A successful marriage takes work. It takes a lot of intentionality: setting aside times to communicate openly, reconnect with each other, and of course, share life and laughs together.
That’s why it’s important to never stop “dating” your spouse. The fun and romance doesn’t end the moment you say “I do!” It is important to create time in your busy schedules to spend together, just the two of you. Designating one night a week or every other week as “date night” is a way to keep your relationship with your spouse a priority.
But of course, date night doesn’t have to mean a fancy dinner at an expensive restaurant. Here are a few date ideas that won’t break the bank!
1. Take a scenic drive to see fall colors
With it being fall and all, this is a fun and essentially free date idea (besides gas for your car). Ask around and find out if there are any especially scenic areas around you. Or be adventurous and take a drive down some random back roads (bring a GPS with you in case you get lost!).
Bring your camera. Take pictures of the beautiful scenery and some pictures of you two together. Take some time to stop and soak in the nature around you.
This awesome web page from SmokyMountains.com shows you the estimated peak times to see fall leaves across the country this year. Check it out so you don’t miss the peak week!
2. “Chopped” dinner date
One of Kevin and my favorite shows is “Chopped” on the Food Network. If you haven’t seen it, the basic premise is a competition between four chefs who have to create tasty and attractive appetizers, entrees, and desserts incorporating four very strange and often unappealing ingredients.
You can do this at home for a fun and interesting date night. You and your spouse each pick two different strange ingredients. Shop your own pantry and fridge. Then work together to combine those four ingredients to create a meal.
It’s fun to work together and use a little bit of creativity. This is also a good way to use up items in your fridge that are about to expire, or those things in your pantry that have sat there for months and never been used.
Of course, be warned, you might experience some unusual flavors. It may be good to have a frozen pizza on hand, just in case your masterpiece isn’t all you had hoped! But focus on enjoying your time together and being able to laugh at yourselves.
3. Pumpkin carving
Another fall-inspired date. Pumpkins are usually priced for $5 at Walmart and a set of pumpkin carving tools is $1. Shop the grocery ads and you may be able to get them at a cheaper price.
Let your inner pumpkin-Picasso come out! Laugh at each other’s faces as you pull out the gross pumpkin guts. And while you’re carving, roast the pumpkin seeds and eat them as a yummy snack afterwards!
(And side note: look at how young Kevin and I were! This picture was taken 5 years ago.)
4. Game night
Pull out some of your old board games and have a game night together. Yahtzee and Scattergories are some of my favorite board games that can be played with only two people.
5. Go to your local dollar theater
Do some research online to find out if you have a dollar movie theater in your area. Often these theaters only play movies once they are already gone from regular theaters. While you will have to wait a while to see that movie you are excited for, not spending $13-16 dollars per movie ticket is always a win in my book.
6. Attend a workshop or event at your local library
An often-overlooked resource in our community is the local library. Many libraries host free events like classes, workshops, game nights, book signings, and more. Attend one of these free events with your spouse and learn something new together!
7. Play with puppies at a local pet store
As long as you won’t feel obligated to take a puppy home, this is a totally free date! Pet stores often have rooms where you can play with one of the puppies. It’s a win-win situation: the puppy gets love and attention and you and your spouse get to play with an adorable little bundle of joy!