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

date night money tight cheap date ideas romance budget love relationship

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!

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 part of this nurturing is setting aside time each week to be alone with your partner to connect. But, for most people, at some point or another money will be tight. This could be because you’re saving up for something, you moved, or you’re going through a life transition. Whatever the reason, just because money is tight doesn’t mean you should skip out on date night! My partner and I created a game called $20 Date Night for just this reason.

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.  

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. Or cook for yourselves! You can check out some of our favorite easy recipes here!
  • 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: We are so lucky to live in an area where the beach is just a few minutes away. 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 traveling chess board and enjoy the day!
  • 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 and curl up on the couch!


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