My Top 5 Cheap Date Nights

My boyfriend and I enjoy spending time together – whether it is taking a long motorcycle ride to the ocean or just vegging out on the couch with some ice-cream and strawberries. We like to try new things and come back to old favorites.

Both of us are pretty much on the same page and we prefer to spend our money on life experiences instead of things that may either break from overuse or collect dust from under-use.

Here are some of our favorite cheap date night fall backs if you are looking for ways to have a good time without feeling the pinch in your wallet:

1. Discounted Movie Theater

I’m sure your town has one of these theaters with the super inexpensive seats. Sure, they show older movies that have been out for several weeks now. But do you really always have to see the latest and greatest 3D box office hit the weekend it comes out?

What about capitalizing on that wonderful adult trait of delaying gratification?

I enjoy our local discounted movie theater that charges only $3.50 per ticket for both matinee AND evening shows. The seats are acceptable enough for the two hour flick and the screens are sometimes even bigger than the more expensive places.

As a side note, we like to sneak in a few cold beers and our own microwaved popcorn (which is usually gone by the time the previews are over). Yes, we’re pretty cheap!

2. Theater at the Local Junior College

I usually drag my boyfriend a couple times a year to see a musical at the local junior college on the discounted night. In fact, we’re going to see Peter and the Starcatcher in a few weeks! He has a history of previous girlfriends forcing him to see musicals, so I am keeping the tradition alive.

You would be surprised how much effort the junior colleges put into their productions. There’s beautiful background scenery, intricate costume designs and wonderful singers.

I have been blown away by these productions and I usually get my tickets for only $10 a pop.

3. Taking a Walk

Besides the gas you may spend to arrive in a lovely, remote location (as well as some potential parking fees) hiking is usually free. We are fortunate to live in such a beautiful area with plentiful trails, rolling hills and easy access to the ocean.

If you don’t have a place to go on a hike, you can substitute a nice walk in a park or a stroll around your neighborhood. One of the rituals I love is taking our dog Timmy around our neighborhood and through an apple orchard.

Taking a walk is also a great activity because you’re moving your body after a full week of being stuck in front of a computer. Plus, you get to have more active conversation with each other. You get an opportunity to check in with each other about your day, your week and your life.

I enjoy the natural conversations that come out of these walks. And it’s so simple to do.

4. Splitting a Meal

I am always amazed when I see someone eating their own burrito at Chipolte or ordering two separate meals at a restaurant. Add a glass of wine and a decadent dessert and you have a recipe for not only developing a belly down the road but also potentially breaking your bank account.

I really love eating out, especially if it involves some new, exciting vegetarian creation (like the fake duck meat we found at our local Thai joint. However now that we just found out it’s from China, I think I will try making a reasonable facsimile from home.)

But seriously, we both don’t like to be overstuffed when we’re eating out. And some of those darn meals can be really pricey, especially in the part of California where we live. So recently, we’ve taken to splitting a meal between the two of us and filling in the blank spaces with an extra heaping of rice.

It’s actually quite satisfying and saves a boatload of money too.

5. Free or Inexpensive Music Events

When we first met, we took some swing dance classes together, one of the best investments in our relationship ever. Now, we love finding live music wherever we go to dance up a storm.

(We once did some spontaneous dancing on the sidewalks of a small Austrian town when we heard someone at a club singing some old Tom Jones songs.)

Once again, we are so fortunate to be in a county that has an awesome live music scene. Folk, rock, Americana, bluegrass.

And oftentimes, we find clubs that have no cover charges or minimal ones like $5-$10 per person. The summer though is the best because there’s often free live concerts at the local farmer’s markets or street fairs with lots of vendors to sample.

And those events are always fun to people watch – especially when everyone gets out to dance! I’ve been a witness to some cool and innovative dance moves.

What are your favorite cheap date nights?

Image Credit: Mire de rien via Flickr Creative Commons.

Jula Pereira

Jula Pereira

I am a freelance writer living the good life in beautiful Sonoma County with my partner and our dog Timmy. Please say hello on Twitter or connect with me on Facebook.