Dating on a Budget

Photo Credit: Penny Matthews

These tough economic times have created misery of proportions not seen in several generations. Perhaps your stock portfolio has taken a dive, or you might be one of the many millions of unemployed. Even if you have been luckier than most during this downturn, you have probably curtailed your expenses with the economic uncertainty hanging in the air like smog over Los Angeles. Stretching every dollar is important, but completely putting the skids on your social life is not an option you want to consider. There are plenty of enjoyable things you can do to keep your social calendar full while keeping an eye on your budget.

A Casual Cup of Coffee

While it is an age-old venue, the local coffee spot remains an ideal place for a date. Meeting for some lattes and scones makes for a fabulously simple first date because it is very inexpensive and, more importantly, conducive to great conversation. After all, getting to know someone is the best part of dating. Also, an invitation to have coffee is more likely to be accepted, as it does not require a commitment to a “full date” such as dinner and a movie, which has stronger relationship overtones.


Wouldn’t you like to help the world and get your social groove on at the same time? Asking someone you are interested in to join you for a day of service at the local homeless or animal shelter goes a long way in demonstrating the compassionate, caring side of your personality. You will also be reminded of just how lucky you are when you help the less fortunate. If you are not already involved with a volunteer organization, visit to get connected up with a cause you can get behind.


Many museums have seen attendance improve markedly during the current economic slowdown, reclaiming their reputation as one of the best values for your entertainment dollar. A museum is a wonderful place to invite a potential love interest and a surefire way to add culture and refinement to your social life. Examining and discussing dinosaur fossils or famous paintings with that special someone can be both mentally and emotionally stimulating. Check with your local library or search online for a list of local museums and exhibitions. Be sure to inquire if the museum you are interested in visiting offers free admission days or discounts.

Dinner at Home

A big budget buster for the socially active is eating out. All those meals can really add up to a sizable portion of your weekly budget. Instead, consider preparing a home cooked meal. This will save you serious bucks and could score you points with your date. In addition, a dinner date at home lets you control every aspect of the ambience and meal. For guys who feel they do not have the requisite culinary knowledge to pull this off, a piece of advice:  If you put as much time into researching recipes and cooking as you do to making your weekly fantasy football picks, you should be able to put together a fairly elegant meal that will be appreciated. For a more romantic setting, just pull out some scented candles and put on some good mood music.

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