Relationships require a lot of communication, love, and nurturing to thrive. With this month being the most prominent time of year to express your love, I thought it would be fun to offer up some ideas of affordable and even some free ways to spoil your spouse followed by 30 budget-date ideas.
I’ve only been married for a few years, but I know that relationships (especially marriages) can start to feel very routine if you put them on autopilot instead of nurturing them. When my husband and I got married in 2016, we got hyper-focused on reaching our financial goals and worked together to pay off my husband’s credit card debt ASAP.
Our newlywed season was spent hustling and while we made financial progress, I wish we would have slowed down to spoil each other or prioritize dating still. Strengthening your bond with your partner and going on dates don’t have to be super expensive either. I hope these 60 ideas get your creative wheels turning!
1. Cook a Meal
If your spouse usually does the cooking, give them a day off and cook their favorite meal for them. I love nights when I don’t have to cook!
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2. Write a Love Letter
I know this sounds a little juvenile, but I consider it old school. It can be very romantic to slow down and write a thoughtful and affectionate letter to your partner sharing what you love about them and how grateful you are for them.
3. Pick Up an Extra Household Chore
People love receiving acts of service. Doing a household chore for your partner can really make their days especially if it’s been a long and hectic one.
4. Have a “No Nagging” Day
Sometimes we nag and don’t realize we’re doing it. I’m especially guilty of this 🙂 I simply ask my husband to run errands and do quite a few favors for me and while I know he doesn’t mind, it would be nice to not ask him for any of that every now and then.
5. Let Him or Her Sleep In
Whether your partner loves sleeping in or is a morning person, they’d probably enjoy a few extra Zzzzs. Adjust your schedule so your significant other can enjoy a few extra hours of sleep then dim the room, close the door, and keep the house quiet.
6. Treat to Breakfast or Lunch
Can’t afford an expensive 4-course dinner? Go out to breakfast or lunch instead. Breakfast is the cheapest meal when dining out and lunch doesn’t have to be too pricey either. The other day, my husband and I ran some errands on his off day then I surprised him with lunch at Chipotle afterward.
It felt good to spend that time together and we only spent $15. Another option is to bring their favorite meal or a special treat home to them. I love bubble smoothies and enjoy when my husband stops by to grab me one on his way from work.
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7. Spa Service
The spa sounds like an expensive place to go but you can save money by just booking one service instead of a full package that will take up all your time for that day. Check out sites like Groupon or Living Social for local spa deals or bring the spa services home and give your partner a nice massage instead.
8. Send a Text During the Day
Do you only text your spouse during the day when you need something or have to tell them something important? Start texting them just because you miss them or want to see how their day is going.
9. Join in On One of Their Hobbies
You both may not share the same hobbies but occasionally participating in your partner’s favorite activity makes them feel good and shows how much you care for them. For me, this often means watching sports with my husband or playing games at the arcade. They’re not my favorite thing to do but I don’t hate it either and it helps us bond.
10. Random Surprise Outing
Everyone loves surprises! Find out when your partner has some free time then search for free and affordable upcoming events and surprise them.
11. Vacuum and Clean Out Their Car
I am really bad at cleaning my car out and washing the outside so I love it when my car gets kidnapped and returns fresh and clean.
12. Make Some Bath Bombs
This could be a great frugal gift idea as well if your partner loves bath and shower gift sets. Check out tutorials on Pinterest and get creative with this one.
13. Put Down Your Phone
Another easy way to spoil your spouse is with your undivided attention. Checking notifications constantly is a bad habit and usually doesn’t result in any groundbreaking news most of the time. Put down your phone without having to be asked to be fully present when initiating a conversation during your time together.
14. Make a Playlist
Take some of your favorite love songs and organize them into a playlist or you can create a productivity or gym playlist that your significant other would enjoy.
15. Let Them Enjoy Time Away
Sometimes, spoiling your spouse means giving them some breathing room and free time to hang out with friends and family. My husband and I take turns watching our son when I go out for girls nights and he visits friends. Initiate or help plan an activity your partner can do with their friends and help accommodate everything.
16. Watch Their Favorite Show With Them
If you like to watch T.V., bonding over a show can be pretty fun and exciting. Before my husband and I got married, I got him hooked on the show Pretty Little Liars which was funny because most men don’t watch it, but it was a pretty good show during the first few seasons. It also meant a lot that he gave the show a chance for me. We also watch shows like Game of Thrones, Power, Empire, The Fosters, and How to Get Away With Murder Together.
17. Be Extra Attentive
How well do you pay attention? Focus on spoiling your partner by being super attentive to their needs and listen carefully to what they have to say. This may result in simple actions, like putting the food on their plate at dinner time, pouring them a drink when they’re out on the son, ironing their work uniform, or anything else that makes them feel loved and special.
18. Make the Plans
Is your spouse always making the plans? Switch it up and take over the reins for a week. Create the schedule, plan out appointments, find fun ways to entertain yourselves, make the grocery shopping list, etc.
19. Pack Their Lunch
Sometimes there’s no time to do this every day if you’re busy, but doing this occasionally can make a big difference especially if your spouse seems to be running out the door to work each morning barely in one peace.
20. Recreate One of Your First Dates
You’ll have to get creative with this one, but it can be a really romantic idea and it’s the thought that counts. If you can’t literally relive your very first date, try to recreate it at home. For example, if you has dinner and saw a movie, cook some of the foods you ate together at home, then watch the same movie you saw in the theatre and indulge in a yummy dessert.
21. Be the First One to Make Coffee In the Morning
If you are both coffee drinkers, take it upon yourself to make coffee for you both in the morning, then serve it to your partner in bed. Or, you can get the coffee maker all ready to go for them when they get around to it.
Do couples with long-term relationships still flirt? There’s no reason why you shouldn’t as it will bring back some of those butterflies you used to feel during the beginning of your relationship.
23. Support Their Dreams
It’s important to support your partner’s personal and professional dreams wholeheartedly. You can find your own way to do this whether it’s buying them a book, finding a relevant networking event they can attend, or sharing inspirational videos or TedTalks with them. Ask what you can do to help them reach their goals and how you can make it your goal as well.
24. Offer a Break From the Kids
Moms and dads both need time off from their little ones. If your spouse normally has a daily routine or responsibility with the kids, take over for a day and send them to relax or go to Starbucks and read with a $10 gift card.
25. Start Earning Some Passive Income
Do you feel your partner works way too hard? Start exploring the idea of earning some passive income that the both of you can enjoy. You can start a blog, get more serious about investing, write an e-book, look into real estate, or start selling digital products online.
26. Show Up At Work With a Surprise
If you can’t pull off a random surprise outing right now, bring it to their job instead. Stop by with lunch, a home-based dessert, or send flowers or chocolate to their work to make them feel special and brighten their day.
27. Make a Care Basket
Take all of your spouse’s favorite things and organize them in a gift basket. Shop the clearance aisle if you’re on a budget or theme your basket for “self-care”, “romance”, “sports”, etc.
28. Custom and Engraved Gifts
For our first anniversary, I purchased a customized engraved glass plaque that we still have today. You can go to Amazon and shop for all types of engraved gifts for under $40 and customize it with both your names, your anniversary, your favorite quote, or all three.
29. Bake a Cake For No Reason
If your partner has a sweet tooth, they’ll love this one. You can buy cake and brownie mixes for just $1 at the grocery store then surprise them with a delicious treat when they get home.
30. Say “Thank You”
These two words are very powerful and unfortunately, many of us don’t say them enough. Be sure to thank your spouse regularly for the things they do both large and small. Don’t wait until birthdays and holidays to show gratitude.
Find Out Their Love Language
While I’ve given quite a few easy ideas for spoiling your spouse, you have to understand that it all comes down to knowing their love language. Knowing your partner’s love language can make the difference between an okay relationship and a satisfying one. You must know whether your partner likes displays or affection over words of affirmation in order to make their feel special.
The 5 main love languages include physical touch, quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation and receiving gifts. It’s common for some of these to overlap. Here’s a quick quiz you and your partner can take to determine your love language.
Budget Date Ideas
In the Home
- Game night (board games or video games)
- Vision Board Party
- Movie marathon with ice cream sundaes
- Make a time capsule
- Paint a room together and order pizza
- Cook dinner and dessert at home and dine under candlelight
- Take an in-home yoga class with YouTube videos
- Work on a puzzle
- Paint and wine night (buy all the materials at a craft store)
- Have your own wine and cheese tasting party
- Stargaze and play cards on the porch
- Paint and decorate plain coffee mugs for each other
- Play the ‘newlywed game’ and see how well you do – You can check out some great questions here
- Watch a sports game, complete with finger foods
Outside of the Home
- Matinee Movie
- 1-Night Getaway
- Free Museum Days
- Comedy Show
- Dance Class (search for free or cheap couples salsa or ballroom dance lessons)
- Ice-skating or roller skating
- Have a picnic in the park
- Go on a day trip
- Ride bikes
- Find a cheap class to take on Groupon
- Go to a trampoline park
- Go to a karaoke bar
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Which one of these ideas is your favorite?
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