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30 Cheap And Amazing Date Ideas For Couples

30 Cheap And Amazing Date Ideas For Couples

There’s no denying that dates can be expensive these days, at least if you stick to the conventional things. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be. A little creativity mixed with some frugality can enable you to have some amazing and memorable dates on a shoestring budget. In fact, they’re probably more fun than the standard go-to ideas.

In the House

1. Cook Together

cook together

    I personally believe that the way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach. So if you’re both into cooking, this can be a lovely way to spend an evening together. It’s a chance to test out each others skills in the kitchen, as well as create something delicious together. Just don’t stick the other person with all the dirty dishes.

    2. Game Night

    board games

      Unless you’re a gaming aficionado, you may not realize that there are some really cool and fun board games out there. And yes, I do mean outside the realms of Scrabble and Monopoly. As such, a games night can be a be a really cheap and fun way to spend an evening, whether it be in a group situation or by yourselves. There seems to be more and more two player games coming onto the market, which is great news for couples who love to play tabletop games.

      3. Movie Night

      watching movie

        A good old fashioned movie night is the next best thing to going to the cinema. In fact, it may even be better. No only is it cheaper, but you don’t have to deal with any other people. Being alone in the dark is far more romantic without fifty other people surrounding you. Plus, you can customize your cheap store bought popcorn and other snacks in weird and wonderful ways that even Willy Wonka would be proud of. Besides, it’s not like you can lie down and cuddle at the cinema. Wait. Is that what those movable arm rests are for?

        4. Lounge Room Picnic

        room picnic

          I don’t care what anybody says, I think this idea is adorable. Who doesn’t want to eat cheese on a blanket without having to be at the mercy of the weather? Plus, you don’t have to deal with bugs! Perhaps the best part is that if things get romantic, you can indulge without getting arrested for public indecency.

          5. Massages

          Massages

            Perhaps this could be the natural progression of the above two ideas? Regardless of the situation, home massages are wonderful because they’re much cheaper than going to a spa. All you need is a towel and some oil! In addition, you’ll be getting massaged by your significant other, which is far less awkward than being with a stranger who you’re paying and trying to hide natural bodily functions from.

            6. Fondue Night

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            fondue

              Again, this is can be enjoyed as a group activity or as a couple. You can usually pick up fondues relatively cheap at a thrift store, so then all you need is the bread, cheese, fruit and chocolate! Throwing your keys in a bowl is optional.

              7. Video Game Marathon

              video games

                A couple that games together stays together! There are plenty of co-op games that couples can enjoy together – whether it be something tame like Lego Lord of the Rings; or something more hardcore, like Call of Duty. Or if you’re not overly competitive, racing and fighting games can be really fun too. You’d be surprised how the hours can melt away behind a controller or a keyboard.

                8. Cook For Your Partner

                dinner

                  Surprise your significant other by cooking for them. Nothing says loving and romance like a home cooked meal, especially if they don’t even have to help clean up.

                  9. Poker Night

                  poker

                    Always fun, a poker night may actually help you make some money if you choose to include other people. If you want to keep it intimate, you can always spice things up by turning it into strip poker.

                    Outside the House

                    10. Farmers Market

                    farmer market

                      If you and your partner are fans of fresh produce and cooking, the farmers market can make a fantastic date. You can pick out the best fruits and vegetables for yourselves at a much lower price than at the supermarket whilst playing ‘spot the stoned ageing hippie.’ Becoming prematurely old and dull at the age of 26 has never been so much fun! Price: $

                      11. Flea Market

                      flea market

                        Similar to above, you can have a great time hunting down bargains and treasures at a flea market. Discovering retro toys and comic books being sold well below their market value is always more enjoyable with someone at your side. You may even make some money if you knowingly rip someone off and sell your purchases for profit on eBay. Just stay away from the old politically incorrect racist dolls – that’s never sexy. Price: 0 – $

                        12. Hike

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                        hiking

                          Both free and healthy, this is the perfect way to see some lovely sites together and get those endorphins flowing. You should probably save on water afterwards by showering together. Price: 0

                          13. Bike Ride

                          bike riding

                            Just as fun and romantic as the above, but on wheels! Take a ride along the beach or lake, or maybe through the hills or mountainside for those of you who are more fit than I am. Price: 0 – $

                            14. Happy Hour

                            happy hour

                              Take your partner down to your local watering hole so you can take advantage of some cheap drinks. The best part is that happy hour often goes for several hours at a time! Price: $ – $$

                              15. Open Houses

                              open house

                                This is quite possibly my favorite suggestion on the list. You may be too poor to afford a house, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t go looking at them! Open houses are so much fun to go look at as a couple. Not only can you fantasize about living in places you’ll never afford, but you also gain access to people’s questionable decorating choices. Price: 0 unless you accidentally bid on an auction

                                16. Dive Bars

                                dive bar

                                  Now this may not sound particularly fun, but a date is what you make of it! instead of dropping $10 on a beer at your local hipster establishment, head down to your local dive. Not only do they have cheap drinks and dudes with long beards, but you can indulge in some fun old school bar activities like pool, darts and trying not to get stabbed. Price: $

                                  17. Cheap Ass Tuesdays

                                  cafes

                                    This can come in many shapes and forms – whether it be cheap cinema tickets or discounted meals at cafes and restaurants. Check out which businesses in your area engage in Cheap Ass Tuesday and begin exploiting them in the name of romance. Price: $

                                    18. Skating

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                                    skating

                                      Whilst ice skating is a nice and traditional date option, what I’m referring to is the roller skating rink. Tap into your inner children by spending an afternoon at the rink making fools of yourselves and drinking frozen cokes. Not only will you have a fun time laughing at each other, you may even get to see some children fall down, or young teenagers awkwardly trying to make out before their parents come to pick them up. Ah, memories. Price: $

                                      19. Sledding

                                      sledding

                                        Take advantage of the snow and cold weather by sledding down a hill. Who cares if you guys are the oldest ones doing it? If you don’t have a sled of your own, and don’t have the cash to drop on one, you can always improvise. You’d be surprised how good a job a garbage can lid does. Price: 0

                                        20. Art Exhibition Openings

                                        art exhibition

                                          I know this isn’t for everybody, but hear me out. Not only are these things usually free to attend, but they generally also provide you with booze and cheese. Besides, you get to judge all of the pretentious people there. Sounds like a good night to me. Price: 0

                                          21. Wine Tasting

                                          wine testing

                                            Much like the above, this date is all about the free alcohol. So long as you have some way of getting around (or perhaps your significant other is happy to be the designated driver, in which case you should marry them immediately) this can be a fun and cheap way to try some amazing wines whilst taking in the lovely vineyard scenery. Price: $

                                            22. Local Gigs

                                            local gig

                                              These are often free and occasionally the bands you’re seeing actually have some talent. If not, don’t worry – you can always have a great time being a critic and enjoying the cheap beverages. Local gigs are never anywhere classy or expensive. Price: 0 – $

                                              23. Test Drives

                                              test drive

                                                If you don’t have a problem being those guys, head down to your local car dealership and ask to take something expensive out for a test drive. Sure, you’ll probably annoy the staff members (particularly if your clothes give your lack of fiscal worth away), but at least you’ll both have fun! Price: 0

                                                24. Sight See Your City

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                                                new york city

                                                  Sometimes you become so used to your home town or city that you forget what draws tourists to it. Take a day to go site seeing and rediscover your love for your home. If all goes to plan, you may even get yelled at by an angry local who has mistaken you for a tourist. Price: 0

                                                  25. Amateur Comedy Nights

                                                  stand-up show

                                                    These are fantastic because entry is usually free, or at least quite cheap, and you have a chance to see some hilarious and talented comedians. Even if they happen to bomb out, that’s entertainment in and of itself. Price: 0 – $

                                                    26. Star Gazing

                                                    star gazing

                                                      If you don’t live in a place where the sky in permanently covered in smog, star gazing is a good cheap date idea. You’ll get to lay back and simply marvel at the universe whilst having the opportunity to simply talk to each other. Remember talking? It’s that thing we did before smart phones were invented. Price: 0

                                                      27. Go for an Unplanned Drive

                                                      unplanned driving

                                                        This is a good one for couples who don’t mind going with the flow. Just get in the car, drive and see where the road takes you. The best case scenario is that you discover some new awesome places together and make some memories. The worst case scenario is that the trip turns into The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Price: $ – $$

                                                        28. Volunteer Together

                                                        Volunteer

                                                          Regardless of how poor you are, there’s always going to be somebody worse off than you. As such, why not try and help others together? It won’t cost you anything other than your time, and it will be a really great chance for you to get to know each other on a new level. Alternatively, you could twist this idea around by volunteering at a festival or convention so you can get in for free. Price: 0

                                                          29. Go to the Beach

                                                          go to beach

                                                            This really only works as a cheap date idea if you happen to live near the beach. Let’s just assume that you do. Spend the day enjoying the sun, surf and sand with your partner. You can even pack lunch to further cut down on costs. Price: 0 – $

                                                            30. Go on a Real Picnic

                                                            picnic

                                                              If you like the outdoors or just don’t trust sitting on your lounge room floor, a real picnic may be a good cheap date option for you. Pack both of your favorite foods and find somewhere pretty to eat, chat and simply enjoy your surroundings. Just remember to bring the bug spray. And a flask. Price: $

                                                              More by this author

                                                              Tegan Jones

                                                              Tegan is a passionate journalist, writer and editor. She writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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                                                              Last Updated on January 15, 2021

                                                              7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

                                                              7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

                                                              The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

                                                              Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

                                                              Posture

                                                              First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

                                                              • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
                                                              • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
                                                              • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
                                                              • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

                                                              All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

                                                              Facial Expressions

                                                              Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

                                                              • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
                                                              • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
                                                              • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

                                                              If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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                                                              1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

                                                              A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

                                                              The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

                                                              This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

                                                              2. Relax Your Face

                                                              New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

                                                              The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

                                                              To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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                                                              3. Improve Your Eye Contact

                                                              Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

                                                              The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

                                                              To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

                                                              3. Smile More

                                                              There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

                                                              Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

                                                              4. Hand Gestures

                                                              Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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                                                              It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

                                                              5. Enhance Your Handshake

                                                              In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

                                                              “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

                                                              It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

                                                              6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

                                                              As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

                                                              Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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                                                              Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

                                                              Final Takeaways

                                                              Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

                                                              If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

                                                              More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

                                                              Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

                                                              Reference

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