If you’re conscious of not having much money for dating – or you’re used to spending a lot on meeting up – the thought of looking at more free date ideas could feel awkward. But don’t be nervous about suggesting it. Rather than emphasise the value angle, focus on what you could learn and experience together.
Do an online class together
The internet age has brought with it a wealth of possibilities – not least online dating! Meeting through a screen can help set the tone for an activity that centres on one, too. Find something you’re both interested in or keen to learn about and schedule a time to join together.
It could be a one-off lecture on the Romantic poets, the wildlife of the Antarctic or a deep dive into New Testament theology. Or you might go for the long haul and sign up for a series that you follow for several weeks – perhaps not one to suggest on your first date!
A simple internet search will throw up more options than you could possibly take in. Either start with an open mind and look for ‘free online classes’ and then narrow down, or search by topic and see what you can find.
Check channels like YouTube for regularly updated content from world-leading universities and institutions as well as the self-taught. And if you don’t want to see it through, switching off is a simple decision!
Explore a local park
Whether you’re drawn to urban areas or wide expanses of the great outdoors, finding a local spot to explore can provide an enjoyable date with no added costs.
Spotting the local flora and fauna can be an enjoyable, mindful activity – borrowing some binoculars if you don’t have any can highlight things you would otherwise miss.
If you have some suitable cereals at home, bring along a bag to feed the ducks or other birds.
You might be able to pull together a picnic from home to enjoy together. Think about what you can bring with you rather than buy during the date. If you’re both being budget-conscious, agree to bring snacks or food from home – especially if the temptation of the café or ice cream stand will prove hard to resist.
Learn a language together
If your dating conversations have moved in the direction of future plans you might have discussed places you’d like to visit. Including this on your dating profile is a great ice-breaker and can help you find common ground right at the start – if you’re longing to travel to Mexico, Iceland or Java, what better than to hear from someone who dreams of the same thing?!
Once you get to know each other, why not take the fun step of learning the language of your ideal destination together? Some language websites and apps offer free access, and you can buddy your memberships so you can track each other’s progress too.
By the time you can ask “Viltu fara á stefnumót með mér?” (that’s “Would you like to go on a date with me?” in Icelandic, of course), you’ll be well on the way to fitting in like a local when you do finally make the trip!
Film night or box set binge
Another popular section of the dating profile is the films and TV shows you love to watch or rewatch, but when was the last time you actually revisited your favourites? If you have an old box set at home, or access to an online streaming service, why not make an occasion of introducing your date to your top show?
Maybe you’ll proudly recite every line or cringe as you realise perhaps the acting you admire 10 years ago hasn’t really stood the test of time, but you’ll have something to talk about and the opportunity to watch your date’s choice next time.
Plan according to how well you know each other – if you feel more comfortable going to a public place to watch on a mobile device, do that or save this date for further along in the relationship.
A great way enjoy more free date ideas throughout the year is to embrace the season and explore what’s on offer locally. Talking a walk around Christmas lights and outdoor decorations can be a highlight, whether you pick a busy time for the buzzy atmosphere or a quieter moment to enjoy the peace.
Look out for occasions with fireworks or other outdoor celebrations – whether you’re in the thick of the crowd or watching from a distance, looking up and around will give you lots to talk about.
And don’t forget what nature has to offer. Strolling through autumn leaves or spring blossom can be a beautiful, memorable date – though don’t forget to check whether you’ll need an umbrella or it may be memorable in a different way!
Go to a nature reserve
Expanding on the idea of a date spent taking in nature, it can be a pleasant surprise how many localities have semi-hidden areas dedicated to preserving the ecosystem. While some may be grand in scale and even known worldwide, others can be a simple woodland, field or water feature.
Here plants and trees grow undisturbed and birds and animals are protected. Whether a nature reserve date is a quick detour or a day trip, enjoying the peaceful haven can make you both appreciative of the beauty of creation and each other’s company.
Explore a heritage trail or local history
Wherever you live, there will be stories about what’s gone before. Sometimes these are well documented, with trails to follow, noticeboards, maps and websites full of information. If you or your date are intrigued by history, taking an afternoon to investigate can be a rewarding experience. Some places will offer an app to guide you, or you may find yourselves relying on a sharp eye and intuition to track down the key sites.
It may be you are a keen researcher of your own or your area’s heritage, and want to spend more time digging into the past. Local archives, libraries and online resources can help you get started, and when you’re ready to hit the streets, go in search of new stories together.
Can you think of more free date ideas you’d enjoy trying? Let us know!
Read 7 fun, free date ideas to try and 7 cheap date ideas to make great memories for even more ways to enjoy quality time on a budget.