Check out my published article on Elite Daily.
Men, I get the struggle of keeping up with rent payments, student loans and monthly bills.
And I’m not going to lie, women love to be pampered… aka you picking up the check on a date. It shows you are confident, thoughtful and have your sh*t together. So when you finally meet that special girl, your bills can pile up even more.
But let me share with you a little secret: You DON’T have to splurge on luxurious dinners to keep (at least the best of) us interested. Yes, we want to be taken out to have a good time. But with a little creative thought, between you and me, you can come up with some date ideas that really don’t have to blow your budget.
Don’t get me wrong; fancy dates are amazing. But however cliche this may sound, many girls really do believe it’s the thought that counts. Going that extra mile in planning a date will make her super impressed with your creativity.
When taking it to the next level, there is no better way of getting to know her than just being yourself. Don’t be afraid of adventure and spontaneity. Laughing and letting loose with one another is such an integral part of every relationship, and that doesn’t cost a thing.
These may not be your favorite plans, but trust me; they are a great way to winning a girl’s heart. So suck it up, and take one for the team when you’re ready to impress (but broke AF).
And trust me guys; if she’s happy, you’ll be happy.
1. Go on a romantic walk at sunset.
Now I know romantic walks and sunsets are probably one step beneath having a needle poked in your eye. But you’re not getting very far without this kind of date.
The Brooklyn Bridge is an awesome spot to take a stroll if you live in NYC. And nothing beats the Golden Gate Bridge if you’re on the West Coast!
Any special landmark or scenic route works just fine.
2. Cruise in a blow-up paddleboat or rent a rowboat on a lake.
Let’s think of this as afternoon exercise, so you can kill two birds with one stone.
A blow-up boat can be found at most discount stores, if you don’t already have one. It’s fun to do several times over the summer. Besides, it can double as a beer cooler for your next summer banger.
You can also rent canoes and kayaks for very cheap — sometimes for nothing.
Chilling on a lake is the ultimate summer plan to romance your hunny.
Whether you’re gazing from the back of a pickup truck or on a rooftop, stargazing is the right way to go.
Don’t forget a cozy blanket, binoculars and a bottle of wine or a six pack.
4. Cook a delicious dinner for her at your place.
Set the table with flowers, candles, a pretty tablecloth…and don’t forget the finest background music.
Ask her to dress up, and I know you will hate this part, but make sure you do, too. The details are what count, and you’re the dude with no money, so remember, I’m helping you out here.
5. Teach her your specialty.
This is one you’re actually going to enjoy. Whether it’s surfing, snowboarding, ice skating, skateboarding, golfing or playing guitar, share it with her, and plan an awesome day around it.
Hint: If your favorite pastime is shotgunning beers and playing video games, you might want to re-think this plan.
But overall, she’ll be excited to learn more about you, and what better way to personalize your time together than with something you genuinely enjoy doing?
6. Have a selfie-stick photo shoot afternoon.
OK, don’t gag on this one. I’m on your side, remember?
Plan out some scenic spots to take her. Girls are all about great pics, so odds are, she will have a lot of fun with this.
If you’re feeling really crafty, print out some favorites from the shoot, and frame them for her for one of your next gifts.
Again, this is corny, but chances are you’re going to have to make up for all the money you’re saving with corniness.
7. Take her hiking.
For the adventurous girl who loves the outdoors and exercise, plan this on a sunny afternoon, and pick a great destination to conquer the heights.
Now if she’s a high-maintenance diva, either tone down the course a bit, or drop her like it’s hot.
Pack a backpack for two with all the right snacks and drinks. And water! Don’t forget water.
8. Go on a winery tour.
If she’s a passionate wine lover, touring and tasting is the ultimate date for her.
Any winery will do. Many don’t charge any fees for a tour and tasting. Plus, bitches love wine.
9. Take her to a classic car show.
Guys love cars, right? Well, girls love them too. If she’s a car fiend, you will both really have fun going to a cruise night. If she’s not, chances are she’ll become one.
After admiring hot rods, ice cream or a milkshake would be the end to a perfect date…or maybe just the beginning.
10. Go on a run or walk on the beach.
What’s better than a romantic stroll on the beach? Well, I’m sure there are a few things you would rather be doing with her.
This idea sounds so overplayed, but it’s really timeless. Running and walking are always invigorating, and there’s something deeply calming and romantic about doing so by the beach.
It’ll get her primed for those things you’d rather be doing that I mentioned earlier.
11. Volunteer at an animal shelter.
Volunteering always makes everyone feel good. It also can tell you a lot about what kind of girl she is on the inside.
Bring the dogs for a walk, and enjoy a fun afternoon surrounded by furry friends who will really appreciate the attention.
The right girl won’t be able to contain herself around all these pups. Trust me on this one. Puppy-dog eyes bring out the best us.
12. Take your dogs to a dog park.
If either of you are a pet owner, this is a piece of cake. Your pups will love it, she’ll love it, and so will you.
But there are two things to remember on this one: One, don’t think of your dog as stealing your date; think of him as your wingman. Two, the way to a girl’s heart, and every place else, is through her puppy.
Definitely. Like. Her. Puppy.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to bring her puppy treats! It will earn you a treat of your own, I promise.
13. Give her a home spa night.
OK guys, in this case, number 13 is your lucky number. This date will be romantic, relaxing and just plain old fun for the both of you.
Pamper her all night long, and finish it off with getting cozy in the bathtub. You’re welcome.
14. Order takeout.
Set up a casual, candlelit carpet picnic for two.
Surround the area with pillows and blankets, making it really comfy. Maybe whip out some “Magic Mike” moves…choice is yours.
15. Take her sledding.
Obviously, you’ll need a good snowfall for this one. But the purpose of it all is this won’t cost you a dime.
Hot chocolate, marshmallows and mugs are a must to bring on this date for after you two are soaked and freezing. Plus, warming up together doesn’t sound so bad, now does it?
16. Go bike riding.
This one’s not bad at all. Map out a trail along the beach or a lake, if possible.
Bring thoughtful goodies, like trail mix, power bars and water bottles.
You better be a good biker. It will be pretty embarrassing if she smokes you.
17. Have a homemade pizza night.
Who doesn’t love to make pizza, guys? Set up all of the ingredients, and make a pie together. It’s really not that hard, even if you suck at cooking.
End the night surprising her with gelato, and you won’t be sorry.
18. Go to a drive-in movie.
The night wouldn’t be complete without boxed movie snacks. Bring some popcorn and Milk Duds (which you can buy at a reasonably cheap price, as opposed to those crazy movie prices).
Check out this list of drive-in movie theaters throughout the country you can go to!
19. Go to a beer-tasting at your local brewery.
Find a brewery near you for a tasting. This date was literally made for you. It’s like when you get someone a gift that’s secretly for you.
Except you’ll love it, she’ll love it, and everybody’s happy. Breweries are super “hip,” so even if she doesn’t love beer, she’ll be excited just to snap pictures and tell her friends she went.
20. Have an outside campfire.
Make sure the weather is fire pit-worthy, obviously. Also make sure you don’t burn the house down.
Be prepared with wine, s’mores and sticks for toasting marshmallows.
Stop rolling your eyes. When you got no money, you still gotta please the hunny.
21. Throw an old-fashioned picnic at a romantic spot.
Give the spot some really good thought; something with special meaning to her or the both of you.
Arrive with a bouquet of daisies and backpack filled with a blanket and her favorite snacks.
Yes, of course your buddies would laugh their asses off if they saw you here. But DGAF; they’re not the ones you need to impress. And while they’re off being “cool,” you’re off getting laid.
22. Stay in and have a movie marathon.
Cuddle on the couch, make gourmet popcorn with fun toppings, and have the best romantic movies lined up for this one.
“The Notebook,” “Love Actually,” “The Longest Ride,” “P.S. I Love You,” “How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days,” “Maid In Manhattan” are classics.
Come on guys, a real man can get through “The Notebook” just fine. And whether you admit it or not, I bet you’ll even like it.
So nip it, and don’t forget extra butter for the popcorn.
23. Have a chocolate chip cookie baking night.
Her sweet tooth will appreciate this, and so will yours.
After they’re all done, treat yo’self, and make sure you have milk for dunking.
Have fun, and think outside of the box. Dating doesn’t have to be expensive, but you’re going to get out of it what you put into it.