Great Date…Less Cost

“I can’t afford to date” is an objection I’ve heard before. Indeed, the cost of too many dinners and coffee dates can mount up and then, yes, it’s just too expensive to continue. Valid point. After you’ve utilized PerfectMatch‘s revolutionary Duet® Total Compatibility System and cutting-edge tools, I believe there’re a lot of exciting and fun ways to get to know someone. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to get in a rut and just do the same thing over and over again. This will certainly start to take the fun out of looking. You may even prematurely end a search for that “special person” you otherwise may have found!

So, here are some first date ideas which don’t require much money, and are time efficient at only 30-60 minutes. Once you know someone better, this outing can be extended considerably longer.

Great Date Less Cost

Street Events.

Spring, summer and fall are great times for street fairs, art fairs, holiday celebrations, etc. You can meet at a booth for something warm to drink, an ice cream, etc. You can walk and look at whatever is being displayed. Then you could return to work, go home or simply leave. This should take 60 minutes, which is a good first date timing…unless you two really get along immediately or you’re just having too much fun. This is an excellent opportunity to get to know each other. In addition, this setting affords great people watching, booth browsing and inexpensive but tasty eats.


Either pick a small exhibition, or give yourself a time limit at a gallery opening. Don’t leave it open to the whole museum or evening. Tell the person you want to see a specific artist, science exhibit or room exhibit. There’s usually free wine at the gallery openings, and great things for both of you to look at. If both of you’re interested and have had a good time, perhaps you could even entertain tea or coffee afterwards.

Outdoor Special Event.

Many antique car shows, vintage airplane shows, etc., are often open to the public without admission or a small admission cost. They’ll be advertised in your local paper. Usually, they’re staged in open air malls, near picturesque locations or airfields. If you like the event, suggest meeting there for a specific time limit. You’ll have fun things to watch, and the cost will be minimal.

Taste Chocolate.

Many cities have chocolate makers who’ll let you taste a sampling of their delicious offerings in the factory. You can buy your favorite or just sample. Fine chocolate tasting is a sweet way to get to know someone.

Wine Tasting.

The wine industry is expanding. If you live in California, Washington or New York, there’s a well developed wine industry where wine tasting at the cellars or in town can be had for free. Always check in advance of departing because some places do charge for the samplings. There’re even wine tasting classes, relatively inexpensive, where you learn how to discriminate between one wine maker’s product and another’s. This would be a great suggestion for a second or third date. If you like wine, this is worth considering so you can have some time together. It’ll give you something to laugh and learn about.

Continuing Education.

Local universities and colleges usually have small, student-driven coffee shops on them. Many nights and days, there’re visiting lecturers in every discipline, design, architecture, social science and/or medicine…you name it. Best of all, it’s free. You can also meet on campus, walk around and discover a few points of interest that are free and open to the public. You can even sample many venues to treasure: Herb gardens, hot houses, test gardens, fountains, library exhibits and of course, terrific people watching.

Expensive Toys.

Get a cup of tea or coffee to go, and walk over to a marina. Especially, in the summer, there are almost always boats for sale. Other times of the year, you can walk past the boat-slips and do a little daydreaming of what you’d like to own. You can also find and sit on a strategic spot to watch the boats come in. If you’re into cars, go to a showroom that sells luxury automobiles. While you perhaps can’t afford them now, it’s great fun to admire them. If you both have shown an interest in cars, boats, bikes or whatever in your profiles on PerfectMatch, select one of those things to go look at, enjoy and even dream about.

Spectator Sports.

You can watch bike races through the neighborhoods. You can go to a local high school or college to watch sports – which will be priced accordingly. Or, you can take a walk on the beach. Then, after 45 minutes or so, you can go get a cup of coffee, tea or something cool to drink.

There are many other things you can enjoy. Most involve very little money, if any. As always, date safely, but do it differently. Be inventive. Keep yourself interested and your potential partner intrigued. There’s so much more to do in these early days when you are just getting to know each than just downing caffeine or paying those stiff bills for a fancy night out. Remember, you can have an exciting and memorable dating experience…without breaking the bank! You’ll then have something to talk, and laugh about, in the following years of your long-term relationship!


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Category: Love and Money

About the Author ()

Dr. Pepper Schwartz is a published authority and a professor at a major U.S. university. Dr. Schwartz has received many awards, including the Matrix Award for Achievement in Education, and the International Women's Forum Award in Career Achievement in Washington State. Dr. Schwartz is the author of more than 15 books and was recently named the national love and relationships Ambassador for AARP.

Comments (6)

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  1. Dean Pikel says:

    Street events are the best – especially in the Bay Area!

  2. Chelfish88 says:

    Personally, I love cafes and coffee shops.

  3. hotsummer says:

    If he or she loves sport, just play tennis that will not spend too much…….

  4. Ty says:

    I went on a date doing our clothes at a local coin laundry. While we were waiting for the clothes to finish, we walked around the different thrift shops and ate lunch at a nearby Mexican restaurant. Although we are just friends today, we both still agree we had an amazing and memorable time.

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