A lot of men live on a budget. Some even use it as an excuse for not having a chick. But what a lot of them don’t realize is that cheap dates can be more romantic than costly and often painful fine dining experiences. Not to mention, they let you know if she’s a gold digger before you are forced to sell your PS3 to help buy her a summer wardrobe.
1. Instead of taking her to a cliché chain restaurant or god forbid something more indulgent, consider making her dinner yourself. Not only will she think more of you, but this is a great self-esteem booster if you can pull it off. If you don’t have a memorized archive of recipes, get online and find something (make sure to Google easy recipes). Or you can get creative and make your own signature dish — just make sure to test it before you feed it to her. Instead of paying $12-15 per entrée (plus drinks, dessert, AND tip), spend less than $20 and DIY.
2. Going to the movies costs much more money than it’s worth if you go to your typical weekend evening showings. Plus, the movie will probably suck. Instead go during weekday nights or matinees, or better yet, don’t go at all. Movies distract you both from each other and thus are not very romantic. Go to the park on a nice night and watch the stars with your date. Whether you know them or not, point out some constellations and wait for her to be impressed with all your knowledge. As long as she’s not an astronomer, your cover won’t be blown.
3. Another option is going dutch, where each person pays for themselves. This might only be a good choice if you have already proved your generosity and have a decent history. A legit financial crisis should be an acceptable reason not to pay for her. Try not to suggest this too much; being cheap breaks hearts. Then again if you’re dating a fully liberated woman, she’ll probably suggest this first. Make sure to politely refuse in a way that guarantees that she’ll insist on splitting the meal.
4. Picnics are cheap, fun, and even romantic if done right. Obviously, you’ll need a sunny day. Invite her to your place, make your PB&J sandwiches together, grab a Frisbee, and head off to the park. The best parks are the little-known secrets; they’re big, deserted, and far removed from civilization so the two of you can be alone.
5. If you’re lucky enough to live near a great outdoor hangout like the beach, you should already be taking advantage. It’s the optimal date spot not only because it’s cheap, easy, relaxing, but also because it requires minimal clothing. However, you must be careful not to be suckered into the oh-why-not accommodations that accompany most beaches. You put your brain on vacation and just shuttle out to the nearest sand dune, then realize you don’t have towels, sun tan lotion, or food. Be smart and pack everything you need, or be subject to coastal inflation.