8 Fun & Cheap Date Ideas

By Lifestyle and Budget Credit.com

We all know that going out can be expensive, but it is possible to have a date on a budget. Whether you are meeting someone for the first time or looking for a new and different experience with an established partner, you are probably looking for an idea other than making dinner at home and watching Netflix. Get out of the house with these cheap date ideas that don’t skimp on romance.

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1. Early Movies

Whether there are discount days or just cheaper tickets available for the earlier shows, you can often see the same movies available later in the day for less money. You can turn it into coffee and a movie or a movie and lunch instead of dinner and a movie.

2. Happy Hours

Almost every bar offers discounted drinks during certain times of the day. Take your date to your local favorite or try a new spot – these usually last two to three hours so try to hit it at the start. Another option is to go to restaurants that allow you to bring your own alcohol. BYOB places will often charge a corking fee to open your wine for you but this is usually lower than the markup for wine bought at a restaurant.

3. Sunday Museum Visits or Gallery Tours

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If you are trying to get some art in your life, look up when museums have free hours, often on Sundays or off times. See world-class pieces for free or at a big discount. You can also search for nearby galleries with free exhibitions to check out some lesser-known cultural experiences.

4. Live Music & Readings

You don’t have to pay hefty ticket prices to see live music or catch readings and speeches. Find a coffeehouse or bar that has free features like this and check it out. Even if you don’t love it, you didn’t lose anything and can feel free to leave at any time. Another good option is looking at what local colleges or universities are sponsoring. Sometimes they have events, lectures or performances that are open to the public for free or at a low ticket price.

5. Amateur Comedy Nights

Some clubs offer free or very cheap entry when they let amateurs take the stage – you can catch some laughs and see fresh talent.

6. The Great Outdoors & Seasonal Fun

The fall is a great time for apple picking and summer is ideal for a beach day, but no matter what you want to do, hit the outdoors for affordable ways to get to know each other. You can exercise, go for a leisurely walk or even just enjoy some scenery or star gazing.

7. Volunteer Activities

Even if you feel poor, there are always people that have it worse off than you. Volunteering costs only your time and can be a great way to get to know each other and feel good about yourself. You may also be able to volunteer at a festival or convention you want to go to for free.

8. (Almost) Anything Else

From restaurant discounts to hotel or party deals, sites like Groupon, LivingSocial, Gilt and Thrillist offer plenty of options for discounted or cheap dates.

You can have the same great dates as those with thicker wallets by planning your times strategically or finding hot deals. It’s a good idea to hunt around money-saving blogs or even check out the websites for places you have been dying to go or activities you want to try for amazing date experiences with a less expensive price tag. It’s incredible what a little research can do to improve your dating game while saving your wallet.

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This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

AJ Smith is an award-winning journalist with more than a decade of experience in television, radio, newspapers, magazines and online content. She currently serves as the managing editor for SmartAsset. AJ has a passion for meeting new people, sharing stories and helping others. She has degrees from Princeton University and Mississippi State University. AJ and her husband also write and illustrate educational children’s books. More by AJ Smith