Recession-Friendly Dating

By Laurie Davis, Founder


Things are improving on Wall Street, but most of us are not seeing direct results in our wallets yet. Dating in a recession is tricky because you may have more free time, but you may also have less moolah. Below are nine free or cheap date ideas inspired by the warm weather, that won’t make your date suspicious of your financial situation.

  1. Meet in the Park.  Go for a stroll or park yourself on some green ... grass that is. I know you wish it were Benjamin’s, but for the time being, the stuff in the dirt will have to do. Remember, if it’s the first time you’re hanging out you should keep the date short (30 min-90 min), so a stroll and some good chit chat should be sufficient for a whole date.
  2. Pack a Picnic.  If it’s beyond the first date, pack some snacks and a bottle of wine. Don’t forget the plastic cups!
  3. Free Concerts.  You can (almost) never go wrong with live music. Most cities have free outdoor concert series, and a lot of small bars that feature live music don’t have a drink minimum. Open mic nights are also great sources of entertainment.
  4. Happy Hour.  Happy hour is the cheapest way to grab a drink with a date (short of inviting her over to your apartment for a beer). Check out local bar’s specials — there is bound to be a deal nearby. Most happy hours are between 5:30 and 7:30 M-F.
  5. Day at the Beach.  Head to the beach for the day to soak up some rays, or go in the early eve for a more romantic setting and watch the sunset. Most beaches are free, or a nominal fee. (Hint: The ones that do charge a few dollars are usually free once the lifeguards go off-duty.)
  6. You Scream, I Scream.  As long as your date is not lactose intolerant, go out for ice cream. Do some research and find a place in your area that is not the norm. Maybe it’s a dairy bar with cows grazing, or a homemade gelato shop.
  7. Wine Tastings.  Most wine stores offer free tastings during certain hours. Check out the tasting and buy a cheap bottle to take home and share.
  8. Museums.  While museums can be expensive, most entrance fees are actually a “suggested donation”. Check the signage or website closely…but if you’re going to do this, be sure to buy tickets in advance so your date doesn’t witness you haggling. Some museums also have free nights, like Free Friday Nights at MoMA (sponsored by Target from 4-8pm). 
  9. Gallery Hop.  Anyone can walk in to an art gallery anytime, free of charge. Why not gallery hop! Find an area with a few in walking distance and explore.


Leave a comment with other ideas you’ve tried, or want to try!