Ask Elle--The Love Week Edition: Cheap Dates

Welcome to LOVE WEEK on Elle Sees. Everything this week will be love-related and there should be a lil something for everyone. I hope you enjoy it. Love, Elle

I love to give advice and decided to start a monthly ASK ELLE column a few months ago. This month's ASK ELLE is from Ashley who asks, "How can I have a cheap yet romantic Valentine's Day night?" Well, Ashley, I actually did a post on this last year. See below for my Date Night on the Cheap!

Home Alone
  • Dine al fresco (or picnic inside)! Two of my good friends actually picnicked on a median (!) in the middle of a non-busy street. People honked and waved as they did so. Unusual, right?
  • Camp outside! Put up the tent outside and make the s'mores.Or even camp indoors!
  • Cook dinner together. Feed each other some of it. 
  • Dress up, cook dinner, and have "restaurant night" at home (or take out!). 
  • Read poetry to each other over a delicious dessert. Pablo Neruda is my fave for this.
  • Have a party for 2 at home--you decide the theme!
  • Shut off all electric devices (including lights). Candles only. Have fun.
  • Make it a music night & an instant dance party! Include some slow songs.
  • Slumber party...party of 2 that is! Rent movies (preferably a scary movie with the lights off!) & pop the popcorn. Or rent a movie you've never seen or heard of.
  • Boardgames & card games & video games--include cheap prizes
  • Show a movie outside under the stars (rent a projector & put up a sheet as your screen.)
  • Rediscover your hometown. Be a tourist! Do all of the touristy things you never thought you'd do. There are some hidden gems in even the smallest of towns!
  • Go to different spots in your city and have strangers take your picture. Make a photo album or scrapbook of the day.
  • Make breakfast together.
  • Go to the closest big city and do the touristy things there. Take silly pics while you're at it!
  • If the weather's nice, get a cheap wading pool, fashion a chaise out of pallets, and mix a drink for instant oasis.
  • Set up a little spa area--complete with a DIY pedi! Light the candles and relax. Give each other massages.
  • Or create your own beach retreat!
  • Star gaze.
Get Out
  • Relive your first date (or recreate as closely as possible).
  • Mystery date! One person plans everything. Be sure to switch off next time.
  • Do a restaurant crawl. Have a drink at one restaurant, appetizers at another, main course somewhere else, and finish with dessert at the last place. Or do it in reverse!
  • Go to a dive bar and play darts or pool.
  • Grab brunch. No talk of kids, work, or problems.
  • Listen to a poetry reading or improv comedy.
  • Meet at a bar independently & flirt like you've never met.
  • Go to a free outdoor concert (or any concert).
  • Karaoke...if you dare!
  • Visit the zoo, fair, carnival, or aquarium.
  • Go to a flea market, garage sale, or antique shopping.
  • Get a hotel for the night in your town! Can't afford that? Do a house-swap with friends for a night! Or stay in your guest room in your own house!
  • Roadtrip! Even if it's a ride to nowhere in particular.
  • Most museums are cheap or free once a month. Dress up & go visit!
  • Do a cocktails & canvas (or any type of class) together. Many are super cheap!
  • Volunteer together.
  • Take dance lessons--youtube, restaurants, clubs, or dance studios.
  • Universities always have student art shows. Go visit and maybe you might find something awesome--for cheap!
  • Listen to the orchestra (local or university) or watch a play.
  • Test drive a car.
  • Grab a sweet dessert to share or a coffee.
  • Go to a store and challenge each other to find a really sweet/creative/romantic gift for $10 or $20.
Childhood Games
  • Play a boardgame, card game, video game.
  • Fly a kite.
  • Blow bubbles.
  • Go bowling.
  • Pick local produce (fruits or veggies) together. (Did y'all ever do that as a school field trip?)
  • Go hiking.
  • Fingerpaint!
  • Put together a puzzle.
  • Draw with chalk.
  • Go rollerskating/blading either outside or at the local skating rink.
  • Visit an arcade and challenge each other.
  • Have a watergun fight.
  • Play on the playground--have a picnic there, swing on the swings or chase each other around.
  • Play a sport together or take a lesson on it.
  • Into sports? Watch the kids play locally. Or support a local sports team--no matter how bad they are.
Do you have any cheap date ideas NOT listed above? Please share in the comments!
Do you have a question you want answered? Ask me in the comments, ask me via Twitter or send me an email!


  1. these are good ideas! i did the museum one a couple weeks ago it was fun.

  2. Always looking for more date ideas :)

  3. Going to the museum is a great tip. Often the exhibits are so well done and there's something for everyone

  4. What a brilliant list! I really love your ideas:) Wish you a sunny MOnday, darling

  5. So many ideas! ...and they're all such great ones! I love the idea of camping outside (or inside)!!!

  6. Genius idea for a post! Loving the ideas too. XX

  7. Loving all your ideas! We'll probably end up dining in that night. A homecooked romantic meal will do us both some good :)

  8. these are great ideas! im tempted to bookmark this post so i can go back and check it when i run out of ideas! happy monday lady! xoxo jcd

    ps i love taking trip to parks and go swinging...

  9. I'm bookmarking this link- I LOVE all your great ideas. Gabe and I always cook dinner at home together on Valentine's day because restaurants are so crowded and so much more expensive that day! Thanks for all the tips!

  10. This is so smart...I love it!

  11. My husband have a regular V-day in tradition: fondue pajama party. Somehow we have grown to love it.

  12. Oh my goodness Elle what a great list! We always do little dine in dates, or cheesy picnics on our floor in front of fireplace. LOVEd this list:-)

  13. Nice ideas. We've done some of them, but most of them not in a while. This year we're going to do a surprise day (random day when the other will expect it least) and make that our special day. I'm still collecting ideas so I appreciate this list!


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