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20 Fun Date Ideas For Couples Without Spending Much

20 Fun Date Ideas For Couples Without Spending Much

In the beginning finding cool things to do on a date and making time was easy. You may have even spent way more than you were comfortable with, because you were smitten and it was worth every penny. But things have changed. It’s not that you and your significant other care less, but life happens. Grown up things like children, jobs, mortgages. You spend a lot of time, money and energy creating a good life for your family. But don’t forget about your life as a couple. It’s important to stay connected and dates are a wonderful way to do just that. The great thing is that awesome dates don’t have to cost a lot in order to be a lot of fun. For great cheap date ideas consider the following list of twenty below.

1. Sometimes You Just Need to Wine.

Wine Tasting - One of Many Cheap Date Ideas

    The ultimate in adult activities, “wining” can be an awesomely fun and inexpensive date. If you like wine (or like the idea of trying new wine) wine tasting is the perfect date. Many places offer free tastings, or charge a nominal fee like $5-$7 per person. For that price you’ll typically receive five or six one ounce tastes. That’s like a glass of wine. They’ll also sell wine by the glass and/or the bottle for you to enjoy on site. One bonus is that wineries that are located within a vineyard may offer astounding views which you’ll want to savor, so pack a lunch of fruit, cheese and crackers and enjoy.

    2. Attend a Music Festival.

    Music Festival as a cheap date

      If you love live music, music festivals can be a wonderful way to spend some time together. They happen all over the country and while some may cost a significant amount of money, many are free or charge a nominal fee. Some of the many pleasures of attending a music festival include multiple stages, multiple artists and the ability to attend early in the day through late at night. Another plus is that many festivals are annual events so you can plan in advance to attend as they last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Don’t have any music fests near you? Do a search for local community music concerts and you may be rewarded with awesome music for free. Either way grab a chair at the venue, bring a blanket, pack a meal if allowed, and enjoy the performances.

      3. Take a Cooking Class Together.

      Cooking Class
        Photo Credit: jwalsh via Compfight cc

        Wait. What? You cook every night. Why would you ever want to take a class?  Because it can be lots of fun. Really. From cakes to pies, pizza to sushi, you’ll be with a small group of people who are out to learn new techniques, laugh and make mistakes in a relaxed environment, end up with something yummy (hopefully) that you’ll be able to taste on the spot, and generally have a great time. Classes in every price range are available like Williams-Sonoma’s free technique classes. Prefer to stay in? That’s cool too. Take a free online cooking class together. Many websites offer them.

        4. Enjoy a Movie that’s not on Netflix.

        Movie Date NIght

          Don’t sit at home watching Netflix. Definitely don’t pay $50 for a movie for two with popcorn and drinks. Try these cheap date movie ideas instead.

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          • Drive-In: If you’re lucky enough to live near a Drive-in theatre you’re in for a treat. For about $20 the two of you can enjoy a movie (many offer double features for that price), a large freshly popped popcorn – with real butter, beverage and a great night under the stars. Some allow you to bring your own food, so pack a dinner and enjoy this version of dinner and a movie.
          • Second Run Movie Theatre:  Remember when movies used to cost $3.50-$5.00? Well you can still pay that price if you can wait a little. There are theatres all over the country, many in wonderfully old, historic buildings that offer discount prices for movies after they’ve left the major theatre chains. They often serve fresh popcorn and you can actually afford to buy candy. Let’s face it, there’s something about buying it there (rather than sneaking it in) that makes it more fun.
          • Movies in the Park: Many communities offer free movies, you just have to search your community activities online. It’s typically going to be a family fare, and the picture and sound quality may not be the greatest, but it’s hard to beat free. Bring a blanket or chairs, pack a picnic and just relax. Speaking of picnics…

          5. Have a Picnic with a Twist.

          Picnic Date

            Yeah. Yeah. A picnic at the park. It’s nice. It’s sweet. Zzzzzz. Hold on. It’s a classic for a reason, but that doesn’t mean you can’t punch it up a bit. How about:

            • A picnic and flying a kite. Kites can be had very inexpensively.
            • Hike (or drive) to a scenic overlook and have a picnic with an amazing view. Search for scenic spots in your neck of the woods and go.
            • Picnic at the beach.
            • Picnic near the railroad tracks and watch the trains go by.
            • Picnic near a private airfield. Often, there’s a grassy area outside of the private airports. Watch the planes take off and land and dream about your next adventure.
            • Picnic while watching a fireworks display.
            • Of course, have a picnic during your winery or drive in movie date.

            6. Take a Ride on a Ferris Wheel.

            Carnival

              Sometimes the best dates are those that remind you of when you were a kid. Carnivals can do just that. The lights, the sounds, the rides and the food. Many carnivals offer free entry or charge only a small fee or a fee for parking. Stroll hand in hand, eat a candy apple and enjoy.

              7. Test Drive Your Dream Car.

              Dream Car

                It’s one of the stranger cheap date ideas, but it can get your engines revved up. Have a dream car in mind? Go to a lot and look at your car, pick up a promotional package and test drive it. It’s a nice break from reality that can leave both of you smiling for the rest of the day.

                8. Enjoy a Happy Hour Dinner at a Fancy Restaurant.

                Happy Hour

                  You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy a high end restaurant. Many offer happy hour specials at reasonable prices, so linger over a couple of drinks and nosh on a few fancy bar food items in style.

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                  9. Take a Stroll on the Beach at Night.

                  Stroll on the Beach

                    The beach takes on a whole different vibe at night. Stroll hand in hand at the water’s edge. Bring a blanket, star gaze and enjoy the sound of the surf. If it has a lively boardwalk find a seat and people watch. Bonus? Beach fees, if there are any, are typically waived after a certain time.

                    10. Visit Open Houses in Your Dream Neighborhood.

                    Open House

                      Open houses can be inspiring and motivational. You can get design ideas for your current residence and it’s fun to dream about your future together.

                      11. Cheer on a Local Sports Team.

                      Cheer on a Team

                        Check to see if you have a minor league sports team in your area. Fans are fiercely loyal and you can get caught up in the energy and excitement. Minor league baseball tickets for instance, are inexpensive so you can splurge on a beer. Another option is cheering on your local college sports teams. Unless they are in Division I, you’ll probably get to watch for free. Since the games are student centric, concession prices will probably be more reasonable too.

                        12. Visit an Arcade.

                        Video Arcade is a Great Cheap Date Idea

                          Remember the video arcade games you loved as a kid? What about air hockey, skeeball, and miniature bowling? Find a local arcade house, buy a round of tokens for $10-$20 and make a date of playing your old favorites and new classics. Many have discount days so you save even more. Some even have on site restaurants where you can enjoy a beer or a glass of wine while you play. Larger chain arcades like Dave and Busters tend to be a little more expensive, but they offer discounts too which makes it a great option for cheap date ideas.

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                          13. Pick Your Own.

                          Apple Picking

                            Have a date at a pick your own fruit and vegetable farm and you’ll enjoy fresh air, beautiful scenery, and prices that are better than at your local supermarket. Best of all, because you pick it, you know it’s fresh. Bring it home and whip up something delicious using a technique you learned during your free cooking class date and enjoy with a glass of wine you purchased on your date at the winery.

                            14. Take a Leisurely Ride in a Pedal Boat.

                            Pedal Boat

                              Find a local park with a lake and take a pedal boat ride if it is available. It’s a tiny slice of romantic when done on a beautiful day.

                              15. Dance Like No One is Watching.

                              Dance Class

                                You might not go to the club, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for dancing. Classes like tango, ballroom, even hip hop, can be intimate experiences where knowing your partner will enable you to truly enjoy it. You may find free or low cost dance lessons in your local community events section. Sites like Groupon and Living Social are also a great way to obtain low cost dance lessons. So set a date and take a spin on the dance floor.

                                16. Bring Out Your Inner Artist.

                                Bring Out Your Inner Artist

                                  Bring out your inner artist and have a few laughs. All this cheap date requires is a visit to the dollar store to purchase two drawing pads and some colored pencils. Go to your favorite hang out, find a spot to set up and get to sketching. Maybe you’ll draw each other. Stick figures are acceptable. In the mood to be a little messy? Get some fingerpaints. Enjoy great conversation and have a few laughs. Even if your sketches aren’t great, put them away to find another day. You’ll have fun reliving it when you do,

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                                  17. Linger Over a Cup of Coffee.

                                  Coffee Date

                                    While on the run you may grab a cup of joe from your favorite coffee shop, but how often do you do it with your partner? How often do you sit, relax, talk and linger over that cup? Maybe it’s time you did. Add a pastry, find a comfy chair and just soak it in. Find one that offers live music or poetry slams for an additional perk. Get it? “Coffee?” “Perk?” Anyway…

                                    18. Go Tubing.

                                    River Tubing

                                      Tubing is great because it’s a multi-seasonal cheap date idea, especially if you have your own tubes. In the warmer months find a river, pack a floating cooler and have a lazy day on the water. In the winter find your favorite hilly park and race down the hills for hours, followed by a hot cocoa.

                                      19. Visit a Museum.

                                      Visit a Museum

                                        Many people forget about this tried and true classic. There’s something peaceful and meditative about sitting in front of a piece of art and contemplating its beauty and uniqueness. It’s also a fun and economical date because depending on your location there are so many types to choose from. How about a museum devoted to cars, stamps, hair, dolls, canal boats, different cultures and countless other topics? Exploring them means a lof of potentially affordable dates.

                                        20. Check Your Local Calendar of Events.

                                        Calendar of Events

                                          The local community events calendar is probably one of the most underutilized resources available for free and low cost things to do. Everything from free swim, to tasting events, concerts in the park, historic home tours, parades and more can be found. The variety will keep you in unique dates all year long.

                                          These are some of my favorite cheap date ideas. What about you? Let me know below..

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                                          Last Updated on August 20, 2019

                                          How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

                                          How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

                                          Finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. And that’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

                                          In this article, we will explore ways on how to set financial goals and then actually meet them with ease.

                                          5 Steps to Set Financial Goals

                                          Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task but if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps:

                                          1. Be Clear About the Objectives

                                          Any goal (let alone financial) without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream. And this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

                                          It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it is for. It could be anything like kid’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car etc.

                                          Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives, however small they may be, that you foresee in the future and put a value to it.

                                          2. Keep Them Realistic

                                          It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going out of the line will definitely hurt your chances of achieving them.

                                          It’s important that you keep your goals realistic in nature for it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

                                          3. Account for Inflation

                                          Ronald Reagan once said – “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman”. And this quote sums up the best what inflation could do your financial goals.

                                          Therefore account for inflation whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far away in the future.

                                          For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years hence, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is mere 3%. So always account for inflation.

                                          4. Short Term vs Long Term

                                          Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach towards achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It is important to bifurcate goals in short term and long term.

                                          As a rule of thumb, any financial goal, which is due in next 3 years should be termed as short term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short term vs long term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

                                          More on this later when we talk about how to achieve financial goals.

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                                          5. To Each to His Own

                                          The journey of setting financial goals is an individualistic affair i.e. your goals are your own goals and are determined by your want to achieve them. A lot of times we get on the bandwagon of goal setting only to realize later on that it was not meant for us.

                                          It is important that your goals are actually your goals and not inspired by someone else. Take a hard look at this step at all the goals you’ve set for after this step, you will be on the way to achieve them.

                                          By now, you would be ready with your financial goals, now it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

                                          11 Ways to Achieve Your Financial Goals

                                          Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a 2 step process –

                                          • Ensuring healthy savings
                                          • Making smart investments

                                          You will need to save enough; and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals. So let’s get down to ensuring healthy savings.

                                          Ensuring Healthy Savings

                                          Self realization is the best form of realisation and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

                                          This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

                                          1. Track Expenses

                                          The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your monthly expenses. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you would be surprised to see how small expenses add up to a sizeable amount.

                                          Also categorize those expenses into different bucket so that you know which bucket is eating the most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pump up your savings rate.

                                          2. Pay Yourself First

                                          Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classical mistake which almost everyone of us do. We pay ourselves last!

                                          Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and then manage all the expenses from the rest.

                                          The best way to actually implement is to put the savings on automatic mode i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (for example – mutual funds, retirement corpus etc) every month.

                                          Taking the automatic route will make us lose control of our money and hence will compel us to manage in what’s left with us thereby increasing the savings rate.

                                          3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick with It

                                          Budgeting is the best to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be made.

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                                          Nowadays, several money management apps and wallets can help you do this automatically. It’s easy and who knows, you may just end up doing what people fail to do.

                                          At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

                                          Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

                                          You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

                                          4. Rise Again Even If You Fall

                                          Let’s be realistic. It’s not like the world will come to an end if you made one mistake. This isn’t called leniency but discipline.

                                          If you fail to meet your budget for a month, don’t give up the entire effort just like that. Instead, start again.

                                          Remember that flexible plans are the most realistic plans. So go forward and try to follow your financial goals as planned but if for some reason, the plan gets out of hand for you, do not give up on it just yet. This has a lot to do with your psychology rather than any material commitment.

                                          All you have to do is to stay on the road and vow to stay on it, no matter how much you fall down.

                                          5. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

                                          In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

                                          Make Savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counter intuitive to many but there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

                                          Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Usually weekends are expensive. Make it a habit and you would in turn be saving a great deal.

                                          If you are travelling buff, try to travel during off season. Your outlay will be much less.

                                          If you go out for shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

                                          So the key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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                                          6. Talk About It

                                          Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission. And it would be rather easy to lose the grip over your discipline.

                                          Therefore in order to stay the course, it is advisable that you keep yourself surrounded with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

                                          7. Maintain a Journal

                                          For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

                                          So if you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

                                          Use this journal to write down all essential points such as your short term, mid term and long term goals, your current sources of income, your regular expenses which you are aware of and any committed expenses which are of recurring nature.

                                          When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energised to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot more easier for you to follow you and track your progress.

                                          At this point, you should be ready with your financial goals and would be doing brilliantly with savings; now it’s time to talk about the big daddy – Investments.

                                          Making Smart Investments

                                          Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However savings when invested wisely can do wonders and we are at that stage where we will talk about making smart investments.

                                          8. Consult a Financial Advisor

                                          Investments doesn’t come naturally to most of us therefore rather than dabbling with it ourselves, it is wise to consult a financial advisor.

                                          Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

                                          9. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

                                          Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about them.

                                          Just like “no one is born a criminal”, no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference.

                                          Do you remember we talked about bifurcating financial goals in short term and long term?

                                          It is here where that classification will help.

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                                          So as a general rule, for all your short term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less as compared to equity instruments.

                                          10. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

                                          Einstein once remarked about compounding,

                                          Compound Interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.

                                          So make friends with this wonder kid. And sooner you become friends with it, quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

                                          Start investing early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

                                          11. Measure, Measure, Measure

                                          All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments; taking stock of how our investments are doing.

                                          If there is one single step where everything (so far) can go wrong, it is at this step – Measuring the Progress.

                                          If we don’t measure the progress timely, then we would be shooting in the dark. We wouldn’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not; whether financial advisor is doing a decent job; whether we are moving closer to our target or not.

                                          Do measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

                                          The Bottom Line

                                          This completes the list of tips for you to set financial goals and actually achieve them with not so great difficulty.

                                          As you can see, all it requires is discipline. But guess that’s the most difficult part!

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                                          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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