When it feels like stepping out the front door automatically costs $200, it’s hard to prioritize luxuries like entertainment. Adulthood is expensive (even more so lately!) and that can really put a damper on date night—but only if you let it. Being on a budget doesn’t have to feel less flirty and fun, it’s actually just an invitation to get creative. When it comes to romance, it’s all about effort over expense and thoughtfulness over things, so keep the spark alive (and affordable) with these 10 memorable at-home date night ideas.
10 Creative At-Home Date Night Ideas
Want the experience of sleeping under the stars without the hassle of packing for a night in the wilderness with no creature comforts? Set up a tent in your own backyard and enjoy the benefits of all of the bedding that you want to drag from the house and having your own bathroom nearby. Light up the fire pit for s’mores, cuddle up and do some stargazing, or host your own private outdoor movie night with a projector (or a laptop if you’re going low budget!)
Around the World in 8 Dates
Start an at-home date theme night series and experience the world without leaving your living room. Choose an exotic location from your travel bucket list for your stay-at-home getaway and enjoy yummy cultural cuisine, a bottle of wine from the region, popular music for the area, or an on location movie. Get extra creative and make your own playful passports for your DIY destination date night as a cute keepsake.
Game Night Done Right
Nothing gets the heart pounding like a little healthy competition. Play video games, a board game, a card game, or Cornhole—anything from Mario Kart to Jenga can stir up some fun and flirtatious rivalry. Raise the stakes by playing for the grand prize of your choosing. This is also a great idea for an affordable double date if you feel like inviting friends over.
Bob Ross Paint-a-Thon
As the late great Bob Ross taught us, there’s no such thing as mistakes, just happy little accidents. Pick up some art supplies and takeout, and then put that theory into practice by firing up old episodes of Bob Ross on YouTube for a paint night date to remember. The good news? There’s no one around to judge your creative attempts (other than your significant other) so let your inner child out to play and see what you can create.
Love with Learning
There are plenty of inexpensive ways to learn something new and it’s even more fun with someone you love. Look into virtual workshops or online classes for a fun way to tackle a new hobby together. Sur La Table offers quality online cooking classes, Glo offers partner yoga, and a quick Google search revealed a wide range of options for dance classes, from private virtual lessons to video tutorials. Online escape rooms exist, too; it’s a great way to learn how well you work together.
Recreate Your First Date
This one takes some effort and imagination, and that’s what makes it fun. Do your first date all over again from the comfort of home. Recreate the restaurant you ate at to the best of your ability, rent the movie you watched, listen to the playlist of a concert you attended…you get the gist of it. Now, if you went hiking or kayaking, this could get tricky, so your mileage may vary, but I’m sure you can come up with something.
Relax and Renew for Two
Everyone needs a little bit of pampering sometimes. Create your own at-home spa experience with dimmed lighting, relaxing music, and an evening that includes inexpensive sheet face masks, DIY pedicures, and mutual massages. Don’t forget the ice water infused with cucumber; it’s a spa night essential.
Movie Marathon Day
If you’re craving a lazy day together, make it a date. Start with breakfast in bed and then get comfy and binge watch the day away guilt-free (because technically you’re doing an activity.) You can catch up on your Netflix queue, check out each other’s favorite childhood movies, or stick with a theme like horror flicks or funny romcoms. (There has to be a horror/romcom crossover movie out there somewhere, right?)
Picnics are generally an affordable activity, but sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate. Eliminate that possibility by staying in. Light candles, spread out a blanket, and make some fondue or charcuterie, have a wine tasting party for two, or print out some conversation starters to inspire some in-depth communication about topics you might not normally cover.
Plan Your Life Night
It’s no surprise that we believe in the power of financial intimacy and future planning here at YNAB. And, really, what’s more romantic than spending time planning a life together? (But appetizers have to be involved. Those are romantic too.) Start the conversation with these 84 financial questions to ask your partner or if you’re looking for something a little more playful, download this YNAB cootie catcher full of questions to add a little childhood nostalgia to this activity. (Here’s how to fold it and play if it’s been a while.) You could also plan a vacation to save towards, plant a wish farm together, or start an improvised game of “Would you rather” with a focus on your future, finances, and life—money talk can be fun, we promise!
When it comes to finding fun activities for at home date ideas, the sky’s the limit. However, quality time together doesn’t have to cost a lot and spending time to make your significant other feel special is a valuable investment. So be creative and sweet and silly and resourceful, and last but not least, enjoy each other.
Ready to build a budget that can help make more of your romantic date night ideas come true? Try YNAB for free for 34 days to take control of your finances and your future.