5 Sweet Ways to Save Money on a Date

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  • The frugal dating scene People on a blind date and longtime married couples alike are finding ways to date for less. In fact, having a frugal mindset could save money while helping you make a positive impression.

    "They're not (avoiding) dating anymore because of money; they're just doing some clever and some inventive things," says Whitney Casey, author of "The Man Plan" and a contributor to online dating site Match.com. "It's cool to be frugal in a recession."

    Cheap and even free dates can be just as memorable, without taking a big chunk out of your paycheck or creating credit card debt.

    There's no evidence of a correlation between how much money you spend on a date and the kind of memory that's created, says Jeff Yeager, an author based in Maryland whose books include "The Cheapskate Next Door."

    "Never hide or be shy about your attitude toward money, even when you're first dating," he says.

  • Find free culture Authors, including celebrities, best-selling writers and debut novelists, often are scheduled as guest speakers at bookstores, libraries or a local college campus. Make their lectures a date and save money.

    Or, plan a date around free days offered weekly, monthly or annually at museums. If it's a favorite museum, becoming a member would allow you to visit for free and attend special events.

    Getting out and about might take you to a festival. Events such as an apple festival in the fall to a springtime garden tour are often free, so check your state's and city's tourism website for the calendar. And when the temperatures are warm, there are free outdoor movies and concerts hosted by communities, park departments, schools and religious organizations.

  • Dine with discounts

    Restaurant coupons are an option, but check the expiration dates and other possible exclusions to be sure they are valid when the bill arrives.

    Another way to save money when eating out is to select a restaurant offering buy-one-get-one-free specials on certain nights. Or, plan a date during hours when items such as appetizers are half-priced. A third option is trying a less-expensive meal, such as breakfast, at a trendy restaurant.

    "If you're willing to do something a little different, that's when you save a lot of money," says Lynnae McCoy, a wife and mother of two who blogs about frugal lifestyles at beingfrugal.net. To avoid the high cost of alcoholic beverages, go to a BYOB restaurant or forgo cocktails altogether.

    If you're trying a romantic picnic, don't resort to the PB&J. Yeager says hit up a grocery store or gourmet shop that discounts its food bar after a certain time of day and fill up your basket.

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