How to date cheaply without looking cheap

How to date cheaply without looking cheap

The most memorable dates I’ve been on always involved a cool experience like going to First Fridays, riding bikes, stargazing on Afton Mountain, or taking an evening walk in the UVA gardens. With the economy in the toilet, you probably want to spend less, yet you may fear you won’t make a good impression. But I’m here to tell you, you can create an impact without breaking your wallet. Skip dinner and a movie and try to discover a way to connect that’s more meaningful.

Each person has a unique way of finding true happiness. Consider planning an activity around yours. Do free stargazing at the McCormick Observatory Public Nights on the first and third Fridays of each month. Enjoy the UVA Jazz Ensemble for $10 a person and hit the Corner for a glass of wine. Pick-up Bodo’s for a picnic and Frisbee golf at Walnut Creek Park. When you share your passions you’re in your element, and that is very attractive. And if you and your date find joy in the same things, that’s golden.

Use your knowledge of her to handcraft a date that shows you’ve been listening. My husband and I went hiking at Turk Mountain on our first date. At the time, I was studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and was experimenting with different ways of eating. For our picnic he made a totally macrobiotic meal. Not only was I completely amazed, I discovered he shared my interest in health and nutrition. I had no idea he spent only $5 on our lunch, nor did it matter. I was overwhelmed by his thoughtfulness.

But it’s not so simple to skip the $65 dinner date, you say? Dinner says you want a greater level of intimacy. If you’re into her, you’ve got to share an evening meal by the third outing.  You figure, a slice of pizza or dumplings don’t count. Cooking her favorite foods or a family recipe is a good alternative. When she offers to bring something, trust that she’s not playing games and really wants to. Let her get a bottle of her favorite wine.

No matter how much you impress her with your attentiveness and creativity, money is still a big deal. There are as many views on it as people. Some equate cash to prestige, acceptance, love, stability or freedom. Others prefer a mate who makes less but has more free time. Whatever your views, you need a mate who’s in sync. To find out if you are, speak up if you feel financial strain from dates. Don’t brush it under the rug. First, let her know you have fun with her no matter what. Then say, “I wonder if we could find ways to spend time together that are low cost.” Brainstorm until you find a solution that works for both of you. Get stuck and you may not be a fit. If that’s the case, remember there are plenty of women that prefer a man with a fulfilling career and big dreams over a man that’s miserable with a big paycheck.

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