Even the happiest of couples needs a date night now and then. But in this tight economy, it may not always be possible to drop a large amount of cash on a date with your significant other. Getting creative and planning things together can help bring you closer and allow you to break out of that nightly dinner and off-to-bed routine you may have found yourself stuck in for the last year. The most important things to do is relax a little, have a good laugh, and forget about bills, job stress, and other worries until the next day.

With kids in the picture it’s even more difficult to have a good date night without spending a fortune; after paying for dinner, tips, movie, snacks and the babysitter, most families can’t afford to have a date night even once a month. But with these fun and low-cost stay at home date night tips, an evening with your sweetheart doesn’t have to be a rare event.

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It’s time to get out your favorite board games: Battleship, Monopoly, Uno, or even Twister. Playing childhood games with your significant other can create a feeling of nostalgia, which has been proven to bring people closer together. In addition to the classics, you may want to play a game that will let you get to know your partner a little better, like Would You Rather—it can be interesting and surprising, sometimes, to hear the hypothetical choices your significant other would choose. You can mix game night with a bowl of your favorite candy, and you have a date.

You don’t have to go to the gym to work out—nowadays you can work out easily in your living room. Pop in that yoga video or P90X and work up a sweat. With today’s smart TV technology, you can seamlessly keep track of time and calories while working out with your partner. Additionally, one of the benefits of working out as a couple is that you set goals to work towards together, which will strengthen your relationship. And things can get a little competitive, and of course there’s something sexy about that!

Ok, so this isn’t exactly “staying at home” per se, nor is it something to do at night. But what’s more fun than discovering somewhere you’ve never been before? Even in your hometown, this can be an adventure. Get in the car, buckle up, and take off. You may have a specific destination in mind, or you may just want an opportunity to catch up and enjoy the view. Just the other day my wife and I went driving around to see the homes my parents had built and we reminisced about many of my childhood memories. It was really fun and surprisingly relaxing and even after all these years, we got to know each other a little better. End the date at home with a decadent dessert…and what is there to complain about? Which brings us to…

This might sound cliché, but if you haven’t had a chocolate covered fruit night with your partner, you are seriously missing out. Get some really expensive chocolate chips (which aren’t really that expensive), melt them in a double boiler, and dip some delicious strawberries, bananas, and whatever other healthy snack you enjoy. Make it more romantic by turning the lights down, setting the food up on a blanket on the living room floor, and eating by candle light.

This is an oldie but a goodie. To make movie night really about just the two of you, turn off the rest of the household technology and keep cell phones well out of reach. This way, you can make your movie night more of a date where neither of you can be bothered by work or other distractions. Cuddle up in front of the TV with a blanket and some popcorn, and voilà.

What’s your favorite date night?

Paul Mansour is enthusiastic about start-ups along with consumer and small business technology. Working within Dell.com, he needs to stay up-to-date on the latest products and solutions and best-in-class ecommerce strategies. In his spare time he can’t resist taking apart his latest gadget and forgetting how to put it back together.