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Living together can be stressful when it’s all work and no fun. But how can a couple have fun when bills are due and there is a shortage of money?
Great relationships can be had by learning to enjoy the company of each other. There are countless ways a couple can engage in fun, and many of which are free. Exercising, playing games, cooking, and even volunteering, are all great ways a couple can spend meaningful time together. This article explores ten ideas to try.
Why is it so difficult for couples to have fun and build lasting relationships? Well, part of the reason is because they have narrowed down their focus too much. When times are good, we develop a certain level of living and we do various things that our income affords us.
As time progresses in many relationships, bills grow, needs grow, and our finances can become over-obligated. This means more month than money. So, what does the couple do? Well, they go on, working and toughing it out. But for how long can they do this before it becomes too much to bear?
My wife and I really struggled with how to make things work early on in our marriage, saying we had incompatible differences would be an understatement. Which is why I wrote the book Successful Relationships Don’t Happen by Chance. It’s a book I wish I had back then. Now, years later we are in a much better place, and I want to share with you the most important things that helped us in our relationship.
So, instead of reaching your breaking point, why not investigate various ways to rejuvenate the relationship through fun and intimacy. There are many ways to have fun, and I will help get you started.
10 cheap or free activities for couples to do
Coming up with ideas can be tricky if we’re used to lavish activities such as afternoons at the country club or nights on the town. But when money is tight, we need to get creative and look for alternative ways to have some good old-fashion fun.
Fortunately, there are millions of ideas one can come up with if they focus long enough. Work together with your partner and create your own list of ideas that you two can do on the cheap. Even for couples with money, it’s just smart money-management to be frugal and efficient in making dollars stretch.
I have compiled a list of ideas that a couple can get started with right away, and later, then get working on your own list.
Here are 10 fun activities:
- Exercise together
- Play games
- Start a relationship VLOG
- Learn the art of Massage Therapy
- Do a couple’s cooking VLOG
- Try a couple’s Blog
- Learn a language for a place you plan to travel to
- Host a potluck party
- Volunteer together
- Have a movie night
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1. Exercise together
To start this awesome list, exercise takes the lead. I chose this first because not only can a couple simply throw on some shoes and walk out their door, they can effectively become more attractive to each other while improving their overall health.
When we exercise, we feel better about ourselves. When we feel good about ourselves, we tend to dress better and eat better and smile more. All these play an important role in upping our wow-factor to our partner and making them all starry-eyed like we did for them early in the relationship.
Exercise can be difficult. The nice thing about exercising with our partner is that we can trust them; we can trust them to push us, we can trust them to help us, and we can trust them to not make us feel inferior to them because we can only pound out 6 push-ups.
Gyms can be nice because they have lots of great equipment. They can also be a nightmare for a person to get a good workout in because there always seems to be someone occupying the machine or bench that we need in the moment we need it. Being over-crowded is the first problem; the second is cost. Gym memberships can run into the thousands per year.
Getting out together in the neighborhood or taking turns doing sit-ups and push-ups in the living room are free. There isn’t anyone occupying your space, and time isn’t lost travelling to and from the gym.
Get started today. Don’t over-analyze or complicate it. Exercise is something that works the muscles and gets the heart-rate up. Sex with our partner is exercise when done right, right?
2. Play games
No, not head games.
Board games doesn’t have to mean bored games. Finding the perfect games to play between a couple surely comes down personal preference. Board games, card games, 20 questions; whatever.
Most couples have games or cards kicking around the house somewhere. Games like scrabble are good to challenge the mind and stay fresh on interesting vocabulary. If you are really crafty, you might even be able to slip a made-up word past your unsuspecting partner now and then.
No board games or cards? Challenge your mate to a game of Jumble where you think up challenging words, mix them up, and get them to solve your puzzle. A simple search online will yield more results for games that can be made from scratch.
If a couple wants to take their evening to a different level and presuming there are no other occupants in the house, they can opt for a game of poker, where articles of clothing are on the line. This has strong potential to lead to other steamy games.
The beauty of a games-night is that it doesn’t have to be between the couple only. The couple can invite friends over or include the kids. It’s a cheap and fun way to spend an evening or rainy afternoon.
3. Start a relationship VLOG
Our society has moved to such a social-media based community. A relationship VLOG is something any couple can do; presuming they have a camera and a way to upload videos online.
What would a couple vlog about?
Anything. But, why not talk about helpful things for other couples. What are the benefits of your relationship? What are the hardships? What have you learned over time about trying to live with another person and putting up with their differences?
There are so many topics a couple could talk about. And, that’s the nice thing about this. The couple could simply press record and just sit there recollecting past experiences of their relationship, good and bad, and being honest for the audience about how those situations were.
It doesn’t have to be some kind of amazing script or screenplay. Instead, be normal. Couples have fun; they have hard times; they want to be with each other every moment; sometimes they need a break from each other for a few hours. Elaborate on these kinds of things and how you cope.
With so many couples getting started and then breaking up in a short period, it’s very possible that you and your mate have some very compelling and informative ideas and techniques for other couples to survive the hard times.
Also, there are some couples making online videos and posting on social media platforms who are able to make a good side-income at it. What household couldn’t stand to earn some extra money these days, right?
4. Learn the art of Massage Therapy
What is better than getting a massage after a long day?
Couples can spend time each evening or a couple times per week learning how to give professional-type massages.
There are countless tutorial videos online, as well as articles, that teach step by step methods for various massage styles, and don’t forget to pick up some massage oil for couples too. More material can be found at the public libraries, which are generally free.
Some people think they are terrible at this kind of stuff; and, frankly, some are. However, it’s a skill that can be learned. Start by using open communication with your partner; does it hurt? Am I too rough or not enough? Lower? Higher? More oil?
Ask questions and learn.
If the relationship is struggling from a lack of intimacy, massages are a great way to add some heat to a dull relationship; especially, if we’re good at it. Oily massages over relaxing music and candlelight are romantic. Set the mood and let the evening flow. Don’t focus on the negative or worry about technique. Just have fun together.
The relationship between partners is a safe-zone. We should be able to make mistakes and learn at a good pace without risking getting fired as we would if it were our occupation. We only get better with practice and time. So, get started learning together tonight and be sure to take turns.
5. Do a couple’s cooking VLOG
Okay, so I am a promoter of couples getting involved in online activities. It’s just nice to see a couple having fun together doing things we wish our partner would do with us, right? And, who knows; maybe we’ll get some ideas from watching other people have fun.
Cooking is one of those things that is either generally easy for us, or bordering on impossible. In most households, at least one partner usually has some cooking skills; even if this means that they can successfully make the Kraft Dinner without burning it.
If a person is open to learning, there are so many cooking tutorials and recipes available in a moment’s notice. Cooking includes baking too. What’s more fun than making cookies with the family?
But, if spending quality time with our partner is the goal, why not add a hint of romance to the activity? There are many international dishes that can turn on more than our appetites. Italian food is often easy to make and tastes delicious, as long as you’re not avoiding carbs.
There are also several Mediterranean dishes that can be made to taste amazing, even by the novice chef.
In many international cities and villages, the locals often source out in-season veggies and other ingredients, as they are plentiful and cheap. So, good food can often be made from common in-season ingredients. It’s the spices and oils that will cost up front, but often stretch far in recipes.
As a guy who likes to cook, this one is near and dear to me. As for doing a couple’s VLOG for cooking, well, we’re already engaged in other social activities currently; but maybe in the future.
6. Try a couple’s Blog
Speaking of social activities, my wife and I maintain this blog together. I do the writing, and she does the marketing and technical stuff. Without her, I’d be lost. I’d just have a bunch of writing on scraps of paper all over the place and nobody would ever read it.
But we are a good team when it comes to online work. And, that’s what other couples can do too. Find out which one is good at what and work together to create something fun and unique together.
As for what to write about; what interests you as a couple? Start there. Are you both interested in photography and are often found wandering around the neighborhood and community looking for the perfect picture of, well, whatever you like?
Write about it. Start a blog and write about your experiences. What is the best time of day to get the best shot of birds; flowers; the sun? What kind of camera are you using? What about photography on a budget and best editing options for making it look better?
Again, we always get better with time. We gain more knowledge, and we learn new tricks. The blog can be about anything you and your partner are interested in.
Even just sifting through piles of stuff at local thrift stores and showcasing your new-found treasures on your blog and writing a bit about it will be interesting to other frugal-minded couples.
Blogs can be started very cheap these days, and if a blogger is able to attract a decent crowd, they can stand to even earn an income from it too.
Don’t get too caught up in the worry about whether people will like your blog. Work with your partner to put together informative and interesting articles and post regularly. Include lots of good pictures and aim for a couple-thousand words, and ta-da; you’re on your way!
If you are interested in starting a blog, here is a post with 10+ Free blogging resources to get you started.
7. Learn a language for a place you plan to travel to
Where in the world do you and your partner want to travel to? And when? Perhaps it’s next year and this year is all about saving up the money. Well, this is a great time to brush up on the language of that destination, together.
Learning languages can be done on the cheap. Of course, there are many paid options to be had, as well as, tutors that will charge a fee. However, there is a wealth of information online, and also, videos and books.
Couples can challenge each other with this, and they can learn together. Most countries will speak some English but learning some common phrases in their language will surely be helpful.
A little at a time is the method of choice when picking up new skills. Don’t overload yourselves. If the trip is next year, then plan to work on this a few evenings per week or on weekends. Make it fun. And, once you learn, practice often to maintain progress.
It is said that the human mind is capable of unlimited learning, and the only limitations are the ones we place on ourselves. Keep an open mind. Challenge each other to grow and learn together. The time spent together is quality time and will create lasting memories; even if the trip gets cancelled or postponed for whatever reason.
And hey, all’s not wasted; if you and your partner learn another language, perhaps then you two can become a tutoring couple for others to learn, and you might even make a good side-income doing so.
8. Host a potluck party
Oh, how I love the potluck dinners!
Okay, so this isn’t a couples-only activity, however, it can be done on the cheap. This is because we often have ingredients kicking around our fridges and cupboards to throw together something tasty.
The nice thing about potlucks is that we invite people over, tell them to bring their favorite dish, and at the end of the evening, they bring their dishes home. Not only this, if people are a bit creative with their cooking, a real blend of various traditions come together all in one big smorgasbord of yumminess.
Crockpot meals are nice for this too. Hearty stews often increase in flavor over long cooking times and they stretch far too when it comes to feeding many. Also, pasta is great for making big batches relatively easy.
In some cultures, this is just a normal thing. I don’t think I could go on living if there weren’t these types of feasts in existence. This is going to sound a bit weird; I’m an introvert. I’m an introvert blogger, but I love food. I dread being in large rooms full of people. However, when there is a huge spread of food, I will endure just about anything for a while.
Food is one of those things that all people enjoy to some degree. Of course, everyone’s palette is difference, and many fights have been had between in-laws and family cooks on whether mashed potatoes should have lumps or not.
As for the potluck, just make your favorite dish, and make some extra for others to try. That’s it. So simple.
9. Volunteer together
This idea might not strike a chord with every couple out there, but if you are struggling to find something productive to do with your free time, try offering a hand in your community.
We don’t need to walk very far before finding an organization who could use some help. The communities we live in all have some form of community-service operation that provides essential services and needs to the less-fortunate.
Can you stand at a table? Can you scoop a serving of food onto a plate? Can you wipe off a counter? If yes, then you are qualified to help at a soup kitchen. I have helped at a few soup kitchens over the years and it is actually a good time.
The staff are almost always friendly, and the experience tends to be laid back and pleasant.
When we do things to pitch in around our community, we develop a deeper sense of pride and fulfillment. A once-per-month good deed goes a long way for a person. It also helps ground us somewhat when we get too caught up in the material-driven world we live in.
By shifting our focus from what the commercials on TV are trying to persuade us to buy, to helping provide others with the most basic of needs, we tend to regain a positive and productive perspective on who we are and what we truly want out of life.
And, there are many other things that go on that aren’t soup kitchens. I was asked this last winter to help with the local Santa Claus Parade. At first, I was like, “I don’t want to decorate a float and ride on it and wave to everyone,” but then I was informed that I would simply just have to stand at a barricade and make sure nobody moved it or drove around it.
Check around and see what’s going on.
10. Have a movie night
And, if all that I have suggested seems like too much work after a long day or week, then how about just snuggling up together and throwing on a good ole romantic comedy?
My wife and I enjoy these kinds of movies most. I do like action and thriller, but I am known to enjoy the odd tear-jerker every now and then. Besides, it earns me brownie-points with her and come on, life is hard enough, right?
We love to laugh, and we find that many of the romantic-comedy movies are decent and not laden with swearing or nudity, so it doesn’t leave us feeling like we need confession afterwards. There’s also something about watching someone else’s life all come together in a romantic way that leaves us feeling all tingly and like anything is possible.
But hey, if you and your partner prefer a good marathon of Walking Dead or Game of Thrones, then have at it. The idea is to find something fun to do that you both enjoy that doesn’t empty out the bank account.
We’re not all romance and comedy over here, either. We’ve been known to get caught up in marathons of Marvel and DC, and although everyone seems to be wearing tights, they’re action and fighting shows; not generally love-stories.
Why not make a bunch of your favorite snacks together and prepare for a long night of your favorite movies shared with your favorite person?
Having fun as a couple doesn’t have to cost money; at least not much money. After being married to my wife for more than twenty years, we have had many ups and downs financially, and have had to learn how to have fun on the cheap many times.
I enjoy helping other couples find ways to have fun together and regain the spark in their relationships. I don’t like seeing so many couples get to a point of breaking up because things got boring, or too hard. I encourage healthy relationships when I can, and I hope that you are able to find good value from my writing efforts.
If you have any helpful tips or ideas not covered in this article, please share them in the comments below for other couples to put to practice.