Whether you're in a new relationship or trying to spice things up with your long-term love, great dates help the spark stay alive. Don't let being low on "fun funds" keep you and your other half confined to the couch. Live it up for less with these cheap date ideas.
The New Dinner
White tablecloths and 14-page wine lists you can't understand are so over. Restaurants catering to those in need of wallet-friendly feasts are everywhere. From trendy burger joints and dumpling bars to BYOB gems and order-at-the-counter cafes for every cuisine, the possibilities are endless. Don't be afraid to try something new!
If you do have expensive tastes, moving Saturday date night to date day is a great way to get your fine dining fix for half the price. Most high end restaurants offer specials featuring dinner fare.
The lessons your mom forced you to take in elementary school will finally pay off! Help your uncoordinated sweetie zip around the rink and then "accidentally" fall on top of him for a quick smooch when he takes you down. (If this sounds like a scene out of a movie, that's because it is!) Follow with hot chocolate and maybe a back massage for his injuries if you're feeling extra thoughtful.
The Exercise Date
Sweating side by side on the elliptical with your iPods on is clearly not a romantic rendezvous. But if you and your man both like to jog, hike, or do yoga, why not burn some calories while you make googly eyes at each other in a beautiful, scenic location. Optional: Sharing a wheat germ protein smoothie.
If you can get past wearing rental shoes from 1972, bowling is one of the most fun inexpensive date ideas. Just remember to wear socks. Even if you're the queen of gutter balls, flirty competition with your man for the top score (and getting to check out his butt every time it's his turn) is always fun.
Picnic in the Park
A picnic is the perfect outing for a summer or fall afternoon. And really, what could be better than a portable meal consisting of cheese and wine? Just don't be that couple who feeds each other grapes in front of other park-goers trying to read a book in peace.
Pizza Party for 2
Sharing a pie at a neighborhood pizza parlor is one of those cheap date ideas that never gets old. Especially when your date ever-so-sweetly wipes the blob of tomato sauce off your chin.
Skipping the theater and ordering a movie on demand saves big bucks. You never have to worry about a bad perm blocking your view. (Hello, that style is so two decades ago!) Your version of "movie theater popcorn" won't pack on the pounds. No arm rests will get in the way of cuddling. You can enjoy a glass of wine instead of a 45-ounce soda. Plus, you can hit pause for bathroom breaks. Genius!
Wandering around your local farmer's market is a great way to score a free lunch. (Samples, anyone?) From fresh fish to vegetables you've never even heard of, get adventurous and buy some homegrown goodies to whip up a dinner feast together.
Forget inexpensive date ideas, this one is totally free. Spending an afternoon helping those less fortunate is a great way to give back, while enjoying some QT together. Whether you're serving soup at a local shelter or painting inner city classroom walls, helping others will remind you to be thankful for what you have, and give you a glimpse into how handy your man will be around the house! It's a win-win.