Read on for a list of free or cheap winter date ideas!
I currently have a chunk of time that used to be filled with: researching, writing, editing, and procrastinating on my dissertation. While writing my dissertation, I used to dream of the quality time I would spend with my family when the thing was done. Instead, the time is like a hole that is dug when the tide is coming in. Water keeps filling the hole. Currently it is income generation, expense reduction, and debt elimination. Reading about them, learning about them, experimenting with them.
Doing these things means that I am asking my family to continue to put our fun life on hold. I want to change that.
Stephen Covey referred to it as sharpening the saw. It is time to carve out time for my family.
Hey, remember that person you chose to spend a significant portion of your life with? It is a good idea to have fun together sometimes! Dates are an important time to reconnect with a long-term partner.
However, we are on a tight budget. Dates in the summer are easy. Walk in the park, picnic, hike, free concerts, parades, festivals, bike rides, swimming. Winter is trickier. I am brainstorming ideas! Each of these can be done for $10 or less. Round the night out with dinner at home or a fast food feast.
15 Free or cheap winter dates
- Free events at the library. Lectures, crafts, movies and discussions, book clubs-these are just a handful of offerings at my local library.
- Free museum passes. Libraries offer free passes to different cultural centers and events in your community. My library has passes to the art museum, the air museum, the orchestra, as well as history museums. I have lived in towns that had passes for zoos and aquariums as well. You can usually borrow these once or twice per year, and they are good for at least 2 adults.
- Museum after-hours. My local art museum is open Friday nights from 5-8 pm. They have special shows and offerings during that time. Admission is $5. I got a student pass for the year. It was $20 total. So we can attend the Friday night event for $5 (the dude’s ticket) plus parking.
- Bookstore readings. Sign up for your favorite author’s email updates and find out when they are touring. Or sign up for your local bookstore’s email updates and see if there are events or readings of interest to you. Might learn something new!
- Go to a fancy hotel! No, don’t stay there! Visit their lounge, order club sodas with a twist of lime and feel fancy. Ask if you can take your drink to the lobby and sit and people watch. We have a hotel nearby that shows classic movies, free and open to the public.
Photo by Drew Coffman on Unsplash
- Make a thermos of cocoa and a container of brownies. Trek down to your local outdoor holiday tree display. Not the festival of lights, but the tree that stands alone in the town square. Bring some of your favorite music on your phone and sit at a picnic table, under a blanket (probably on a blanket as well, to keep your bums from freezing), listen to the music, eat your snack, and enjoy the grandeur of the tree. (Pacific Northwesterners will have to plan around the weather in order to find a dry picnic table).
Photo by Roberto Nickson (@g) on Unsplash
- Art galleries often have evening hours and are free to browse.
- Downtown districts often have monthly late night events. By “late night” I mean 5-9 pm. Stores will be open late, refreshments provided, and there may be live entertainment.
- Sign up for a dance class or an art appreciation class through your local parks and rec or community college continuing education department. Although these can get expensive, if you can find one in budget, it can be a fun way to learn together. They often last once a week over a couple of months, so your per-week cost can be $10 or lower.
- Check your local health food or upscale grocery store. They run cooking classes or other educational events and sometimes these can be free or low-cost.
- If you live near a college, subscribe to their events calendar and join their FB page. Watch for movies, art installations, concerts, performances, and lectures that are free (or low cost) and open to the public.
- Game night
Date nights are great ways to reconnect. Even in the dead of winter, you can go out and have fun on a shoestring budget with a free or cheap date! Keep the romance alive.