Affordable Date Ideas

Finding a great date idea can take time and effort, especially on a budget. Few people realize a lot of the dates you go out for can also be done in the comfort of your own home. It is not as complicated as you may believe it is. Many of these date ideas are very common, from self dates to couple dates and friend dates; these are all great bonding ideas with whomever you choose to spend quality time with.  

Two glass cups on a table. Photo by SJ 📸 on Unsplash.

I asked a few people between the ages of 21 to 24 about their ideal date on a budget.


The number one date idea everyone seems to love and enjoy is picnics. Picnics can be fun, especially during the summer. Dariel Disela, a 24-year-old from New York, looks forward to picnic food. “A nice picnic in the park with a bunch of snacks such as fruits, drinks, chips and sandwiches. Any good finger food would be a great go to.” Many of the other individuals I spoke to agreed with Dariel. Picnics are the most reasonable date idea where you can spend quality time with your partner while engaging in fun conversations.

Paint and sip

To continue with the park theme date ideas, Charlin Peguero, a 22- year-old woman from New York, suggested “having a paint and sip in the park while watching the sun set or even rise.” This can be a great way to destress while enjoying quality time with a partner, admiring the view as you put your artistic skills to the test. The great thing about this is you can also do it at home. You can paint whatever your heart desires or even challenge yourself. Here is a suggested challenge you and your loved one can try next time. 

Painting Challenge:

Both people start with a plain canvas. Each of you will have about five minutes to complete a miniature painting on the canvas. After the 5 minutes are up, you and your partner will switch canvas and have five minutes to build off their starting painting. This will continue until the canvas is complete, and you can see the combined art you both create. 


Let’s say you do not want to do much moving around but still want to spend time together. Watching movies is a great idea, especially when the weather is bad. “Nothing beats staying home and watching movies at home while it is raining,” said Liane Espino, a 23-year-old woman from New York, “Watching a movie marathon is my favorite thing to do regardless of who it is with; there are so many movies to watch, from new shows to classics, you can never go wrong with this.” If you want to go to a movie theater, Peguero suggests “going to the AMC movie theaters on Tuesday because tickets are $5 for any movie you like to watch.” This is a great deal you cannot miss out on and should take advantage of. 

Suppose you want to spice it up. Try out a drive-in  movie theater suggested Arinna Avellenet, a 21-year-old woman from New York. This was extremely popular before and made a comeback once the pandemic hit since most movie theaters were not open. At a drive-in movie theater, you pay per car and can watch movies from your car with the snacks you bring from home. They also sell snacks at these locations if you still want to grab something else. 


Everyone loves food; there can never be a date that goes wrong with food. However, here are some unique takes on the typical date experience. 

Noor Abdelaziz, a 20-year-old man from New York, mentioned one of these noteworthy date alternatives. “Going to a food fair or a food market is great; you get to try so many different foods for a low price; they also have free samples but make sure you go on an empty stomach to have space to try everything.”

If you want to go to a restaurant, Peguero suggests “going to happy hours or lunch specials time, it is not too early or too late in the day, and you get your money’s worth.” Some other food options that Peguero proposed were “cooking dinner together at home or planning out an inside dinner date night with fun games to play.” 

Everyone has a sweet tooth, so why not go on a desert date? Melissa Rivera, a 22-year-old woman from New York has the perfect idea for when you and your date are craving something sugary. “Some dessert dates I would suggest are ice cream, frozen yogurts, especially pink berry, chocolate dip. You can never go wrong,” Rivera said.

Avellenet also suggested trying to bake some sweets together or even going on morning coffee dates.

Car dates

Darlina Guermo, a 21-year-old woman from New York, has some suggestions to switch dates up a little bit. Car dates will take you out of the house but keep your privacy. “Car dates with any food is a date to me,” Guermo said. You can get tacos and drive to your favorite view of the city and enjoy great food with the view in front of you. 

Alexa Santo, a 20-year-old woman from New York, suggested either going on a long walk together or a long drive together, just listening to music and conversing with each other. “It is not what you are doing; it is whom you are doing it with,” Santo said.

Fun Activities 

Want to make things fun? Try going to an arcade. You can play many games there and let your competitive sides come out. Ana Aquino, a 22-year-old woman from New York mentioned another one of those entertaining date ideas that may not immediately come to mind. “Bowling is also a great way to let your competitive side come out, and you have a blast together; time truly flies by when your bowling.”

If the winter season is upon you, Christan Nieves, a 22-year-old man from New York, suggests ice skating. “Ice skating can be fun; just dress warmly. One of my favorite places is going to Bryan Park and then enjoying a nice walk around the city.”

Ice skater up against the wall on the ice rink. Photo by Kelli McClintock on Unsplash.

Abdelaziz has some other seasonal dates you can do next time. “For the summertime, go to the beach or pool together and cool off from the summer heat. You can carve pumpkins together in the fall for Halloween; it is fun and creative.”

Espino has some surprisingly affordable data ideas, but many think they are expensive. “Going to a smash room and breaking things or a wax candle date where you can create your candle is surprisingly cheap.” Would you try this?

Dates do not have to be crazy expensive. You can go on many dates on a budget or even have them in the comfort of your own home. Do not stress out next time you are planning a date. Try one of these date ideas and let me know how it goes. I am sure you will have a blast.

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