I’m a romantic but I’m also realistic. Guys paying on the first date would be ideal but I GET IT. It’s 2014, we’re all broke in our 20s and maybe some of us are struggling financially in our 30s and 40s too. We want to wine and dine but without the terrifying price tag. Should we settle for endless evenings of Netflix and the Dollar Menu? No need. There are plenty of creative ways to get our date on without spending all of our hard-earned cash.
Also, for all you broke men out there, or women in search of a cheap date option, DO NOT ask your date to dinner if you don’t intend on paying, a pet peeve of mine. Instead, here are inexpensive ideas for a fun time that you can afford:
1. Bake something
I can’t really cook. I’ve mastered two eggs over easy and now I’m working my way towards grilled chicken. But I happened to be dating a pastry chef–convenient, I know– who just moved to NYC and was broker than broke. So for a fun date idea, he came over with a few ingredients and didn’t tell me what we were making until halfway through. It was crepes with a cream cheese filling and a fruit compote… mmm. So I don’t recommend dating a pastry chef for the sole purpose of him baking for you, like I did, but I do suggest this fun idea especially for a rainy night.
2. Have a picnic
I’m talking checkered blanket and freshly washed grapes. Set a budget for yourself, give your date a checklist, then divide and conquer the grocery store before an afternoon at the park. Be sure to bring cards too, you might get the urge to whoop your date in a game of gin rummy.
3. Catch an outdoor movie
Very similar to the picnic idea, you should have a budget and do it up. Comfy beach chairs, warm blankets, wine –if you’re of age. Make sure your date likes the movie as well. I know I’m partial the The Princess Bride.
4) Hit up a museum with your residence/student discount.
Attention whippersnappers or people who still have their old ID’s from when they were college kids: You can get major discounts at museums by either being a resident or a student. Some are even free. Check online and do your research.
Make the museum fun by planning a little scavenger hunt. This can be a cute double date idea too. Look up fun game ideas to shake up the usual pause, stare, reflect and move to the next piece of art.
5) Head to the Batting Cages/Driving Range, or just go for a bike ride
I’m not very athletic. I like tennis and walking, maybe the occasional dance battle, but as much as I try, I can’t really own a sport. But I happen to strangely excel at the driving range. I’m talking like Rookie of The Year, if that was a golf movie, status. I like the driving range more than mini-golf for many reasons. The main one being you can stay as long as you like without the pressure of having to finish the course. This goes for batting cages as well. Also, bike riding can be a really nice way to see different parts of your city. And all these activities don’t involve you getting too sweaty, which is a plus.
Be creative and do something you’re willing to pay for. It’s a nice way to make your date happy and maybe even impress them.
Image courtesy of Twentieth Century FOX