Fancy dinners and costly ticket prices add up, especially when you're trying to get to know somebody new. So we've put together the ultimate guide to dating on a real-person budget, from stay-at-home options for the true homebodies to outdoorsy adventures that only require a little bit of spare cash and the right attitude.
Pretend one of you knows what you're doing and grab some wood and matches to light up a bonfire on the beach. It's perfect for cooler nights when it's not totally freezing outside.
While certain museums have steep ticket prices, many hold free or discounted days or hours during weekdays so you can get cultured on a budget.
S.O. with a heart of gold? Find a local charity, like a soup kitchen or a pet shelter, and volunteer for the day. Studies say that acts of generosity increase well-being and happiness, and couldn't we all use some more of that?
You never know when you'll find your next one-of-a-kind furniture piece, so spend a few hours perusing a dedicated antiques mart or thrift store. There's a good chance you'll find some kooky clothing options there too.
A drink in your hand, a good book, zero cares in the world—all are ingredients for the ideal poolside date during the summer. (These celebrity floatie Instagrams are evidence.)
Speaking of water views, relocate your date to the nearest ferry if you want a change of scenery. Aim for an unexplored area for a longer day trip, or try a short round-trip ride for a first date where you're still—literally and figuratively—testing the waters.
Recreate your own spa experience by drawing a bubble bath, lighting a few candles, and throwing in a soothing massage. Bonus points if you can get your partner to put on a face mask.
Head to the stands to cheer on your favorite team and devour some hot dogs.
For an awesome time at an arcade, all you need are some quarters. Make things more interesting by betting a drink on the person who can win the most prizes.
Karaoke is a guaranteed fun night, even if you can't hold a note to save your life. Stick to duets like 03 Bonnie and Clyde and What's My Name? for a great time.
When's the last time you actually put your phone down and looked up? Grab a blanket and try to find your favorite constellations. If you need some guidance, you can download apps like Star Tracker.
Most local brewery or winery tours are free, and you'll leave with knowledge you can impress your friends with—and you'll get some free sips of booze, obviously.
Spend an afternoon sharing your talents and hobbies. You can demonstrate your musical chops by giving your date a guitar lesson while they show you how to throw a free-throw. Or vice versa.
Find a poetry reading, or performances of works by a specific writer, by searching local book readings.
Yes, the shoes are disgusting, but you'll have a great time and a little friendly competition never hurts.
Test your sense of adventure by renting a kayak, canoe, or paddle boat at a local lake or beach. Rentals should be around $20, and you'll definitely get a good 'gram.
Two words: cotton candy. If there's a carnival in town, bring your date for a few rides on the Ferris wheel.
Go on a cookie or chocolate factory tour together to solely pay attention to the free samples.
Take a moment to decompress by grabbing a bottle (or two) of wine and snacks for a cozy night in.
Working on your #fitnessgoals? Do some research to find classes with great first-timer rates, or "consider joining" a gym by trying out their facilities.
All you need for this date is a tank of gas and a companion.
Switch up your weekend routine and head to a dive bar for a few rounds of darts and cheap drinks. Okay, and also some Fireball shots.
Old, black-and-white foreign films are romantic, and usually the tickets are slightly reduced for art-house flicks.
Is there anything that says fall romance quite like apple picking together? We didn't think so.
Outdoorsy types can get their workout in with a morning hike on the nearest wilderness trails. Endorphins + scenic views = a good time.
When you just want some light-hearted entertainment, scoop up tickets for a comedy club amateur night or improv show. You can't guarantee that the jokes will always be on-point, but when tickets are only $5, you're not risking much.
Don't want to blow your food budget on eating out? Pick a recipe and team up on the chopping, sprinkling, and stirring.
Even if you don't make it right to the front and center of the pit area, you can still sit on the grass and stargaze. Pack a blanket and enjoy the good music.
Pretend that you're both PGA champs on a putt putt course and see who can come closest to par. Winner buys dinner.
Local galleries tend to have public events for acquiring new works, as well as free nights on weekdays. You'll get to mingle with interesting, like-minded people while also scoring some free wine. #Cultured.