$10 Dates

For awhile my hubby and I got in the habit of going to a nice restaurant each time we had a date.  Fun.  But twice a month at $40-50 a meal is pretty darned expensive.  We’ve decided to challenge ourselves to see how often we can stick within a $10 budget and still have fun.  I’ll be keeping you updated on how we do.

Saturday John and I put the kids in the charge of the teenagers and a nature video, and took off to run errands. Our old microwave died a couple weeks ago, and we went to check out one that was advertised on Craigslist for $10.  It turned out to be in good shape, so we happily parted with a $10 bill and drove away.  Along the way we spotted some yard sales, and spent an hour or so toodling through neighborhoods in search of old treasure.  I found John some jeans and shorts for $1.50.  He got a pair of tiny speakers for his mp3 player for $2.

By then it was lunch time.  The kids were doing fine, so John and I decided to grab something to eat before heading home.  I tossed out the idea of Texas Roadhouse , but we decided to go affordable, and opted to share a 3-item entree at Panda Express.  The grand total for the meal was less than $8.  Counting our yard sale and Craigslist purchases we ended up spending more than $10.  But — hello– we came home with a microwave!– and we thoroughly enjoyed our time together.  We are already thinking creatively about our next budget date.  Maybe sushi in the park?  A free concert?  Ice cream and a dollar movie?

How about you?  Tried dating on a budget?  I’d love to hear your ideas.  And if you’re looking for an affordable meal out in the near future, this Quizno’s coupon will get you a meal for $3.


  1. We are huge fans of cheap dates. We like to use restaurants.com. But we also like to be creative and think of other things. Like walks along the river, coffee and a trip to the library, even going on a run together.

  2. Hubby and I spent Saturday evening alone, while the kids played with Grandma and Grandpa. We shared a $10 crab from Costco over the sink, and had a grand time!

  3. Can’t forget sharing a Costco soft-serve, too. About $1.50 for 20 ounces of ice cream! Can’t beat that 🙂 (Yes- I’m insanely lucky to live 10 minutes from Costco…)

  4. Our favorite cheap date is browsing at the bookstore together. While we are there we might make wish lists for each other, or jot down Christmas gift ideas for the kids, or just pick out a couple of books and curl up together in the chairs to read and talk. Fun, and free!

  5. When my hubby and I were still in high school – we used to go on $2 dates. We would grab two cookies and two select sodas (or hot chocolate) from Carrs/Safeway and then head down to the mudflats (I guess you could call it the “Beach front” here in Alaska) on the coastal trail and just sit and watch the sunset or walk the trail and talk (while eating our treats). In the winter we would sit in the car instead of going down the trail. Ahh… things were so simple then and some of my best memories of our youth. 🙂

  6. Our standard date night is Chipotle and we not only love it, but look forward to it! For $12.84 we can share a burrito bowl, chips/guac and 2 drinks. If you skipped the sodas, it would easily be under $10.

  7. We schedule dinner with our best friends at least once a month…which means we come up with a cheap menu, decide who will cook what, and determine whose house we’ll meet at. We always have great food, great conversation (serious and not-so serious), and then get down to a mean game of Scrabble or cards. Before we know it, the night has flown by…. The most difficult part is trying to schedule the night — we usually have to do this a month in advance since we all have crazy schedules.

  8. Many places have deals during happy hour. We enjoy going to Chammps every once in awhile for half price appetizers. We order three of them and soda to drink. Get out of there for about 20 bucks.

  9. Krystal says:

    Our most recent cheap date was a bucket of balls at the driving range. We used to golf (with a really cheap country course membership) before kids, so this was a fun activity for. Our swings stink but we enjoyed watching each other. By watching each other we enjoy the outing that much longer and we can watch for what we are doing wrong as well as where the ball went.

  10. Our favorite date night has become going to get gelato and a walk through town along the river. For us it’s an indulgence, but is still under $10 for the two of us. And totally romantic!

  11. I miss having teenagers to babysit! Huge gap in our family and our youngest oldest is 22 and our oldest youngest is 7! This makes for an expensive date no matter what – with olders either working full time or off at college. Oh, how I miss teenagers! We do manage to have the occasional cheap date though – we just have to be more creative. The kids have mandatory outside play while we sit quietly in the breakfast area and talk or wait until they go to bed and have ‘movie night’ 🙂

  12. Kathleen says:

    I personally think $10 is too small to be shared between 2 people to have a “date night” $20 might be a more realistic goal, a better date, and still a HUGE savings compared to the $50 date meal you descibed. I would rather have a $20.00 date less often (1 a month) compared to a $10 date (2 a month) Just my opinion though. With $20.00 you could easily find a “mom & pop” restaurant/dinner to patronize (and god knows they needs it in this ecomony) rather than “a chain” restaurant. Take your time, enjoy the conversation, feed each food…and then like a reader suggested before me…go to a bookstore…browse the shelves…enjoy the peace and quiet. 🙂

  13. I love it! Hubby and I are good at cheap dates as well!
    It’s not always the moola spent….it’s mostly the time together!
    Quality time is top on my love language.
    I could easily find some cheap or free stuff to do and eat cheap!

  14. My husband and I love to go on cheap adventures/dates. In fact we have a goal this year to do at least 52 new “adventures” and most of them are free or cheap. So far a few we have done are a carload night with friends to the state fair, hiking, making our own sushi, hot air balloon festival, and wine tasting at a local vineyard.

  15. We have a date at home every so often. Once the kids are in bed we pop in a movie, make a yummy dessert, or work a puzzle and just spend time together. Our only rule is we can’t be on our computers or engaged in something else.

  16. As a mother of 10 also, my husband and I are just getting to the point in our marriage where we can leave our kids alone (our oldest is 13) and we have started meeting for lunch on a semi-regular basis.

    We generally do something light like subs or Mexican. Lunch allows us to spend less for the same experience and a bonus is that we are not so hungry at dinner so usually feed the kids something fairly light.

  17. Glad you had a good time.

    There’s so much fun to be had with someone you love for only small amounts of money. I remember going to Ocean Beach Park as newlyweds, and spent $1.00 on licorice. It was a wonderful evening.

  18. At the beginning of the summer, I marked my calendar for all the “free” concerts and plays our community was hosting this year — all free.

    I try to trade babysitting with friends and neighbors so we don’t have to spend our $$$ on babysitting. Then we just pack up a nice picnic, maybe splurge on a bottle of wine, and off we go! Very relaxing to enjoy a summer evening with my honey and the cost is very low.

  19. Our youngest will soon go away to school. Now that we have more time we CAN spend together, I got laid off and we have little money to spend on dates. So this topic is of particular interest to me. Here are some things we do:

    Rent a Red Box movie, pop some popcorn and turn off all the lights. Sometimes we use the watch instantly option on Netflix instead and its even cheaper!

    Frozen yogurt from McD’s and walk the park.

    When we are already in Lexington, we peruse the book stores, but honestly, that’s more of a fun thing we do at the same time rather than together.

    We have also done the drive-in a couple of times. Its not as cost effective as I would like ($21 for 3 adults) but since we take a cooler with our own drinks and food its pretty cost effective. Our daughter usually finds friends to hang out with and we have the car to ourselves, at least until the mosquitoes start biting 🙂

    I will be watching to see what everyone else’s suggestions are.