“I would not wish any companion in the world buy you.” -William Shakespeare
It’s safe to say that my fiancé and I are madly in love. I can say this with confidence because when my fiancé looked at me this afternoon and told me I was driving him nuts (a valid point), he said it with such love in his eyes that I knew that he wasn’t entirely serious. Just a little bit serious. Okay, he was serious, but there was still love in his eyes when he said it. I saw it. Anyways, my fiancé and I are living on a tight budget, so fancy dinners and trips to the movie theatres are out. We actually walked into the movie theatres once, realized how much movie tickets were and walked out. So you get the picture when I say the words “Date On A Budget”. But to be honest, these practically free dates are some of our most treasured moments together. These are the moments where we jump at the opportunity to connect with each other because the simplicity of it all allows us to focus on just us. So without further adieu, allow me to describe to you what seven romantic dates on a budget looks like.
1. A Picnic In The Park
Now when I say park, I mean a grassy spot by the river, a beachy spot by the lake… pretty much any spot near water is a go to for us. The beauty and serenity of it all is so breathtakingly romantic that if the company is good, the date is superb. Plus there is food, hence the picnic part. We typically bring a large picnic blanket that we can eat on, and then after we always lay down on the blanket and chat and laugh for hours. Sometimes we just lay there looking up and no words need to be said. These moments are absolute perfection. For food, we usually bring homemade cowslaw, buns, stripped chicken with mayo and some sort of fruit. And water. Lots of water. When we arrive on site, we make the cowslaw and chicken into sandwiches with the buns. It saves us from soggy, messy, well travelled sandwiches. If the water is warm enough we’ll strip down and take a dip and dry off in the sun. Drying off in the sun is one of the best feelings. I love the feeling of hot sun on cool skin.
Our picnic usually lasts so long that we make it until sunset, so we watch it set while we chat and play games. The games we play are ones that we make up on the spot. Just fun, silly ones like ‘what would you rather’ or ‘story add on’. These types of games always have us in stitches of laughter, and laughter always makes for a great time. When the sun goes down we head home on our bikes, our method of transportation there and back. I love bike riding in the absence of hills and difficult spots. My fiancé is a retired mountain biker, so he loves it all. He’s learned over the years that I love the straight, narrow and flat and I will walk my bike up that hill if faced with one. But I digress… When we get home we’re both in need of a shower and dinner. Dinner is usually something light and fresh, and it’s always eaten by candle light. All in all, a perfect, budget friendly date.
2. A Bike Ride On The Trails
We are fortunate to live in a city where there are lots of excellent bike trails. I am fortunate that these bike trails are not very hilly. On a typical summer day, my fiancé and I go bike riding for around seven hours. We get up early in the morning, eat a good breakfast and pack a backpack for the days food/water supply. Then we head out on the trails. We don’t bike fast or hardcore, we bike at a pace where we can ride beside each other and chat. We carry a city trail map with us so that when we finish one, we can eat and move onto the next one without spending time figuring out where to go. These bike trips are the best because not only does the exercise put us in a great mood (gotta love those endorphins), but it allows us to connect in a more adventurous way. These dates are always adventurous, playful and lighthearted. It’s a guarunteed perfect day. When we get hungry we find a spot by the water again and grab a bite to eat on the grass. There is something about eating on the grass that I will always love. Growing up, my family went on quite a few picnics together. There was a time when we used to go every Sunday after church. Positive memories from my youth perhaps. So on the ground we go, enjoying cool sandwiches in the hot sun, chatting and laughing because life is good. When we’re finished, we hit the trails and keep going until the sun goes down. Sometimes we finish off with an evening bonfire when we reach home. Or sometimes we snuggle under some blankets and watch a movie with popcorn and limewater. Whatever we do after, we are so content from the days adventure that we always go to bed feeling happy, fulfilled and connected. And sometimes, if the day permits, we wake up to do it all over again.
3. A Trip To Costco
We go to Costco, eat all the samples and leave. It’s a great time. Maximum romance. Not even kidding.
4. Books and Board Games
A typical Friday night for the two of us consists of books and board games – and we love it! For Christmas last year I bought my fiancé the complete set of Calvin and Hobbes. We will sit together and read those comics for hours. We do this while laughing and pointing out how the expressions or antics remind us of each other, and it’s just a great time. After that we bring out the chess board and let the Chess Championships Of The World begin! It’s super nerdy of us and we like it that way. When we get tired of chess we move onto checkers, and Chinese checkers, and sequence, and card games… you get the idea. All the way throughout and inbetween we are chatting and laughing and being intellectually intimate with each other – a type of intimacy that I think doesn’t get enough credit. When you can be intellectually intimate as well as physically intimate, you are open to a whole new and exiting realm of your relationship that invites new possibility and growth. My fiancé is my best friend, and often times we skip going out simply because we are having such a great time connecting on an intellectual level that we choose to stay home and chat for hours. Candle light not optional. The simplicity of it all allows us to focus on only us, and that’s something that every couple could use more often than not. And the bonus? It’s absolutely FREE!
5. Crafting Together
My fiacé and I enjoy crafting and painting together. We love heading to the dollar store, picking up some canvases and paint, and letting our creative freedom fly! We also come up with minimalist DIY projects, and we have a lot of fun doing them together. This summer at the cottage we picked out a couple of flat rocks and painted them. I painted one with an ‘under the sea’ theme and put it against one of the windows. We’ve also painted bird houses, also from the doller store, and put them up at our cottage. Over the fall we found a piece of plank wood and some fallen leaves. we glued the fallen leaves to the plank wood, fringe panted in the spaces between, and then removed the leaves. The end result was beautiful. This is definitely a project I will be featuring in my DIY section. Being creative together is fun, and allows for lots of time to chat, catch up and connect. Getting messy with your partner is always a great idea. It allows the two of you to deviate from that social propriety that we as a society inadvertently adhere to. From that point on, anything can happen!
6. Baking And Home Movies
Like I mentioned above, there’s something about getting your hands messy with your partner that introduces a playful, out of the lines kind of of intimacy. Baking together is fun, and there’s a tasty reward at the end. Our thing is brownies. My fiancé loves adding m&m’s as a garnish before they go into the oven. I love to stir. Sometimes I let him stir, because it’s all about equal cooperation and all that… but mostly I hog the good parts. And he happily lets me. While we wait for the brownies to bake, we tidy up (which is always better together) and then snuggle on the couch to wait. When we hear that timer ding we run to our brownies like a marathon runner runs to that finish line. We can never wait for them to cool, which means that they’re still a little bit gooey… just the way we like it. Sometimes I chase him with my messy hands. Sometimes I’m nice and I wash my hands before I chase him. Sometimes. Baking always seems to be paired with a movie. My fiancé likes chick flicks. That’s why we always watch them. I like Marvel. Well technically, he introduced me to Marvel, and I’m obsessed. Iron Man is my favourite. My fiancé looks like Thor and he’s quite proud of it. Sometimes he goes around the house yelling “Hammer!” when he knows I’m looking. It secretly makes me laugh. Don’t tell him I said so though.
7. Prepare A Candle Light Dinner Together
Nothing says romance like a candle light dinner. The great thing about preparing it together is that you get to spend more of that hands on quality time together, and have your romantic dinner in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Cooking together means working and cooperating together in a fun and familiar environment. For new couples, these skills are the important building blocks that form a deeper, more meaningful relationship. And even if you’re not the world’s greatest chef, tackling a home made dinner together is a fun way to spend time together. Once the cooking and the preparing is complete, light those candles and enjoy the meal that you two have just prepared. Enjoying what you took time together to create is a satisfying conclusion to an exciting endeavour. If you hate it? There’s always pizza. But eating and chatting together amidst the candle light never fails to set and keep the mood. The night can go on for as long as you allow it to. The night belongs to the two of you… make it yours!
And there you have it! Seven Romantic Dates On A Budget… and sooo worth it! Happy dating!