No one said love comes easy or cheap. Especially when you're going out on a first date with someone you are trying to impress. For men especially, who are sometimes still expected to pay for first dates, taking someone out can get pretty expensive. In fact, one recent survey of 1,000 people found that 77 percent thought men should pick up the tab. But have no fear. We have you covered with some of the most unique, yet romantic date ideas to impress your special someone and, likely, get yourself lined up for a second date.
1. Free Outings
Most first date ideas are comprised of dinner and a movie. But that night won't be cheap. So why not check out your local paper for some outdoor concerts or museum trips that are free or cost very little? This will give you more of a chance to talk and get to know each other instead of staying quiet during a two-hour movie.
No date idea is more romantic than a picnic in a park. So try skipping the restaurant and pack a lunch and blanket for your date. If you live in the city you can even take your date on a nice walk and stop by a cool, funky food truck for a quick meal.
3. Home Sweet Home
Some men and women may not feel comfortable going to someone's house for dinner on a first date but if you're already a couple, or have been dating for awhile, this is a great option. You won't have to wait in line anywhere and won't have to pay for an overpriced meal. It will be a great chance to talk and get to know each other, especially if you decide to cook a meal together. Then you can snuggle up and watch a movie alone without worrying about several other people talking in a theatre.
4. Go for a Walk
What better way to get to know someone by taking a nice stroll with them? Grab a coffee or an ice cream and go for a walk outside, exploring and enjoying nature. This is a great way to see if you want a second date with someone. If you have been in a relationship for awhile this is also a great way to reconnect and talk about what's going on in your lives.
If you are into exercise, why not take your date along with you? It doesn't have to be to a gym, where you will likely have to pay for a day pass, but can be a nice hike or a bike ride. If you jog, you could head to the beach for a nice run and then go for a swim together afterwards.
6. Game Night
Game nights can be a really cheap but fun way to spend an evening together. You can do it alone with your date or get a group together for a night of laughs. If you do it alone, it's a great way to see how competitive your date is and if he or she can handle losing. If you do it with a group of people, you can see how your date interacts with your friends and if you like hanging out with them.
7. Happy Hour
If you want to go out and be social with your date but don't want to spend a lot of money, you can hit up Happy Hour at your local pub. Most drinks are cheap and the hour usually lasts longer than 60 minutes so you can enjoy a late night with each other for not a lot of money.
8. Winter Fun
There are lots of things to do with your date during the winter months – and most of these are free. You can lace up your skates at an outdoor rink or grab a sled and go tobogganing down a steep hill.
9. Wine Tasting
If you like wine, but want to keep that first date on a budget, a wine tour is a wonderful option. You will get to taste several different types of wine while enjoying a stroll in a beautiful, romantic vineyard. Just make sure you have some money to pay for a taxi afterwards.