The number one biggest mistake couples make is they forget to date their spouse! Going out on dates is how you guys got to know each other and how you fell in love. So wouldn't it make sense that continuing to date even after the wedding would help KEEP you guys in love?! 

So you agree that continuing to date your spouse is a great way to keep the passion going, or reignite if need be, or maybe youre just willing to give it a shot to see if it works... with the economy in the crapper many couples have very little extra cash laying around to spend on extravagant dates like you used to before the wedding. So here is a collection of cheap or no-cost date ideas! But wait!!! In order for this 'date your spouse' thing to work we need to lay down a few simple ground rules. You CANNOT skimp on this.

1. Its a DATE: The number one most important rule is that for it to feel like a date you have to treat it like a date. That means when you make plans for a date with your husband/wife, for heaven's sake CALL IT A DATE! Or at least say something that will communicate to your spouse that you are inviting them to join you in this activity because you want to spend time with them! I don't know why we forget to do this, but its a major pet peeve of mine. I'm not the type of person to assume intentions, or at least I try not to. So unless my husband says 'Hey, I'd like to take you out this weekend, what do you think of dinner at _____?' or 'Hey, I got us a sitter for Saturday, I thought we could go see that movie you've been talking about.'... it just doesn't seem like a date to me. Its just going out to eat, or me sitting through a movie with a fussy kid. Which brings me to the next ground rule.

2. Plan Ahead: If you have children, dates MUST be planned out. Yes, spontaneity is the spice of life, but when you have children the only things that are spontaneous are messes and hissy fits. For it to be a date it has to be kid free (unless its a family date, but that's a topic for another article). For it to be kid free you need a sitter. Sitters require a certain amount of notice. Try to plan dates a couple days to 2 weeks in advance to ensure you have time to find a sitter. Now please dont make the mistake of thinking that dates being planned means they cant still be spontaneous... for your spouse. I cant tell you just how excited I would be if John came home and said 'Hey honey, I got a sitter for tonight. What do you say we pack up dinner and picnic it at the park?'. The fact that it took planning on his part to find a sitter would communicate to me in a BIG way that he thinks I am special and wants to spend time with me.

Not all dates have to be kid free, but it certainly doesn't hurt. Many of the date ideas listed below can be done at home, and can certainly include your children, but be sure you get in at least one kid free date a month to nurture your marriage relationship. You guys had a special relationship before your children came along, and while spending time with your kids is important, you still need to make sure you spend time as a couple, sans offspring.

3. Do Things They Like: Another thing about dates is that you need to occasionally plan things your spouse will enjoy... that you might not. This will really help tell your spouse that you like them and want to spend time with them... even if it means going to the gun show or the occasional hockey game. Making time to do something your spouse enjoys will tell them, without you having to say a word, that they are more important to you than your own interests.

Now that we have that out of the way, here is the list you've been waiting for. 

50 Fun and Cheap Date Ideas
Borrowed from Six Sister's Stuff. Some of the date ideas reference recipes that are available on their site, complete with links. Please click on 

1. Make your own fondue. Use a fondue pot (or crock pot) and dip fresh fruit, cake, cookies, marshmallows, and pretzels in melted chocolate. Try this delicious recipe!

2. Make homemade pizzas together. Try our Easy Pizza Crust Recipe and choose your own toppings!

3. Fly kites. You can usually find them at the dollar store!

4. Try a new sport together. My husband is an avid snowboarder, so we hit the slopes! It was so fun to see him doing something he loves, even though I had quite a few wipe outs!

5. Have a game night. Pull out all of your board games for a friendly night of competition. Be sure to have some treats for the occasion, like our Gooey Almond and Coconut Chex Mix.

6. Be a tourist in your own city. Find what tourist attractions are in your city and spend the night acting like tourists, which includes taking cheesy pictures!

7. Go rollerblading (if the weather is bad, try an indoor skating rink). We found ours at a thrift store for just a few bucks!

8. Explore. Rent a four wheeler, snowmobile, scooter, waver runner or something you can do a little exploring on. You can often find deals online for cheap rentals!

9. Go to a thrift store. Each person gets $5 to spend! See who ends up with the best item(s)!

10. Have a picnic. If the weather doesn't permit, lay out a blanket on the floor and eat in the living room!

11. Go see a play. Whether at your local community theater, high school or a big production, there is plenty of entertainment available!

12. Stargazing. Pack a blanket, pillows and food, like our Ham and Swiss Poppy Seed Sandwiches or Chili's Copycat Salsa, and go somewhere to see the stars. Do some research before and look for constellations.

13. Go to a park (if weather permits). Swing on the swings, play frisbee, or feed the ducks!

14. Check out a local museum. They usually don't cost much, if anything, to get in!

15. Have a "crazy dinner." Each person gets $5 (or whatever amount you decide) to spend on any food item at the grocery store for dinner. Come home and prepare your meal! You might end up with some random food!

16. Make ice cream sundaes. Head to the store and buy some vanilla ice cream and your favorite toppings. Relax and enjoy your tasty treat!

17. Go to a local sporting event. Luckily, sports are going on year around! Grab some snacks and head out to the ball game!

18. Treasure hunting. Head to the ATM and get out $10-$20. Drive around to some local yard sales and see what you end up with! There are tons on the weekends!

19. Go on a bike ride (if weather permits). If you don't have a bike, check the classifieds for a great deal! You could even pack a lunch!

20. Have a living room camp out. Make a tent out of blankets, watch a movie and sleep out on an air mattress. As you can see, we had a little visitor!

21. Love Languages. Take The 5 Love Languages Test to see how to improve your relationship. End the evening with our Easy Chocolate Dipped Strawberries!

22. Go for a swim. Head to a local pool and relax in the pool and hot tub!

23. Have a coupon date. Only eat or do activities you have coupons for. We used our local coupon book from the mail and went to the driving range and dinner for about $12 total! You can also check out our newest sponsor, Coupon Lynx, for some great deals!

24. Volunteer. Sign up to volunteer at a soup kitchen, retirement home or somewhere that could use a helping hand!

25. Go to a local fair or carnival. Be sure to bring some cash to play some games!

26. Take a free factory tour. You would be surprised what factories are around you! We toured a cheese factory and had free samples at the end!

27. Visit the zoo. If you don't live near a zoo, go somewhere to see your local wildlife.

28. Take a drive. Get out of the house and take a drive. Take a look at nature or local scenery! For example, changing leaves in the fall, flowers blooming in the spring, etc. You might want to bring some Muddy Buddies in case you get hungry!

29. Have a movie marathon. We were able to get the Back to the Future Trilogy and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy for less than 10 dollars each online (both my husband's choosing)! You might want to have some of our Snickers Popcorn to munch on!

30. Wii Game Night at home (or any other gaming system). Grab some food and drinks and stay in for the night playing your favorite games! Make some wagers on any sports you might be playing. We occasionally have a cute, little third wheel on our dates. :)

31. Go bowling. To make things a little more difficult, try different styles like only using your opposite hand, "granny" style, eyes closed, etc.

32. Make indoor s'mores and read campfire stories. If you don't have a gas stove, you could light candles to cook your marshmallows over! As you can tell, I was pretty excited!

33. TV show marathon. Pick a TV show and get a whole season's worth of DVDs (or use Netflix, you can get the first month free) and watch it together! Of course, you'll need some popcorn so try our Cinnamon Bear Popcorn Recipe!

34. Theme night. Pick a theme for the night and center everything around it. For example, Mexican night. You could eat Mexican food and go salsa dancing! Our Chili's Copycat Skillet Queso would be the perfect addition to your evening!

35. Try a new restaurant. We usually end up eating out at the same places. Pick somewhere neither of you have been and try it out! Who knows, it might be a new favorite!

36. Take some lessons. Try taking a lesson for a couples dance, pottery or a cooking class!

37. Restaurant hop. Go to a different restaurant for each course of the meal. Make three stops for an appetizer, main course and dessert. Take turns picking where to go!

38. Have a spa night. Since your husband/significant other probably isn't into manicures or pedicures, you could try massages, bubble baths, etc. You can buy some white towels and robes to make it really official (I found my white towels for $3 each at Wal Mart.).

39. 20 questions. Write a list of 20 questions to ask each other or find one on the internet. Go over your answers afterward. Here is a list of 20 questions for married couples.

40. Make breakfast together and eat it in bed (you could do this while the kids are still sleeping). We love french toast! You can check out our Recipe Index for some delicious breakfast ideas!

41. Exercise together. Attend an exercise class at a local gym, take a walk or jog together or do something active!

42. Go for a test drive. Head to your nearest car dealership and test drive your dream car!

43. Take a hike. This website will show you places near you to hike!

44. Breakin' records. Read through the Guinness Book of World Records together, and find something the two of you could potentially achieve as a couple and then do it together as a cheap date.

45. Visit a bakery. Go to a local bakery and pick out a treat for each other.

46. Cook a meal together. Find a recipe you've never tried and make it together. Be sure to include some dessert, like our Chili's Hot Fudge Molten Lava Cakes!

47. Write a bucket list. Make a list of things you want to do before you die and go do one to cross it off the list!

48. House hunting. Tour some homes and plan out your dream home!

49. Restaurant at home. Find recipes from some of your favorite recipes online, create a menu and have a lovely meal at home! Here is our Olive Garden Date Night and menu (recipes included)!

50. Go to the arcade. Get some quarters and head to your nearest arcade! Play some games and buy prizes with the tickets you win.

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