11 Date Ideas That Won't Break the Bank

October 31, 2014

At the beginning of a relationship, it’s easy to pull out all your good date ideas and impress your partner. After a while, it can be difficult to think of Saturday night plans that don’t involve Netflix or borrowing money from the grocery budget.

Some of these ideas are free, others cost less than what you would spend going to dinner and a movie, and all of them will leave you with great memories.

Board Games

Last week we went to Target and picked out two board games that we thought we could play over and over again. For us, that meant buying Sequence and Skip-Bo. We are slowly building our game collection as time passes.

Once you spend the initial money, board games are free and can provide hilarious nights with your significant other and/or friends.

Stargazing                                                                                              

Winter is actually the best time to stargaze in Colorado. This is because the air is colder and drier, so you can see the stars with more clarity. To do this successfully, you’ll probably need a star map. You can print one off or download a star map app for your smartphone (here are a few). Think of it like a picnic, except at night, in the middle of nowhere. Take a blanket, flash light, a thermos of hot chocolate, and be ready to be wowed.

Painting

I know what you’re thinking: you can’t paint. I wasn’t in school the day they were handing out artistic talent either. I later found that I enjoy painting as long as I’m not being graded on the final result. If you want to give it a try, you’ll need a canvas, acrylic paint and some brushes.  A 2-pack of canvasses can be found at Michael’s and other hobby stores for about $3.00, a package of different size brushes for about $4.00, and a set of 12 different acrylic colors (think sample sizes) for $5.00. The best part is that you’ll have a piece of artwork, or two, at the end of the night that will look great in your living room. Or closet.

Geocaching

If you wanted to be an archeologist when you were younger, but earning a PhD doesn’t fit into your life plan anymore, then geocaching is for you --  it’s essentially modern day treasure hunting. Log on to a geocache website, enter your zip code, and choose from one of many local geocache sites. Using your GSP device or smartphone -- and possibly some problem solving -- you’ll feel like Indiana Jones in no time.

Pick your own produce

With autumn officially here, the allure of baked goods featuring apples and pumpkins is hard to resist. Don’t feel restricted to buying the produce at the grocery store though. There are farms  in the Denver area and across the country that allow you to pick your own produce. You will find raspberries, cherries, squash, onions, apples, pumpkins and more. At most farms, just like the supermarket, you pay per pound.

Double your pleasure, double your fun

As Wrigley’s Doublemint gum commercials would have us believe, things are more fun in twos. Like tandem bikes. Wheel Fun Rentals  located at Wash Park, lets you rent a tandem bike for $30 per day. They also offer tandem kayaks for $20 per hour and paddle boards for $12 per hour.

Another bike idea

Have you lived in the same neighborhood for ten years and only know one way to get to your house? Grab your bikes, or rent two using B-Cycle here in Denver, and try to find different routes to your daily activities e.g., the grocery store, school, work, gym, or your favorite park. You may end up finding a more scenic or faster route, and even if you don’t, you’ll become more familiar with your city.

Practice, practice, practice

Batting cages provide the perfect opportunity to impress your S.O. and practice your swing. At places like this, you can buy 15 pitches for a bank-breaking $1.50, and 80 pitches for $7. I suppose you could always do this for free in a park, but there is something about a machine throwing 60 mph baseballs at your face that is uber-romantic. Not a baseball fan? Try Aqua golf. It’s a driving range, but you hit your golf balls into a lake, on purpose! You can get 50 golf balls for $6, 100 for $10, and 150 for $13.

Fly a kite

Basic kites can be found for about $20 and can be stored in your trunk for an impromptu date on a windy day. No athleticism required.

Free days!

Many museums, zoos, and other public attractions of the sort offer free admission certain days of the year. Now if you’re averse to crowds, these are not the days to go. On the other hand, if you’re okay with waiting in line to see animals, art, or dinosaur bones, these free days can easily fill an entire afternoon and leave you feeling more cultured. The first Saturday of every month is free at the Denver Art Museum. The Denver Zoo has three more free days this year , and nine are scheduled for 2015. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science has two more free days this year and 12 days in 2015.  Another free event the museum offers is 60 Minutes in Space. Usually taking place the last Wednesday of every month, 60 Minutes in Space is an informative presentation on new scientific findings in all things related to outer space, followed by a question and answer session. Get there early. Seating is limited and fills up quickly.

Volunteering

For the civic-minded couple, volunteering is a great way to give back, feel good, and share a wonderful experience with each other. Websites like Metro Volunteers can pair you with an organization or cause that speaks to both of you. This can be one-time thing, or if you really like it, most organizations would more than appreciate your help on a weekly or monthly basis.