Dating on a tight
You've made a love connection, but now you're weary
of the wooing process because you're on a tight budget. But don't
worry, because dating without much cash is possible and it can allow
you to be creative while showing your date a good time. If you think
that showing your true frugal colors may be a turn-off, then no
need to tell your honey how much money you're saving.
Shel Horowitz, author of The Penny-Pinching Hedonist:
How to Live Like Royalty on a Peasant's Pocketbook, is a frugal
guru with more than 25 years of experience in saving money, time
and lowering your cost of living.
"Always investigate if there is a cheaper way or a
cheaper option," Horowitz said. He gave the example of going to
see a show at a community theater where the seats are often right
at the stage, instead of buying the "cheaper" tickets to a Broadway
show in the nosebleed section. Horowitz said he has seen the advantages
of finding cheaper or free alternatives; they far outweigh the benefits,
and are more rewarding.
When you are dating on a budget, Horowitz advises
you to be a little adventurous.
As a frugal-minded fun seeker, Horowitz admitted that
he was beyond broke when he graduated college, but did things like
volunteering in a coffeehouse to hear entertainment for free. Horowitz's
Web site, frugalfun.com,
provides information and tips on saving money and enjoying life.
The Web site also offers free monthly Frugal Fun tips, which you
can receive through e-mail.
In "17 Great Romantic Dates for Penny Pinchers" Horowitz
makes these suggestions:
Test drive a sports car together.
Browse a ritzy museum gift
shop or art gallery.
Find a dark, romantic bistro
with great coffees and desserts, or an independent bookstore
that encourages browsing.
Spend the whole evening dressed
and acting as characters from a play, movie or book that you
Do some star gazing at a local
college observatory. It's open to the public during the school
year and free.
Have a picnic and explore a
state or national park. You'd be surprised what you learn when
you're closer to nature. Admission to these parks is usually
under $10 or free.
See a music laser show at a
planetarium for around $6. Watch the colors fly through the
air to some popular music.
Check out a poetry reading
or other events at a bookstore. Sometimes snacks or beverages
are provided. Some bookstores have a calendar listing for all
of their events.
Create a food theme night (like
Mexican, Mediterranean or Italian), and cook each other a dinner
and appetizer at home.
Rent a canoe or kayak and go
out on a river or lake for an afternoon -- under $40.
See a radio station music festival.
It often features a day of bands, and tickets usually cost under
$20. Or, check out a concert at a college; tickets may also
Look into local arts festivals,
craft fairs, flea markets or antiques fairs. Admission is under
$15, the browsing is free, but you may want to watch the cost
of the food.
See an IMAX movie for under
$10. These films use a large film frame, a six-story movie screen
and digital surround sound. These are cool because you feel
like you're in the movie.
Cyndi Haynes and Dale Edwards, authors of 2002
Things to Do On a Date, and Lynn Gordon, author of 52
Great Cheap Dates, offer even more creative and inexpensive
Attend a wine or beer tasting.
At less than $10 each, you get more bang for the buzz.
Volunteer together. You'll
be able to spend quality time together for a quality cause for
Swing is back. Take a dance
lesson and tear up the dance floor with the hottest moves. Sometimes
the first lesson is free.
Attend a student art show.
Often the shows are free and refreshments are served.
Rent your favorite movies that
your date hasn't seen and watch them together. Keep your date
in suspense, and don't leak out the good parts or the ending.
-- Updated: Feb. 29, 2008