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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 March 30, 2020

                                                              What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

                                                              What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

                                                              Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

                                                              You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

                                                              This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

                                                              What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

                                                              According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

                                                              Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

                                                              There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

                                                              How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

                                                              When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

                                                              Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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                                                              1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

                                                              One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

                                                              The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

                                                              Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

                                                              2. Be Honest

                                                              A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

                                                              If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

                                                              On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

                                                              Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

                                                              3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

                                                              Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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                                                              If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

                                                              4. Succeed at Something

                                                              When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

                                                              Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

                                                              5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

                                                              Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

                                                              Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

                                                              If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

                                                              If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

                                                              Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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                                                              6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

                                                              Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

                                                              You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

                                                              On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

                                                              You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

                                                              7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

                                                              Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

                                                              Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

                                                              Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

                                                              When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

                                                              Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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                                                              In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

                                                              Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

                                                              It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

                                                              Final Thoughts

                                                              When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

                                                              The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

                                                              Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

                                                              Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

                                                              Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

                                                              More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

                                                              Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

                                                              Reference

                                                              [1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
                                                              [2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
                                                              [3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
                                                              [4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
                                                              [5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
                                                              [6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
                                                              [7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
                                                              [8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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