Whether you've been in a relationship for years, or it's your first date, the dating game can be very expensive. Money comes and goes, but for the times when you're both feeling the pinch, you'll want a selection of cheap date ideas secured in your memory bank.
Dating nowadays can be a minefield. It used to be so simple; you'd meet someone you liked at an event or through a mutual friend and then you'd ask them out in person, or call them. Nowadays dates can be arranged in person, over the phone, across cyber space, or via an app. Then when you finally secure a date with someone who seems nice, there's the much debated topic of who will pay for the date. There's an ongoing discussion surrounding heterosexual relationships, about whether you can be a female feminist yet expect men to pay for your date. When it comes to who's footing the bill, I believe in splitting it, because I don't believe my partner should pay for my fun or the food I consumed, unless of course he's very insistent. Although, some would argue that due to the gender pay gap, men earn more so they should pay, which IMO is wrong on so many levels.
1. Movie Ticket Deals
Check out your local movie theater and ask when they have deals going on. Sometimes movie theaters do special offers, such as buy one get one free on tickets. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (a theater chain that has locations across the country) offers their free Alamo Victory Program that offers members a ton of deals including, "...discounted tickets and food & beverage offers, as well as invitations to sneak previews of new releases, exclusive screenings, T-shirts, DVDs and more! Plus, we’ll give you a free movie ticket (or two depending on your Victory rank) on your birthday." AMC movie theaters offer a similar rewards scheme. Pay $12 for a year's membership to receive: $10 AMC Stubs Reward for each $100 spent (to redeem on tickets, snacks, and other items,) free online ticket purchases, and free upgrades on concessions. So if you save up your rewards points for a rainy day, or rather when you're broke, you could end up with a free movie ticket and a free upgrade on your popcorn!
Also, depending on which cinema company you visit, if you go to see a movie outside of peak hours, tickets for these showings can sometimes cost less too. Follow your nearest movie theater on social media sites so you can keep up to date with any special discounts.
2. A Trip To A Free Museum
You may not realize this, but there's probably at least one free museum or art gallery in your town or city. The National Geographic informed readers of a bunch of free U.S. museums ranging from The Getty Center in L.A., to the museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, to Fairbanks Community Museum and Dog Musher's Museum in Alaska. You might not know this, but some museums accept a "recommended" donation instead of a general admission fee, therefore some museums are actually free, even if there is an admission price listed. Even if the free museum in your town or city isn't somewhere you'd normally visit, give it a try and you might learn something new. If you find it's really not yours or your date's cup of tea, at least there will be plenty to talk about.
3. A Nature Walk
It's long been reported that spending time in nature is good for your health, but did you know that going for a hike can be good for your relationships to? According to Mind Body Green, "Hiking with an important someone allows you to check in with them on a deeper level and be a more supportive friend/partner/sibling/human. This special one-on-one time affords you the opportunity to be of service to those who are more important to you. After all, there's nothing like hours of winding paths to get the lowdown on how your hiking bud is really feeling." You'll be able to spend some quality time with your date, while taking in beautiful surroundings, all for free.
4. A Cooking Lesson From Your Favorite Chef & Brunch In Bed
I recently discovered that one of my favorite chefs, Jamie Oliver, has a YouTube channel called Food Tube, which features awesome recipes from The Naked Chef himself plus dishes from special guests. You could learn to make perfect scrambled eggs and then take them to bed and pop on a lighthearted movie, or do whatever tickles your fancy.
5. A Game Night
You and your date may be mega video game nerds, word puzzle whizzes, drinking game fans, or board game lovers. Set up a night of whichever games float your boat and then let the dice and the good times roll!
6. A Marathon Of Your Favorite Series With Snacks
When you feel like having a cozy night in, invite your date round for a marathon session of your favorite show. You can share your favorite snacks and beverages and cuddle on the sofa as the plot of your favorite series unwinds. This is a perfect date for cold winter nights or when you're just getting to know each other, as watching TV together is a legit reason to get snuggled up to your date.
7. A Delicious Dinner Date At Home
Invite your date over for a romantic dinner for two in your home. Ask your date to bring a dessert and you supply the main and the drinks. You can choose to make a cheap dinner from scratch or pick something pre-prepared from the supermarket. Whichever you choose I'd estimate you'll spend approximately $10 each, depending on if you're drinking alcohol and how much alcohol you're wanting to purchase – alcohol is expensive y'all! A dinner date at home is a great way for you to get to know each other and you'll both probably feel way more comfortable than in a fancy restaurant.
8. A Creative Date
There's tons of scope for a creative date. You could start by teaching each other a creative skill which you both possess, which could range from a guitar lesson to a lesson in cartoon illustration. After this you could create an artistic card for each other, paint a watercolor of a nearby beauty spot, draw each other nude, bake some delicious treats, or even start your own blog together on a shared interest. There are no limits to what a creative date can include so let your imaginations run wild!
9. A Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt takes a bit of planning, but it could actually be classed as two dates if you take it in turns to create one for each other. Plan a route which you wish to take around your hometown or city and leave clues as to where the next location is. Depending on how broke you are, you could even do certain things at the specific checkpoints, such as have a drink in your favorite bar. However, you could create a fun scavenger hunt which involves no money at all, where your date is tasked with taking photos of special places, or filling in the blanks of a story or poem you have comprised. This is a really great way to show your date your favorite haunts and give them hints at your personality. Plus, it could be one of the most fun dates you've ever been on.
10. A Game Of Mini Golf
Mini golf is an absolute blast and it's usually priced between $5 to $10 dollars for an adult ticket. If you can stretch to the price of a ticket, you're sure to have a really fun date with plenty to do and lots of interesting scenery to talk about.
11. Volunteer At Your Local Animal Shelter
This is a wonderful date idea for animal lovers and it's sure to cost you little to nothing. If you want to feel all warm and fuzzy inside, you can take care of a bunch of animals living in shelters and sanctuaries in your community by volunteering. Sure it may take a couple of phone calls or emails, but this date will have animal lovers beaming on the inside and out.
Don't use your lack of dollars as an excuse to not have the best date ever. Get creative and prove that money isn't everything when it comes to dating.