Event tickets, drinks, appetizers, Uber fares, parking… the costs of fun, quality time can add up quickly. Hanging out shouldn’t require a stack of hundreds! We all want to make the most of our precious down time, but finding something agreeable, let alone affordable can become a point of contention. To save you from overspending — and from another humdrum night in front of the television — we’ve put together a list of date activities that offer maximum fun with minimal fees. A little creativity, curiosity, and a healthy sense of adventure is all it takes. After all, it’s the simple things that are often the most sweet.
1. Make Your Own Board Game
This activity is actually two fun-filled freebies in one. Not only do you create an opportunity to plan out and put your game together, but you get to co-pilot the maiden voyage. This can be as simple as index-card trivia and DIY MadLibs, or as involved as sprawling over a poster board to draw out a game-board map. No matter your artskills, DIY game night is sure to help you roll out personal anecdotes and co-create in the same imagination land.
2. Personality Tests
Enneagrams, GeneKeys, Human Design, and MeyersBriggs, to name a few. There are so many fascinating and compelling personality profiles out there. Choose a new test to take side by side and share results. Many are free, some specialty ones only charge a small fee.
3. Iron Chef at Home
Splurge on one exotic secret ingredient at the farmers’ market or a specialty grocery store to play a version of the iconic Food Network competition in your own kitchen. Start the timer, and get to work crafting a dish that incorporates your culinary variable. You can judge one another or rope in a room mate or neighbor taste-tester to declare the victor.
4. Ink Blots
Grab some printer paper and splatter your own, or find some on the web or social media. As you take turns analyzing and describing what you see, you may uncover some interesting surprises in your loved one’s subconscious.
5. Learn a Language Together
Whether you’re preparing for a trip or just trying to better understand the menu at a local foreign restaurant, make a date with a handy language-learning app and go through the first few lessons together. With an at-home partner to practice with, you’re more likely to retain the information, and when you’re out and about, you can use your new global vocabulary as a discreet couple’s code.
6. Portraiture/Figure Drawing
Break out the junk drawer art supplies — highlighters, pens and pencils, Sharpies, and crayons for an impromptu art class where you pay visual homage to your special someone. It might not be the jaw-droppingly steamy sketchpad scene between Jack and Rose on the Titanic, but it’s bound to break up the routine, or at the very least create a few laughs. Pin your portraits to the fridge or save them in a special box of keepsakes.
7. Private Dance Studio
Pick a dance style you’ve always wanted to try and fire up a YouTube intro class to practice in the privacy of your own living room. Pop and lock like a hip hop star, shimmy and swivel to a Latin cumbia, learn the hula, or a lively Irish jig. Whatever beat speaks to your feet, grab your partner and get groovin’!
8. Sunset Snuggle
There’s nothing quite so timeless and romantic as simply sitting with your special someone and taking in nature’s beauty together. Grab a bottle of wine if that’s your thing, or just a comfy blanket. Hike to a spot with your favorite vista, or stay in the comfort of your own backyard. There’s no wrong way to watch a sunset.