Dating on a Budget

Have you ever gone over your monthly budget and realize you are going to have to cut your expenses somewhere and usually that “somewhere” ends up being those categories that fall under “date nights”?  For my husband and I, this seems to happen a lot, especially as our children get older and their involvement in extracurricular activities seems to drain the household budget.

Something my spouse and I enjoy doing is brainstorming about date ideas that are fun and budget-friendly.  A few of our dates have involved star gazing using an app on our phones, writing down topics on slips of paper and taking turns pulling them from a hat and writing poems about them.  After writing the poems we take turns reading them to each other.  Another inexpensive date we enjoy is going to the store and picking out a treat for under $5 and eating it while we snuggle on the couch, watching a movie we rented from the Redbox, after the kids go to bed.

Whitney Hopler, a contributing writer to goes over “8 types of dates you and your spouse can enjoy together for only about $10”:


Adventure Dates: 

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  • Pretend you and your spouse are tourists visiting your hometown and visit tourist attractions you haven’t been to before
  • Go on a shopping adventure and surprise each other with a gift costing no more than $5
  • Attend a free community seminar or workshop together
  • Go exploring on some back roads in your area, going only as far out and back as $10 of gas will take you
  • Visit a home improvement store and plan future home projects together

Out-on-the-town dates: 

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  • Have dinner at home and then go to a fancy restaurant and just order desserts
  • Go to a store that sells greeting cards and choose one to give each other and then put them back
  • Tour homes that are on sale during open house events
  • Go to the public library together
  • Go to places that are significant to your relationship, where good memories were created, and take photos of each other at those places now
  • Eat breakfast in bed
  • Run errands together
  • Visit a museum in your area

At-home dates: 

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  • Watch a movie that you had seen during your first year of dating
  • Play a favorite board game
  • Cook together
  • Watch your wedding video and reminisce about that special day

Outdoor dates: 

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  • Go on a hike
  • Enjoy a campfire or fireplace
  • Stream a movie through a mobile device at an outdoor location
  • Go to a local youth sporting event together
  • Exercise together
  • Go to a local playground and play together like children there
  • Take a walk

Marriage pick-me-up dates: 

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  • Do family history together
  • Go to a place where you can talk privately about the current health of your relationship
  • Volunteer your time to work on a project or help someone in need together
  • Create a “bucket list” of places you would both like to travel
  • Identify people who have helped you as a couple and take time to express your gratitude to them

Romantic dates: 

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  • Have a picnic dinner under the stars
  • Enjoy a spa experience at home, with a romantic bath and massages
  • Take dancing lessons through free online videos
  • Meet your spouse at the door when they return home and offer to grant them three of their romantic wishes
  • People watch others in a hotel lobby
  • Surprise each other with inexpensive objects in a place that will help you communicate a significant message of love

Seasonal special dates: 

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  • Celebrate the arrival of spring by attending a local festival
  • Plant a garden together
  • Go swimming, boating, or fishing
  • Visit a farmers market
  • Pick your own fruit at a local orchard
  • Drive around the neighborhood to see Christmas lights

Unique and unusual dates: 

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  • Have a gold scavenger hunt in your house and sell any gold you no longer need
  • Prepare dinner together using the food you have in your pantry and freezer
  • Test drive a vehicle at a local dealership
  • Visit a local pet store and play with the animals there
  • Plan landscaping for your yard
  • Go to estates sales in your area and look for bargains under $10

Don’t let money get in the way of going on dates with your spouse.  With a little imagination and brainstorming, dating on a budget can be an adventure you can enjoy together.  Take some time to sit down with your spouse and make a list of inexpensive dating ideas together so when money gets tight you can continue to date, worry free!



The Second Commandment of Dating your Spouse

Taking your spouse on a date can sometimes be a challenge with the crazy schedule’s many of us keep today. Which is why it is no wonder Dr. William Doherty, a professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota, emphasizes the importance of making time to date your spouse as his first (of ten) commandments of dating your spouse. Once you have made time to date, the next step is deciding what to do on your date.

My wife and I are very similar in many ways, however, there are some things she enjoys doing that I do not and vice versa. For instance, dancing of any kind is a passion for my wife; in fact, she excels at dancing. I on the other hand do not. When dancing, I usually am asked if I am convulsing or having a seizure. This makes it difficult to develop a love for dancing, although I know my wife loves it, so I do it anyways, for her!

The second commandment of dating is “Make a list of what you enjoy doing together, and try out the top ones”, as I illustrated, this can be difficult if you do not always agree on an activity that you both enjoy. Often, finding something you both enjoy means  trying something new. Therefore, there may be dates that a married couple goes on that they may not necessarily do again, but trying new things, helps strengthen a relationship. Dr. Arthur Aron, a professor of social psychology at Stony Brook University teaches the idea that couples should tailor their date nights around new and different activities that they both enjoy. Illustrating the importance of working together to find common ground on what to do, and then doing it.

Now that we know the first commandment of dating is to do it, and the second is to find something you both enjoy doing! Let’s get out there and strengthen our marriages by dating. Here are some ideas for fun dates that you and your spouse might enjoy

If you missed the first commandment of dating check it out here!


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The First Commandment of Dating Your Spouse

Upon congratulating a newly married friend of mine on his marriage, my friend shared his enthusiasm and excitement about his marriage. He was optimistic about their future and was excited to start having children and take on  more responsibility as a husband and someday, a father. Within his excitement about his future, he also expressed excitement about his idea that he would no longer have to date because he was now married. He shared his feelings about how difficult and exhausting it was coming up with date ideas. Unfortunately, my reactions to my friend’s comments were not what he wanted to hear, “I’m sorry man, but you’re not done dating.” I could see confusion written on his face, as he exclaimed, “what?” I went on to explain that you should never stop dating your spouse.

Many marriage and family advocates have encouraged the practice of dating in marriage throughout a couple’s entire marriage. In fact, according to Family Social Scientist, Dr. William Doherty there are “Ten Commandments for Dating Your Spouse” that every couple should follow in order to establish and maintain a healthy, happy marriage. The first commandment Dr. Doherty speaks of is “You fell in love while dating, so make it a priority now.”

It is interesting to think about how couples typically fall in love. I know for me, it was the first date my wife and I went on. It was supposed to be only a  couple hours,which turned into fourteen hours; I knew I was falling in love with her and I wanted to marry that girl! My feelings developed because of the time I spent while going on dates. After our first date being fourteen hours long, our second and third dates lasted about twelve to thirteen hours. We just could not get enough time together.

Many couples have similar stories, they date, they fall in love, and they marry. Dating is the conduit for marriage. If dating leads to such a serious and intimate decision as marriage, wouldn’t it be a good idea to continue building that relationship? What better way than by dating your spouse? Which makes sense why Dr. Doherty reminds us that the first commandment of dating in marriage is to date! So what are you and your spouse going to do this week together? Need ideas? Check out our great date blogs here!


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