Ways to Save-Cheap Dates

'Tis the month of dates and those expectant of gifts and romance...
Silver Comet trail, somewhere in Georgia
Dates are always fun, whether you're just getting to know somebody or if you've been married for ages. However, dates can also be expensive. Charley and I don't go out on a lot of dinner or night dates because we're basically geriatrics and are tired by 9pm but also, because they can be really pricey! And let's face it, we're not trying to impress each other with how much money we can spend, we're married! Yo' money is my money, honey! We spend our $ on Louis most of the time, let's be real.

Botanical gardens walk, San Diego, CA
We prefer dates during the day and usually on Saturdays. Coincidentally, these Saturday date days usually end up being much cheaper and in my opinion, a lot more fun. Having cheaper dates means you can go on a lot more of them. These can also be dates you have with your friends! Some fun date ideas include:

San Diego Museum of Art, interactive exhibit of Spanish painters, San Diego, CA
1. Museum dates: Nothing is hotter than somebody who can intelligently discuss art, science, just great ideas in general. Go learn together at one of the museums in your area. We live in Atlanta and love going to The High art museum (we're members which means we pay once and go for free all year AND get 2 free guest passes, discounts on additional tickets and on merchandise) 

Finnish painters and The Girl with the Pearl Earring exhibit, The High, ATL
Frida and Diego exhibit, The High, ATL
Fernbank museum, ATL
and Fernbank Natural History museum. One of my favorite exhibits there was the Genghis Khan exhibit. They'd set up a real yurt and had weapons and clothing from his empire. SO neat! 
Genghis Khan exhibit, Fernbank, ATL
Did you know the CDC has a museum in it that covers the history and facts of all sorts of infectious diseases they've discovered and some they've helped eradicate?

CDC museum
2. Thrifting/Estate Sales: If you've never been thrifting, you're missing out. Charley and I buy almost all of our books either from local book stores or from thrift stores like Goodwill for $1! (Side note: I never knew children's books were so expensive, $16 for 14 pages, WHAT?! Go to Goodwill, the most expensive book you'll find is like $2.75) Also, buying books secondhand means that they don't end up in a landfill somewhere. We give ourselves a $25 limit or whatever you can afford and go wild! "New" clothes, accessories, furniture, coats, books, housewares-it's a lot of fun. I love coffee cups...

(my favorite I've found was 25 cents and has a candid photo that someone actually had put on there of a naked baby petting a Rottweiler outside of a storage unit...seriously...had to). 
How I feel every time I walk out of Goodwill with some great loot
Estate sales are also great because you can usually find some amazing stuff in great condition. A lot of times people do estate sales when they're moving and simply need to de-clutter. Also being a complete creep, it allows you to check out people's houses. I love going to see how other people decorate and the architecture. 

Got an iron twin bed, box spring, and mattress, brand new, for $100
All the Harry Potters for $18 total
3. Brunch: At your house! Bisquick is dirt cheap and delish! Make waffles or pancakes and kick them up a notch with chocolate chips, bananas, strawberries, the works! Have other people or couples come over and have them bring condiments or bacon. Get crazy and make some mimosas (Andre is only $5.99 and for mimosas, that's all you need).

Oh you got some syrup right der, Miss Jaime

4. Picnics: We have a pretty sweet insulated picnic basket and a painted cooler I made-we pack one of those bad boys up and go for picnics a lot. There's a lot of pretty parks in Atlanta so we try to hit up different ones. Louis likes these dates too because he gets to come and terrorize us while we eat and play with other puppies. Picnics are also really fun when you're traveling internationally. You save money, get to eat what you actually like rather than what's available, and get to enjoy some scenery of wherever you're at. We pack a small insulated lunch box when we travel and have had plenty of great lunch dates.

Picnic at Stone Mountain
4. Physical activities: You might not own a bicycle, canoe or skateboard but chances are you know somebody who does. Either grab yours or borrow one from a friend and hit the road, river, or sidewalk. If you don't know how to do one of those things, have your partner teach you! If you don't feel like the hassle of borrowing stuff, just go hiking at the closest wilderness area you can find. Exercise classes are also pretty inexpensive and a great way to explore new things, try yoga or silks for less than $50 for two people!

Biking on 30A, Western Lake, Grayton Beach, FL
Hiking on our wedding day, Young Harris, GA
Way down yonder on the Chattahoochee...
5. Dog Park!: Even if you don't have a dog, dog parks are the best. You can basically pretend you have 100 dogs, that all love you, and you don't have to pay for their food or doggie insurance, or pick up their sh*t. As someone who use to creep at the dog park before having a dog, I give you full permission to go on a date to the dog park and get some puppy love. If you're with someone who doesn't like dogs...quit reading my blog and dump them immediately. They're not human. EVERYONE loves dogs.

Yes, I organize French Bulldog meetups...and make each of them a puppy yogurt to take home...and bring a kiddie pool and toys for them... 
6. Free festivals: If you live in a big city, or even a small one, most likely there are some free festivals throughout the year. Atlanta has tons of them: art shows, book festivals, and even free concerts! The book festivals are awesome because you can find cheap books from smaller publishers you might not have ever heard of otherwise! Charley really loves all the cut outs I make him do.

Decatur Book Festival, Decatur, GA
Medieval fesival, Peachtree City, GA
7. Coffee/Dessert: When you go out for dinner, your entree' is usually the most expensive part of the meal. Cook dinner at home (which is also fun and romantic), have your drinks and then take an Uber or taxi go out for either coffee or dessert. It'll set you back a fraction of what you would have spent otherwise. It's also a good way to go to swanky new restaurants without a crazy bill.

8. Beers and ball: In Atlanta we have a few breweries all of which offer tours. You pay about $10 and get your own pint glass to take home and usually about 4+ "samples" (that are really big and get you crunk, I can't drive after), and a tour of the brewery. Did you know that IPA stands for India Pale Ale which has a higher alcohol content because of additional hops that were originally intended to preserve beer longer when being carried through India by colonials? Boom, you do now! Thanks, Sweetwater tour! 

If you live anywhere where there's a sports team, score some last minute $10 tickets in the nose bleeds and enjoy some peanuts and cracker jacks...

9. Go local: Go to your local farmers market and get some new veggies or meats or cheeses you wouldn't find in the store...and while you're at it, meet the goat responsible for your cheese.

Marietta Square Farmers Market
10. Pop a tent: There's plenty of places to camp for less than $20 a night. Grab a tent and some friends and get outside! It can be the mountains or the beach, doesn't matter as long as the weather's nice. It' like getting several dates for the price of one! You get to get outside, picnic, a cheap place to stay and a way to get out of town!

11. Plan a trip: Go to your local bookstore and peruse the travel section. Put together an itinerary of a trip you'd like to do together. Talk about the specifics: which cities you'd like to hit, how much you think it would cost, sites that you just HAVE to go to, and what foods you think you'd like to try. Write everything down in a small notebook and when you have more money-go!

12. Movie marathon: Pick a theme, pull up your Netflix, pop some corn, get the Milk Duds, and spend the whole day working your way through Hitchcock, horror, or everything Jack Nicholson has ever been in. Basically free and SO much fun.

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