In this article, I will help you to save the planet, save money, but still go on a date and have a great time with someone special. I love planning and preparing dates, so I will give you a list of 8 eco-friendly dates on budget, that you can choose from.
Eco-friendly date ideas on a budget
- Prepare a homemade picnic
- Bike ride to a nice location
- Visit a museum or an art gallery
- Flea market visit
- Game night
- Dancing class
- Movies night at home
1. Prepare a homemade picnic
Going to a park or another natural spot with your favorite person and snacks is so much fun! In order for the picnic to be eco-friendly and on budget, you need to prepare in advance: no packaged foods, no single-use plates, cups or cutlery, no trash left behind.
In order to package the snacks, prefer glass containers like mason jars. If you own and use plastic food containers, you can use those, and it will make your bag lighter. In case you decide to buy baked goods in a local store, bring your own cloth bag, or use paper bags.
You should be making your own foods and snacks and you should not buy packaged foods like chips or candy. Use fresh ingredients from your local market and the ingredients you usually buy in bulk for your pantry.
For savory foods, you can make a few dips like hummus, baba ganoush, or guacamole made from fresh ingredients. Cut veggie sticks from carrots, celery stalks, cucumber, or your other favorite veggies. Bring a nice loaf of bread.
For sweet treats, you can bake or buy muffins, cookies, pies, or any other not messy treats. You can also cut up fruits and make a fruit salad.
For drinks make homemade lemonade, fruit-flavored water or juice, or bring a bottle of wine if it is allowed in your location.
This picnic will need a bit more of your time to prepare, but the dedication you put to it will show and you can really impress your date. Also if you prepare the food yourself it can look very luxurious for just a few dollars spent on the ingredients. If your foods are easily eaten with hands, you don’t need to bring any plates with you. Remember to pack reusable napkins and enjoy!
2. Bike ride to a nice location
Instead of driving to a nice place, think of cool places in your area where you could ride bikes together. Sometimes we do not know many places in our own area, because we think we will have time to visit them later, and then we never go. Find those places and visit them by bike.
You can pack homemade snacks and drinks in order not to buy packaged foods and plastic water bottles on your way. Put a blanket in your bag, so you can find a nice place where to sit, relax, and eat your snacks.
Riding a bike doesn’t use gasoline, so it doesn’t emit any pollutants or greenhouse gasses, it is good for your health and it makes for a nice story to tell later. If you both already have bikes, this will only cost you the snacks you bring. But if you don’t have bikes, there are usually inexpensive rental companies. If you rent, you could go with a tandem bike and add a bit of romance to your trip.
3. Visit a museum or an art gallery
Repeating what I said before, many times we do not know the interesting places in our own city. In your own city or close by, you can probably find a museum, art gallery or any other exhibition, that you could take your date to. After the visit, you can continue playing tourists in your own city and take a walk in the surrounding areas, go to a park, have a coffee or ice-cream. Be mindful of not buying anything with single-use items like single-use coffee cups.
The entrance fee to a museum is usually pretty low, so it won’t break the bank. Normally, visiting a museum is very eco-friendly as it won’t create any trash. If they want to give you flyers, maps, or other paper items, refuse them. Alternatively, use them and return them in great condition so someone else can use them after you.
4. Flea market visit
Another idea that is eco-friendly and on a budget is to go to a flea market to look around and discover the items they are selling there. Flea markets are colorful, full of interesting items that make a great conversation starter. You can wander around for hours looking at stuff they have on offer.
The most eco-friendly option would obviously be not to buy anything. Refrain from shopping just for the fun of it. But if you really need something, and you can find it second-hand and for a great price on the flea market then great.
5. Game night
Another great idea is to organize a game nigh. You can find many games for 2 people, or invite another couple for a double date. To make it eco-friendly, use games you already have, or borrow games from your family and friends. You could also make your own handmade games using materials you already have at home. This will take more extra time to prepare, but it could show little details from your relationship, use your own story in the design of the game.
To make the game night special, prepare some nice homemade snacks, and drinks. You can also decorate the place according to the game theme or find an unusual place where to play. Maybe you could take it outside, a park, a garden, or any other safe location in your area.
You could also look for board game cafes in your areas, where you could all go together. This would be a little more pricey, as you would have to order drinks and food there, but it might be cheaper than going for a proper diner.
For more ideas on eco-friendly board games, read this article.
If you already have all the camping gear, this is a cheap but very fun and special activity you can plan together. You will spend more time together than just an afternoon. If you don’t have the necessary gear, don’t buy it for just one time you want to use it. That wouldn’t be eco-friendly and budget-friendly. Ask around, some of your friends might have the gear you need, or you could also rent it.
Pick a great place in your area where you could go. Extra points for not driving there. You could either take public transportation if available, ride bikes, or even walk/hike there.
To keep it all as eco-friendly as possible, prepare your own snacks and foods in order to skip on packaged foods. Do not use any single-use items like plates, cups, etc. Just bring reusable ones, or eat directly out of the food containers. There is always a creative solution to avoid single-use items.
Of course, do not leave any trace on your camping trip, take any trash back with you. Actually, you could even clean the area and pick up any extra trash you might find on the way and leave the place cleaner than it was before you came!
If you will be using fire for cooking, please be very careful, forest fires are a serious environmental problem. Only make a fire in designated areas and if / when it is allowed. There are parks where it is completely forbidden or it might be forbidden at a specific season. Get informed.
7. Dancing class
A great couples activity is taking a class together, and what is better than taking a dancing class? You can choose from so many dance styles according to what you both like and what are your abilities. There are many places you can just pay for each class you attend and you don’t need to sign up for a full course.
This activity does not involve any special equipment or material, and you will not be generating trash or purchasing any items during the class. Only be careful not to use any single-use items if there are refreshments offered during the class and you should be fine.
8. Movies night at home
Instead of going to the movies and spending money on the tickets and on the refreshments, prepare your own movies night experience at home. You will not only save money but also all the trash created by having to buy snacks and drink at the movies.
Of course, you will want to make it special by preparing great homemade snacks like popcorn made from the kernel (not packaged popcorn). I buy my kernel in bulk with no packaging. You can prepare some dips, veggie sticks, fruits, or any other snacks you can make at home.
To make this date even more eco-friendly, you could choose to watch a documentary on any environmental issue that you are interested in. There are plenty of options on Netflix and other streaming platforms to choose from.
It is not difficult to convert a normal date to an eco-friendly one, it is very easy if you just think of a few aspects. How much energy is spent on the date? Did you have to travel far away by car to get to the date? How much trash is created during the date? Are you using not renewable resources on the date? I hope you can pick some of my ideas, try them out and have a great time!
If you want to learn in-depth about what to do to become more eco-friendly, I have a series of articles on how to make your house more eco-friendly.
Start with making your kitchen eco-friendly here!
Continue with your bathroom here.
Learn how to green your bedroom and home office here.
Lastly, save energy and the planet!