Dating and saving money. For many, the two concepts don't equate. There's an automatic reaction for most when suggesting the two together that the person paying is trying to be "cheap" and the resulting date will naturally have the same feel.
Contrary to popular belief, however, dating doesn't have to be expensive to be fun, entertaining, and memorable. It doesn't even have to take a whole lot of extra preparation time. What it does take is a little imagination and breaking from the typical date routine. You have to be willing to think beyond dinner and a movie and be willing to try something new for a change.
Here are 15 inexpensive dating ideas: 10 for anyone plus 5 for the adventurous.
Natural Scenery: The beauty of nature is all around us and it doesn't cost a dime. Whether it's a trip to the beach, a walk in the forest, or a search into a cave, it can be done together for practically nothing. Take the time to find the natural scenic spots in your area and utilize them for your dates.
Sports: If you and your date are both athletic, sport activities together can be a great way to spend your time. Play a set of tennis, jog in the park, toss a Frisbee about, play catch with a baseball or football, or shoot some baskets. Whichever you choose, you can spend quality time at minimal cost and get some exercise in, too.
Picnic: Picnics are great for dates because they can be taken along wherever you plan to go for the day and they cost a fraction of going out for a meal. They also can be made as casual or as romantic as you want. Take a casual picnic meal, add some cheese & wine along with a red rose and the picnic instantly takes on a romantic feel.
Historic Places & Buildings: It seems the only time people go looking at the historic landmarks near where they live is when visitors come from out of town. Many of these historic or culturally significant spots have no or small entrance fees and make a great place to go on a date. You also get to learn more about the area you live.
Meal/Evening At Home: Cook up a meal at home and spend the evening watching movies or some other activity such as a board game. The meal most likely will be better than at a restaurant and the evening will cost a fraction of what going out to dinner and a movie would cost. Cook the meal together to spend even more time together, or do it yourself as a special surprise.
Memory Album: Take your camera or purchase an inexpensive disposable camera and make a day of taking photos together. Make a theme for the day if you want or just take any crazy photo that comes to mind. Once finished, get the photos 1-hour processed and create a memory album together for the day that will live on forever.
Museums: If you have museums in your area, they can be an excellent place to enjoy an inexpensive date. Admission prices are usually reasonable and often they have discounts for those attending a number of events over the year.
Learn A New Skill: Gather some information on a skill you always wanted to learn and spend a day practicing it together. It could be a day of learning card tricks, learning how to juggle or learning to make bird calls. Any skill you have always wanted to try can make a fun and interesting date.
College Events: If you live near a college or university, utilize their resources for your dates. Guest lectures, music recitals, art exhibitions, and plays are common and are often free of charge. The quality can be excellent and the variety enormous.
Hobby Together: you can set a regularly scheduled date if the two of you have a hobby you both enjoy. You can look in the local community newsletter to see if there are classes being offered in something that interests both of you. These classes are usually quite inexpensive and the two of you can enjoy a few hours each week together learning something new.
For those who are looking for an inexpensive date with some adventure involved, here are five more options that are sure to make the evening memorable:
Local Thrift Shop Date: Plan a date someplace where there are a lot of people. Before going, head down to the local thrift shop together. Once there, specify a small amount of money to purchase clothing or accessories for the other and both head off in different directions. The goal is to find items the other has to wear for the rest of the day/evening within the price specified. The entertainment is seeing the reaction from all the people who see your new outfit as you wander the crowded area.
Follow Them Date: As the two of you meet, you look around and pick somebody out on the street. The date is to follow that person where ever he or she goes. Once that person has stopped or you can no longer follow them, pick another person to follow. Your bound to have loads of laughs as you attempt to stay with your designated guide.
Scavenger Hunt Date: When your date arrives, have him or her make a list of what he or she considers to be 20 unusual items. Once the list is made, the date will be to try and find as many of those items as possible.
Truth Or Dare Date: Pick some spots in your area to visit, but play truth or dare along the way. It doesn't really matter where you go since the entertainment is doing the various dares that the other gives in addition to telling all the truths.
Bag Of Dates: Put each of the dates I just mentioned, plus any others that you come up with, onto a separate sheet of paper and place them in a bag. When your date comes to the door, have him or her reach inside and choose a piece of paper. Whichever one is chosen is your date for the day/evening.
Jeffrey Strain has published hundreds of money saving articles and the creator of the Daily Money Saving Challenge Program. He is the co-owner of Saving Advice, a Web site dedicated to saving you money. He also writes a daily personal finance advice blog.© 2008 Jeffrey Strain
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