Single File - June 2024

How to Have a Fun Date on a Budget


"Everyday Cheapskate" - June 2024 Issue
by Mary Hunt


Wallet a little thin these days? With some creative thinking and a relaxed, open-minded attitude, you can plan a fantastic date without breaking the bank. Think about it this way: Going frugal is a way to make sure you're with someone who values experience over material things!

Take a stroll.
Whether it's in a park, on the beach, or anywhere else, simply walking without a specific destination is a great way to gauge compatibility with your date. Can you engage in conversation? Are your pauses awkward, or do you exchange smiles and comfortable glances?

Try a photography tour.
Grab your phones or a couple of disposable cameras, then roam around and snap photos. It's ideal if you both enjoy creativity and fun. Capture each other in silly poses with various expressions. Photograph objects big and small from unique perspectives. Plus, you'll have a romantic memento of the date!

Head out for a hike.
If you and your date enjoy nature, this makes for an inexpensive outing. Your only expenses are snacks and the gas to reach the trail. Bring water, wear sunscreen, and dress for the weather. Stay on track. While impressing your date with survival skills might seem appealing, it could turn the experience awkwardly stressful.

Cook dinner for your date.
A homemade meal can be both inexpensive and delightful. For instance, preparing gnocchi requires only flour and potatoes. Finish with garlic butter and add a simple salad and bread. Light the candles and you're all set for a romantic dinner!

Take in a ballgame.
Check out a local minor league sports team game. Tickets for these events are typically just a few dollars and offer a fantastic way to enjoy your afternoon or evening.

Explore the world of books.
Invest some time at a nearby bookstore or library. Discuss your preferred books, and peruse art and photography collections while sharing your preferences. Share a laugh or two. Leaf through architecture books, exchanging thoughts on preferred house designs. Feel free to be as whimsical or intellectual as you wish!

Play pool or darts.
Most likely this will put you in a bar, so opt for happy hour to score affordable drinks and snacks while having a blast.

Visit a farm where you can harvest berries, flowers, tomatoes or fruits, or maybe even try your hand at milking a cow! Bonus points if you incorporate that freshly picked produce into a homemade meal. If you're not up for that, visit one of the fabulous nearby farmers markets.

Explore local historic landmarks or museums.
Most are affordable as date destinations where you can enjoy exploration. Many of these venues offer free admission days. Check the websites. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Enjoy local music.
It's likely you have access to numerous bands that host free shows or charge a modest cover fee. Do the research and check it out. Chances are, fantastic entertainment options will turn up.

Sign up for a dance class.
Numerous dance studios and instructors provide complimentary or budget-friendly beginner group sessions. Explore styles like swing, salsa, shag, or, if you dare, tango!

Head to the gym.
Often gyms provide complimentary day passes so prospective members can sample their facilities. Have some fun by challenging each other with weight training, attending a yoga, aerobics or spinning class together, and enjoying some time around in the pool. You may need to listen to a sales pitch, but doing that together may give you something to discuss later.

Mary invites you to visit her at, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at, "Ask Mary." This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book Debt-Proof Living. ©2024

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