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30 Cheap And Amazing Date Ideas For Couples

30 Cheap And Amazing Date Ideas For Couples

There’s no denying that dates can be expensive these days, at least if you stick to the conventional things. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be. A little creativity mixed with some frugality can enable you to have some amazing and memorable dates on a shoestring budget. In fact, they’re probably more fun than the standard go-to ideas.

In the House

1. Cook Together

cook together

    I personally believe that the way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach. So if you’re both into cooking, this can be a lovely way to spend an evening together. It’s a chance to test out each others skills in the kitchen, as well as create something delicious together. Just don’t stick the other person with all the dirty dishes.

    2. Game Night

    board games

      Unless you’re a gaming aficionado, you may not realize that there are some really cool and fun board games out there. And yes, I do mean outside the realms of Scrabble and Monopoly. As such, a games night can be a be a really cheap and fun way to spend an evening, whether it be in a group situation or by yourselves. There seems to be more and more two player games coming onto the market, which is great news for couples who love to play tabletop games.

      3. Movie Night

      watching movie

        A good old fashioned movie night is the next best thing to going to the cinema. In fact, it may even be better. No only is it cheaper, but you don’t have to deal with any other people. Being alone in the dark is far more romantic without fifty other people surrounding you. Plus, you can customize your cheap store bought popcorn and other snacks in weird and wonderful ways that even Willy Wonka would be proud of. Besides, it’s not like you can lie down and cuddle at the cinema. Wait. Is that what those movable arm rests are for?

        4. Lounge Room Picnic

        room picnic

          I don’t care what anybody says, I think this idea is adorable. Who doesn’t want to eat cheese on a blanket without having to be at the mercy of the weather? Plus, you don’t have to deal with bugs! Perhaps the best part is that if things get romantic, you can indulge without getting arrested for public indecency.

          5. Massages

          Massages

            Perhaps this could be the natural progression of the above two ideas? Regardless of the situation, home massages are wonderful because they’re much cheaper than going to a spa. All you need is a towel and some oil! In addition, you’ll be getting massaged by your significant other, which is far less awkward than being with a stranger who you’re paying and trying to hide natural bodily functions from.

            6. Fondue Night

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            fondue

              Again, this is can be enjoyed as a group activity or as a couple. You can usually pick up fondues relatively cheap at a thrift store, so then all you need is the bread, cheese, fruit and chocolate! Throwing your keys in a bowl is optional.

              7. Video Game Marathon

              video games

                A couple that games together stays together! There are plenty of co-op games that couples can enjoy together – whether it be something tame like Lego Lord of the Rings; or something more hardcore, like Call of Duty. Or if you’re not overly competitive, racing and fighting games can be really fun too. You’d be surprised how the hours can melt away behind a controller or a keyboard.

                8. Cook For Your Partner

                dinner

                  Surprise your significant other by cooking for them. Nothing says loving and romance like a home cooked meal, especially if they don’t even have to help clean up.

                  9. Poker Night

                  poker

                    Always fun, a poker night may actually help you make some money if you choose to include other people. If you want to keep it intimate, you can always spice things up by turning it into strip poker.

                    Outside the House

                    10. Farmers Market

                    farmer market

                      If you and your partner are fans of fresh produce and cooking, the farmers market can make a fantastic date. You can pick out the best fruits and vegetables for yourselves at a much lower price than at the supermarket whilst playing ‘spot the stoned ageing hippie.’ Becoming prematurely old and dull at the age of 26 has never been so much fun! Price: $

                      11. Flea Market

                      flea market

                        Similar to above, you can have a great time hunting down bargains and treasures at a flea market. Discovering retro toys and comic books being sold well below their market value is always more enjoyable with someone at your side. You may even make some money if you knowingly rip someone off and sell your purchases for profit on eBay. Just stay away from the old politically incorrect racist dolls – that’s never sexy. Price: 0 – $

                        12. Hike

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                        hiking

                          Both free and healthy, this is the perfect way to see some lovely sites together and get those endorphins flowing. You should probably save on water afterwards by showering together. Price: 0

                          13. Bike Ride

                          bike riding

                            Just as fun and romantic as the above, but on wheels! Take a ride along the beach or lake, or maybe through the hills or mountainside for those of you who are more fit than I am. Price: 0 – $

                            14. Happy Hour

                            happy hour

                              Take your partner down to your local watering hole so you can take advantage of some cheap drinks. The best part is that happy hour often goes for several hours at a time! Price: $ – $$

                              15. Open Houses

                              open house

                                This is quite possibly my favorite suggestion on the list. You may be too poor to afford a house, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t go looking at them! Open houses are so much fun to go look at as a couple. Not only can you fantasize about living in places you’ll never afford, but you also gain access to people’s questionable decorating choices. Price: 0 unless you accidentally bid on an auction

                                16. Dive Bars

                                dive bar

                                  Now this may not sound particularly fun, but a date is what you make of it! instead of dropping $10 on a beer at your local hipster establishment, head down to your local dive. Not only do they have cheap drinks and dudes with long beards, but you can indulge in some fun old school bar activities like pool, darts and trying not to get stabbed. Price: $

                                  17. Cheap Ass Tuesdays

                                  cafes

                                    This can come in many shapes and forms – whether it be cheap cinema tickets or discounted meals at cafes and restaurants. Check out which businesses in your area engage in Cheap Ass Tuesday and begin exploiting them in the name of romance. Price: $

                                    18. Skating

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                                    skating

                                      Whilst ice skating is a nice and traditional date option, what I’m referring to is the roller skating rink. Tap into your inner children by spending an afternoon at the rink making fools of yourselves and drinking frozen cokes. Not only will you have a fun time laughing at each other, you may even get to see some children fall down, or young teenagers awkwardly trying to make out before their parents come to pick them up. Ah, memories. Price: $

                                      19. Sledding

                                      sledding

                                        Take advantage of the snow and cold weather by sledding down a hill. Who cares if you guys are the oldest ones doing it? If you don’t have a sled of your own, and don’t have the cash to drop on one, you can always improvise. You’d be surprised how good a job a garbage can lid does. Price: 0

                                        20. Art Exhibition Openings

                                        art exhibition

                                          I know this isn’t for everybody, but hear me out. Not only are these things usually free to attend, but they generally also provide you with booze and cheese. Besides, you get to judge all of the pretentious people there. Sounds like a good night to me. Price: 0

                                          21. Wine Tasting

                                          wine testing

                                            Much like the above, this date is all about the free alcohol. So long as you have some way of getting around (or perhaps your significant other is happy to be the designated driver, in which case you should marry them immediately) this can be a fun and cheap way to try some amazing wines whilst taking in the lovely vineyard scenery. Price: $

                                            22. Local Gigs

                                            local gig

                                              These are often free and occasionally the bands you’re seeing actually have some talent. If not, don’t worry – you can always have a great time being a critic and enjoying the cheap beverages. Local gigs are never anywhere classy or expensive. Price: 0 – $

                                              23. Test Drives

                                              test drive

                                                If you don’t have a problem being those guys, head down to your local car dealership and ask to take something expensive out for a test drive. Sure, you’ll probably annoy the staff members (particularly if your clothes give your lack of fiscal worth away), but at least you’ll both have fun! Price: 0

                                                24. Sight See Your City

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                                                new york city

                                                  Sometimes you become so used to your home town or city that you forget what draws tourists to it. Take a day to go site seeing and rediscover your love for your home. If all goes to plan, you may even get yelled at by an angry local who has mistaken you for a tourist. Price: 0

                                                  25. Amateur Comedy Nights

                                                  stand-up show

                                                    These are fantastic because entry is usually free, or at least quite cheap, and you have a chance to see some hilarious and talented comedians. Even if they happen to bomb out, that’s entertainment in and of itself. Price: 0 – $

                                                    26. Star Gazing

                                                    star gazing

                                                      If you don’t live in a place where the sky in permanently covered in smog, star gazing is a good cheap date idea. You’ll get to lay back and simply marvel at the universe whilst having the opportunity to simply talk to each other. Remember talking? It’s that thing we did before smart phones were invented. Price: 0

                                                      27. Go for an Unplanned Drive

                                                      unplanned driving

                                                        This is a good one for couples who don’t mind going with the flow. Just get in the car, drive and see where the road takes you. The best case scenario is that you discover some new awesome places together and make some memories. The worst case scenario is that the trip turns into The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Price: $ – $$

                                                        28. Volunteer Together

                                                        Volunteer

                                                          Regardless of how poor you are, there’s always going to be somebody worse off than you. As such, why not try and help others together? It won’t cost you anything other than your time, and it will be a really great chance for you to get to know each other on a new level. Alternatively, you could twist this idea around by volunteering at a festival or convention so you can get in for free. Price: 0

                                                          29. Go to the Beach

                                                          go to beach

                                                            This really only works as a cheap date idea if you happen to live near the beach. Let’s just assume that you do. Spend the day enjoying the sun, surf and sand with your partner. You can even pack lunch to further cut down on costs. Price: 0 – $

                                                            30. Go on a Real Picnic

                                                            picnic

                                                              If you like the outdoors or just don’t trust sitting on your lounge room floor, a real picnic may be a good cheap date option for you. Pack both of your favorite foods and find somewhere pretty to eat, chat and simply enjoy your surroundings. Just remember to bring the bug spray. And a flask. Price: $

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                                                              Tegan Jones

                                                              Commercial editor for global publications Gizmodo, Kotaku, Lifehacker & Business Insider.

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                                                              Last Updated on January 15, 2019

                                                              How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

                                                              How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

                                                              Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

                                                              In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

                                                              Step right up, don’t be shy!

                                                              Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

                                                              The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

                                                              Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

                                                              Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
                                                              So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

                                                              A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

                                                              Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

                                                              Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

                                                              When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

                                                              Culturally Conditioned

                                                              We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

                                                              I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

                                                              The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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                                                              Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

                                                              Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

                                                              Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

                                                              1. Broadens Your Network

                                                              After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

                                                              2. Improves Your Communication Skills

                                                              I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

                                                              Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

                                                              3. Continually Learning

                                                              So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

                                                              Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

                                                              4. Increases Self Confidence

                                                              Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

                                                              Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

                                                              So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

                                                              How to Talk to Strangers

                                                              Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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                                                              1. Say Hello

                                                              Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

                                                              Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

                                                              Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

                                                              2. Ask About Them

                                                              Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

                                                              You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

                                                              As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

                                                              3. Just Do It

                                                              One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

                                                              When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

                                                              Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

                                                              4. Don’t Take It Personal

                                                              One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

                                                              When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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                                                              5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

                                                              I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

                                                              One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

                                                              6. Detach

                                                              A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

                                                              Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

                                                              7. Share Your Stories

                                                              Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

                                                              To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

                                                              So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

                                                              8. Give a Compliment

                                                              Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

                                                              When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

                                                              9. Relax Your Body Language

                                                              If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

                                                              When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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                                                              If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

                                                              10. Practice, Practice, Practice

                                                              Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

                                                              Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

                                                              After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

                                                              The Bottom Line

                                                              As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

                                                              There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

                                                              Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

                                                              Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

                                                              More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

                                                              Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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