Four Frugal Summer Date Ideas

Frugal Summer WeekendI live in the upper Midwest. Summer lasts approximately 2.5 minutes and before you know it, you are digging out your snow blower and buying bags of salt to melt the ice on your driveway. I feel like there is this intense pressure to soak up every single second of summer. This of course, causes me to stress out about all the things that I should be doing instead of just relaxing and enjoying the warm summer air. Does anyone else get stressed out about enjoying summer?

To make matters complicated, my husband and I have been very busy at work this summer. It seems that the theme is not enough employees and too much work. Not fun. We didn’t go into summer with any big trips or plans but with the hope that we would find fun and frugal things to do locally.  We are willing to spend some money but nothing extravagant. Here are a few fun and {mostly} inexpensive activities on our summer fun list:

1) Take a Cooking Class 

I’ve always wanted to take a cooking class. When Living Social offered a cooking class deal at an awesome culinary store downtown, I leaped for it. Always being frugal, I did purchase the Living Social deal with Ebate and saved myself an additional 6%. During the class we made light summer food including a quinoa and shrimp dish, flatbread pizza, capresse salad with grilled avacado, and a tuna bruschetta. Finally we made crepes for dessert. Delicious and really informative. The class cost about $90. It was a splurge but still probably cheaper than a quick getaway vacation.

2) Trip to the Art Museum

Earlier this year I wrote about how I was considering buying a museum membership. Well, we ended up buying the membership. What I didn’t realize is that the entire cost of the museum is considered a charitable contribution and therefore tax deductible. Frugal Score! At some point this summer we plan on taking another trip down to the museum. We need to go to the museum at least one more time before our membership expires to break even on the cost.  It’s a bit of a drive but the visit won’t cost us anything out-of-pocket.

3) Go to the Movie Theater 

As a teenager I used to go the movies every week. Now I practically cringe when I think about going. The prices are out-of-control. Luckily I found a way to make our trip to the movie theater more frugal. My employer sells discounted movie theater tickets in their gift store. So this weekend my husband and I went on date to see the movie  The 100-Foot Journey. It was a great movie! I purchased two tickets from my employer for $8.50 each. We ended up saving $2 on each ticket/$4 total. To save more money, we purchased candy at Target and ate that during the movie (bad, I know). The sour patch kids and junior mints cost us a total of 2.50 cents at Target. I stopped at the concession stand to compare prices and they were selling the same candy for $4.50 each. We saved about $6.50 by bringing our own candy. In total we spent about $19.50 to go see a movie. We rarely go the theater so it was a treat for us.

4) Picnic 

We received an adorable picnic  basket as a wedding gift four years ago. I’m sad to say we’ve never used this adorable picnic basket. This summer I’m determined to change this fact. I plan on packing us a cute picnic lunch, a few adult beverages and a deck of cards. Anyone have any cute picnic food ideas? We will go for a picnic and have fun. I love the idea and there is a really nice park just a few miles away that we could go to. We just need to make it happen. Only a few weeks of summer left!

Have you done anything fun this summer? What’s your favorite frugal summer date idea?


  1. We’ve gone on lots of picnics! My husband is usually down for it but the kids love it as well =) I live in the Midwest too and I am NOT ready for summer to be over =/

  2. I like to take my boy to the local museum. He’s not old enough for the art gallery, but the museum is fantastic. Free and lots of cool things to look at.
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  3. Great ideas! Around here there are a million frugal date ideas: farmer’s market, riding bikes, hiking, going to the beach, etc. Now I just need a date! 🙂
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    • I totally forgot about the farmer’s market- I should have added that. We’ve only made it to the market once this year.. which is a shame because it’s really nice.

  4. Love picnics! We haven’t gone on any this summer, and we really need to get on that. Thanks for the reminder 🙂
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  5. My firm offers free tickets quite frequently, so I try to always request two. In the next couple of weeks, we’re going to go to the art museum for a new exhibit that’s there – for free. It makes for a pretty nice and cheap date!

    • Have to take advantage of those opportunities! My previous employer gave out lots of sporting event tickets. I’m not a huge sports fan but it was still fun to go to a few baseball games.

  6. FB Hubby and I recently did the Art Museum date day in NYC followed by street meat, which was a $6 lunch from a food cart. We had a blast for under $15 in total. We also like to go for walks and consider the time walking and talking as good as any date where we have to pay money.
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  7. I’ve been biking and just trying to walk a lot, get outside at lunch, things like that. I agree that being in the midwest it feels like summer is constantly getting away from you and you need to TAKE ADVANTAGE!
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    • I like to do a little walk after lunch while I’m at work. So nice to get outside and it helps keep my energy up!

  8. We do a lot of picnics and a lot of hiking. I personally prefer the picnics, but Kate loves hiking and makes me get off my butt.
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  9. I know what you mean about being in a rush to soak up every single beautiful temperature day. I feel like we need to have productive summer festivities every weekend!
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  10. We have a beautiful picnic basket that we hardly ever use too. We love to go on picnics, but we usually try to combine hikes with picnics and our poor basket just isn’t practical to take hiking. When it cools down some I think I’ll make more of an effort to find a picnic spot where we can use it. Packing a deck of cards is genius.
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  11. We’ve been really busy this Summer and haven’t gone on many dates : ( I feel terrible after reading this. I think the best museum to go to is the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Love that place and would recommend it to anyone visiting the Twin Cities.
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  12. Great ideas! I’ve gotta get outside more now that I’ve got some free time. I would add hiking to this list. We’ve got a ton of beautiful places to go hiking around Nashville. Many even include waterfalls!
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  13. We’ve gone on a lot of walks by the water. We usually have one night a month that we go for a drink & appetizers.

  14. I really like the cooking class suggestion. My wife and I both love to cook and making a meal together is a fun way to grow closer and share some laughs.
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  15. These are some great date ideas. We like to take the dogs to the park (cost of gas), and then walk to a little local coffee shop. I know it’s not free, but an afternoon of fun spent outside for less than $8 (coffee + gas) is definitely worth it!

  16. I like your idea on taking cooking classes. Imagining myself baking with my wife encourages me to push this on. I’d like to find out if we have hidden baking skills. Such a great idea!
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