8 Frugal Date Night Ideas

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No need to spend a fortune to keep the romantic spark alive!

Love doesn't cost a thing, right? Well, in this day and age, many marketers would have you believe otherwise. The price tag associated with entertaining and delighting a spouse can be astronomical, from elegant dinners and fancy shows, to romantic getaway weekends, wine tastings, dressing to impress, and, if you have kids, babysitting.

Many couples choose not to do these things because of how much they cost. While the motivation behind it is understandable, it's never a good idea to let the romantic spark fade away. Frugality should be a goal, but not at the cost of your relationship. Fortunately, maintaining a connection and spending time together can happen without forking over a handful of cash. What follows are some ideas for frugal dates with your partner.

1. Have a weekly date night at home. This should be a night that's blocked off regularly for the two of you to do whatever you like doing together. Perhaps it's cooking, reading books, playing a board game, doing a garage workout, or binge-watching Netflix with a giant bowl of popcorn.

2. Go for a long walk together at night. Take an hour or two to wander the dark, quiet streets of the city or countryside where you live. Look at the stars, the lit-up windows, the silhouettes of trees. Your conversation will ramble as you see your familiar surroundings from a new perspective.

3. Have a campfire in the backyard. Campfires do a beautiful job at conveying a sense of specialness and intimacy. Light one and sit around it as night falls. Cuddle up under a big blanket, share a pot of tea or a bottle of wine, and watch the embers glow.

4. Have an at-home spa. Take some time to give each other long, in-depth massages. Set the mood with candles, essential oils, music, and low lighting, and see where the night goes.

5. Pack a picnic. Load up a basket with your partner's favorite meal and head out as soon as you're done work for the day. Choose a beautiful park or lookout, or hike a trail to a secluded spot you both like.

6. Cook together. Take a few hours to prepare a meal that you both love and do it together, or use the opportunity to try making something completely new. Sushi? Croissants? Take turns picking favorite songs to listen to while you work; maybe you'll learn something about your spouse's musical preferences that you never knew.

7. Have a jam session. If you're both musicians, why not spend some time playing together? You might discover you sound better than previously thought! Or pick a few songs and work to polish them up for a future impromptu performance.

8. Go skinny-dipping. Yes, I'm serious. This is one of my favorite things to do in summer, whether with a group of girlfriends or my husband. If you're fortunate enough to live near a lake, take a dip in the nude after dark; it feels wonderfully refreshing and rather daring.