When we began researching ways to go on a date without burning a hole in your wallet, we uncovered so many creative, low-cost ideas that we could cram them all into a single article.
Here are several more suggestions to round out our last piece. Be still, bargain-loving hearts!
1. Volunteer together.
Show your date your altruistic side and contribute to the greater good by signing up for a volunteer project together. Catey Hill, author of SHOO, Jimmy Choo! The Modern Girl’s Guide to Spending Less and Saving More, says that you can “feed the homeless, donate your time to a clothing drive, or do something to help those less fortunate than you.” Idealist.org is a good resource for finding volunteer programs in your area.
2. Watch a (minor) ball game.
Dating a sports buff? Tickets to a major league baseball or other sporting event will cost you major bucks. But minor league games are much cheaper and often just as fun. “A minor league game is $10 for a great seat and the concessions are cheap, too,” says 41-year-old Richard O’Malley of Ridgefield Park, NJ. “Plus, there are always fun and interesting contests that go on during the breaks in the action.”
3. Explore your area.
Booth Vance, 32, of Scranton, Penn., suggests a fun, spontaneous date where you and your date drive where the wind blows. “Casual clothing and comfortable walking shoes, a few sandwiches, some water and a full tank of gas is all you need,” he says. After picking up your date, drive to the freeway and make a game time decision when you come to each fork in the road. This way you’ll get to explore new places and see if your date can handle a little uncertainty.
4. Play board games or pub trivia.
Challenging your date to trivia or a board game can be a fun way to see how they respond to friendly competition. Show off your inner mogul with a game of Monopoly. Bring back your childhood favorites like Candy Land or Yahtzee. Or if you’re trying to get closer to someone, try Twister. I’ve had several memorable dates that unfolded over games of Scrabble. After all, what’s sexier than a guy with a big vocabulary?
5. Skip straight to dessert.
Consider eating dinner at home (or separately), then going to a nice restaurant for coffee and dessert. “I doubt there’s a woman alive who would be able to resist the lure of late night chocolate treats, snuggled into a booth at the back of a softly lit restaurant.” says Emma Merkas, owner of $30 Date Night.
6. Hit the beach.
A visit to the beach is inexpensive, and it has the added advantage that you’ll get to see your date in swimwear. While there, you could go rollerblading, swimming, surfing or simply sunbathing, says Los Angeles dating coach Ofer Batt. Depending on where you go, you might also be able to explore the boardwalk, play beach volleyball, and build sand castles together.
7. Attend a student play or concert.
If you’re craving some culture but can’t afford full-price tickets, check the events calendar at one of your local colleges or arts conservatories and look for dance performances, recitals, plays, or concerts. College music and arts programs often schedule inexpensive performances that are open to the public. If you’re an alumnus, you can usually score a discount, too.
Susan Johnston is a Boston-based freelance writer who covers business and lifestyle topics.