How to Have a Great Date on a Budget

A date on a budget can be a walk in the park.
A date on a budget can be a walk in the park.
John Foxx/Stockbyte/Thinkstock

Five months after he'd taken office, President Barack Obama took his wife Michelle on the date to end all dates. The First Couple flew into New York City on Air Force One, travelled to a Greenwich Village restaurant by motorcade, and then took in a Broadway play. A jet and helicopter ride later, the couple was back at the White House. The final price tag? About a million dollars, according to some critics [source: White].

It was a far cry from 20 years before, when a 28-year-old Obama asked coworker Michelle Robinson out for their first date. They watched a movie, took a sightseeing walk around Chicago, and capped the evening off with a pair of ice cream cones [source: Obama]. The entire night couldn't have cost more than $20, but according to Michelle, "I was sold" [source: Weiner]. Although Obama can now swoon his lady with the full might of the United States executive branch, all he needed to win her heart was an ice cream cone.

"You gotta make the money first. Then, when you make the money, you get the power. Then, when you get the power, then you get the women," says gangster Tony Montana in the 1983 film "Scarface" [source:]. The line may be iconic, but it's also woefully wrong. You don't need money or power to impress a woman. Whether you've got a pocketful of change or exclusive use of the presidential jet, all you really need to know is how to show her a good time. Romeo and Juliet's first date was little more than a few minutes of rhyming couplets on a balcony. Adam and Eve fanned the flames of their budding romance by wandering around and picking fruit.

Anybody can hemorrhage money, but it takes a special kind of cunning to pull off a good date on the cheap. And, in the end, who's the more desirable mate? The guy with deep pockets or the guy who can turn a $20 bill into a night out? You may make your fortune eventually, but while you're waiting, you can while away the weekends with these low-priced -- and very fun -- romantic encounters. Just because you're scraping by doesn't mean you can't pitch woo with the best of them.

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