How to Date On a Budget

Two Methods:Date IdeasDating on a Budget

Are you on a tight budget? A little creative thought on your part, and a laid-back, open-minded person, can make a great date, and still leave some change in your pocket. Plus, it's a great way to make sure you're not dating a gold digger!

Date Ideas

Sample Budget Date Ideas

Dating on a Budget

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    Take a walk. Whether it's in a park, or downtown, or wherever, walking for the sake of walking is a good way to see how you and your date get along. Can you two hold a conversation? Are your silences uncomfortable, or do you glance at each other and smile?
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    Go hiking. If you and your date are nature lovers, this is the ultimate cheap date. All you really have to pay for is gas to get to the hiking trail, and snacks. Make sure you are prepared, though; bring water and wear layers.
    • Want to make it memorable? Go barefoot hiking.
    • Don't get lost. Even if you impress your date with your survival skills, it'll still be more of a stressful experience than anything else.
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    Take a photography tour. If you don't have a digital camera, buy a few disposable ones -- they're not that expensive. Then wander around and take pictures. This is best for creative, fun-loving types. You can take pictures of each other in wacky poses with all kinds of faces; you can photograph things big and small, from unique angles. And you'll have something to remember the date by - how romantic!
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    Hit the books. Spend a few hours at a local bookstore or library. Talk about your favorite books. Browse the art and photography books and point out what you each like. Giggle at the section with all the sex books. Go through architecture books and talk about which houses you like. Be as corny or as intellectual as you'd like! ...If you're not bookworms, go to a music store instead!
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    Make dinner for your date. A meal made from scratch can actually be quite inexpensive, as well as delicious. Making gnocchi, for example, just calls for flour and potatoes. Throw in a few candles (and perhaps some home brewed wine?) and you've got a romantic dinner on your hands!
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    Go ice skating. It's a great excuse to hold hands!
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    Play pool or darts. The best place for this is a bar. If you go during happy hour, you can get cheap drinks and food too.
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    Go to a pick-your-own farm. Pick berries, pumpkins, fruit...or maybe even milk a cow! Bonus points if you can use your fresh-picked produce for a home-cooked meal.
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    Visit wineries. Some offer free tastings, others charge a few dollars. If you get free wine glasses out of it, that could make for a nice memento. (Pssst...if you're not really into wine, read How to Acquire the Taste for Wine and How to Taste Wine before embarking on this date.)
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    Check out the local music scene. If you live in a medium or large city, there are probably plenty of bands that put on free shows, or charge around a $5 cover and are great.
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    Take a dance class together. Many dance studios and instructors offer free or low-cost beginner group lessons. Consider swing, salsa, or (for a little extra intimacy) tango.
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    Hit the gym. Many gyms offer a free day pass for you to "test" the facilities. Challenge each other with weight training, take a yoga or aerobics or spinning class together, and splash around in the pool. Exercise releases a certain chemical that leaves both of you burning calories and feeling great.
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    If there's a minor league sports team nearby, go to a game. Tickets to these events are often only a few dollars, and are a great way to spend the afternoon or evening.
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    Check around your community for independently-owned or discount movie theatres. Tickets will cost less (often only two or three dollars), as will concessions. In addition, these theatres will be less crowded, so you're less likely to get stuck behind someone tall or in front of someone loud. Alternatively, you can always borrow movies from your local library!
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    Check out your local zoo or museum; usually these are inexpensive places to go on a date and explore a little. Occasionally, these places will also have free days. Some are free every day!
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    Check out whether your church or other local organizations have weekend retreats and camping trips. You can find very inexpensive weekend getaways if it's organized by a group that's not for profit. If you're a member of the group and your date is too, you may find lots of time to enjoy together out in the woods sharing an activity you enjoy. Science fiction conventions and other shared personal interests can be great weekend or day-trip activities at very little cost and often turn romantic as long as your partner's as interested in it as you are. Society for Creative Anachronism events are as colorful as Renaissance Fairs but much less expensive, also you participate more wearing medieval clothes and helping out with the event. Volunteering some of your time at these events also often gets you half price on your entry fee because they all always need people to fix and serve meals, check folks in at the door, clean up the campground afterwards.
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    Take her on a picnic! Everybody has some different types of food in their fridge, surprise her! And a chocolate cake doesn't cost that much either. She'll be impressed and she'll think you are romantic.
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    Take a splash on a pool or a beach. If you're living on a subdivision or a place where there's a public pool included in the amenities, you can spend some time swimming and talking there while taking some food from your house nearby. Or you can go to a local beach resort. Some of these resorts offer a free or small amount entrance fees. Then, you can opt not to rent a cottage and just stay on the seaside. You can also bring some foods from home to the beach or purchase at a local store where prices are much cheaper.
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    Rent a movie to watch together.

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