Today’s dating offers myriad options, and the “hippest” events often seem like the most fun. Craft beer flights, popular workout programs, stylish 5-star restaurants, hip-hop concerts, happy goat yoga — there are so many trendy choices out there. They’re often, however, budget breakers.
What if you’re a grad student with school expenses? A single dad making child support payments? A young entrepreneur struggling to meet this month’s overhead? A dating senior citizen on a fixed income?
We don’t think that your bank balance should limit your dating possibilities, so we’ve come up with some cost-effective alternatives for those singles whose expendable income is limited.
Outside, we mean. Whether you live in a big city or a small town, there are always places to quietly commune. You can try walking through a local park, hiking a trail, or just window shopping in a stylish neighborhood. The rent-a-bike wave has taken off across the country, and the per hour prices are affordable. Too cold or rainy outside? Get thee to the mall! Does mall walking conjure up an image of octogenarians in velvet tracksuits? It shouldn’t anymore! These days, some centers offer organized mall walks, led by fitness professionals, and attended by all ages.
Many urban museums offer free admission to their general collections once a week. Why not enjoy getting to know each other while perusing the great masters? If you’re up for a smaller gathering (and less walking), check your local art gallery listings for opening night receptions. They’re usually open to the public, with the added bonus of snacks and free wine! Do you have friends in the performing arts? An actor friend might be able to hook you up with free or discounted tickets, especially preview and opening night performances. Summertime brings the arts outdoors in many U.S. cities with events like Shakespeare in the park, dance festivals, holiday concerts — and all are fine opportunities to enjoy time with a date.
Search online for “free fitness classes” in your city and you’ll be surprised at how many opportunities there are for you and your companion to raise your heart rates together. Try a Sunday morning yoga session in the park. You can look for a free Zumba, Pilates, or hot yoga class at your local rec center. And almost all of the popular gym chains offer introductory free workouts — from three days up to two weeks.
This category will fall into the “frugal” more often than “free” category (but still). Put together a picnic with simple sandwiches, fresh fruit, and soft drinks or a twist-top bottle of your favorite wine for a date that might end up being much more memorable than the 5-star restaurant neither of you can afford. If you do decide to splurge a little, who’s to say free food is completely off the table? Many restaurants offer birthday freebies — often a dessert or appetizer, but sometimes a full entrée or a buy-one-get-one free offer.
Free and frugal shouldn’t feel “cheap.” You can make the process an adventure! Pull out your laptops and challenge each other to an information duel. Who can find the best Groupon® deal? The best BOGO? The biggest discount? You’ll have to come up with your own reward for the winner, but with all the frugal and free date night ideas we’ve given you above, we know you’ll come up with something creative and fun to do next time!
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