Inflation inspires creative ideas for dating

There has been so much chatter this summer about the rising cost of gas, food, travel and even back-to-school supplies. While it is true that costs have gone up by as much as 15%, families are finding that they have cut back on discretionary spending to keep up with inflation.

One area feeling the pinch are industries that typically serve those seeking to enjoy a date night out. Couples are being forced to make intentional decisions about how they spend their time together. What may have been an easy night out a few years ago, now makes them stop and think about what they specifically want to do, and even, in some cases, has stopped some from dating. While there is still an aversion to a “cheap date,” many couples are finding creative ways to keep the love alive while not breaking the bank.

Northeast Wisconsin has an abundance of fun things couples can do to spend some meaningful time together. Here are 10 ideas that can save some money, while still offering a romantic, fun time together.

  • Meet for coffee. My quick dive into the YELP restaurant guide listed over 30 coffee shops in the Green Bay area. Coffee shops are usually within reach and provide an awesome venue for intimate conversation.
  • Take a hike. is an excellent resource for pages and pages of hiking trails and outdoor activities. Numerous studies note that spending time outdoors has both health and relational benefits.
  • Do charity work together. When donating items, reminisce about the memories they represent. Do a charitable act together, like volunteering at a shelter or work together to help a neighbor who may need extra assistance. The point isn’t doing chores, but rather sharing in the act of giving together.
  • Cook together. You both must eat, so why not make it fun? Go to the grocery store and buy a couple of new items and create a recipe together. Recreate a recipe from your heritage or childhood. Take turns doing it together and have fun with something you do daily anyway.
  • Go fishing. While a fishing license does cost money, chances are you know someone with equipment to borrow. We have so many area lakes, why not spend an afternoon together on the water doing something that is both fun and challenging? You don’t have to be an expert, just enjoy the time together. You may even catch something for dinner.
  • Festivals and more festivals. We certainly don’t lack area festivals and, whether it be a church picnic or a music fest, these create a lot of fun memories and great community for little cost.
  • Campfire night. Whether up north at your cabin or in your own backyard, there’s something very romantic about a campfire. For the cost of wood and a few marshmallows, turn off the technology and sit around the glowing campfire together.
  • Game night. For many competitive couples, this may be a common dating option. For those who don’t typically play board games, this will bring out your competitive spirits and a little laughter, which will make many fun memories.
  • A day at the beach. Whether at your favorite lake or one of the many fantastic beaches on the Great Lakes surrounding Wisconsin, beaches offer endless romantic memories. Sunrises, sunsets, starry skies and picnics are all typically free or low cost.
  • Take a church tour. With more than 150 churches in the Diocese of Green Bay, why not take a road trip and see some of them? There are many rural churches as well as many historical churches that offer insight into the many Catholic men and women who have lived out faithful lives in our area.

While it is true that costs have steadily risen over this past year, don’t let it affect your ability to find time for one another. When times are difficult, we may be called to walk a different path or be more creative. You’ll soon discover that this change in your routine — and finding creative outlets for your dates — will have a positive effect on your relationship.

No matter how you decide to spend your time together, remember that it doesn’t always have to cost a lot. When you are together, don’t forget to thank God for each another and the gift of shared time. Praying together is also an amazing thing to do for your relationship — and it’s always free.

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