Do you do date night? I’m not talking dinner in the drive through when you don’t want to cook. A real date night. I love date night. My husband Ryan and I are pretty good about doing date night every Friday night. In our early marriage, we would go out to eat and explore the city. We could come and go as we pleased. Then we had kids. As any parent knows, getting out on a date when you have kids is tough. Paying a babysitter cuts into your date night budget. Not to mention that you might not always have an available babysitter that you trust. Enter cheap date night ideas at home.
It took us awhile to figure it out, but now that we have four kids, we have plenty of cheap date night ideas at home. We love doing date night without the pressure of spending more money than we can afford. Even though we are at home and our kids are in the other room, it’s concentrated time to spend together. It’s the perfect way to improve our relationship and have a little fun. I’ve compiled my favorite cheap date night ideas at home to help you get into the groove of spending time together.
How to Make at home date nights successful
The day before our oldest son was born, I had a panic-inducing realization. Date nights as we knew them, were over. I was so excited to be a mom, but I remember feeling a sadness about losing that special time with my husband. I shouldn’t have worried. We still have date nights! They just don’t always look the way someone without kids would imagine. When you do an at home date night, it’s tempting to fall into your normal routine. To make date nights special we implement the following:
- Schedule it! We have date night every Friday night. We both know that we’ll be spending Friday night together. It’s a given every single week. And because it’s already on the schedule, it’s pretty rare for us to miss date night.
- Turn off the technology. Nothing kills the romantic mood more than your spouse scrolling Instagram or playing a game on their phone. Turn off the phones. Put them in the other room if you need.
- Plan in advance. We aren’t always great at this, but if you plan date night in advance it’s more likely to be happen and be successful. It gives you time to gather supplies and get things ready for your time together.
- Dress up (or down). Get outta those yoga pants girl! This is a special time. Dress accordingly (even if that means dressing down on purpose…wink, wink).
- Get kids in bed early. As your kids get older, this might be tough. But younger kids don’t usually know what time it is. Put them to bed early! Even 30 minutes early can mean more time together.
- Plan a corresponding activity for your kid’s pre-bedtime time. It’s not the end of the world if your kids watch a movie while you and your husband play a board game together in the kitchen. Just make sure that what they are doing is more entertaining to them than what you are doing. Otherwise they’ll be all up in your business. 😊
40 Cheap date night ideas at home
Do you need cheap date night ideas at home? Staying home is usually the cheaper option for a date. Which means you’ll save money every time you stay in. Here’s 38 of our best ideas.
Cook dinner together
This is perhaps one of our favorite date nights. We love cooking together. We usually pick a recipe that is a little fancy or out of the normal. If you don’t know what to cook, try following along with a YouTube video.
Stargazing is a great way to connect with your spouse. Get those kids in bed, leave the backdoor open, and search the stars together in your backyard. There are books and apps that will tell you what you are looking at if you don’t know.
We love pulling out a game to play on date night. Stock up on two player games that you enjoy, and you’ll be set for a quick, unplanned date night anytime.
Get takeout dessert
Eating food from a restaurant can get expensive. Instead of eating a whole meal, just get dessert. Eat at home and top off the night with your yummy dessert.
Watch a New movie
We love movies. For date night, we don’t usually go for binge-watching Netflix. Instead, we like to choose a movie we haven’t seen. Redbox is a great for that. Right after our twins were born, we were gifted with a Redbox gift card. It was the best thing. We couldn’t get out with a 2-year-old and newborn twins. We did several date nights with Redbox and if was perfect for that stage of life.
Watch old family videos or look at pictures
I love looking back on pictures from when my husband and I were dating, or even seeing our tiny babies right after they were born. Pull out your old pictures and videos. Reminisce together.
Ice cream sundaes
Sometimes you just need ice cream. But it can add up quickly. I once added up how much it would cost for both of us to get ice cream at an ice cream shop and realized that for the same price, I could get enough ingredients from the grocery store to do ice cream sundaes several times over. And, as a bonus, you can wait until the kids are in bed before you pull out ingredients, so you won’t have to share.
Taste test grocery store items
We’ve done this several times as a couple, and even with our kids. It’s simple. Pick out something you’d like to taste test. We’ve done Oreo cookies vs. generic brands, testing different brands of eggnog, and more.
Book on tape
This is like having your own book club, just with your spouse. We’ve read several books together. He listens to a book on tape during the week on his commute to work, and I’ll work through the same book on my own. Afterwards we sit down and talk about it. You could even just listen to an audio book together during date night.
Watch the sunset
Our world is a beautiful place. On the back of our deck, we have the best views of the sunset. During the summer months, we love to get our kids in bed, then sit on the deck and watch the sunset while we chat and hold hands. Find your own sunset spot.
My husband is a genius. He invented a way for our kids to “participate” in our dates occasionally. We’ll get takeout (something nice for us, and something fun for the kids). Then we let our kids serve us our food like waiters. Our oldest even invented the “fancy dance” that the kids use when serving us. They’ll even drape a towel over their arm like a fancy waiter. It’s a crack up. Our kids love it and it gives us a little time together while they bring us water and napkins.
Question and answer
Do you miss being able to talk to your spouse and learn new things about them? That time when you first start a relationship is full of questions and getting to know one another. But when was the last time that your really took the time to ask your spouse meaningful questions? Write down some questions that you’d like to ask on your next date and get to know your spouse a little better.
Depending on the season, lay out a blanket in your living room or backyard. Eat a picnic together.
Dance in the kitchen
I don’t know about you, but dancing in the kitchen with my hubby is one of the most romantic things. It’s nice to have that closeness. His his silly moves and singing make me laugh. You don’t even need to spend a lot of time dancing. Sometimes just a song or two is enough to reconnect.
Who doesn’t like to go to the spa? Personally, I love a good massage. When a massage isn’t in the budget, do one at home. Be open with your partner about what you need and want. Be willing to return the favor.
Melt chocolate or cheese and make a delicious and fun dinner or dessert. One of my favorite dates with my husband was dipping various grocery store goodies into cheese fondue. Twinkies and cheese anyone? We laughed and made jokes as we ate our weird creations. You don’t have to get that creative, but there are many fun flavor combinations you could try.
We love movies and their sequels. You might not be able to make it through all the Harry Potter movies in a night, but you could make it through a couple. Choose your favorite movie series and see how far you can get.
Watch the game
My husband loves sports. Football and basketball are his favorites. When it’s March Madness or the Superbowl, it’s hard to pull him away from the TV. Instead of feeling mad or sad about the time he spends watching sports, I’ve learned to embrace it. We cook these amazing chicken wings, French fries, and eat our way through our favorite appetizers.
Whether you are a good singer or not, karaoke will get you out of your shell with your spouse. You can sing your best or get silly and bust out your opera skills. If you have your own karaoke machine, great! If not, you can find songs online for free.
Video game night
Everyone has their own flavor of video games. Whether you choose Rockband, Halo, Just Dance, or Mario Cart, there is something that you can enjoy together.
Love the 80’s? Rock and Roll? Everything Italy? Pick a theme and build your date around that theme. For example dress like Princess Lea and eat Star Wars themed foods.
Silly string war
It’s cheap and easy. Pick up a few cans of silly string at the dollar store. Head outside and have fun spraying each other.
Makeout in the car
I think most couples spend a lot of time talking (and kissing) in the car in the early days of courtship. Remember the beginning of your romance. Talk. Do a little kissing while the car is parked in the garage or driveway.
Knowing your spouse’s love language can change the way you see them. My husband’s main love language is acts of service. Mine is words of affirmation. Without knowing that, I might think that he doesn’t love me. He’s more apt to take out the trash than to take a minute to tell me he appreciates me. Understanding your own, and your partner’s love language is so helpful. Take the love languages test. It’ll be a great date night activity, and it could even change your marriage.
Do you have a bucket list? I used to have a long bucket list when I was younger. Having kids has a way of pushing those dreams to the side. Write a bucket list together and renew old dreams Take the time to dream about what you’d like to do and accomplish. You might surprise each other.
Watercolors are inexpensive. Let your creative juices flow or challenge one another to a paint off.
Do a puzzle
Large puzzles are a great way to spend quality time together. Depending on how large your puzzle is, it could take you a few date nights to finish.
Do you have a fireplace? If so, take advantage of your easy heat source and roast smores. Switch things up by trying new ingredients in your smores. Think raspberries, caramel, or different flavored candy bars.
Perhaps one of my favorite things about my spouse is that he makes me laugh. We’ve attended the shows of a few different comedians. But you don’t have to get tickets to enjoy the best that comedy has to offer. You can find the work of many comedians online. Laughing together is a great way to relieve stress.
Family history night
You may or may not know much about your partner’s family history. Take a date night to learn about where they come from. Give your spouse plenty of time to prepare ahead of time.
Relive childhood. Build an indoor fort in your pajamas. Have a pillow fight. Use flashlights. Eat snacks.
Make mug cakes
Have you fallen in love with mug cakes yet? They only take a few minutes to put together, cook in the microwave, and only make a small portion (so you won’t have it for breakfast too). Search online for different recipes and experiment with your favorite flavors.
Nerf gun war
Load up on bullets and grab a gun! A Nerf gun war is a great way to bring out your competitive spirit. Winner gets out of dinner cleanup!
You’ll have to get creative but planning a scavenger hunt for your spouse can be a lot of fun. Leave clues. Watch their brain work. Help them if they need it and cheer them on.
Learn something new
My husband LOVES Youtube. He is always watching to learn something new. From woodworking to baking French bread, you can learn anything online. Learn something new together and then try it out.
Train for a race
We’ve trained for a few races together. The first was a 5k. We trained, made T-shirts, and enjoyed doing something physical together.
Bring out your inner designer
Do you have a room in your home that bugs you? Use your imagination to redesign it. You don’t have to have the time or money to follow through. Just getting your ideas out on paper can be a fun thing to do.
Plan your dream vacation
If money didn’t matter, where would you go? Talk about the places you would travel with your spouse. You might even find that your dream vacations are closer than you think.
Planning cheap date night ideas at home doesn’t have to be impossible. Whether you are trying to do date nights at home because you have kids, or because you are trying to save money, you can still have fun. The important thing is that you make time to date your spouse on a regular basis.
What do you do for date night? Do you have any go-to at home date night ideas?