How to Plan the Most Romantic Date of Your Life (Without Breaking the Bank)

From a private at-home paint and sip to a one-of-a-kind walking tour, these are some of the most romantic dates you’ll go on—and they won’t break the bank!
Written by R.E. Fulton
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Want to plan the most romantic date of your life without draining your bank account? Do something special with your special person by opting for a dessert date, going berry picking, or getting up early to watch the sunrise
Dinner and a movie are so last year—and with inflation on the rise, so expensive! If your love life is starting to feel like a threat to your financial health, it’s time to rethink your go-to romantic outings. While eating out might feel like the most natural way to spend time with your SO, you can unlock new levels of romance while saving money—all it takes is a little outside-the-box inspiration! 
Here with the romantic innovations you need is
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, and, yes, dating. We’ll share some tips for keeping your date night budget small, as well as a few totally-free romantic outings you should try. 
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Romantic date ideas under $20

Meet for a dessert date

You’ve done dinner, you’ve done coffee, you’ve done cocktails, but let’s be real—all of those can get pricey fast. If you’ve recently found yourself sweating over a receipt for a meal you were sure wouldn’t be that expensive, flip the script and take your date out for dessert instead. 
The great thing about dessert is that it’s versatile, cheap, and delicious. You can stick to the classics by finding an old-school ice cream parlor near you, or go upscale and sample the dessert menu at your local fine dining establishment. Either way, you’re not only saving on dinner, but giving yourself a chance to really savor a dessert on its own. 
Total cost: $6-$10 per person

Make pizza at home

Maybe you have a ready-made list of questions for getting to know a new romantic partner—but there’s no better way to really learn about a person than making pizza with them. 
After all, this is serious business! You want to know early on if you’re getting into a relationship with someone who likes olives, anchovies, or—gasp—pineapple on their pizza. At-home pizza making is also a fun and easy process, from
kneading dough
to picking out toppings. And the results couldn’t be more delicious. 
Total cost: $5-$10 for two homemade pizzas 

Host a private paint and sip

Making art while drinking wine: what could be more romantic? There’s just one problem; most of the paint and sip classes offered by bars and studios are between $25 and $50 per person
But who says you need to go somewhere special to drink wine and paint? Split a bottle of your favorite wine and pull up a Bob Ross video or other painting tutorial on YouTube, and you’re ready to go. You can pick your budget by opting for more or less fancy wine and painting supplies—and no matter what, you’ll end the night with a piece of art to remember the date by!  
Total cost: $10-$15 for wine; art supplies vary 

Start a two-person book club

If you and your date both love to read, a private book club is the perfect way to plan a series of romantic dates. 
Start with a bookstore date by heading to your local used bookshop and browsing the shelves together. You can buy a cheap copy at the store, or put it on hold at your local library for a totally free reading experience. For your next date, sit down with a glass of wine or some tea and pastries and discuss the book together. Your choice of book can set the tone for this date, from philosophical musing or nerdy fun to something a little steamier!   
Total cost: $0-$20, depending on your choice of book

Head out to the farm for a berry picking date

The perfect cheap summer date is a trip to your local U-Pick farm to harvest a basket of juicy berries! You’ll spend time together outdoors, with plenty of opportunities to chat and grow closer, and you’ll leave with delicious berries! 
For a fall version of this date, head to the apple orchard and harvest a bushel to share. Don’t forget cider and donuts! 
Total cost: Varies depending on how much you pick! 

Expand your palates at a wine tasting

A winery is just about the most romantic setting you could ask for, and you might be surprised at how affordable wine tastings are! Most wineries offer tastings for as little as $10 per person. It’s a great way to feel classy and enjoy some really good wine without shelling out for a full bottle. 
For a more involved date, pick a winery that allows outside food and follow up your tasting with a picnic on the grounds! 
Total: $10-$20 per person

Buy a lottery ticket, then search for the house you’d buy if you won

Dream big with a lottery date night. A Powerball ticket costs just $2, so buy one for each of you. Then head back to your home base or a cozy local coffee shop and hit up Zillow. Challenge each other to find the house you’d buy if you won the jackpot. 
If you’ve got the chops, you can take it one step further by photoshopping each other into the pictures of your lottery dream houses! 
Total cost: $4

The best totally free romantic dates

Hit up a local festival or art walk

Many cities host some free events, from music festivals or outdoor concert series to art walks, classes, and more. Look up no-cost public events in your area and pick one that speaks to you! 
This is also a great way to explore your city, learn a new skill, or meet new people—no date required! 

A night at the museum

Many museums, especially smaller ones, have fairly low admissions prices, so this can double as a cheap date if you’re able to find a cool museum in your area with affordable tickets. 
For the real savings, though, look up free evening programs at your favorite museums. Some museums offer free admission one night a month, while others are free as often as once a week! And if you’re lucky enough to live near a Smithsonian institution, you can visit for free 365 days a year! 

Get some sand between your toes with a beach date 

This is another season-specific date—unless you happen to live somewhere with year-round beach weather! Jump in your car and plan a date at your local beach. 
Sure, there are ways to spend a little money on a beach date if you want that extra-special experience: a bottle of wine for a sandy picnic, ice cream cones on the boardwalk. But there’s nothing wrong with a day in the sun together. You can even look for a topless or nude-friendly beach if that’s your speed! 

Get up early (or stay up late) to watch the sunrise

Sometimes the best things in life are the simplest. A sunrise is one of those things. 
Check the weather forecast and look for a clear morning coming up. Plan to meet up with your date shortly before the sun rises, and pick a scenic spot like a public park or beach where you can really take in the beauty together. If you like, you can follow up the date with coffee or breakfast!
Now, if you’re not a morning person, this might sound like the opposite of a romantic time. But for night owls, there’s another approach: stay up together to catch the sunrise, then fall asleep under the morning rays. 

Stage a photoshoot

This one is the chance to let your personality shine. It’s also a great way to share your relationship with others (thanks to social media!), and you’ll end up with a special souvenir from your time together. 
First, find a cool location for your big shoot. That could be a local park or a historic building, but think outside the box: abandoned ruins? Skate park? That weird graffiti wall in the 7-Eleven parking lot? Whatever your vibe is, follow its lead. Stick to your phone’s basic portrait mode, or download a cool photo editing app to give your shots a vintage look. 

Visit an animal shelter

This is a tricky one. On the one hand, spending an afternoon with some furry creatures and spreading a little love to animals in need might be the perfect free date
On the other hand, you might end up adopting a pet, which makes this a very expensive date idea. Know yourself. If you’ve got an iron will, go for it. 

How to find affordable car insurance

Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em—that’s right, we’re talking about cars. Car insurance is one of those things nobody wants to shop for, but everybody needs. After all, if you’re going to sweep your date off their feet, you need a safe ride to sweep them into! 
When it comes to car insurance shopping, let
be your wingman. As a licensed insurance broker, Jerry can scan rates from over 55 top insurers in 45 seconds to find your customized quotes. With help from Jerry’s team of insurance professionals, you’ll be date-ready in no time! 
And the best part? On average, Jerry users save over $800 a year on car insurance. With money like that, you can graduate from cheap romantic dates to a big-budget date night in no time! 
“I had a great experience using
for the first time. Once my boyfriend buys his new car, we’ll use Jerry together to make sure he doesn’t end up overpaying on new insurance!”  —Stephanie S.
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