearest park.  Watch the sunrise together while enjoying your coffee and pastries.  Then do it again…this time that night…and fill the thermos with hot cocoa or red wine this time around.

25. Game Night Circa 1990.  What board games were you playing 24 years ago?  If you or your spouse are too young to remember, change the “circa” to any year you’d like.  We know those board games exist somewhere.  In the attic, maybe the closet or basement.  Wherever they are, break them out and enjoy game night like you’re kids again.  And if you’re up for it, try a sexy game night (definitely put the kids to bed for this one).

If you find that once the bills are paid, there’s never enough money to set aside for dates with your spouse, here’s another great resource for you: 5 Great Ways to Start and Replenish a Date Night Fund.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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the argument free marriage book


THE BOOK: Read the book that inspired the powerful TED talk and prompted author of The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman, PhD., to write the book’s foreword. Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott, bestselling authors of Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts said, “We’ve been counseling couples and writing marriage books for a long time, and we can say with absolute certainty, there has never been a book quite like The Argument-Free Marriage. If you think no such union exists, or if you’ve come to the conclusion that arguments are necessary in marriage, allow Fawn to challenge that notion and set you on a path to creating the greatest partnership in life: your marriage.”

Fawn Weaver is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of Happy Wives Club: One Woman's Worldwide Search for the Secrets of a Great Marriage, adopting the same name as the Club she founded in 2010. The Happy Wives Club community has grown to include more than 1 million women in over 110 countries around the world. She’s an investor in real estate, tech sector and lifestyle brands. When she’s not writing or working, she's happily doting over her husband of twelve years, Keith (and sometimes manages to do all three simultaneously).

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