Dating can be fun, exciting --- and often very expensive. However, you don't have to break the bank to enjoy romantic nights out with your special someone. In fact, sometimes you don't have pay anything at all! The keys to cheap, fun dates are timing, attitude, flexibility and creativity.
Many people enjoy romance. The secret to a romantic evening that doesn't break the bank is getting past the notion that it must always be expensive. Find an evening jazz festival or street art show and stroll through with your date. Art galleries frequently offer complimentary wine and finger foods during events. Or, pack a blanket, a portable radio, some snacks and drinks and head to the beach at dusk. Watch the sun set with your date and take a barefoot walk together. If you prefer to stay in, light scented candles, use pillows and blankets to create a comfortable place on the floor or sofa. Then, get some wine, cheese and crackers and invite your date over. Search an online movie database together and choose romantic movies to watch all evening.
Forget about typical "adult" activities when planning a fun date. Get in touch with your inner-child and take a trip to a local playground. Swing together or ride the merry-go-round. If the weather's hot, have a water balloon fight or take a dip in a community pool. Or, compete against each other with a scavenger hunt. As you prepare for your date, make a list of 20 unusual items for each other to find around town. Use your cameras to show proof of finding each item. Agree in advance that the loser has to give the winner a foot massage.
You may want to consider an "educational date" focused on a subject you both find interesting. This may increase excitement and passion. Wandering around museums and landmarks with a vague educational purpose in mind is fine, but consider looking elsewhere if you want to learn something together. Peruse online ads and find a local foreign-language teacher who offers a free first lesson. Or stop by the park and play a chess match. While you're in the park, keep an eye out for yoga and Tai Chi classes, which are often free for anyone who wishes to join. You could also learn from each other. Perhaps you teach your lady to throw a left hook or your guy to mix a perfect Margarita.
Perhaps you might plan an "artistic date" that will tap into your creative spirit and help you relieve stress. Grab your camera and set out to explore your city, then print the photos and arrange them in a collage. Or hang sheet paper on your living room wall, buy some kids' finger paints and create a mural together. You could also buy colored chalk and spend an afternoon creating an elaborate scene together on the sidewalk, or buy some kids' clay or other sculpting material and try to create self-sculptures.