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    Inexpensive Dating

    Dating and saving money. For many, the two concepts don't match at all. The automatic reaction when you suggest the two together in a sentence is that the person paying is trying to be "cheap" and the resulting date will naturally have the same feel. Contrary to popular belief, dating doesn't have to be expensive to be fun, entertaining and memorable. It doesn't necessarily even have to take a whole lot of extra preparation time. What it does take is a little imagination and breaking from the typical date routine. You have to be willing to think beyond dinner and a movie and be willing to try something new for a change. Here are 27 inexpensive dating ideas: 22 for anyone plus 5 for the adventurous.

    Natural Scenery: The beauty of nature is all around us and it doesn't cost a dime. Whether it's a trip to the beach, a walk in the forest or a search into a cave, it can be done together for practically nothing. Take the time to find the natural scenic spots in your area and utilize them for your dates.

    Sports: If you and your date are both athletic, sport activities together can be a great way to spend your time. Play a set of tennis, jog in the park, toss a Frisbee about, play catch with a baseball or football or shoot some baskets. Whichever you choose, you can spend quality time at minimal cost and get some exercise in, too.

    Picnic: Picnics are great for dates because they can be taken along wherever you plan to go for the day and they cost a fraction of going out for a meal. They also can be made as casual or as romantic as you want. Take a casual picnic meal, add some cheese & wine along with a red rose and the picnic instantly takes on a romantic feel.

    Day Hiking: Take a day hike around your area. Your local parks and recreation department should have a list of nature trails in your area or you can go to trails.com to find hiking trails near to where you live.

    Historic Places & Buildings: It seems the only time people go looking at the historic landmarks near where they live is when visitors come from out of town. Many of these historic or culturally significant spots have no or small entrance fees and make a great place to go on a date. You also get to learn more about the area you live.

    National & State Parks: The national and state park systems are excellent places to spend a day with a date. You can wander on your own or have guided tours. Fees are low and many times you can buy yearly passes that will let you into the parks as many times as you want for one set price.

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    Meal/Evening At Home: Cook up a meal at home and spend the evening watching movies or some other activity such as a board game. The meal most likely will be better than at a restaurant and the evening will cost a fraction of what going out to dinner and a movie would cost. Cook the meal together to spend even more time together, or do it yourself as a special surprise.

    Memory Album: Take your camera or purchase an inexpensive disposable camera and make a day of taking photos together. Make a theme for the day if you want or just take any crazy photo that comes to mind. Once finished, get the photos 1 hour processed and create a memory album together for the day that will live on forever.

    Museums: If you have museums in your area, they can be an excellent place to enjoy an inexpensive date. Admission prices are usually reasonable and often they have discounts for those attending a number of events over the year.

    Yearly Passes: Those younger (and us older folks who like roller coasters) may do well to invest in the yearly theme park passes that are becoming more common. For what would be less than paying to enter the amusement park 2 times, you can gain admission as many times as you want during the season. Similar yearly passes also exist to other attractions such as zoo, museums and parks.

    Rollerskating/Rollerblading: Wander the paths of your town on rollerblades or rollerskates together. Or take a short drive to an area you have never been and explore together. If it is winter, a trip to a nearby frozen pond with ice-skates in tow may be the perfect outing.

    Learn A New Skill: Gather some information on a skill you always wanted to learn and spend a day practicing it together. It could be a day of learning card tricks, learning how to juggle or learning to make bird calls. Any skill you have always wanted to try can make a fun and interesting date.

    College Events: If you live near a college or university, utilize their resources for your dates. Guest lectures, music recitals, art exhibitions and plays are common and are often free of charge. The quality can be excellent and the variety enormous.

    Theater/Music In The Park: Larger parks often have events such as theater or music in the park. This can be a wonderful way to spend an afternoon on a date as you relax, people watch and enjoy the afternoon sun. Take a Frisbee or paddle ball along to extend the fun.

    Local Festivals & Art Fairs: Many towns and communities support local festivals and art fairs that make for a wonderful day of entertainment on a date. Many of the events are based on the local food specialties making them overflowing with good food, too.

    Bike Ride: Get out and see parts of your local area from a perspective you rarely see. Or throw the bikes into your vehicle and explore an entirely new area. Either way, a bike ride makes for an excellent date with minimal costs involved.

    Local School Playground: Play on the jungle gym bars, hop-scotch or take turns pushing each other on the playground swings. If there is a sand pile, build sand castles together.

    Camping: With overnight accommodations at hotels in many areas extremely expensive, camping at a state or national park can be a wonderful, less expensive alternative for a weekend date. Camping spots are usually inexpensive and even free in some campgrounds.

    Sunday Drive: Who says that you need to go anywhere in particular on a date. Hop into your car, take out the map and take a drive to someplace you've never been before. Pack along a lunch and enjoy a date for the price of the gasoline.

    Hobby Together: you can set a regularly scheduled date if the two of you have a hobby you both enjoy. You can look in the local community newsletter to see if there are classes being offered in something that interests both of you. These classes are usually quite inexpensive and the two of you can enjoy a few hours each week together learning something new.

    Card/Board Games: If the day is nice, spread a blanket on the ground and pull out a deck of cards and play the card games you used to always play as a kid. If the weather isn't right for an outside game of cards, set up a game of checkers, chess, scrabble or monopoly on the coffee table and enjoy.

    Local Park: Head down to your local neighborhood park. If it happens to have a small pond, bring along some dried bread to feed to the ducks and birds. A perfect place for a picnic and a nice relaxing afternoon date.

    For those who are looking for an inexpensive date with some adventure involved, here are five more options that are sure to make the evening memorable:

    Local Thrift Shop Date: Plan a date someplace where there are lots of people. Before going there, head down to the local thrift shop together. Once there, specify a small amount to purchase clothing or accessories for the other and both head off in different directions. The goal is to find items the other has to wear for the rest of the day/evening within the price specified. The entertainment is seeing the reaction from all the people who see your new outfit as you wander the crowded area.

    Follow Them Date: As the two of you meet, you look around and pick somebody out on the street. The date is to follow that person where ever he or she goes. Once that person has stopped or you can no longer follow them, pick another person to follow. Your bound to have loads of laughs as you attempt to stay with your designated guide.

    Scavenger Hunt Date: When your date arrives, have him or her make a list of what he or she considers to be 20 unusual items. Once the list is made, the date will be to try and find as many of those items as possible.

    Truth Or Dare Date: Pick some spots in your area to visit, but play truth or dare along the way. It doesn't really matter where you go since the entertainment is doing the various dares that the other gives in addition to telling all the truths.

    Bag Of Dates: Put each of the dates I just mentioned, plus any others that you come up with, onto a separate sheet of paper and place them in a bag. When your date comes to the door, have him or her reach inside and choose a piece of paper. Whichever one is chosen is your date for the day/evening.
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