1. Daily Deal Websites
These websites can save you a fortune. They give heavy discounts on a lot of entertainment choices. The biggest websites are Groupon and Living Social. There are a few smaller ones out there, but stick with the big ones for the best variety.
When you visit one of these websites, you will travel to the entertainment and dining section and you will find dozens of choices with discounts of up to 75% off. Business owners give these steep discounts in order to try to entice new clients to visit them. They hope that you will like their business and will come back again in the future, without a discount.
You can literally plan an entire date on Groupon or Living Social. Get a meal on the cheap and follow that up with discounted movie tickets or perhaps take in a show for pennies on the dollar.
2. Restaurant E-mail Clubs
Just about every major restaurant has an e-mail club. Just search for restaurants near you and then navigate to the Join page. Enter your email and you are all set.
A little hint is to be patient. They usually do not send you an offer the same day. They do not want people who are already planning to go to their restaurant or who are already there to pick up an offer last minute. These email clubs are to keep people coming in. People who do not go there often or who have never been. This means plan ahead.
Try to join as many clubs as you can a week before your date. This should give you at least a few offers to choose from, just in time.
3. Picnic & A Free Concert
Make it a point to check community websites in your area. Look at every city within a five or so mile radius and see what they have to offer. You do not have to actually live in a city to take advantage of their events in most cases.
You will find that free concerts and “movies in the park” are a regular occurrence in many cities. Even if it is not a type of music that you like, or a movie that you would regularly see, being in the park makes it all good. Something about an outdoor atmosphere that makes everything better.
On the day of your date, pack a nice picnic lunch or dinner. Check local laws before packing anything with alcohol, don’t want to end your date with a pair of cuffs.
If you are in need of money, a picnic usually fits the bill. With a little planning, you can have a great date and spend well under $20.
4. Hit The Coffee Shop
Not the big chain one, look for a local bakery style coffee house with free refills. There is, for example, a french bakery chain near me with free refills. In addition, they also put out free sliced sourdough and rye bread with a selection of jams.
For the low price of a couple cups of coffee, it makes a nice place to go for an afternoon snack and a bit of conversation.
5. Get A Membership
There are a lot of places that offer memberships that will allow you to go on unlimited visits. This includes places like museums, amusement parks and zoos. A zoo membership, for example, is usually under $100.
On the surface, this might not sound cheap but you have to look at the long term. You can use that membership all year and they usually come with some free passes for guests. If you buy a zoo membership for $100 and then go 20 times in a year, that is just $5 a trip.
Memberships also usually come with extra perks like free parking, member only events and discounts off of food and beverages.
6. Skip Dinner
Dinner can get really expensive quickly. Why not skip dinner and go straight to the good part, dessert.
Dessert is far cheaper and satisfaction wise, you get more bang for your buck. Save even more money by skipping the sit down restaurant. Save on tips and get cheaper prices by going to a bakery or ice cream shop. Date wise, you might even gain some points. There is something nostalgic about “going out for ice cream”.
7. Go Play Miniature Golf
Nobody really does this anymore, which is a good thing. It means that if you can find a miniature golf course, it is going to be fairly cheap. These places need business bad.
Just because it is not as popular as it used to be does not mean that it is any less fun. You can still have a good time and kill an hour or two on a course.
If you decide to go this route, refer to tip 1. You can usually find a coupon for mini golf because, like I said, these places are desperate for business.
8. Visit A State Park
State parks are super cheap to get into. Many of them even have free days and most of them offer cheap memberships.
Pack a lunch and then do some park exploring. You can go for a hike, take a swim at the beach or even do a little fishing. Many of the more picturesque parks even give you great opportunities for selfies with your date.
9. Movie & A Pizza
Sometimes a simple night in is in order. A movie and a pizza might be just the right thing.
To save money, use a movie rental kiosk instead of a digital download. Save even more by going to get your pizza instead of having it delivered.
While not a good first date idea, sometimes it is the simple dates like these that end up being the best.