Home > Personal Finance > 10 Creative Ways to Date When Money is Tight

Comments 0 Comments

Does it really pay to go overboard to impress on the first date? Isn’t it a genuine connection you’re seeking and not just a fling?

Do yourself a favor: When you’ve found someone who appears to be the woman of your dreams or your Prince Charming, be upfront about your financial situation, especially if funds are limited.

If your prospective partner is unwilling to understand your situation, it is time to move on.

If they’re still willing to give it a shot, that’s great news. But you’ll have to do a little legwork, think outside the box and search for creative but low-cost date ideas to keep things interesting.

Here are a dozen frugal ways to date that will not make you look cheap.

1. Enjoy the Arts

Visit a local museum or attend a play at the community theater to support and enjoy the arts. Search online for specials from Groupon and LivingSocial or go for an annual pass, which may be much cheaper than you think.

A day strolling through a museum is very affordable. Some are free, and many others cost $10 or less.

2. Video Game Competition

If you own a video game console, a little healthy competition on the Wii or Xbox Kinect is a great way to spend time with your date. To change things up a little, Redbox is always available and offers inexpensive video game rentals.

3. Movie Night

Throw a bag of popcorn in the microwave, pop open a soft drink, turn on your favorite flick from Netflix or Redbox, and you have a movie date in the comfort of your own home.

4. Visit a National Park or a Zoo

A comprehensive list of national parks can be found here. Also, be on the lookout for free admission days at parks, museums and zoos.

5. Embrace Your Inner Chef

Whip up your favorite dish in the kitchen and head out to the local park for a romantic picnic. And if you’re no cook, grab takeout instead. No tip, no wait; just you and your date.

6. Enjoy the Great Outdoors

Perhaps admission to your state parks is free. Put on your hiking boots and head out with a picnic lunch. Or maybe go swimming or boating on a lake. How about snowshoeing in winter?

7. Date Night in

Instead of spending $100 at a fine-dining establishment, check the sales circular to spot coupons and deals on your favorite foods and spend the night inside. Dress up the table, light the candles and even add a glass of wine or Champagne to the mix.

8. Visit the Local Flea Market

If it’s not scorching hot outside or you find one in an indoor location, a flea market is a great place to get to know each other while strolling up and down the aisles. And if you do decide to purchase an item, it will likely be at a fraction of the cost you’re accustomed to paying in traditional retail outlets.

9. Attend a Community Event

Search the entertainment section of your local paper for free community events, such as art walks, concerts in the park, street fairs and events at the local college.

10. Take a Mini-Vacation

If you want to take a weekend trip, don’t wait until the last minute to book flights and travel accommodations (unless you spot a last-minute deal). Instead, plan ahead, start saving money, and search for deals on airfare, dining, entertainment and lodging using travel and daily deal sites.

Do you have any low-cost date ideas in mind? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

This post originally appeared on Money Talks News.

More from Money Talks News:

Image: iStock

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team