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Cheap First Date Ideas That Are Fun or Romantic

Updated on October 3, 2018
ControlledChaos1 profile image

I have many interests and an inability to make up my mind about which one to focus on. That's how I came up with my name: ControlledChaos1.


The First Date Should Be Cheap

The words "cheap date" often fills people with dread, but those sentiments are far from being a bad thing. Coming up with ideas for spending less on a first date forces the people on it to get to know one another instead of trying to impress one another. This should be the goal of every first date. As ashamed as I am to admit it, I didn't come to realize the above statement until I was in my forties. I have a feeling though, that there are plenty of people (both younger and older than me) that still don't realize how true the statement is.

This article will be dedicated to date ideas that can allow people to get to know one another regardless of their wealth. Connection is what people should want on a first date, other things can come on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th dates. I can almost promise you that if you can come up with cool first date ideas that are unique and fun, your date won't care how much you spend or don't spend on them. Thanks for taking a look and good luck on that date.

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First Date Tips For Men

Affordable Dating Suggestions That Are Unique and Fun

  • A picnic in a local park on a blanket is as a romantic backdrop as you can get for a 1st date (or 2nd, or 3rd, or any).
  • Build something with LEGO bricks.
  • Fishing for some bluegill (much easier to catch); you can let them go.
  • Rollerskating at a rink or park.
  • Sweat together at the gym.
  • Mini-golf is a riot.
  • Ice skating is fun, but only if both of you are half-way decent at it. You don't want to spend the whole date falling.
  • Cooking a meal together.
  • Coloring a picture.
  • Go to a karaoke bar and sing bad songs together. No sad songs, please.
  • A leisurely stroll is a wonderful opportunity to talk and get grounded. Doing it barefoot is even better.
  • Test drive expensive cars. You're the only ones that have to know you're not really going to buy.
  • Scavenger hunts can be a lot of fun and fairly cheap if done locally. Have one of your friend make up a list of items or grab a list from the internet, or even better, you and your date can make the list on the 1st date and find the items on the next date.
  • Street festivals come fast and furious during the fall.
  • Hiking on an easy trail makes for a great first date. If you get the opportunity to take your shoes off and put them in a creek for a while, do it.


To say that one waits a lifetime for his soulmate to come around is a paradox. People eventually get sick of waiting, take a chance on someone, and by the art of commitment become soulmates, which takes a lifetime to perfect. -Criss Jami, Venus in Arms

Another Batch of Cheap First Date Ideas

  • Paintball!
  • Visit the zoo and see the animals.
  • Drive around to yard sales.
  • Feed the pigeons or ducks. This is a really affordable way to get to know your date as most of the date will be filled by you both talking to one another.
  • Bowling is fun.
  • Shoot a game of pool.
  • Volunteer work.
  • Most museums are free.
  • A roll of quarters can buy a lot of fun at an arcade.
  • Going out to eat is always a dependable staple of dating.
  • Going shopping in a 99 cent store.
  • Dinner is always a good date idea, but don't be afraid to ask someone out for breakfast or brunch. This will make for a unique date that most people have never been on.
  • Wander around a used book store, and maybe even buy a few.
  • Visit a greenhouse or plant nursery.
  • If you asked them out, wash their car together.

10 Low Cost Dating Solutions

Ideas For Date Night That Won't Put A Dent In Your Wallet

  • Buy a couple cheap box cameras and spend a few hours taking pictures. Before going home switch the cameras and get the film developed. You're likely to learn a lot about each other by doing this.
  • Spend the day at a carnival or theme park.
  • Rake leaves and then play in them. A great Fall date.
  • A horse drawn carriage ride just oozes romantic. Some people may want to save the romantic dates for later, but I'm not one of them.
  • A group dinner date is one way to go if you are not sure you want to go out on a date by yourself. It really takes the pressure off is there are people there who are friends of each person.
  • Taking a one hour class at a local college or university. A little research is advisable for classes that are free or low-cost as they can fill up fast.
  • Collecting sea shells.
  • Hang out at an old-fashioned Irish pub; they're more common than you think.
  • Rent a paddle boat or canoe and explore some rivers or lakes.
  • Corn or hedge mazes are fun.
  • Make a bucket list (lets say 10 items each).
  • Buy a bunch of Popsicle sticks and some glue and make something.
  • Give sandwiches out to homeless people.
  • Take a trip to a pumpkin patch.
  • Picking strawberries; try your best to not get into a strawberry fight or to snack on them. So unprofessional.

Doing The Movie Thing But Not Really

Organize your own film festival that can take place on a future date. This can only work if both of you have a DVD collection or have access to a movie library on your TV. Each person can start out picking 10 movies and then each list can be whittled down to the size you want. You'll learn quite a bit about each other during the process. Motivations on why we like certain flicks is knowledge gold and can help you decide if you want to go forward in the relationship.

Questions You Should Ask On A First Date

First Date Ideas That You May Want To Think Twice About

The dating ideas below are not necessarily bad per se, but they would make for better 3rd or 4th date ideas, instead of using them as a first date. Any event you go to where you must focus totally on watching something means there is not much opportunity to talk and get to know one another, which is what you should be doing when going out with someone the first time.

  • Going to a movie (unless you go to dinner first).
  • Seeing a concert that you both really like (save this idea for later).
  • Going to Hooters (or any kind of sports bar).
  • Going to a sporting event where everything is on the line (playoff game, etc.)
  • Birdwatching.
  • Haunted houses may seem like a good idea, but only if you are already comfortable enough to hold each other.


More Great Ideas for a Romantic Date

  • Go to a haunted house. Something tells me she will want to get closer to you. Right after, have a candlelight picnic in a nearby field or park. Going through two emotional extremes should yield interesting results.
  • Look for four-leaf clovers together.
  • Gun range.
  • Get ice cream, or better yet, share a large banana split together.
  • Watch a sunrise or sunset.
  • Spontaneous date idea generated by a stranger (just ask). This can be a real mixed bag of suggestions, but it will let you know how each of you will handle improvisation in your life. I've went on two dates this way and one of them turned out fantastic.
  • Picking and pressing flowers.
  • Go walking in the rain. You can use one large umbrella if you don't want to get wet. As long as it's not storming, you should have an unforgettable first date.
  • Looking at the stars.
  • Starting a puzzle together is always a way to get a second date (to finish it).
  • Reading a comic book together.
  • Sketching a scene together on a nice summer day. I guarantee you will each see the setting you see differently, which will give you a glimpse into how the other sees the world.
  • Horseback riding.
  • Fireworks are aren't just for July.
  • If you both are in the least bit interested in science, then taking an evening to look at things under a microscope can be quite fulfilling and fun.

First Date Ideas To Get You Through Tough Times

  • Play twenty questions (clean version for the 1st date).
  • Enter into a zombie run or a short adventure race together, this should be able to get you some "training dates".
  • Drinks at a local or lesser known bar.
  • Go on a small road trip and get lost together. Be sure to document the experience somehow by using a notebook, recordings or a keepsake box of things picked up along the way.
  • Teaching one another how to prepare or cook your favorite meals.
  • People watching in a store or park.

© 2017 Don

Go Ahead and Share Your Unique Dating Experiences

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      7 days ago

      Unless you're wealthy, most couples at some point will have to cut back on some things when money is tight. Me and mine always try to go out on a date at least once a week, even if it's just a long, romantic walk in the park.

      I completely agree that the first few dates of a relationship should be about getting to know one another, and it does seem that dates that cost a lot of money always seems to stifle those conversations. BUT, going on low-cost dates like these are great ways to talk for veteran couples too.

    • profile image


      7 months ago

      I've actually went on 2 first dates where I went night hiking. On the 1st date he came up with the idea, and the 2nd time I did it I came up with the idea with a different guy. It's a great way to see if a guy is a weenie. Night hiking will make all your senses come alive; which is perfect for a 1st or 2nd date - and very affordable. Don't forget the flashlights!


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