The Cheapest Dates Can Often Be The Nicest

Given the dire economic straits many of us have been in since the recession hit, it's no surprise that we're all constantly on the search for cheap yet romantic date ideas. We all know that — in theory, at least — you don't have to drop big bucks to have a fun time; however, the rising cost of living combined with stagnant salaries have contributed to a lot of people being even more strapped for cash than ever.

But the beauty of the modern world is that we have access to the best crowdsourcing mechanism of all time: The Internet. So when Redditor sznelly31 posted a query in the AskReddit sub last night titled simply, “What is the cheapest, yet nicest date you've been on?” folks flocked to it, both offering up their own suggestions based on experience and availing themselves of the knowledge contained within. Some of them are the same sorts of things you tend to read over and over and over again; make dinner instead of going out was a biggie, for example, and while there's nothing wrong with it — it is, I fact, both cheaper and more romantic than going out — it's not exactly news. A ton of them are things you might never have thought of, though — and the stories attached to them are adorable, too, so you can give yourself a dose of the warm-fuzzies at the same time. Everybody wins.

Over 1,600 comments strong at the time of this writing, the thread is still unfolding as we speak; head on over there to check it out for yourself. In the meantime, here are 16 of my favorite cheap and romantic date ideas — because it's Friday night, after all, right?

1. The Perfect Summer Date

This? This is the best. Source: Me, because my SO and I do this all the time during the warmer months. We're extremely lucky to have an old-timey ice cream shoppe within walking distance of our apartment.

2. The Perfect Fall Date

Just in case summer isn't your thing.

3. The Surprise Beach Picnic Date

Far more interesting than a restaurant meal date, don't you think?

4. The Nostalgic Date

Thoughtfulness is one of the most romantic qualities you can cultivate. Well done, lucidgandalf's wife.

5. Meteor Shower Date

I think what I like so much about this one is that it isn't about the meteor shower (although I'm sure that part was cool, too). It's about everything they talked about during the meteor the shower.

6. The “Figure It Out As You Go” Date

Sometimes the best plans are no plan at all.

7. The Five-Dollar Pizza And Jazz Date

I feel like, as adults, we often frown upon the “park your car and hang out somewhere” date, dismissing it as too juvenile for our grown-up tastes; maybe we shouldn't, though. This sounds positively delightful.

8. The Blanket Fort Date

A blanket fort is always a good idea.

9. The Adventure Date

I can't really advocate doing anything illegal, but Silent_Sky's life sounds like a movie, and I kind of love that.

10. The Stove Top S'mores Date

Bonus points if you dim the lights and share spooky stories.

11. The Food Truck Date

Heck. Yes.

12. The Library Date

Little Free Libraries, regular libraries, doesn't matter which. Read to each other afterward — or just sit quietly next to each other, reading your own books. Yes please.

13. The Slacklining Date

Here's your primer on slacklining. Aaaaaaand go! (Just be careful, of course).

14. The Outdoor Movie Date

I think the key thing here is the fact that it was a “tiny town upstate.” You can watch a boatload of free movies outdoors in New York City in the summer, but they're always so crowded that they can be a little overwhelming. If that's your thing, though, more power to you!

15. The Toboggan Date

Excellent use of the word “toboggan.”

16. The “Much Too Fancy” Date

Not going to lie: This one is my favorite in the entire thread. Love it.

Images: Poetprince/Flickr; Giphy (4)