10 Cheap Summer Date Ideas Under $10 [That Aren't Netflix]-Navigating Adulthood

10 Cheap Summer Date Ideas Under $10 [That Aren’t Netflix]

As I shared in my 9 Lessons I learned In My First 9 Months Of  Marriage post, me and Mr. NavigatingAdulthood try to have a regular date night. We put away all electronic devices [which is admittedly hard sometimes] and try to be fully present. It’s a nice way to catch up with one another and enjoy each other’s company. I know that we’ve all heard of Netflix and Chill, but there are a TON of other cheap date ideas. Here are my top 10 cheap summer date ideas for under $10. It’s possible to spend time with your significant other while one a budget!

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Cheap Summer Date Ideas Under $10

1) Feed the ducks at your local park

Did you know that bread is actually bad for ducks? Here is a great article by Popular Science that breaks it down. Apparently bread is void of nutritional value and it’s like junk food for the ducks. So don’t be cheap! If you’re going to feed the ducks, spend a few dollars and bring food that’s better for them.

What you should bring to feed the ducks:

  • Cucumber
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Bananas (no peel)
  • Rice

(Source: National Geographic)

Tip: make sure to do research ahead of time to make sure that your park allows for the ducks to be fed. The last thing you want is to incur a criminal charge while on date night!

Estimated cost: $1-2 (depends on what you have at home)

2) Game Night

Is it just me, or do people not play board games as much? One of our favorite games to play is Catan. I’ll admit, when Mr. NavigatingAdulthood first purchased this game, I thought to myself, “$29?! How good can it be?” Guys, it’s totally worth the money. We’ve played this game at least 20 times during multiple blizzards, snow storms, and when we’re just tired of watching TV. This is a great two-player game, but be warned that things can get heated.

PS. I just read the product description on Amazon and it’s supposed to be for 3-6 players [whoops] but it definitely works for 2 players.

You’re probably thinking, “You promised me cheap date nights under $10” and I promise I’m not cheating. Mr. NA would like to point out that if you commit to playing this game on 3 date nights, then it amortizes the price of the game for less than $10 a date night. There’s a $4 version that you can purchase for iPads that we often use when we’re too lazy to take out all the pieces. There’s also a $5 version for Kindle Fires. It’s also our favorite way to kill time during layovers.

Estimated cost: $4-5 if depending on what app you purchase. 

3) Bean-boozled challenge

Click here to purchase. This is well worth the $8! In case you’re unfamiliar with the bean-boozled challenge, there’s 20 flavors of jelly beans- 10 are normal [like coconut and lime] and 10 are weird [like rotten milk and grass]. Speaking from personal experience, these weird flavors are EXTREMELY accurate. Like, it’s kind of scary how accurate the gym sock flavor is [well, I’ve never eaten gym socks, but the flavor is extremely similar to what I imagine they would taste like].

How it works: You use the spin wheel and then pick the jelly bean. The weird ones look like the normal ones, so it’s a gamble as to which one you get.

This was a super fun date night and I would definitely purchase this again! I loved this so much that I actually bought this as Christmas gifts one year, and all of my friends also thought it was pretty great.

Jelly Belly 4th Edition Beanboozled Jelly Beans

Estimated cost: $8

4) Movie night at home

We don’t have cable, so we heavily rely on our Netflix subscription to watch tv shows and movies. But what if you want to watch a movie that’s a newer release? Leverage your local library! The way I see it, you technically already pay for your local library through taxes. Thus, it’s my mentality that you should try to use what you pay for.

How this works: This takes a bit of planning, but reserve the movies you’re looking to watch 3-4 days before the actual date night. I usually reserve 3 movies so I can be sure that 1 will be ready for pickup by the actual date night. Then, hit up your local Dollar Tree with your significant other and pick 2 snacks/drinks per person. [This part might be Mr. NA’s favorite part of movie night].

Total cost: $4 

5) Have a picnic in your local park [Estimated Cost: $10]

This is one of my favorite cheap summer date ideas. Something I look forward to in the summer because it lets us get out of our tiny apartment. We usually go to Trader Joe’s to pick up some goodies and then go to our local park to enjoy the sunshine. Some of our favorite snacks to get at Trader Joe’s are their salt and vinegar chips, reduced guilt spinach & kale greek yogurt dip, stuffed grape leaves, and their peanut butter filled pretzels. If you’re not quite as into snack food as we are, Trader Joe’s also has some great salads and sandwiches.

Don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you? Most grocery stores have a deli area that you can leverage to pick up some goodies.

Total cost: $10

6) Go for a hike at your local state park or national park [Estimated Cost: free]

Many of your local state and national parks are free to visit! Grab some water, and some snacks [we’re a big fan of Cliff bars and almonds] and you’re set for a morning or afternoon of fun. As an added bonus: you’ll get those great post post-workout endorphins.

Here are a couple of our favorites from places that we’ve visited/lived:

Boston area:

  • Hopkinton State Park
  • Marblehead Lighthouse State Park
  • Mount Greylock State Reservation

Tucson, Arizona area:

  • Saguaro National Park
  • Catalina State Park
  • Oracle State Park
  • Kartchner Caverns State Park [this one’s a little further, but definitely worth a visit]

Total cost: $4 if you bring snacks

7) Go out for ice-cream

This is one of our favorite summer date nights! We go to our local ice-cream shop and we split a cone or a sundae. You might be thinking, “Why don’t you each get your own thing?” The reason why we usually share an item is because I don’t have a huge sweet tooth. I don’t know about you, but the average serving size for ice cream is MASSIVE. I’m not even joking when I say that The other bonus is that we literally save thousands of calories!

Estimated cost: $5-$8 [depends on where you go]

8) Take advantage of local happy hour specials

Fun fact: happy hour is illegal in the state of Massachusetts. Thus, this is sadly a date night that we are unable to partake in unless we’re traveling. When we were living in Tucson, we used to easily be able to get a few drinks and some half-priced appetizers for less than $10.

Estimated cost: $10

9) Spend the day at the beach or at the lake

By where we live, going to the beach can cost $15-$20 per vehicle. However, if you do your research, there are some beaches and lakes that allow you to park AND enter for free! The downside is that you often have to get there really early, otherwise you have to spring for $5-$10 parking.

If you go to the beach or lake often, I would strongly suggest considering getting a pop-up beach sun shade. We have the Lightspeed Outdoors Quick Pop Up Beach Sun Shade and it’s awesome. The price point is admittedly a bit steep at $60, but the benefit is that setting it up can truly be done in 5 minutes. We’ve had ours for 3 years and it’s really allowed us to maximize our beach and lake days. Here is how we rationalized it: we go to the beach at least 10 times per summer, so our cost per use is pretty low. I’ve also been to beaches where they charge you $10-$20 to rent an umbrella, so over time, buying your own beach shade is the better financial investment.

Estimated cost: $5-10 [depends on what snacks and drinks you bring to the beach]

10) Hit up some local garage sales

In the summer, it seems like there’s garage sales almost every weekend in our neighborhood. We go with $10 in cash [1 $5 bill, and 5 $1 bills to make bargaining easier] and try to see what treasures we can find. So far, our best find has been a brand-new over-the toilet storage shelf that was still in the box for $7. It was still selling in the store for $18! Our garage sale strategy is to either be there first or be there when the garage sale is wrapping up. If you get there first, you get a first-hand look at the goods. If you get there towards the end, you get more negotiating power.

Estimated cost: $10

What are your favorite cheap summer date ideas? Comment down below!

Cheap Summer Date Ideas Under $10


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  1. Hahah definitely need non-Netflix ideas. A part of me wishes I lived in the Blockbuster times! Back-to-the-basics dates are so often the best. Who wants to dress up and get all fancy anyways? Thanks for sharing!

  2. Going out walking with my wife is one of my favorite date nights especially in the summer when the sun doesn’t set until late and talk about whatever is on our mind.

  3. I love game night, and we especially love catan! There’s also a cheap card game version of catan specifically meant for two people if you’re looking for cheap options as well!

  4. I appreciate these tips so much! When I was growing up, I always looked forward to having a babysitter because she would take me to feed the ducks 🙂 It would be so fun to go back and do that as an adult.

    I have learned to appreciate game night as an adult! Spinners is my favorite. I think it’s a little more than $10, but so worth it!

    XO, SS || Seersucker Sass

  5. These are such great ideas! Mr. FAF and I like going for a walk around our neighborhood after dinner in the summer and talk about everything! We also think of our trips to the grocery store and Costco as our frugal dates hehe. I LOVE picnics at the park maybe not with Mr. FAF but with LOTs of friends.

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