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14 Retro Date Ideas to Save Money (Vintage 80s Night Anyone?)

20161123-retro-date-night-ideasI’m a huge proponent of dating your spouse long after the march down the aisle. This is especially relevant when it comes to finances due to the volatile money problems that arise between couples. If you’ve used a lack of resources as an excuse for not going on dates, I’m here to share some retro date night ideas that are designed to get you back out there and save you money.

“Retro” as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary is: “Relating to, reviving and being the styles and especially the fashions of the past.”

So, what is a retro date night? Imagine you’re 16 again and you’re heading out for a date. What kind of budget did you have? Did your dad hand you a $20 before you left? Perhaps you saved up from your minimum wage job of flipping burgers, earning $6.25 per hour (or less – that was minimum wage when I worked as a teen).

Even if it wasn’t a date, hanging out with your friends usually looked similar. You’d all cluster around a Zesto’s and sip smoothies or you’d loiter waaaay too long in a Walmart, only purchasing a ridiculous hat or something someone dared you to get.

I never said we were productive in our adolescence. In fact, I’m certain we were a public nuisance. But we did live more cheaply.

So, if you can behave a bit more respectfully than you did when you were young, but if you can tap back into that adventurous and fun spirit, this retro date night list is for you.

Retro Date Night Ideas That Will Save You Money

The source of inspiration for this article on “Retro Date Nights” came from an eBook called: “175 Best Date Ideas” by Alida Quittschreiber. I’ve added several of my own ideas to hers and look forward to sharing them with you here.

Money-Saving Tip: Make sure to check Groupon for any deals in your area. There are often great discounts on events, games, restaurants, spas, etc. Especially the items on this list.

Google “Groupon + Your City” to learn more.


Go bowling.

Make a bet on who will slip and fall on the bowling alley or accidentally throw their ball across another lane first. Just kidding. That’s what would happen if I went bowling.

Order ice cream at your local ice cream shop.

Find out if they have a special offer on a certain day of the week – for example, $1.00 cones on Wednesdays.

Take a walk downtown.

Find some place you’ve never been. Google its history. I bet you’ll learn something new about your city.

Attend a free city event.

Check your local events calendar to see if there is a special event happening in a library, business, concert hall, or church.

Go miniature golfing.

Nothing says retro quite like color coded golf balls, tiny putters, and fake palm trees.

Split a late-night smoothie at Steak N’ Shake. 

Or dig up a buy one get one free coupon and have your own. Spend time dreaming about your future or dream vacations or say nothing at all. My husband and I once spent an entire date doodling on a newspaper together at a Starbucks. Someone must have walked by and thought we were nuts. I still have that paper with all our scribbles and banter. And we’re probably still nuts.

Take a few swings in a batting cage. 

For a couple bucks, you test your skills in a baseball or softball batting cage. I grew up with the sport, so it’s a huge delight for me. Even if you didn’t play but your spouse did, he or she would probably love this idea.

Take some different swings at a driving range. 

Perhaps golf is more your cup of tea. If so, try a driving range. As a bonus, stop by your local library and check out your favorite golfing movie like Happy Gilmore, Tin Cup, or The Legend of Bagger Vance.

Attend an open mic night. 

Perhaps this is retro for you because it was something you did before you had children. Perhaps you’ve never done it before. Attending the live arts in your local region is a great way to support them and to check out what’s going on around you. Watching a dreamer stand before you and share that dream can be very motivating.

Grab fast food and walk around the mall. 

If you’re being true to the retro theme, then buy the food you bought in your teens. Think dollar menu. Junior bacon cheeseburgers. Soft tacos. That type of thing.

Star gaze.

Grab a blanket and some hot chocolate. You can even do this in your back yard, depending on the sky’s visibility where you live. This is a great opportunity to talk, relax, maybe even laugh together.

Hit up an arcade together.

Was the last one too Nicholas Sparks? How about you pick up a roll of quarters from the bank and head to your local arcade? Take a trip down memory lane as you play old school games and try to beat each other’s scores.

Swap the movie theater for a $5 DVD and your favorite snacks at Target or Walmart.

Try to find something you watched together when you were dating. Enjoy a movie night at home for a fraction of the cost. (TIP: If you have children, try sending them to a family member’s house overnight. I’m guessing that type of thing doesn’t happen very often. Like I said, this is an investment in your marriage. One day, your kids will thank you for stuff like that.)

Selfie date night.

Drive around your city and take selfies together at spontaneous moments. You could stop at popular landmarks, trash cans, or anything in between. See, doesn’t this just scream “teenage behavior?” Definitely a frugal way to spend a day.

If any of these seem simple in their construct, well, they are. The point is to spend time together with your spouse. Creating these pockets of time each month will do wonders for any other stress you may face. Consider this a dose of preventative medicine against money fights, walls building up, or the children dominating your relationship.

Want more date night ideas?

If you enjoyed this list and want more date night ideas, buy the eBook that first inspired my own research into this topic: “175 Best Date Nights: The Ultimate Bucket List of Dates for Couples” by Alida Quittschreiber. After reading it, especially the one she called “Retro Date Night,” I felt so inspired to re-kindle our date nights.

What are your thoughts on this retro date night concept? Tell me below!

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My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

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