Life get’s busy and your relationship with your partner can suffer. With bills, kids and the stress of daily life, sometimes spending quality time with your partner can be the first thing to give.

Often date nights are skipped because of the cost, the lack of a babysitter or because you just don’t feel like going out in public. But just because you’re broke or busy doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with your partner and keep the romance alive.

My husband and I just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary, Over the years we’ve had to get a little creative with ways to spend more quality time together as our little family grows.  If you’re in need of some inspiration below is a list of ‘date nights’ you can have in your own home when you can’t find a babysitter, some cheap date nights for when you want to go out but the budget doesn’t stretch to a 5 course meal, and on the off chance you want to go big and celebrate an important occasion here are some ideas for actually leaving the house too!

Date night on a shoestring…

  1. Make a nice dinner… TOGETHER. When you are both involved in preparing a scrumptious meal together, and you will be amazed at how it reminds you of how well you work together as a team. Then sit by a nice candle lit table and enjoy with a glass of wine (or beer).
  2. Go for a walk. Getting outside together and enjoying the sun (or stars) is a great way to enjoy each other’s company – and it’s free!
  3. Clear off the MySky (DVR). Chances are there are way too many things you’ve recorded that you just haven’t watched yet? Catch up on all your fave shows, while snuggled up with your honey!
  4. Give each other a massage. Hey, you don’t have to be a licensed masseuse to do so, just do what you’re good at. Maybe it’s a foot rub, a back rub, etc. It’ll be a nice way to help each other unwind and relax.
  5. Soak in a hot bath together – of course this only works if a) you have a tub and b) it’s big enough for the both of you… or you’re away at a fancy hotel that has a tub… in which case b) is probably still applicable. Anyways, if there is a tun and you fit –  crack open some bubbles (to drink!), draw a hot bath and relax.
  6. Pretend you’re at a romantic outdoor screening of an old favourite movie and have your own a little movie night indoor picnic, but laying out a blanket and putting on a movie.
  7. Go to an outdoor screening of a movie and have a picnic – usually these events are free, but you may need to fork out for a sitter if you have kids.
  8. Go out for ice cream. Save on dinner by cooking at home, then splurge a little on dessert. If you’re lucky, there’s a nice little local gelato or icecream place just around the corner. Get a small cone, and you won’t spend too much, or get one to share!
  9. Hit up your local farmer’s market. It’ll be nice to have local fresh ingredients when you go to do the at home cooking date!
  10. Head to the local thrift store. You never know what kinds of goodies you can find. Maybe something you’ve been wanting to add to the home decor – half of our house comes from the thrift shop!. Maybe you will even find a fantastic new outfit to wear next time you splurge on a date night!
  11. Go out to support your local high school. Check out a sports game, concert, band or even play. More often than not it will be free, but if you are required to pay a small charge you’ll be supporting your local community.
  12. Go on a picnic. If it’s warm enough, try to go outside (even if it’s in your own backyard). And if it’s too cold, spread a quilt out on the floor, make some sandwiches, and keep your picnic indoors.
  13. Have a karaoke night! Find songs with lyrics on You Tube and sing your heart out.
  14. If you have ‘Singstar’ play it. It’s not just for kids – and it has duet mode!
  15. Go bowling….who doesn’t love a little friendly competition!
  16. Sneak out for a drink at an old favourite pub like you used to in the early days of your relationship.
  17. Visit a local coffee shop and take in a board game or cards.
  18. Make a pallet in the backyard or grab some chairs for star watching together.
  19. Make a fire outside and roast marshmallows for s’mores.
  20. Play truth or dare with each of you making a list of your own questions.
  21. Go play mini golf. (There are lots of laughs with this one!)
  22. Go rollerskating. (Many local places have deals for day time visits)
  23. Float down a lazy river if you live near one and take snacks and drinks
  24. Visit a bingo hall for a little couple’s challenge!
  25. Go for a scenic drive and listen to your favorite music.
  26. Eat your favorite takeout by candlelight.
  27. Fly kites at a local park.
  28. Visit a location you’ve haven’t been back to since you first got together and reminisce.
  29. Go to a bookstore and pick out something for each other.
  30. Volunteer somewhere together.
  31. Write out the story of how you met (and fell in love). It’s fun to go back and read (or watch) years down the road.
  32. Have Breakfast in Bed (even if it’s a night date! Breakfast for dinner is one of my favorite meals!).
  33. Break a record! Find a record in Guinness Book of World Records and spend the night trying to break it. Try doing it together as a team or make it a competition and compete against each other to see who has the better record.
  34. Go Geo-Caching!  (What’s Geo-Caching?  Find out HERE.)
  35. Train together – Sign up for a walk, run, or bike race together.  Enjoy several “date days” preparing for the big event!
  36. Choose a new TV series to dive into together!  Binge watch way more episodes in a row than you probably should without feeling guilty.
  37. Create a mall scavenger hunt for yourselves.
  38. Go to the nearest jungle-gym and swing on the swings like you did in days of old.  It’ll keep you young.
  39. Create a map of all the places you’ve been together.  And then write a wish list of all the places you still want to visit.
  40. Ask a friend to do a special photo shoot of the two of you!
  41. Toss around a ball or frisbee in the backyard.
  42. Visit the zoo or aquarium on discount/free days!
  43. Hang out at the beach, river or lake together for the day.
  44. Teach each other a new hobby.
  45. Watch old family movies together.
  46. Build a fort out of blankets in the living room, and cuddle up to watch a romantic movie together.
  47. Plan out a dream trip for one of your upcoming anniversaries.