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The Simple Dollar

Cheap dates can be priceless

A stroll through the park. Holiday window shopping. A starry-night walk. What do they have in common? They make romantic dates—and they're free!

By Guest blogger / September 26, 2012

A couple walk during a snowfall in an amusement park in Tbilisi, Georgia in this November 2011 file photo. A romantic date isn’t about the money you spend—It’s all about the mindset, Hamm writes.

David Mdzinarishvili/Reuters/File


While we were dating – and after we were married, too – Sarah and I enjoyed a wide variety of dates. We went to expensive restaurants. We went away for the weekend. We went to amusement parks (Sarah loves them).

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The Simple Dollar is a blog for those of us who need both cents and sense: people fighting debt and bad spending habits while building a financially secure future and still affording a latte or two. Our busy lives are crazy enough without having to compare five hundred mutual funds – we just want simple ways to manage our finances and save a little money.

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However, many of our most memorable dates have been free – or very close to it.

I remember many picnics at local state parks, where we walked hand in hand through the woods and enjoyed a meal together in a secluded place.

I remember evenings spent out in the country, counting the stars while resting on a blanket in a farmer’s field.

I remember evenings spent swimming in a local lake, followed by wrapping ourselves in heavy towels and cuddling together.

A date doesn’t have to be an expensive thing. It can easily be a free thing. It just needs to be something you both enjoy.

The key to any successful date is to do something you both enjoy together. Most people, if they think about it for a bit, can come up with some wonderful dates without shelling out the cash.

Even things you might think of as expensive can be a free date. A couple examples:

Window shopping Sarah and I have spent afternoons browsing through expensive areas. We had no intent to spend a dime, but it was fun to browse and admire.

Community festivals Pack a lunch. Enjoy the free music and exhibits. If you live in the area, talk to the locals that you know. I do this with Sarah several times a year.

A romantic date isn’t about the money you spend. It’s all about the mindset. Keep that in mind.

This post is part of a yearlong series called “365 Ways to Live Cheap (Revisited),” in which I’m revisiting the entries from my book “365 Ways to Live Cheap,” which is available at Amazon and at bookstores everywhere. 

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