I’m a Cheap Date (And Proud of It!)


So at the ripe old age of, (ahem, twenty something,) I’ve been on my fair share of dates. Good ones, bad ones, ones you hope to never see again… ones that cost a bunch of money, (for the guy, mostly), and ones that cost almost nothing. I tend to have fun on either kind of date regardless of the money spent on either’s behalf, (depending on who the date is with!) I also find that when you don’t have a lot to spend, you tend to get creative… Here are some awesome ideas for a cheap date, a great time.

  • Find your local cheap theater. Your town most likely has a movie theater that only charges $2-5, and sometimes offers discounts for being a student. The movies shown here aren’t too old either, and you’ll save about $7 per ticket.

The Movies.

  • Have a photo scavenger hunt: Find all your local statues, things in rainbow order, number groups, or just make a random list of things about town, and go take your picture next to them all!
  • Go for a bike ride or walk. What’s more romantic than a stroll around a lake with your sweetheart?
  • Play a board game. Go on, get competitive. Make it fun, add a few drinks, and place a few wagers. You may win more than just a colored piece of the pie.
  • Place a monetary limit on the night. You can have a ton of fun putting a cap on the evening and seeing how far $15 can go. Food? Spaghetti and Sauce plus garlic bread at the grocery store can total only… $6! Say what? I know, it’s awesome. Movie rental from RedBox only $1? ok! $3 bottle of wine at the grocery store? ok!
  • Netflix! My new favorite discovery… I love seeing all the old television shows that you can re-discover. Hello Buffy!
  • Find your local dive bar and bask in the daily specials. You can shoot pool, listen to the juke box, and have a delicious 2$ bottle of PBR.

The Paradise, Madison WI. My favorite Dive.

  • If you plan for a nice little morning date, visit your local Farmer’s Market. Grab a coffee and a pastry, mingle with locals, stroll the isles of fresh flowers and cheeses. Yep. Even cheese can be romantic.
  • Follow that Farmer’s Market with some garage sales and maybe a flea market. You never know what treasures you can find! You can check Craigslist or grab a paper for listings. Or, just drive around looking for those neon paper signs.

The Farmer’s Market

  • Throw a party. Not all parties have to cost a bunch of money. You can have a potluck at the local park, pay for your portion of the goodies, and spend the afternoon playing frisbee and bocce ball with friends.
  • Grill out! Hit your local grocery store for some grill goodies, and find yourself spending what you would if you were to go to a restaurant. But you get to talk over a few beers outside, have a great burger, and do dishes together. You may have a lady and the tramp moment when your hands touch under the soapy water…
  • Take a tour. You can usually tour museums, city capitals, like the one here in Madison, for free. Or even go to open houses in your area, and browse through other people’s decorated homes, and dream of having their big backyard. You can even visit your local winery, and taste a few samples too.
  • Make a pie. You can visit a local orchard, hand select apples, and take home your gems to make a fresh apple pie. I read somewhere that the number one favorite (and even aphrodisiac like) smell amongst women was the scent of an apple or pumpkin pie. It bakes for about 45 minutes. I’m sure you’ll find something to fill the time.

image credit

  • Find a good place to listen to local music for really cheap. There’s a local place in Madison (The Frequency) that has louder, heavier music at night, but smoother, acoustic, and more laid back music around 6 or 7. And the shows are only $5-10. You can also find your local piano bar, cafe with a musician, or other venues for cheap. Live in Wisconsin? Check out Local Sounds for Madison or Green Bay Night Life for some ideas.
  • Come up with a project. Before I was dating my boyfriend, I had an assignment due for school that had to do with measuring the entire house. I joked about him coming to help me, but was really glad when he offered to drive to my house and measure every wall in every room. (Note: I was living in a 3 story Historic Victorian.) It was really fun to work as a team, and we got to talk and find out about each other the whole time.
  • Go to the Zoo. Our local Zoo here is free, and in a great little neighborhood too. After checking out the animals, you can walk around and check out local architecture and discuss your favorite kinds of houses.

That’s me. At the zoo. In the Polar Bear.

  • Have a season marathon of your favorite show. This may take more than a day, but it’s fun to spend time vegging together, making snacks and meals, having coffee or even mixed drinks, and watch episode after episode of House M.D.
  • Play personal trivia. You can each write down 20 questions that you really want to know about the other person, and sit down and fire away. I’m sure you’ll learn something new about the other person that you never knew before.
  • Have a picnic. You can have an indoor picnic in the middle of your living room floor, or even take it to the middle of the park. Pack a lunch, grab a bottle of wine, and lay out with some food and conversation. You can even have a night picnic and star-gaze with your hubby on a blanket with a bottle of wine.
  • Indulge in your sporty side. You can usually find tickets to a local sporting event for pretty cheap, and some packages include food and drinks too. Go ahead, let him know you can get into sports and yell at that bad pitcher too.

Wrigley Field.

  • Check out the High School for events. I once stumbled upon a sign outside of a high school for a musical performance of Little Shop of Horrors for only $8 a person, and we had a great time watching the high school students sing their hearts out over a murderous plant. Call your local high schools and see if they are having any performances anytime soon.
  • Visit your local comedy club or karaoke bar for some laugh out loud entertainment. Karaoke bars are usually free, or cost a small amount to sing a song, and Comedy Clubs can start at $5. Go ahead, laugh away. It’s good for you.

There’s some ideas that will fill your night, and keep your wallet from being empty! Find the right person to fill your time, and you’ll have a great time, even if you spend absolutely no money. Happy Dating!

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