25With today’s changing economic times it is always nice to know that you can still impress your sweetheart without going broke in the process. I have put together twenty-five of my favorite dates which cost less than $25.00.

1) Movie night: Get a movie free from the library or from your local video store, pop up some buttery popcorn, and get some special movie sized boxes of candy. Now all you have to do is put the movie in, turn the lights down, and enjoy the quiet and comfort of being in your own home.

2) Putt Putt: It is always fun to act like a child again and a good way to do it is with a game of putt-putt. Up the odds by wagering a back rub for the winner.

3) Art Exhibit: Most local galleries will have monthly art exhibits. Sometimes they are free to attend or they may have a nominal fee for entry. Who knows? You may identify the next Rembrandt or Picasso.

4) A night under the stars: Find a local planetarium (usually available at high schools or colleges). Most will offer a course which educates you on the different constellations. Not only is this a fun date, but you can impress your friends and family with what you learn at your next evening get together.

5) Make a morning of it: Take your date to a restaurant for breakfast. Not only is it a great start to the day, but breakfast is usually the cheapest meal to get at a restaurant.

6) Take a walk in the gardens: Enjoy not only the sites, but the scents of beautiful foliage at the local botanical garden. You don’t have to have a green thumb to enjoy nature’s beauty.

7) Bike or Hike: Plan out a bike ride or hike through a local park system or scenic path. Make sure you pack a snack and find a romantic spot along the way to enjoy it.

8) Wine Tasting: Most wineries will allow you to sample different wines to see which ones you like. Find your own special wine and maybe you can use it to toast special occasions for the two of you in the future.

9) Antiquing: In most major cities there is an area that is dedicated to antique shopping. Not only will you enjoy the memories of years gone by, but you might even find a memento for the days ahead. Just remember the shopping is free but the buying will cost you.

10) Local or High School theatre: Everyone gets a start somewhere. Enjoy the local talent or the future rising star by attending local theatre productions of Broadway shows. There is a lot of great local talent. Who knows? You may be watching the next Brad Pitt.

11) Enjoy the outdoors by sledding, skating, or roller blading: If you don’t enjoy the cold, you can always warm up by the fire afterwards.

12) Take a car ride: The time that you spend together riding in the car will give you opportunity to enjoy the sights and get to know each other better. Find a quaint little restaurant at your destination to grab dessert or a special beverage.

13) Pedicures: If you are a guy, give your girl a personal pedicure. Soak her feet in warm water with foot oil. Massage lotion on her feet and up her calves. Then, pick out your favorite color of nail polish to put on her toenails.

14) Zoo: It’s not only fun, but educational to attend a local zoo and check out the animals. If you want to make it really memorable, adopt an animal in your dates name and present them with the birth certificate when you get there. You not only help the zoo but it is also fun searching for your new adopted friend.

15) A quiet dinner for two: It’s an oldie, but a goody. Make your date all of their favorites but make sure you save room for dessert.

16) For the sports enthusiast: Try attending a semi-pro sports game. Usually all major metropolitan areas will have some sort of semi-pro team (mostly hockey, baseball, or soccer). Tickets are normally a quarter of the price of professional teams.

17) Be Picky: Go to a local orchard or berry patch and pick the fruit of your choice. Then bake a pie, make a smoothie or just eat it whole. Enjoy the fruits of your labor.

18) Enjoy the beauty of nature: There isn’t anything more romantic than enjoying the beauty of a sunset. Plan a picnic or a basket of wine, cheese and crackers and take in the joy and beauty that God has given us.

19) A very unique date that is relatively inexpensive is to go horseback riding. Not only can you enjoy the outdoor scenery but horseback riding is also good exercise.

20) You don’t have to be a poet to have poetic romance: Find a coffee shop, wine bar, or library that has poetry reading. If you really want to impress your date, write your own prose and read it at “open mic night”.

21) A Night at the Museum: No, this doesn’t mean to watch the movie. Instead attend some of the local museums in your area. Try to find out ahead of time if your date is an art enthusiast, likes flowers, or is into sports. This way you can find a museum that displays your date’s interests.

22) For the Book Worm: A great date that is not only educational but also spurs conversation is to go to a bookstore or library, read some books and then discuss them together over coffee or tea later. This is also a great way to get to know the interests of your significant other.

23) Bowling: You don’t have to be good to have fun and what better way to impress your date then by wearing multicolored shoes and a tacky shirt? Put a wager on your game to make it a little more fun, non-monetary bets are preferable.

24) Total Stress Relief: One of the least expensive dates that will definitely be appreciated is to give your partner a back rub. Lay out a blanket on the floor with a small pillow, light candles to set the ambiance and play soft music to relax their mind. Have them put on a robe and buy some massage oil to give it a true spa appeal. If you have the time, buy a massage technique book and practice your techniques on your partner.

25) The Scavenger Hunt: Probably one of my favorite dates has been a scavenger hunt. Write five to ten clues and lay out a scavenger hunt in your house, a garden, at the mall, or anywhere that has sentimental meaning to your partner. Make sure that each clue has a special message to your partner. Trust me, the end prize does not have to be big, just make it something personal and your partner will melt in your arms.

So remember, it is not the cost of the date that is important, it is the memories made by the date that will leave a lasting impression on your partner.