No matter what time of year it is or how much money you have, always the best time to show someone you care. Whether you’re celebrating family love, romantic love, platonic love, or anything in between, small acts of affection go a long way. And luckily, there are a lot of ways to show love that don’t involve buying expensive gifts or dinners.
“Can’t Buy Me Love” is an excellent song by the Beatles that says it all.
Instead of going out to eat or taking expensive cooking classes, make a meal at home that neither of you has ever made before. For instance, if your favourite restaurant serves Italian food or sushi, learn to make similar dishes at home. Try a free class on Youtube, Skillshare, or Pinterest, or look for a recipe on Pinterest with step-by-step instructions.
Remember to get some candles to set the table! If you are still trying to figure out how to cook, make your favourite meal from when you were a kid as a nice lighthearted sentiment. Making a variety of your favourite meals will be fun, even if they come from a box. It might also get you talking about your childhoods.
With Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+, you can watch any movie you want on movie night. But with so many apps and choices, finding a movie to stream can take a lot of work. You might spend half of your date night trying to figure out what to watch instead of watching a movie. The solution is to have a cosy movie night with a twist at home. Make it a fun game of chance instead of scrolling for 30 minutes to find something to watch.
Use Reelgood, which includes all your different streaming services, and filter by genre and rating to “shuffle” your movie options without too much risk to find the best movie suggestion. If you don’t have a computer, you can write down the titles of your favourite movies on pieces of paper and pick the winner from a bowl. For a fancier night in, make a charcuterie board or pop some popcorn to have with your movie.
Do a quick Google Search and look for free events in parks that you can go to. Maybe you’ll go to see a band or show you’ve never heard of before, or you’ll enjoy something you already love. You could also pack a picnic basket to have dinner and watch a show under the stars as the sun goes down. This would be more fun and different from a date at a restaurant.
The good news is you can choose your adventure. Are you both looking forward to a night in nature? Bring enough to spend the night outside. Camp in your backyard with your warmest pyjamas, throw blankets, and maybe a bottle of wine and go back inside when you’re done! If all else fails, build a blanket fort in your living room, you’re never too old for a blanket fort! And add lighting and pillows to make it more romantic.
No need to spend money on a massage for two! Put on your soft robes and take care of yourselves at home. After a long day or week, a relaxing self-care date is a great way to unwind. Next, give each other a massage by taking turns. For a more romantic touch, take a bath together (don’t forget the fancy bath bombs!) and warm your towels in the dryer to make it feel like you’re at a spa. Set the mood by diffusing lavender oil or lighting a scented candle, and put your phones on silent. When you’re done, you and your partner will feel relaxed, and your skin will thank you by giving you a healthy glow.
Host your game night to show off your fun or competitive side. Depending on your personality, playing games together could mean getting closer and laughing too hard until it hurts. Or it could mean a friendly and hot competition that gets you talking. If you have a deck of cards at home, even a simple card game can make a date night more fun (bonus points if it’s strip poker), or you can pull out all of your two-player board games for a marathon to find the ultimate winner. Even if you don’t have any cards or games, you can play Charades or make your version of Pictionary and take turns guessing. Do you like game night? Try games like “Two Truths and a Lie,” “Never Have I Ever,” or “Truth or Dare” to learn more about each other and see how daring you can be.
If you don’t know about a scavenger hunt, here’s what you need to know: Find a scavenger hunt list online or make your own. Each clue should describe the next item you need to find, leading you to the “treasure.” It can be changed in any way: You can do it in your apartment or other places around the city that remind you of good times.
Make it short and easy, or a date that lasts all day. The total cost for you to get in touch with your boo on a date: is $0. If you’re on a date, working on clues together will help you get to know each other better. If you’ve been with the same person for a long time, trying something new will keep your relationship feeling new.
Are you aware of the beautiful parks and gardens in London? You may have heard of Hyde Park, Regents Park, St. James’s Park, Kensington Palace Gardens, Hampstead Heath, and Richmond Park from books and movies. It’s a great place to walk with a cup of coffee, have a picnic, watch squirrels, and spend time with someone you care about. There are even deer in Richmond Park. Even though all parks are free, some public gardens look like they should be private.
Okay, this might sound more like an idea for a middle school field trip than for a date night. Take your date to the library, where you can pick out a book for the other or check ahead to see if any talks or readings are planned. The quiet voices make a first date less stressful and can be used to whisper sweet nothings.
Want to try something new? Put on your shoes and fill up your water bottle, because you’re going on a hike to see some sights together. Want to spend less time and do less intense exercise? You could walk around a new neighbourhood or a nearby park to go somewhere new.
You can also go to the tourism website for your city or use GPS MyCity to go on a guided walking tour. It’s always fun to be a tourist in your city! Walks can be romantic any time of the year because you can hold hands and look at the scenery. Visit the community gardens in the spring and summer to see flowers bloom. In the autumn, you can watch the leaves change, and in the winter, you can grab a cup of hot chocolate and look at the Christmas lights.
Explore your artistic side and experience some culture by going to a local museum or art gallery. Plus, you’ll always have something to talk about. Walk through the galleries and talk to each other about your favourite pieces or exciting things you learned. How someone acts in a museum can tell you much about their character and intellect.
Pay attention to what interests them or how they react to what you find interesting. If you go to an art gallery, their taste in art can also tell you a lot about them (do they like Renaissance art and love history, or do they like cubism and have an edge to them?) You’ll bond over learning something new, have fun doing something different, and feel less pressure than at a fancy dinner.
Laying under the stars is the most cliche in a romantic comedy, but it’s also very romantic. Go to a park, field, or even your backyard and have a date night under the stars to enjoy nature’s free romance. Try a free stargazing app to make finding certain stars, planets, or constellations more fun and like a game. You don’t have to spend anything to look at the stars (hot cocoa or a bottle of wine are nice but unnecessary), and you’ll both feel like you’re in your world. If it’s cloudy or cold, try the local planetarium.
Light some candles, get out the oil and give each other a long back rub. You’ll both be able to relax knowing you’re not watching the clock or having to pay for every minute of fun. Also, who knows where it will lead – wink wink.
Truth or Dare is a well-known game from your childhood that you can play again by walking around town and taking turns asking each other ‘truth or dare?’ You’ll both have a great time and learn a lot about each other. If you dare, you can play the same game at home with a more scandalous twist.
Test-drive your dream car with your date at a nearby dealership. This will rev up both the car and the relationship. Who knows, you might end up buying it. If that happens, the date may not be free, but it will be fun.
Karaoke is a great way to let loose and have fun, whether you sound like Beyoncé or a struggling cat! A way to do it for free: Search the app store for free apps you can download and sing along to, or look for karaoke songs on YouTube and blast them through some speakers.
Put on a cocktail dress or a tie; you can be anyone you want for the day! Check the local listings for open houses and take your date to see the dream home you could never afford. Tip: Walk in like you own the place, but don’t end up owning it.
Whether you want to play with puppies at an animal shelter or help out at a soup kitchen, volunteering with your date is a great way to help others and make some great memories.
Be a visitor to your town. Take the subway or bus and leave at a stop you need to learn about. It will be great to spend a day without any worries, and hey, the date almost plans itself!
There are often author readings at bookstores and libraries, and they are almost always free. It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon and keep up with what’s happening in the writing world. Also, you’ll have something to talk about afterwards.
Does your significant other love get likes on Instagram? Charge up your phones and head out to find new ideas. You might be drawn to a park you’ve never been to before or a part of town where graffiti is great for photos. Take a lot of selfies so you can keep track of the date on Instagram.
Take advantage of the fact that many brewery tours are free when you plan your next date. If you don’t like beer, many wineries also offer free tours. Enjoy walking around, and then decide if you want to buy a bottle or a pint. Or, you could stay home and make your drinks.
This is a free twist on the classic date night of dinner and a movie. Plan a picnic and then watch a free movie in the park instead of going to a fancy restaurant. It will be much more romantic than whispering in a stuffy theatre.
Dating is fun, exciting, and scary, but it costs money. Still, there are many ways to ensure you and your date have a great time without spending any money. Stay in and watch a bunch of movies, read each other’s tarot cards, or sing Karaoke against each other.
Or, go out and do something like volunteer work, test-drive your dream car, or play house and visit open houses. You might be surprised at how much more fun you can have together when you don’t have to worry about who will pay at the end of the day.
This list shows that you can spend little to no money to spend time with your partner. It could be as simple as a walk through a new neighbourhood or as exciting as a free brewery tour or movie night in the park.
Here are some ways to get points without spending money.
Yes, your relationship can last without money as long as you enjoy being with each other.
Write a poem for her. Just rub her back. Make the food she likes best. If you care about your girlfriend, you will put thought into making her happy.