Dinner and a movie may be the standard date idea, but it can also cost you upwards of $60 each time. Over time, this can quickly eat a hole in your wallet. Despite popular misconception, however, you do not need to spend a fortune to impress a date. In fact, there are numerous ways to have a great time with another person while getting to know each other better for very little money.
Some great dates can even cost you no money at all.
Low-cost dates work well for first dates, even blind dates, and for married couples seeking a break from routine that does not break the bank. In addition to the many great dates you can enjoy anytime for little or no money, consider the opportunities to enjoy typically more expensive dates for considerably less when you look for bargain date options. It is always worth looking for coupons and discounts for restaurants, shows, events and activities you may wish to enjoy with a date.
Go on a Walk
Perhaps the simplest and most inexpensive date you can go on is a walk. Not only does a walk give you exercise, get you outdoors in the fresh air and provide you time to talk, but there are endless possible walks you can take, exposing you to untold sights, experiences and surprises. Take a walk around one of your neighborhoods, giving the other a tour of the significant places in your childhood. Drive to a nearby small-town main street and walk around its square and window-shop its small stores. Head to a nearby park and spend some time walking amongst nature together. Along the way, you can also sit for a spell on a public bench and watch the world go by together.
Take a Hike
A more vigorous version of the previous suggestion, a hike is simply a walk with greater commitment. Hikes are usually in nature and usually more challenging than leisurely strolls. A hike can be leisurely, but it is often off-road, trading smooth paved surfaces for uneven dirt paths. Hikes can be as challenging or relaxing as you desire, and as long and meandering or short and focused as you and your date would like. You can hike around dunes, up and down a mountain or over to a waterfall or scenic view. On a hike, you are less likely to have the distractions of phones, vehicles, buildings and other people to distract you from each other. You also have the beauty of your natural surroundings to fill those awkward, quiet moments, giving you both something to talk about and providing a shared experience.
Have a Picnic
Instead of footing the bill for a restaurant meal when you want to eat together on your date, consider a picnic. Food for a picnic can cost much less than restaurant food meals. Opt for salads, cold cuts or cooked meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses and breads for a great food selection for a fraction of the price of going out to eat. Picnics can also be extremely romantic. Carrying a meal in a basket to a picturesque spot in a local park and laying out a blanket to sit on as you enjoy a meal for two against an all-natural background is like a scene out of a movie.
Put a Puzzle Together
You do not even need to leave the house to have a great and low-cost date together. For example, you can clear off a table or other flat surface and put a puzzle together. All you pay for with this date is the price of the puzzle. Choose a puzzle you would both enjoy or find meaningful makes the date even more personal and relationship-building. For example, pick a puzzle depicting a place you two have visited together or want to visit together in the future. Choose a puzzle depicting an animal, object, activity or celebrity one or both of you enjoy. Whatever the image, the activity of working on a puzzle can be a good brain workout. When you do a puzzle with another person, it becomes a collaborative activity as that creates a bonding experience and fosters a sense of accomplishment.
Play a Game
Similar to puzzles, games do not have to cost a lot of money. Given their capacity to be enjoyed over and over again, the cost of games is an investment toward future dates and enjoyment. You do not even need to buy an expensive board game to enjoy time in light, friendly competition. Get a deck of cards for a wide variety of games to play for the scantest cost. For a little more, you can buy a set of dominos or a checkers or chess board.
Do you not know how to play chess? Turn game night into an educational experience as well, by teaching yourselves or each other to play.
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Current board game choices are extremely diverse in theme, play style, cost and skill level, and the wide range of games means that everyone can find something that they like. Completely free games, hangman and charades, can be a fun bonding experience for new and established couples alike.
Watching TV and Movies
Whether you have a full-fledged home theater system in your home or a standard TV set, you can spend the hours together with your date in a relaxing way. Take in an entire season of a TV show or have a movie marathon of an entire cinematic series or a particular actor’s or director’s entire filmography. You can do this on cable or satellite TV, a DVD player or video streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and YouTube. You get to relax together and be entertained as you enjoy your favorite movie snacks for cheaper than a single two-hour movie and concessions in a real theater.
Go to a Museum
You do not have to live in a big city to have interesting and informative museums nearby to explore. You may be surprised with everything you can learn and discover about the very community you live. Small towns can have small, niche museums that are sure to interest many people. Of course, if you do happen to live in a big city, there are plentiful art, science and history museums everywhere you look. Regardless of locale, however, just check with the local chamber of commerce to find the free and low-cost museums the area offers. Many museums with entry fees have free days every month around which you can schedule your visits.
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By Alfred Wickham –