$20 Date Night Tips: Keeping your Relationship Strong when Money is Tight (Series 1)

$20 date night ideas relationship advice

You can have fun on a budget

Many couples have stress with their finances and struggle to keep the marriage secure.

A marriage needs to be nurtured, similar to growing a flower.  It needs sunlight, water, nutrients from the soil, and time to grow.

A few years back, my husband was in school and I was starting my therapy practice.  We didn’t have much money at the time, yet wanted to keep the relationship strong and connected.

We started a game called $20 Date Night.

We scheduled every Friday night as date night and took turns switching off creating the date.  The goal was to create a date night by only spending $20.  To our surprise, we came up with many dates for $20 or less; it just took imagination and creativity.  

Date night is a relationship necessity and should be a priority … just like giving a plant its water and sunlight on a regular basis.  Don’t let the lack of money get in the way of your relationship.  I encourage you to take the challenge and create your $20 date night!

Here are a few ideas for creating a $20 or less date night.  Take the challenge and create your own date … I dare you!!!

  • Dinner for two: Find a local restaurant that provides a happy hour menu. Order several appetizers to share. Many restaurants have large portions and the two of you can be satisfied with just a few items.
  • 20 date night ideas relationship blogTiki Torches: Why spend money if you can have your date in your own back yard? Spend a few dollars on tiki torches and create a romantic ambiance without spending much money. Dinner outside and focusing on one another is a great way to nurture your relationship without hurting the bank account. Plus you don’t have to pay for babysitting!
  • Sunset and Sandwiches: Take the time to watch a beautiful sunset while eating gourmet sandwiches from your local deli. Cuddle up with a blanket and enjoy the view!
  • Picnic at the Park: Nice weather, homemade food, and a cozy blanket can make the best date out at the park. The relaxing atmosphere and a place to focus on one another. Bring along a deck of cards or a
  • Bonfire Dinners: Here in San Diego there are many different beaches where you can have a bonfire. If you have the luxury of a bonfire pit, take your partner out and have dinner and s’mores around the fire.
  • Open-mic Night: Many coffee shops do an open microphone night for musicians, comedians, etc. Be adventurous and hit a coffee shop near you. The price of a latte and sugary scone might just hit the spot!
  • Matinee Movie: Dates don’t have to be during the evening … matinee movies are great cost-savers and still allow you  time together as a couple. Snuggle up and enjoy the movie.
  • Movie and Snacks: Avoid the uncomfortable cuddling in a movie theatre and have a movie night at home. Spread out your favorite snack items, such as cheese, crackers, veggies, etc.

Share your $20 date night ideas with us!


About Jennine Estes, MFT

Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653

5 Responses to “$20 Date Night Tips: Keeping your Relationship Strong when Money is Tight (Series 1)”

  1. Liz

    I have to agree that keeping a date night is very important to make sure you take the time to really check in with each other and take that time to invest in the relationship. Some other really good ideas are board game date with snacks, music night where you listen to just music and talk about it, and watching things on you tube. I think a lot of families are getting stressed with money issues and that is when we need to invest in them the most.

  2. Anonymous

    I have been seeing this guy for about 2 months and when we first started talking he told me that he had just got out of a 4 year relationship and that we was he was over her. Now 2 months later after we were having such a good time together, hanging out everyday…he stopped calling me and I find out that he is back with her and he has forgotten all about me.. What should I do? How do I move pass this?.

    • Jennine Estes, MFT 47653

      His behavior of simply stop calling you and and now has moved on is very hurtful. I’d suggest reaching out to your friends and family during this time. Don’t try to fix things with him, because his heart isn’t fully over the past relationship. Now you get to focus on you and fixing your heart.

  3. Rosemary

    For $20 or so we can play miniature golf & have snacks. Rent bikes at the park. Have a weekend movie marathon at home. See the latest museum exhibit. Go out for brunch


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