Being in a couple is exhilarating, frustrating, amazing—and pretty darn expensive. In fact, a recent U.K. survey shows couples spend an average of $3,500 more each year than their single counterparts paying for date nights, weekend escapes, and luxury cohabitation spaces. And while we can't help you cut all of those expenses, we can certainly slim down what you spend on your next night out.
Here are 10 date ideas that serve their intended purpose: to mix things up, inject a little fun, and bring you closer.
1. Test-drive a fantasy car. While neither of you could ever afford the eight-cylinder engine convertible of his or your dreams, you can still take it for a lap around—or even off—the lot.
2. Root for your team. While great seats at a baseball game can break the bank, snagging a spot in the nosebleed section can be just as fun. Do it up right with fully loaded hot dogs and place playful bets on the final score.
3. Plan your dream house. Duck into an open house and discuss the perfect drapery for its bay windows, the curved TV he'd cram into his basement man cave, and the epic parties you'd host by its in-ground pool.
4. Visit the zoo. Take a day trip to a well-known animal organization, or ooh and aah over newborn lambs, miniature ponies, and teacup pigs at your local petting zoo.
5. Go hiking. Work up a sweat on your county's towpaths and hiking trails, taking in the natural—and totally free—beauty of uninterrupted swaths of trees and woods. Later on, you can shower off together as a post-hiking treat.
6. Set up a spa. A couple's massage isn't cheap, but a candlelit bubble bath is just as romantic. Pour some drinks, put on some music, and relax.
7. Pick berries. Strawberries, blueberries, and peaches—in other words, the makings for delicious homemade pies and cobblers—are ripe and waiting to be plucked from your local pick-your-own farm.
8. Hit the bookstore. Pick up a novel each, then read them on a rooftop or in the park in each other's arms.____
9. Go out for breakfast. Noshing on omelettes is way cheaper than splurging on dinner but just as scrumptious. Feeling fancy? You can still dress up!
10. Take the scenic route. Fill up your gas tank, then head for a drive through the nearest mountains, farmlands, or marshes to your town. Enjoy the view, or add a road game, such as spotting license plates from across the county, to keep things interesting.