In the present economic climate, everyone is looking for ways to save money. That doesn’t mean you have to give up on romance! Dating doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavour. In times like these, it’s the simpler things in life that we learn to really appreciate.
Live Music, No Tickets
During the summer months, it’s not uncommon to find a number of free “concert in the park” series in most cities. These events offer a fun and romantic atmosphere and good music without the cover charge at a club, let alone TicketMaster prices! Just bring your own provisions.
No Corkage = No Bottle Shock
Wine is synonymous with romance, but a bottle of wine—or a bottle of wine and a corkage fee—can be synonymous with expensive, at a good restaurant. If you’re ready to spring for dinner but don’t want to pay the 300-to-400% markup over wholesale cost, find a place that will let you bring your own bottle of wine and won’t charge a steep corkage fee. If they don’t advertise this on their website, call the restaurant and ask. Even a $5 to $10 fee can still save you a bundle, if we’re talking about one of the better bottles of vino.
Make Your Wallet Happy
Happy Hours offer up to 50% off selected items and appetizers—if you can arrange your date between the hours of 4-7 or whenever the watering hole offers discounted pricing, this is a great way to stretch a dollar.
Good Deeds Make Good Dates
Volunteer together! It’s free (if anything, you might get a free meal out of it) and it shows you care about the community. That’s an attractive quality. These dates can be a great bonding experience and a lot of fun while making you feel good about yourselves—and each other.
Take in a Sunset
It may be a dating profile cliché, but it’s a fact—sunsets are sexy, and so is walking on the beach. If conditions are good and you time it right, a nice walk in the park or even to an urban hilltop can provide a romantic vista when magic hour arrives.
A Marketing Meeting
A Farmers Market is another great resource for daters. Most cities have them, so a quick online search should turn up one near you. Plan a meal to make with your date, meet at the market to pick up fresh ingredients and, weather permitting, have a picnic at the nearest park. Odds are this will be much less expensive than a sit-down restaurant, and more fun.
Two Cooks in Your Kitchen
A good follow-up to the Farmers Market is a tandem effort in the kitchen. Discuss this in advance so you choose a meal that’s within your capabilities and will please you both. Working elbow-to-elbow offers plenty of chances for flirty fun and if anything goes wrong, it’s more humorous than stressful (well, unless you cut yourself dicing veggies and need stitches—be careful!).
To find recipes to pitch to your date, go online—there are often step-by-step videos available. Don’t get too ambitious if you’re a novice chef, but remember that whether you burn the rolls or prepare a feast worthy of Michelin stars, a sincere effort will make a good impression.
Once you’ve been on some dates, you and your amour probably have identified some common interests. Taking a class together can be edifying and endearing all at once. Local colleges and organizations often offer introductory, one-night courses at discounted rates. Options include cooking, rock climbing, ice-skating, painting, dance…
Embrace Nature and Each Other
Chances are that where you live there’s going to be a state park nearby; they can give you and your partner a picturesque setting in which to talk. Naturally, this is not a first-date scenario, as public places are best until strong trust is established. But once it is, state parks can be an amazing date spot. Unlike a movie theater, you’re allowed to talk and unlike a restaurant, you’re not forced to.
Work up a Good Sweat
If you and your date are active types, go for a hike! They can be adventurous and romantic experiences. Choose a trail that’s easy enough for both of you to be able to focus on conversation and not just getting up that next hill!
Soak up Some Culture
Art galleries and museums charge a reasonable admission and offer a great place to spend the day. As you browse the exhibits, there’s always something to comment on and unlike a bar, you won’t have to shout to be heard!
Consider the Circumstances
If you live by the beach, propose a walk; if it’s snowing, make a snowman; if there’s a great bike trail, go for a pedal. Think season and setting, then take advantage.
Any of these ideas should be much cheaper than the average “dinner and a movie” scenario and offer a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of conversational fodder. Try them out and watch the quality of your dating experiences increase without depleting your bank account.