How to Have a Great Date on a Budget

Cheap Romantic Date Ideas

All right, you've done the fancy date. She's seen you with gel in your hair and you've seen her in makeup. Now it's time to slip into something more comfortable and do something with a little less pomp and circumstance. Here are a few romantic outings that you can do in jeans.

The picnic is the economy date standard. It's outside, it's romantic, and it gives you a chance to show off your skills at portable cuisine -- which means that a handful of fruit snacks probably isn't going to cut it. Roast a chicken, pick up some good cheese and pack a selection of sweets: Cut apples, strawberries, grapes and fine chocolate.

If you live in an apartment building, cajole the resident manager into lending you a set of keys to the roof. Gravel and tar paper may not make for the best d├ęcor for a picnic, but she'll probably be distracted by the knockout view of the city. If it's too cold (or too hot) to picnic outdoors, head instead to the atrium of a local library or museum.

A Friday night trip to the bowling alley used to be standard date fare in the 1950s -- usually followed up with a drive to lover's lane. Today, bowling is largely out-of-date. So out-of-date, in fact, that it's cool again. You'll probably be surrounded by potbellied senior's leagues, but your date might appreciate the sheer character of the venue. Throw a few gutter balls and plunk in a few songs on the jukebox, and you'll be awash in vintage delight before you know it. The jury is still out on whether you're supposed to let her win.

If you live in colder climates, you might be able to pull a skating date for free -- provided you have an extra pair of skates in her shoe size. Otherwise, you'll need to plunk down a few dollars at your local rec center. It's well worth it, particularly if she can't skate well -- she'll be clinging to you for support. Top off your ice time with a pair of hot chocolates, and your romantic descent into a winter wonderland will be complete.

Keep reading to find out why you should buy an umbrella.

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