30 Cheap Date Ideas for Healthy Relationships
Kimberly Steinkopf, IIN Content Editor
Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and while there is often pressure to make fun plans with your romantic partner, it is also a great opportunity to check in on all your relationships, including those with friends, family, coworkers, and even yourself.
Relationships and Screen Time
Being constantly attached to our digital devices can get in the way of social interactions and, ultimately, our relationships. Especially in romantic relationships, looking at our phones during social gatherings can negatively impact the bond and happiness between partners.
Just as we may want to unplug from our devices for our own self-care purposes, we may want to unplug when interacting with loved ones. The point of prioritizing date nights and face-to-face time with friends is to enjoy each other’s company. When we are constantly looking at our phones, we are not fully engaged and often miss out on the fun to be had.
Relationships and Our Health
Getting what we call vitamin L (for love!) on a daily basis is key to living a happy life. And when it comes to our social relationships, it’s vital to nurture the connections that are most valuable to us.
At IIN, we know about the importance of relationships and the connection between healthy relationships and our well-being. Studies have shown that lack of social ties can lead to an increase in depression, anxiety, cognitive issues, and additional health concerns.
Spending quality time with the people we care about most can help reduce stress and ultimately provide the support we all crave. When was the last time you had a fun wine night with your girlfriends, cooked dinner with your mom, or went to a coffee shop with a coworker? In-person connection is an opportunity to build support and nurture relationships. Plus, it’s a low-cost way to support our health.
Relationships and Financial Wellness
You’re probably thinking: “How do I plan for in-person connection without breaking the bank?” Financial wellness is another area of primary food, and we know the impact that stressing about money has on our health. The important part of in-person interaction is the quality time spent with loved ones, not the amount of money you spend. Plus, there are plenty of ways to incorporate fun dates into your life without spending a lot money.
Need some inspiration? We’ve got 30 cheap date ideas for all your healthy relationships.
Studies have shown that working out with a partner or in groups can help hold people accountable to sticking to a workout routine and maintaining healthy habits. Whether it’s going for a walk, tossing a Frisbee, or taking a dance class, exercising with your partner or a group of friends can create a sense of friendly competition while also being an inexpensive, fun way to spend time with others.
1. Go for a bicycle ride. If you don’t own a bicycle, most rentals are only a few dollars an hour. Take a ride through your favorite neighborhood or nearby park.
2. Take a yoga class. Many studios offer a discounted rate for new students, and some even have free community classes.
3. Go for a run. Running with a partner, friend, or group is a great way to stick to your fitness goals while catching up with loved ones.
4. Sign up for a local sports group. Check out meetup groups or teams in your area for a sport that interests you. Most of these groups are not extremely competitive and are free or only a small fee to sign up.
5. Go for a hike. There’s nothing better than getting out in nature. Look for hiking trails in your area and get outside with friends.
6. Take up dancing. Find a free or discounted dance class at a nearby studio or find a bar or restaurant that offers group sessions for the public, such as salsa, line, or ballroom dancing.
7. Swim a few laps at your community pool. Going for a swim at your local pool is an inexpensive date idea during the summer heat.
8. Throw a Frisbee at the park. Grab your closest friends and head to the park for a friendly game of Frisbee.
9. Volunteer at a community garden. Gardening may not seem like intense exercise, but it does count as movement. Volunteering at a community garden is a great way to not only spend time with your partner or friends but also meet new people.
10. Go for a stroll. This is the most accessible way to ensure that you’re being active while connecting with others. Pick your favorite place – a park near your office, a college campus in the area, a boardwalk, or a pretty neighborhood; there are endless locations for you to walk and talk.
Get Artsy or Cultural
Love art or music? There are plenty of cheap date ideas in this space, including free museum exhibits, art shows, and more. Music especially acts as a strong bonding tool in relationships. Attending a concert or singing karaoke with others can help make you feel connected and even release endorphins.
11. Attend a poetry reading. Many coffee shops or bookstores host poetry readings. This is a fun, inexpensive date idea that is perfect for couples, friends, or families. And if you’re a writer yourself, you can get in on the action!
12. Take a walking tour. If you live in or near a major city, there are often walking tours offered for free or a low price. These tours typically provide some context of the city’s architecture as well as the history of the city.
13. Find an exhibit at a local museum. Museums often rotate their exhibits, so be on the lookout for something that interests you. Some museums offer free entry certain days of the week or discounted prices for students, seniors, AAA members, etc.
14. Attend a panel discussion. If you and your partner or group of friends are passionate about a certain cause or topic, consider attending a panel discussion. Colleges and various organizations typically host these types of events free of charge or for a minimal price.
15. Check out a free concert. Whether it’s a local orchestra, your favorite cover band, or a band that is just starting out, free concerts are usually easy to find. Enjoy your go-to favorites and explore new music with your significant other or friends.
16. Sing karaoke. Most bars and karaoke places are fun and inexpensive. Set a date, let loose, and embrace your inner singer.
17. Head to your local farmers’ market. While not all markets are open year-round, there are some bigger ones that offer produce throughout each season. Take a stroll and connect with local vendors.
18. Attend a play or performance. Many community theaters, high schools, and colleges offer inexpensive tickets to plays and performances. It may not be Broadway, but it’s entertainment and may surprise you.
19. Find a trivia night. Does your local bar or restaurant host trivia nights? This is a fun way to engage in a friendly game without spending too much money.
20. Check out a local fair or festival. Keep an eye on your local listings for fairs and festivals in your area, including food truck fairs, cook-offs, art festivals, and more. A great place to look for events is Meetup, Eventbrite, or Facebook events.
Over the past few years, more and more people (especially younger generations) are choosing to stay home instead of going out. Not only is it more convenient, but it can also be an inexpensive way to connect with others and still have fun. Get creative at home and save money the next time you schedule a date.
21. Cook a meal. Whether you’re planning a romantic date night with your partner or hosting some friends at your place, cooking a meal together provides a hands-on experience that can help you bond. Plus, it’s typically cheaper than dining out at a restaurant.
22. Plan a game night. There’s something nostalgic about sitting around the table playing board games or cards. Great for couples or groups, planning a game night is the perfect cheap date night idea.
23. Host a movie screening. Make some popcorn and turn on a flick for you and your partner or group of friends to enjoy.
24. Have a craft day. Sometimes it’s nice to use your creativity and spend some time forgetting about reality. Grab some coloring books, paint, or another craft you’re interested in and embrace your inner artist.
25. Challenge each other in a baking competition. Put your baking skills to the test and set up a fun baking competition. Spend a few hours baking your favorite dessert and finish the night enjoying your creations.
26. Sit around a bonfire. Gathering around a fire in your backyard can be a cozy and cheap date night. Pour a little wine, get your favorite blanket, and spend the night in conversation under the stars.
27. Have an at-home spa night. There’s no need to break the bank at an expensive spa. Make your own face masks, set up a fruit bar, and relax in the comfort of your home.
28. Set up an indoor picnic. The weather doesn’t always cooperate with our plans. Switch things up by hosting an indoor picnic in your living room.
29. Plan a tea or coffee date. This one doesn’t require a lot of thought or planning. Pick a new type of tea or coffee that you’d like to try and serve it with a small snack. Talking and enjoying each other’s company is all you need!
30. Build a puzzle. Stay inside on a rainy or snowy day and put your thinking cap on. Building a puzzle can provide a cheap date night while also exercising your brain.
What are your favorite cheap date night ideas? Share them in the comments below!