Intentionally growing in love.

$20 Date Challenge

Where it all began…

In 2014, we were 23 and 24 years young, owned a house that we were working hard to renovate, saving for our dream month long trip around Europe and had a little puppy that liked to destroy our possessions for fun … our spare pennies were few, but we still wanted to enjoy our Saturday nights out together.

This particular week we pulled up outside a bunch of restaurants and were deciding where we could afford to eat – instead I suggested, “how about we run into Coles instead, and we can only use this $10 note to buy ingredients for a night in?!'”

We instantly thought this idea was hilarious, so we snapped a selfie and off we went.

I have no what we cooked that night, but it was a night we’ve always remembered!

Fast forward to 2018…

Now we’ve grown up a little more, had a beautiful baby boy, are living happily off one wage – our hearts are full but are pennies can still be few from time to time. We definitely do enjoy treating ourselves to dates with delicious foods at amazing restaurants, flowing wine and desserts galore, but in-between these dates on a quiet saturday night in, we found ourselves taking on the challenge once again!

We’ve upped the limit to a grand total of $20 and decided to make it a little more fun, by competing to make dinner or dessert!!

Here’s how it worked…

  1. Flipped a coin and the winner got to pick which course they were cooking – dinner or dessert! Mark won and went with dessert, so I scored the main meal!
  2. Headed off to the supermarket with $20 cash (this makes for the real challenge to be exactly at $20 or just under
  3. Shopped separately for our ingredients and met back at the cash register
  4. Mark’s dessert ingredients came in at $9.90, while mine were a perfect $10! WOO!
  5. Once our son was tucked up in bed, we started our cook off!! We cooked our meals next to each other, trash talking the other over a glass of wine, stealing kisses and chocolate, listening and dancing along to our favourite tunes

Watch how it went below…

Our little challenge resulted in two incredibly yummy dishes that were far better than spending a fortune on nasty takeaway!!

We had such a fun relaxing evening, sat on our front decking as the sun set, drinking wine and enjoying the meals we’d cooked with love. Finished off with an espresso and came inside once the sun went down. I’m claiming I won this little comp, seeing as Mark just assembled his ingredients and didn’t actually cook haha. BUT it was all in the name of LOVE, so we both won.

So what does this have to do with YOU?

One ‘trademark’ of Love Salt Light is going to be a compiled list of $20 date ideas that are all around Melbourne and beyond.

We want planning dates to be easier, cheaper and fun with NO EXCUSES to not include them in your weekly/monthly calendars.

We want to harness your creativity and individual flair, as I’m sure they will differ from our ideas. That’s the beauty of a community.

So you could give our $20 cook up idea a go, or come up with your own unique idea together!!

Think outside the box – we know a simple coffee date is cheap but we want to see you try something new. Maybe one of you could even plan a surprise for the other?

Maybe a car-boot cheese and wine picnic, maybe hire a SUP and take a lesson together at the beach, maybe making each other a homemade gift… it can be anything that only costs you $20!

Watch this space for more $20 date ideas coming soon!!

Mark and Lauren


If you do decide to give this a go, we would LOVE to hear from you!!

Email us at if you and your lover completed the challenge, we’d love for you to send us a stack of pictures and we can showcase your ideas just like we have above!!