Date night on the cheap: 10 ideas that aren’t hiking or apple-picking

When we’re stuck in a relationship rut, we can lack the inspiration to find solutions to get ourselves out of it and start a new page. But say you’ve made the decision to use relationship tools like Emi Couple. Soon you may remember that time spent dedicated to each other — and each other alone — is an essential part of strengthening the foundation of any partnership. The answer? Dates! No matter how long you’ve been with your partner, a day or night spent devoted to one another’s attention can remind you that despite the busy work schedules and family obligations, you’ve chosen to spend your lives together, no matter how messy.

But racking up all those dates can get expensive. What to do when you want to take Emi Couple’s suggestions but don’t have the cash to spare 5-star dinners every week? Here’s some ideas to keep your relationship on point and your wallet in tact.

1. Go to an open house

Check your local real estate listings and spend the day hopping around other people’s houses. Even if you’re not on the market, an open house can be a chance to have some fun using your imagination. Did you and your partner once have a fantasy to become world famous artists living in a fancy penthouse? Act like you do for the day!

2. Trivia night at a dive bar

Game nights at bars are often free, and they’re definitely fun. Form a trivia team with your partner and learn about all the weird knowledge they’ve accumulated over the years. It’s bound to make you love them more!

3. Go to an open mic

Chances are there’s a venue in your town that specializes in open mic nights, where the area’s most ambitious and brave performers test out their stuff. The night’s content will surely give you something to talk about over drinks when it’s all over.

4. Attend an estate sale

Estate sales are free to attend and often feature one-off, interesting items. Plus, you can form an imagined portrait of whoever owned those 18th century paintings and costly Persian rugs. Even if you don’t buy anything, estate sales are a chance to learn more about each other’s tastes and use your imaginations together.

5. Volunteer together

Choose an activity you both enjoy for an organization that shares your values and put in some hours serving others. Chances are you’ll be working together as part of a team, which not only strengthens your bond, but reminds you what your partner is like around other people (probably a big part of why you committed to each other in the first place!).

6. Random ingredient cooking

Each of you choose an unfamiliar (and preferably cheap) ingredient at the grocery store and bring it home to prepare it only with the supplies you already have in your kitchen. It’s like Chopped, but with yourselves as judges!

7. Cheer on your local sports team

Local sports organizations often lack the love that state ones get from fans. But that works out well for you, since less coverage means more seats and cheaper beer! You and your partner could pair up as superfans and make games a regular opportunity to bond.

8. Pretend you’ve just started dating

Remember those times when you and your significant other had just met and you stayed up late eating breakfast for an 11pm dinner and watching stupid videos on YouTube? Recreate the scenes where you and your partner fell in love and led you to where you are today.

9. Go out for dessert

Having a spectacular dinner can be great, but multi-course meals are a hard hit on the wallet. And sometimes you’re left with no room for dessert! Make dessert nights a regular thing and try all the best sweet stuff your restaurant scene has to offer.

10. Groupon it up

Who doesn’t love a great deal that saves money and gets you pampered at the same time? Choose a Groupon with your partner and dedicate the day to soaking in the shared bliss from your massage or spa day. Loosening ourselves up in the midst of heavy schedules is always a good way to keep communication strong.

Ideas inspired by or aggregated from posts on And Then We SavedCosmopolitanThe Balance, and Thought Catalog. Thank you!