Whether you're planning a first date, a fifth date or your one-year anniversary celebration, you don’t have to empty the grocery fund or give up electricity for a month to make it a memorable event. You can impress your date by planning an afternoon or evening of inexpensive activities that neither of you will soon forget.
If you’re the outdoorsy type and want to share your enthusiasm with your date, go for a hike through a nearby mountain trail or a local conservation area. Bring along a picnic lunch and a blanket to enjoy a little relaxation along the way. Alternatively, if your date is up for it and you're both in good shape, you can go indoor or outdoor rock climbing, or ziplining if it's available in your area. During the wintertime, grab your toboggan or sled and head for the hills, or, if both of you have a pair of skis, go cross-country skiing and cozy up over a cup of hot chocolate when you’re done.
Out and About
You can also head to a nearby city without breaking the bank on your next date. Start by looking for discount days at museums and art galleries, or pick up inexpensive theater tickets to local plays at community centers or colleges. You might also want to rent bicycles and spend an afternoon exploring new streets and neighborhoods. If your date is an antique lover or a techno-buff, she might enjoy scouring flea markets or even garage sales together. Or, if there's countryside nearby, look for a local winery tour with a wine-tasting at the end. Alternatively, you can pick your own fruit at a local farm, or visit a farm with a petting zoo to meet the ponies, donkeys, goats and sheep if you date is an animal lover.
Release your inner child loose and engage in some activities you enjoyed when you were young. Head to the playground and see who can go highest on the swings. If it's summertime and you're near the beach, have a friendly sandcastle-building contest or toss a ball to each other. During the winter months, venture into the backyard or to a nearby park to build a snowman or make snow angels. Another idea is to indulge yourselves in a little make-believe. Whether you’re in the market for a new house or not, spend an afternoon house hunting, debating furniture placement, making your case for the best paint colors and planning the layout of your dream kitchen.
Date Night In
Clean out the garage -- or at least clear out a space -- and spend an afternoon or evening building something together. You can make a simple table from plywood and studs or get creative and make an eclectic wooden sculpture from all the scrap wood you can find. If you're an environmentally friendly couple, empty out the blue box to make a recycling savvy sculpture, or transform an old cardboard box into a memory box for all your future dates together. Another idea is to plan a picnic dinner on your living room floor. Light lots of candles to create a romantic ambiance. Prepare dinner together, but try to avoid planning ahead and use only what you can find in your cupboards and refrigerator to create a unique concoction, keeping in mind that you can always opt for fast food if it doesn’t turn out particularly tasty.
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- Cheap Dates: Fun, Creative, and Romantic Dates That Won't Break Your Budget; Steven C. Smith; 2001
- StrongerMarriage.org: Fun Dating Ideas
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