Date Night, Spring 2012

Are you half of a couple seeking magical moments while saving for both spring and summer vacations? Creating a couple’s getaway can be nerve-wracking. Stop worrying so much about what to wear, stressing over what you will talk about, and worrying about your wallet. Consumer Savings Expert Andrea Woroch, is here to share her “10 Frugal Dating Tips for Cost-Conscious Lovebirds”.

Lucky for cost-conscious lovebirds, there are plenty of ways to spark a romantic connection without blowing your budget. Here are ten ways to enjoy a memorable yet inexpensive Summer date:

1. Babysitting Trade-Off & Time-Share: Finding a reliable babysitter can be a nightmare. It’s almost enough to make a parent want to stay home. If you know others in the same boat, why not swap child care services with neighbors, co-workers, family or friends? You watch their kids one night, they watch yours… Or consider sharing one babysitter among families and splitting the cost. New web sites like Care.com and SitterCity.com help you find babysitters in your area who will match your needs and budget. (Note from Rachel: At my daughter’s high school, the front desk secretary keeps a list on hand of teens who babysit who are not on school probation. I also hired camp counselors after camp let out who may have 5 weeks until college starts back up.)

2. Date With Gift Cards: Buy a gift card at a discount from sites such as CardAvenue.com, or dig out the cards you forgot about from December gift giving. They will save you anywhere from 5% to 50% on restaurants and other entertainment activities.

3. Plan a Freebie: Dating doesn’t always have to mean dinner and a movie. Some activities — like hiking, biking or visiting farmers’ markets — don’t cost a dime and tend to reveal more about your partner than a standard date.

4. DIY Date Night: Create your own dinner with a picnic in a local park. For a romantic touch, pack portable speakers with a pre-mixed playlist on your iPod as well as a bottle of wine and a few chocolate-covered strawberries for dessert. Not only is this DIY date an inexpensive alternative to a night on the town, but you’ll score extra brownie points for taking the time to plan this special event.

5. Get Pretty on Pennies: Though you want to impress a date, running out to the store to buy a new dress, shirt or cologne is a bit extreme and costly. Consider borrowing clothes or accessories from a friend. Also, forgo the pricey pampering and do your own nails, hair and makeup. Here’s a product we found out about used in Twilight’s “Break Dawn” movie. Aero Minerale is a mineral makeup spray that can be used on your face or as a full-body makeup to cover imperfections or fake a tan. The makeup crew of “Breaking Dawn” used over 1000 cans on the cast’s face and bodies. The lead makeup artist said it was a lifesaver for how it performed in the humidity of Baton Rouge and Rio de Janero – it wouldn’t come off, even when they were getting in and out of the water and into and out of bed! Yep, it will not rub off on clothes or sheets.

Rachel loves their 5-in-1 makeup primer that preps brows, lids, lashes, face and lips with a quick 1-second spray ($14.99 per can.) The primer can also transform any powdered shadow into a dramatic, versatile cream when blended together in the palm of your hand. Be sure to completely cover your hair before spraying, she warns! There is also a spray mineral shimmer, bronzer and foundation – but Rachel had better luck with their colorless primer.

6. Seek Smart Advice from Smartphones: Use your mobile phone to find local deals and date ideas. The Date Night iPhone app, for example, will help you find unique, interesting and affordable events that are sure to impress. The app randomly selects a “thing to do” for your next evening on the town, some of which won’t bust your budget.

7. Stay on top of Daily Deals: Groupon, Living Social and other coupon companies offer some great deals — up to 50% off — on such entertainment experiences as wine tastings, boat tours and comedy clubs. If you’re worried about appearing “cheap,” redeem the offer when your date is in the restroom. Don’t forget to sign up on the websites of your favorite restaurants with your birthday or anniversary for great coupons. From IHOP to Benihana to Bonefish Grill, you can get a discount right in your Inbox for your special day!

8. Avoid Alcohol: Even if you find a cut-rate meal (early bird special, anyone?), a couple of drinks can greatly add to the bill. You might want to hit a restaurant that doesn’t serve booze or make it an afternoon date. Otherwise, plan to drink and dine at a restaurant or bar that offers happy hour prices early evening. You can enjoy most drinks and food at very reasonable prices.

9. Go Cultural: Many coffee shops and local eateries offer free poetry readings and musical entertainment. Look for art gallery tours or free museum days to improve your cultural IQ while impressing your date.

10. Create a Thrifty Movie Night: Instead of dishing out $20 for two movie tickets plus the cost of popcorn, candy and soda, plan a romantic movie night at home. Pick-up a free DVD from your local library, or a new release for just a dollar from Redbox. Then dim the lights and serve some freshly popped popcorn or your date’s favorite candy for a theater-like experience. (Rachel’s note: Did you know you can pop plain kernels in your microwave in a brown, paper bag? Skip the high calorie and pricier boxed varieties, and just scoop 1/4 cup plain kernels into a brown lunch bag you can grab for free at  grocery checkout. Add seasoned salt or a bit of butter – or drizzle on your favorite toppings for an excuse to lick each other’s fingertips!)

For more savings tips follow Andrea at @AndreaWoroch.

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1 Comment

  1. Sarah says:

    These are really wonderful tips! A firm believer in the importance of a monthly or fortnightly date night myself, it can admittedly get a bit expensive if you go for the All Bells & Whistles Dinner Date every time! Will pass this along to my girlfriends, thanks!
    Juice your date night up with some sexy lingerie as well, why not?!

    x

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