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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: $

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                                                              Tegan Jones

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

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                                                              Published on September 23, 2020

                                                              6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

                                                              6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

                                                              I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

                                                              If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

                                                              What is Negotiation?

                                                              First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

                                                              Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

                                                              In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

                                                              Places We Negotiate

                                                              I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

                                                              1. Work/Business

                                                              This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

                                                              When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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                                                              In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

                                                              Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

                                                              2. Personal

                                                              I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

                                                              I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

                                                              Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

                                                              3. Ourselves

                                                              You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

                                                              I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

                                                              Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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                                                              Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

                                                              Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

                                                              We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

                                                              My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

                                                              If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

                                                              As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

                                                              6 Negotiation Skills to Master

                                                              Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

                                                              Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

                                                              1. Preparation

                                                              Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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                                                              It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

                                                              For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

                                                              After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

                                                              2. Clear Communication

                                                              The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

                                                              If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

                                                              3. Active Listening

                                                              Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

                                                              If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

                                                              4. Teamwork and Collaboration

                                                              To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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                                                              If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

                                                              When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

                                                              5. Problem Solving

                                                              Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

                                                              Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

                                                              From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

                                                              There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

                                                              6. Decision-Making Ability

                                                              Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

                                                              Conclusion

                                                              There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

                                                              Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

                                                              More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

                                                              Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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