A Practical Guide To Frugal Dating

One of the most essential elements of a happy and healthy marriage or relationship is time together. Of course, once kids enter the picture, the date night tends to get sacrificed time and time again, and sneaking away for a night on the town tends can become rare event. Another consideration is cash.  Dates aren’t cheap!  A babysitter can easily run at least $50, dinner is at least another $50, and a movie or other entertainment experience can be another $50.  That’s a quick $150.

If you want to do that once or twice a month, you’re looking at $150-$300 a month to keep that romantic flame burning!  If you’ve made the conscious decision to pursue a life of frugality by eliminating liabilities and paying off working capital loans, spending $300 a month on date nights may sound pretty unappealing.  However, there is good news.  With just a little creative thought, it’s possible to cut down the date expense by up to 80% and still maintain the same quality of experience.

Creativity Is Key

Our social norms tell us what to do on a date.  Hire a babysitter, go out to dinner, catch a movie, a show, or a concert.  In order to capture the magic of a frugal, yet great experience, you’ve got to break out of that traditional mindset and get creative.  Let’s talk through a few examples to get that thought process going.

Dinner & A Movie

Start out by swapping babysitting responsibilities with a friend, neighbor or coworker.  Instead of shelling out that 50 bucks, work out a deal with another family where you will watch their kids once a month, and they watch yours.  Immediately, you save yourself 50 bucks.

After you drop the kids off, transform your kitchen into the most romantic setting possible.  Light music, tablecloth, candles, etc.  If you’ve got a beautiful backyard, you can even do an outdoor dinner at dusk, or just after dark.  Depending on your tastes and food preferences, you’re probably cutting your meal ticket down by 80% by preparing the food at home.

Consider skipping the move and head to a quaint bar with an outside deck or an inside setting that matches your tastes.  A bottle of wine and an appetizer can last for a few hours.  Skipping the movie and instead spending time in conversation definitely helps continue to build the magic of relationship.

Total cost for this date won’t run you more than $50.

Backyard Movie

This is one of my favorites.  After repeating steps 1 and 2 in the above example, you will need an LCD projector to complete the next step.  If you don’t have an LCD projector, you probably know someone who does.  See if you can borrow it for an evening.  If not, they can be rented for pretty cheap from a Rent-A-Center or similar store.  You can actually shoot that LCD projector onto the back of your house and turn your backyard into a full movie theater.  All you need is a laptop and LCD projector.  No matter what color your house is, the LCD projector will look good.


In our world of video games and concrete jungles, it’s easy to miss out on the beauty of nature.  These dates are often memorable and free!  Check out all the local parks in your area and other areas of natural beauty.  Of course, the possibilities here largely depend on where you live, but make sure to take advantage of this incredible, free resource.  You don’t need a working capital loan to finance these cheap dates!

Keeping that romantic spark alive doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.  With a little creative thought, you can create magical dream nights without spending crazy amounts of cash.

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