When I was in college, I met a young girl in my class who had just gotten married. We were just beginning our junior year, and I was quite amazed at the idea of being married during school. Jameson was my boyfriend back then, and though we often talked of marriage, we didn’t have plans on being newlywed students. Financially, it wasn’t possible. Even so, this girl’s approach excited me. Why not get married now?! So what if we have to do homework on our honeymoon? I asked her if she had any tips, and she shared with me excitedly saying, “Well, things are very hard right now, but sometimes we get to splurge and we buy CHIPS AND SALSA!” That statement popped my daydream bubble, and I decided to look forward to saving some of our pennies. I had no intentions on making chips and salsa a rarity (or so I thought.)
Coming from the other side of this story, I have learned about lean times as well as the elation that is payday. Whether you are dating, newly married, or have been married for decades, this post is for you. As we approach Valentines Day, I’m getting romantic and feeling the love, and I’m very happy to share ten of my favorite dates that cost absolutely nothing.
1. Take a long walk, either at the beach, to the park, or around the block. If it is cold, it feels extra special to fill a thermos with something yummy and hot. Hold hands, wear mittens, and feel cute.
2. Grab a blanket, go into the backyard or drive somewhere at night to go star-gazing. Have you ever seen a shooting star? It’s super romantic.
3. Read a book together. You can go through it separately, and talk about it as you come to good parts, or you can read aloud to each other (my favorite). It can feel awkward at first – I still remember feeling like a tool as I read voices for “The Horse and his Boy,” but it has brought us close together to get lost in stories. Plus good books make you laugh and cry.
4. Play music together. If one of you knows a musical instrument, teach the other, or if you both have your own – print out some chords from your favorite Beatle song, and let the romance wash over you. I have, by the way, gotten a tuba lesson and can successfully play one and a half notes… poorly.
5. Share your headphones – in the car, on a picnic, on a park bench (not while jogging). You will feel closer and possibly learn about your friend’s secret taste in music.
6. Go out collecting – you name it, beach glass, chestnuts, pretty leaves, pinecones. It makes an outdoor date more interesting, and it is fun to have a similar goal together. Keep your tokens for memory’s sake, or create something out of your treasures.
7. Go to the pet store – and cuddle puppies. I dare you not to fall in more love when you see your significant other giggling and being all paternal/maternal with a tiny pup! Just don’t buy one if you’re trying to stay within a budget… ;)
9. Play games – We love Backgammon, Phase 10, Uno, Mancala, Checkers, Poker, etc. Take them with you to free concerts or park benches and find out which one of you is the most competitive. Gamble kisses… it makes losing not so bad.
10. Park somewhere with a pretty sunset, and talk – learn how to become better friends, and laugh a lot. Sometimes it just feels good to get out of the house and look at creation with your best friend.
11. If you really want to spend a little money, you can add Chipotle to any of the above and make the date a perfect 10. And how can a date go wrong with a full tummy?
I hope you enjoyed today’s post! Please leave any of your favorite cheap/free date ideas in the comments below. P.S. I once heard a girl and her boyfriend dressed up all fancy to rent a $1 movie from Redbox! Isn’t that the cutest thing? It doesn’t matter what you spend, it is who you are with that makes the date fun!